5 Books to Lift Your Spirits by Hayley Doyle

2021 has started with a bang. And not the bang we were all hoping for. Rather than the pop of a champagne cork or a splattering of fancy fireworks, sure, it’s exploded, but you don’t need me to harp on about how. You already know.

Well! Thank goodness for books! Nothing beats sinking your teeth into a good plot or falling into (and out of) love with characters, does it? That feeling of needing to sleep, but you just cannot stop turning the page to see what happens next. My new book, Love, Almost, is a contemporary tale of love, grief and adventure. It might make you reach for the tissues, but it also – hopefully – might make you chuckle. I don’t like to think of it as a sad story, more of an uplifting one, reminding us that it is possible to stumble upon joy during tough times.

So, if Love, Almost sounds like the sort of book you like to snuggle up with (not forgetting a cuppa and a massive bar of chocolate), then I’d love to share with you my list of more uplifting reads to whisk you away on a little adventure. Here goes!

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – by Maria Semple

Hilarious, adventurous and – quite frankly – bonkers. This story about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother. It is jam-packed with a complete blend of mystery and humour, plus a detailed journey from Seattle to the South Pole. Told through various points of view, from the gossiping school mums to Bernadette’s young daughter Bee, this is at times rather genius, and always entertaining.

  1. Very Nearly Normal – by Hannah Sunderland

Get ready to meet Effie and Theo. Because once you do, you’ll never forget them. Effie is twenty-eight, living with her parents in Birmingham and stuck in an absolute rut. That is, until she meets Theo, who knows only too well that life isn’t something to take for granted. This story will warm your heart, break it, and then glue it back together again. Beautiful, warm and at times very funny!

  1. The Sight of You – by Holly Miller

For romance fans who fancy a tearjerker, this is the best book I’ve read in this genre for a long time.  It is Callie and Joel’s love story, a couple who are simply perfect for each other and you will feel their chemistry jump off the page… except, there is an unusual twist. Joel can predict the future of his loved ones via his dreams, and it’s a ‘condition’ he’s unable to control. He knows how the future ends for him and Callie, so where does that leave them in the present? You will sob! But you will also be transported into the most beautiful love story and taken on adventures far beyond the reality of today’s world.

  1. Such a Fun Age – by Kiley Reid

One night, white middle class American Alix Chamberlain is having a bit of a crisis. So she calls her black babysitter, Emira, to take her daughter out of the house for a few hours. Emira takes the little girl to the local grocery story and is accused of kidnapping by security. What follows is a simple story of the relationship between these two women that is often hilarious, but layered and layered with much depth. I laughed and cringed and honestly couldn’t put this down. The writing is brilliant, as are the characters, including three year old Briar Chamberlain!

  1. Something In The Water – by Catherine Steadman

Well, the opening chapter to this book is impossible to beat! It would be an understatement to call this a page-turner. Documentary maker Erin marries investment banker Mark, and they embark on a dreamy honeymoon to Bora Bora (yes, you can almost imagine you’re there!). However, they discover something – of course – in the water, something that drastically changes their lives forever. This is a thriller packed with secrets and stunning locations and characters that will keep you guessing on every page.

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