By Barbara Bellesi

Love comes in many different forms, and when it comes to books, love also comes in many different genres. Sure, we all enjoy a searing romance that sweeps us off our feet from time to time, but not all love stories require bodice ripping or X-rated toys (take that, “Fifty Shades of Grey”!)

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From familial love to hot-blooded romance and even to desperate love affairs with cities or even one’s own home, these books run the gamut of what it means to have your heart swell with affection – or be broken.

Spool of Blue Thread

“A Spool of Blue Thread” • Anne Tyler (Knopf)

In her 20th novel, Tyler once again delights her readers with a story that gets to the heart of what it means to love and be human. The four generations of the Whitshank family appear to be a loving, cohesive unit, but there are faults, heartbreaks, and secrets beneath the surface that tell a lot more than any family photo album may suggest. Once again set in her familiar Baltimore, Tyler’s newest novel is a wonderful display of her unique brand of humor and awareness as it delves into the emotional ups and downs of what it means to be a family.

Secrets of Midwives, the

“The Secrets of Midwives” • Sally Hepworth (St. Martin’s Press)

Hepworth’s story about three generations of midwives with secrets is sure to draw readers in. Neva is a 29-year-old pregnant woman who won’t reveal the identity of the father of her unborn baby, much to the consternation of her mother, Grace. Grace has a secret of her own – she continues delivering babies despite a suspended midwife license. Then there’s Floss, Neva’s grandmother who is a retired midwife, who seems to have had an interesting past of her own. The story alternates points of view and goes back and forth 60 years in time, adding depth and complexity to the secrets these women are withholding.

WhateverLoveIsLove_FINAL

“Love is Love” • Maria Bello (Dey Street Books)

Maria Bello, the stunning beauty who stars in movies and television, found herself at a loss when trying to explain to her young son, Jackson, that she had fallen in love with her best friend, who happened to be a woman. Bello was even struggling to explain it to herself. Imagine her surprise when Jackson simply smiled at her and said, “Mom, love is love, whatever you are.” Based on her much-talked-about article for the The New York Times, “Coming Out as a Modern Family,” Bello’s book is a beautiful reflection on partnerships – whether romantic, familial, or platonic – and the fluidity of love.

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“Everyone Loves Paris” • Leslie Jonath, Editor (teNeues)

Who says love affairs can only involve people? Jonath’s tribute to the City of Light is sure to delight any Francophile, as it is chock-full of gorgeous illustrations that pay homage to Paris’ most beloved landmarks. The work of world-renowned artists, including Matte Stephens, Emma Block, and Sarah McMenemy, grace every page of the book, which immerses you further and further into Parisian life with every turn of the page. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Pyramid and from the bustling cafes in the arrondissements to the winding streets of Montmartre, the book is a perfect addition to any armchair traveler’s bookshelf. Ooh la la!

LoveTheHomeYouHave

“Love the Home You Have” • Melissa Michaels (Harvest House)

Step aside, hunky heroes and gorgeous heroines, and get ready to have a scintillating affair with … your own home? Michaels, the author behind “The Inspired Room,” the 2014 Better Homes & Garden’s Favorite Decorating Blog, will show you how to transform your current home into the home of your dreams. Both beginning and advanced DIYers will love the simple yet amazingly effective decorating and organizing ideas behind the 31-Day Love Your Home Challenge that will turn your digs from meh to wow.

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“Love in Rewind” • Tali Alexander (Audio Fools)

What happens when a fairy tale ends up unhappily ever after? You rewind the story and go back to the beginning. In Tali Alexander’s debut novel, songs from the 80s serve as the soundtrack to Emily and Louis’ love story that went from sizzling to fizzling. Can the picture-perfect couple also hit rewind on their love and return to better days? Read, and see …

 

When A Reader Becomes a Writer

Tali Alexander will be the first to tell you she’s not a writer – she’s a reader, especially of the classics. “I know ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by heart,” she claims.

She recalls a time she was on vacation with her family – she finished a book and was stumped as to what to read next. Instead of heading to the bookshelf, she headed to the keyboard and wrote out a scene that had been playing in her head. Later that night, she read it to her husband, to whom she often read her books. “That’s great. Keep going,” he said when she finished. When she told him that it was her own work, not another author’s, he was amazed. So she kept writing. The result is her first book, a romance called “Love in Rewind.”

“It really just came to me little by little,” Alexander says. “I never thought I’d end up writing a book.” That’s probably because she’s a doctor of pharmacy by trade, and she and her husband are owners of the Pro Health chain of boutique pharmacies in New York City. But planned or not, Alexander is now a published author, with hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.com.

She might not have dreamt of living the writer’s life, but it’s one that she’s enjoying immensely. “It’s amazing for me to have my words travel the globe,” Alexander says.

Adaptation of a Classic

Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, “Far from the Madding Crowd,” is coming to the big screen this May. Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, a strong-willed beauty who is being pursued by three very different men: sheep farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), the attractive sergeant Frank Troy, and the older and richer William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). Director Thomas Vinterberg does a masterful job of portraying the life and times of Victorian England while at the same time evoking the timelessness of Bathsheba’s struggle to make choices between love, passion, and everything in between.

Photos By: Alex Bailey

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