The best books to manage a romance book hangover

The Books I Picked & Why

The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold

Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Why this book?

This story tapped into my emotions and gave me all the feels of dread, despair, frustration, and fear the storyline of a child going missing could bring. It’s a storyline that would be every parent’s nightmare. The way the writer connects the emotions for me made me live the raw pivotal moments during the search for a child and the raw feelings I'd imagine someone with a missing child would feel. As a writer, it helped me understand that language used is all-important when setting a scene, and to think more as a writer about how the reader feels when a story is unfolding.

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The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys)

By Emma Scott

Book cover of The Girl in the Love Song (Lost Boys)

Why this book?

Well, because the hero of the story has type 1 diabetes and so does my son. The story was empathetically written, and the research was accurate. It was also good to see an author write an inspirational story about a hero with disabilities. I did this myself with Gibson Barclay in Gibson’s Legacy and had positive feedback from readers who have, or their children have ADHD. 

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Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

By E.L. James

Book cover of Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy

Why this book?

Not specifically for the content, but E.L. James was brave enough to spark controversy which brought a lot of adults back to the world of reading. But I read it due to all the publicity and opinion surrounding the storyline. Having not read romance previously, I found the book more boundary-breaking than I’d expected, and I began to question the trust needed between a couple practicing such a lifestyle. Although I don’t write BDSM romance, it was the relationships between couples that became one of the reasons why I began to write in the genre. 

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Shuggie Bain: A Novel

By Douglas Stuart

Book cover of Shuggie Bain: A Novel

Why this book?

This is raw true to life story of a young boy being brought up in 80’s Glasgow to a single parent. It was a touching account of Shuggie and his siblings as they fought to support their alcoholic single mom and the prospects of a poor Glaswegian family. I related to this story as I grew up in a poor family in the west end of Glasgow in the 60’s. The book transported me back to a world of grey tenement buildings where the whole community lived in poverty, with my friends’ fathers’ battling the same alcohol addiction as Shuggie’s mom. Some of my youngest memories were of the domestic violence within some of those families and of my mum supporting the wives with food and second-hand clothing as they tried to feed and clothe their children.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Why this book?

Having left school at fifteen with no qualifications, this was the first book I picked up as my reading literature when I sat an exam as an adult. The story was way ahead of its time and Harper Lee had insight we all can learn from. This book tackled race inequality and how fairness and justice were eluded from a character based on the color of a man’s skin. The story evoked a strong sense of angry within me and made me more conscious of the injustices faced by people of color both past and still present in societies today.

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