Beauty

Book Club - Other Books


Other books we’re loving this month
The Hopeless Romantic’s Handbook
By Gemma Townley
Ballentine Books
288 pages

When it comes to romance, are magic, fireworks, and a dashing knight in shining Armani really too much to ask? Apparently so, since Kate Hetherington has yet to find an appropriate mate in all of London. Her lifelong friends (and confirmed pragmatists) Sally and Tom tease her endlessly about her hopeless romanticism. But Kate knows that she’s right to want her own fairy tale.

After stumbling upon an old tome titled The Hopeless Romantic’s Handbook, Kate decides to give its advice a whirl. Incredibly, the book lives up to its money-back guarantee, because before Kate can say “Cinderella” she meets Joe Rogers, a drop-dead-gorgeous American actor. Frankly, he’s perfect–and Kate thinks she might have finally found The One. He certainly has the muscles required to sweep her off her feet. But Sal and Tom are less thrilled with Kate’s dreamboat. Are they just jealous, or do they know something about love that isn’t in Kate’s handbook? Kate’s pretty sure that finding true love isn’t supposed to alienate you from your friends, but what she doesn’t know is that her real knight is still waiting for her–and he’s closer than she ever imagined.

Buy your copy here
 
On Chesil Beach
By Ian McEwan
Knopf Canada
176 pages

The year is 1962. Florence, the daughter of a successful businessman and an aloof Oxford academic, is a talented violinist. She dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, the earnest young history student she met by chance and who unexpectedly wooed her and won her heart. Edward grew up in the country on the outskirts of Oxford where his father, the headmaster of the local school, struggled to keep the household together and his mother, brain-damaged from an accident, drifted in a world of her own. Edward’s native intelligence, coupled with a longing to experience the excitement and intellectual fervour of the city, had taken him to University College in London. Falling in love with the accomplished, shy and sensitive Florence – and having his affections returned with equal intensity – has utterly changed his life.

Their marriage, they believe, will bring them happiness, the confidence and the freedom to fulfill their true destinies. The glowing promise of the future, however, cannot totally mask their worries about the wedding night. Edward, who has had little experience with women, frets about his sexual prowess. Florence’s anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by conflicting emotions and a fear of the moment she will surrender herself.

From the precise and intimate depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, to the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives, On Chesil Beach is an extraordinary novel that brilliantly, movingly shows us how the entire course of a life can be changed – by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.

Buy your copy here
 
The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel
By Katherine Center
Ballantine Books
256 pages

Jenny Harris always expected that she’d fall in love, get married, and have a baby–in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned; she’s happy to have so much to look forward to. But Dean–whom Jenny loves enough to overlook his bad facial hair, his smoking habit, and his total commitment to a cheesy cover band–is acting distant, and not in a pre-wedding-jitters kind of way. The night he runs out for cigarettes and just doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor.

And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things start looking up. She learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even manages to give dating tips to her sweet, clueless father–who’s trying to court her sassy mother again, fifteen years after their divorce. She also gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor–with a knack for soothing babies–who invites her out dancing. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end Jenny must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

A spirited debut novel with a terrifically appealing voice, a fantastic sense of humor, and a lot of heart, The Bright Side of Disaster reminds us that sometimes it takes the worst-case scenario to show us the best in everything.

Buy your copy here