I’m a big reader of contemporary romances – the proverbial ‘happy ever after’ stuff. For a change of pace, I’ve decided to read books that end not quite so happy. Here’s a selection of titles.
Rainwater – Sandra Brown – In a time of drought and economic depression in 1934, Ella Barron runs her boardinghouse in Texas while caring for her son, Solly, and responds to the calm influence of one of her boarders, David Rainwater, while facing the tension and uncertainty around her.
The Pilot’s Wife – Anita Shreve – When her husband, a pilot, dies in an airplane crash off the Irish coast, Kathryn Lyons finds herself in the media spotlight as rumors abound of her husband’s shocking secret past.
The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje – Portrays the convergence of four damaged lives in a bomb-riddled Italian villa in the last days of the war.
The Awakening – Kate Chapin – In turn-of-the century New Orleans, Edna Pontellier, a woman who feels trapped in her stifling role as wife and mother, falls passionately in love with another man.
Me Before You – JoJo Moyes – Taking a job as an assistant to extreme sports enthusiast Will, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident, Louisa struggles with her employer’s acerbic moods and learns of his shocking plans before demonstrating to him that life is still worth living.
Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger – Passionately in love, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult – Conceived to provide a bone marrow match for her leukemia-stricken sister, teenage Kate begins to question her moral obligations in light of countless medical procedures and decides to fight for the right to make decisions about her own body.
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein – Evaluating his life on the eve of his death, atypical canine Enzo considers the sacrifices his master, Denny Swift, has made in his pursuit of becoming a professional race car driver, and the dog’s own efforts to preserve the Swift family.
Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Walker – On assignment shooting the covered bridges in Iowa, photographer Robert Kincaid falls in love with Iowa native Francesca Johnson during four days of love, magic, and beauty.
The Girl With The Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier – A poor seventeenth-century servant girl knows her place in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, but when he begins to paint her, nasty whispers and rumors circulate throughout the town.