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Author Nicholas SparksNicholas Sparks is a master of poignant love stories. In his novels there is no great love without some loss and his characters frequently are faced with a difficult challenge before proving they are worthy of true love. Sparks’ characters are honorable and loyal, and they place a lot of importance on family and sometimes religious faith. The pace of his stories is leisurely, quickening for rapid action and dialogue. Sparks’ writing is not dense and he aims for easy-to-read prose with a romantic tone.

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Mitch Albom.  Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Killed in a tragic accident at a seaside amusement park while trying to save a little girl, Eddie, an elderly man who believes that he had lived an uninspired life, awakens in the afterlife, where he discovers that heaven consists of having five people, acquaintances and strangers, explain the meaning of one’s life.

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Maeve Binchy. Evening Class.

An evening class in Italian becomes a catalyst in the lives of its participants, students and teacher alike, as they come together, becoming absorbed in one another’s lives and experiencing changing and growing relationships as their class culminates in a magical trip to Italy.

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Sandra Dallas. New Mercies.

Inheriting a historic Mississippi family home she knows little about, Nora Bondurant moves to the house hoping to forget her unhappy past but becomes enmeshed in a mystery surrounding her aunt’s untimely death.

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Barbara Delinsky.  Coast Road.

Hearing that his ex-wife, Rachel, is comatose following an automobile accident, architect Jack McGill puts his own troubled life on hold to be with her and his children, and while waiting for Rachel to recover, he begins to understand himself and his feelings for her.

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Nicholas Evans.  The Horse Whisperer.

A forty-ton truck hurtles out of control on a snowy country road, a teenage girl on horseback in its path. In a few terrible seconds the life of a family is shattered. And a mother’s quest begins–to save her maimed daughter and a horse driven mad by pain. It is an odyssey that will bring her to The Horse Whisperer. He is the stuff of legend. His voice can calm wild horses and his touch heals broken spirits. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, such men were once called Whisperers. Now Tom Booker, the inheritor of this ancient gift, is to meet his greatest challenge. Annie Graves has traveled across a continent with her daughter, Grace, and their wounded horse, Pilgrim, to the Booker ranch in Montana. Annie has risked everything–her career, her marriage, her comfortable life–in her desperate belief that the Whisperer can help them. The accident has turned Pilgrim savage. He is now so demented and dangerous that everyone says he should be destroyed. But Annie won’t give up on him, for she feels his fate is inextricably entwined with that of her daughter, who has retreated into a heartrending, hostile silence. Annie knows that if the horse dies, something in Grace will die too. In the weeks to come, under the massive sky of the Rocky Mountain Front, all their lives–including Tom Booker’s–will be transformed forever in a way none could have foretold. At once an epic love story and a gripping adventure, The HorseWhisperer weaves an extraordinary tale of healing and redemption–a magnificent emotional journey that explores our ancient bonds with earth and sky and hearts untamed. It is a stirring elegy to the power of belief and self-discovery, to hopes lost and found again.

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Richard Paul Evans.  The Locket.

Working at a rest home after caring for his mother during her terminal illness, Michael accepts the deathbed request of an elderly woman to return her cherished locket–given to her by a long-lost love–to her old hometown.

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Connie May Fowler.  How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly.

One day, tired with her routine married life, 30-something Clarissa Burden realizes that she has had enough of her indifferent husband, and the ghosts of her past, and she sets out to make a change.

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Annie Garrett.  After You.

Clare McClendon is summoned to Maine by the wife of her first love, Riley Brackett, after Riley suffers a serious accident and is left remembering nothing of his life except the summer he had spent with Clare as a teenager, an event that helps her put her own struggling life back together.

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Philip Gulley. Home to Harmony.

In the fictional small town of Harmony, Indiana, Sam Gardner becomes the pastor of his hometown church, Harmony Friends Meeting. In this delightful, first-person novel, Sam describes in a warm, down-home style the moving and humorous adventures he encounters his first year home to Harmony.

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Kristin Hannah. On Mystic Lake.

Annie Colwater’s only child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of twenty years confesses that he’s in love with a younger woman. Alone in the house that is no longer a home, Annie comes to the painful realization that for years she has been slowly disappearing. Lonely and afraid, she retreats to Mystic, the small Washington town where she grew up, hoping that there she can reclaim the woman she once was–the woman she is now desperate to become again.

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J. Lynne Hinton. Friendship Cake.

Five women, working together to create a church cookbook, share their passions, loves, and losses, including pastor Charlotte Stewart, who is suffering a crisis in faith ; widow Margaret, the town confidante; and Jessie, the only African American in an all-white church.

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Catherine Ryan Hyde. Pay It Forward.

This is the story of Trevor McKinney, a junior high student who saw past the imperfections of a teachers face, and changed the world with an assignment the teacher had given to hundreds of other students.

