“Then I did the simplest thing in the world.
I leaned down… and kissed him. And the world cracked open.”
Love can be such a dramatic diva. But love is beyond dramatic. It’s essential. Love scholar Leo Buscaglia seconds such sentiment, when he sagely states: Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. I couldn’t agree more. And who can argue with the notion that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate this finest of feelings? Not me. In fact, may I suggest some love library style. I reached out to several friends for recommendations. I studied the literature late into the night. An aspiring author made me an offer that could not be refused. That was the process that generated the selections you’ll find below. They explore love from a variety of perspectives, and here’s hoping that you enjoy them as much as we have. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
The buzz on this one is fantastic! And why not? A man goes missing, an old love letter is found, and the resulting tale encompasses love, intrigue, sacrifice, and exotic Burma. It’s a smash hit in Europe, and February 2012 saw it cited as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Month, and named an IndieNext Great Read. Prefer word of mouth? My good friend Carol “Piano Lady” Bromley has suggested keeping a box of tissues at hand. Still not convinced? Check out New York Times bestselling author Caroline Leavitt’s glowing testimonial:
“No matter what I even attempt to say, I can’t possibly capture the absolute magic of this book. Like a spell, it haunts. Like love, it’s going to endure.”
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
There are many kinds of love including filial love, the love between siblings, romantic love, and the love of friends. Friendship Bread by Darien Gee touches on all of these themes. We meet Julia Evarts, who is dealing with the loss of her son by pulling away from her family. She has removed herself emotionally from her husband and daughter, as well as her formerly close sister, whom she blames for the tragedy. One day, she finds a loaf of Amish friendship bread on her porch with some starter and instructions. Since friendship bread is the culinary equivalent of a chain letter, she soon has a surfeit of starter. Through the magic of the bread, Julia meets widow Madeleine Davis, who owns a tea shop, and Hannah de Brisay, a concert cellist who is dealing with a crumbling marriage. Slowly, with the love and support of her family and new friends, Julia begins to come out of her self-imposed isolation. As she is opening herself up to love and life, Hannah and Madeleine find themselves on a journey of self discovery. The two friends find they are braver than they thought, and they manage to find the courage to carry on in the face of adversity.
If you enjoy Friendship Bread, then you might consider checking out the sequel, which is titled The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society, and has been winning rave reviews from critics and crowd alike.
Hiding in Plain Sight by Deborah Austin
Thisis a story about living with the repercussions of a troubled past. About self destruction and the struggle to overcome overwhelming fear. It takes the reader on just such a journey through the eyes of Riley Scott, a photographer whose goal in life is to avoid love at all costs, a task she’s managed for the last eight years since her divorce. When she meets Joshua Mendon, her instinct is to run fast and far even as she becomes further involved with him. He seems safe enough at first, a writer living alone with his dog and Riley accepts an invitation for coffee. When she steps behind her camera, snapping a picture of him, she is entranced with the results. Her interest swiftly enters into obsession where she fights to maintain a friendly distance even as she makes Joshua the subject of a photo study. Her attraction grows but her fear of another failed relationship causes her to balk at each new intimacy. Joshua is nothing if not patient and after a dinner with friends at his house, their relationship takes a turn that will change both of their lives in a way they never expected.
Hiding in Plain Sight is currently available only as a Kindle e-book. In the spirit of the give-and-take that characterizes genuine love, Ms. Austin has decided to offer Hiding in Plain Sight for free, in the hopes that readers might offer some feedback. The offer starts on Valentine’s Day, is for a limited time only, and you can check it out here.
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin
A plain goes down in a remote wilderness. As a consequence, two strangers are thrust together in a desperate bid for survival. Winter weather, predators, injuries, and a shortage of food conspire against them. What they do have is each other. But is their growing attraction and trust enough to save them? Countless romance readers have raved about The Mountain Between Us, with many calling it an outright favorite. I think that Amazon does a great job of concisely summarizing the volume’s vibe:
“Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.”