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Jan Karon. At Home in Mitford.

Longing for change in the face of burnout, Episcopal rector Father Tim finds his lonely bachelor existence enriched by a stray dog, a lonely boy, and a pretty neighbor.

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Terry Kay. Taking Lottie Home.

After Foster Lanier and Ben Phelps are cut from their baseball team, they encounter an amazing young woman, a river-shanty survivor named Lottie, and begin to realize that their destines have been forever altered, in a novel set in turn-of-the-century Georgia.

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Lorna Landvick. Your Oasis on Flame Lake.

Devera and BiDi, best friends approaching forty in a small Minnesota town, find their families thrown into chaos at the same time Devera’s husband turns his basement into a night club called Your Oasis on Flame Lake.

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Alan Maki. A Choice to Cherish.

During a cold Montana Christmas, Alan cuts down and decorates a Christmas tree for himself and his dying grandfather, George. As his present, Alan may choose one of eight keepsakes of his grandfathers. Yet before he can choose, he must read a story George wrote about each keepsake. Through these stories, Alan learns the secrets of his grandfather’s life.

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Evan Maxwell. All the Winters that Have Been.

Dale Corvin, a Fish and Wildlife Service officer, returns to his Pacific Northwest home and, overcoming two lives of anger and hurt, resumes his relationship with Helen Raven, only to be called to Alaska.

K.C. McKinnon. Dancing at the Harvest Moon.

His letters thrilled her as a young woman in love for the first time, and now, many years later, they mean more than ever to Maggie McIntyre. After her husband leaves her, these letters give her a new sense of purpose: to return to Little Bear Lake and recapture the woman she once was-the woman she knows she could be again.

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James Patterson. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas.

Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He’s a writer, a house painter, an original thinker-everything she’s imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read. This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby son, Nicholas. In it she pours out her heart about how she and the boy’s father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life. As Katie reads this touching document, it becomes clear that the lover who has just left her is the husband and father in this young family. She reads on, filled with terror and hope, as she struggles to understand what has happened-and whether her new love has a prayer of surviving.

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Robin Pilcher. An Ocean Apart.

A moving evocation of the healing process follows David from his native Scotland to Long Island, where a gardening job and a lonely young boy help him discover reasons to go on living after the death of his wife from cancer.

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James Michael Pratt.  The Last Valentine.

Television reporter Susan Allison is looking for the perfect story about true love. Writer Neil Thomas, Jr. wants to share the powerful message of the “last Valentine,” his parents’ tragic yet triumphant love story. But when Susan and Neil meet, neither of them expects the outcome: that the story of Neil’s parents will bring them together.

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Anna Quindlen. Blessings.

When a teenage couple abandons their baby at the gate of the estate owned by Lydia Blessing, Skip Cuddy, the estate caretaker, decides to raise the child himself, a decision that has a profound effect on the lives of everyone in the community, in a story of love, secrets, and redemption.

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Jeanne Ray. Julie and Romeo.

A deliciously funny and wickedly sexy novel of love found (finally!) and love threatened (inevitably) by the families who claim to love us best. Romeo Cacciamani and Julie Roseman are rival florists in Boston, whose families have hated each other for as long as anyone can remember (what they can’t remember is why). When these two vital, lonely people see each other across a crowded lobby at a small business owners’ seminar, an intense attraction blooms that neither tries to squelch. They’re not sure what fate has in store for them, but they’re not about to let something as silly as a generations-long feud stand in the way of finding out. That is, not until Romeo’s octogenarian mother, Julie’s meddling ex-husband, and a cast of grown Cacciamani and Roseman children begin to intervene with a passionate hatred that matches their newly found love, stroke for stroke. Think Montagues and Capulets, think wise and witty and thoroughly modern.

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Erich Segal. Love Story.

He is Oliver Barett IV, a rich jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law. She is Jenny Cavilleri, a wisecracking working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe. Opposites in nearly every way, Oliver and Jenny immediately attract, sharing a love that defies everything … yet will end too soon. Here is a love that will linger in your heart now and forever.

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Deborah Smith. On Bear Mountain.

A strange iron sculpture of a bear brings together New Yorker Quentin Ricconni and Southerner Ursula Powell.

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E.L. Swann. Night Gardening.

While recovering from a near-fatal illness, Maggie rediscovers the redemptive powers of passion and romance in her life when she meets Tristan, a landscape architect who is working on her long-ignored and unkempt garden.

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Robert James Waller. Bridges of Madison County.

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.

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Susan Wilson. Beauty.

Traveling to New Hampshire to paint the portrait of novelist Leland Crompton, Alix Miller finds a man hideously deformed by a rare genetic disease, but as she spends hours working on the portrait, Alix discovers the magnificent man inside the recluse.

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