Top 10 Best Books for Valentine's Day

From romantic reads to passionate page-turners, you're guaranteed to find the perfect book in this list of the best books for Valentine's Day. It features sentimentality, sensuality and seduction in abundance, and tantalising tales from masters of romance including Nicholas Sparks, Jane Austen and Jackie Collins.

1. Chance Developments

Alexander McCall Smith

This gorgeous collection of stories about all kinds of love was inspired by a selection of vintage photographs, lovingly reproduced throughout the book. The author looks at each photo and creates a fictional story about the characters captured in them. From an estate in Scotland to a Canadian travelling circus, be whisked away by these inventive and captivating tales, which will make you smile, laugh, cry, and feel inspired.

2. The Notebook

Nicholas Sparks

This sumptuous novel is uplifting and heart-breaking in equal measure. It follows Noah Calhoun, a man haunted by memories of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, Allie, whom he loved beyond compare. To his shock and amazement, Allie shows up in his town to see him, and this is when their story truly begins. Theirs is a tumultuous, fiery and passionate relationship, but one that ends with profound sadness as Allie's memories begin to fade. This stunning story will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

3. Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

This beloved book of 1813 follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he's an arrogant, narcissistic individual. Similarly, he is indifferent to her beauty and vibrant mind. When Darcy starts to interfere in the relationship between his friend Bingley and Elizabeth's sister Jane, Elizabeth is determined to loathe him more than ever - but instead ends up falling in love. When it comes to romance, you can't beat this much-loved classic.

4. Me Before You

Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark leads a modest but comfortable life, working at the delightful Buttered Bun teashop, trying to find time to see her fitness-mad boyfriend, Patrick. But everything changes when the teashop closes down. Lou finds a new job supporting a quadriplegic man named Will, whom she initially deems to be utterly infuriating, his mood erratic, his comments cutting. But then she learns his shocking secret. Can she change his mind over a heart-breaking decision before it's too late? This touching story is both amusing and poignant.

5. Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Louis de Bernieres

It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is despatched to the Greek island of Cephalonia as part of the occupying forces. At first, he is ostracised by the locals, but they realise in time that he is civilised, amusing, and an excellent musician. But it isn't long before Corelli and the local doctor's daughter, Pelagia, become involved in a steamy affair - despite her engagement to Mandras, a fisherman. Can their love survive the war as the lines are drawn between invader and defender?

6. Fifty Shades of Grey

E. L. James

If you're looking for something a little more risque, this darkly sensual novel is guaranteed to get your pulse racing. The young and naive Anastasia Steele somehow winds up interviewing the incredibly handsome and wildly successful entrepreneur, Christian Grey. She is shocked to find herself longing for this mysterious man - but even more astonished when she discovers he wants her, too. It's not long before Ana uncovers Grey's dark inner demons from a shadowy past, and the intimate secrets he hides behind closed doors...

7. Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

This compelling classic follows the stormy relationship between Catherine Earnshaw, who lives on the desolate Yorkshire moors, and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by her father. Heathcliff, bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley, falls deeply in love with Catherine. Believing this love to be unrequited, he leaves Wuthering Heights, but returns years later as a prosperous man, determined to wreak a terrible revenge for his former miseries and lasting anguish. Chaotic, violent, yet infused with fierce love, this haunting masterpiece will shock and thrill its readers.

8. Cathy Bramley Collection

Cathy Bramley

For something a bit more cheerful, this is the perfect heart-warming collection. It features 3 feel-good reads: Appleby Farm, which follows Freya Moorcroft as she tries to find love and friendship between her farming work; Ivy Lane, in which Tilly Parker looks for a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude; and Conditional Love, in which some serious surprises are in store for Sophie Stone when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance. There's just one catch: she must meet the father she's never even seen.

9. The Santangelos

Jackie Collins

Full of spark and sensuality, the late Jackie Collins's final book brilliantly showcases her incredible talent, and is unremittingly addictive. It features a vengeful enemy, a drug-addled Colombian club owner, and a passionate Italian family. Poor Lucky Santangelo is certainly kept busy trying to manage it all. But there are pressing problems in Lucky's own family, as her son Bobby is set up for a murder he didn't commit. Lucky and her husband must try to ensure that the Santangelos once again come out on top.

10. Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman

This award-winning book tells a gripping, subversive tale that will open readers' eyes to the real-life prejudice that has torn societies apart, through an intense and tumultuous love story. Callum is white, and thus a lowly Nought; Sephy is black and a privileged Cross. The two are close friends throughout childhood, despite their divisive society. But increasing hostility between their families means they have to see other in secret... but for how long? Powerful and compelling, you'll be captivated from the first page to the last.
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    Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
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    12 years +
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    Malorie Blackman's bestselling dystopian novel Noughts & Crosses launches a superb young adult fiction trilogy.

    Callum, a lowly Nought, and Sephy, a Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician, are childhood friends who eventually fall in love. Increasing animosity between the two families leads Callum and Sephy to see each other in secret. But for how long? Written alternately in the voices of Sephy and Callum, this is a powerful and perfectly paced novel with a provocative plot line to keep readers on tenterhooks.

    Suitable for those aged 12 and over, Noughts and Crosses was chosen as a World Book Night book in 2013.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
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    Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.
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    It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscien-tious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consumate musician. When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiance go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?
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    13 years +
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    Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted into an extremely popular BBC series starring Colin Firth, and an Oscar-nominated film starring Keira Knightley. Based in Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family and shows the folly of judging by first impressions. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he is arrogant and conceited, while he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she discovers Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

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    Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
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    Inspired by a selection of vintage photographs, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith presents a selection of short stories about all kinds of love in Chance Developments.

    With a die-cut jacket and all five black-and-white photographs lovingly reproduced throughout the book, this is a gorgeous gift for any fan of the popular author. He looks at each photo and comes up with stories about the people captured in them.

    From an estate in the Highlands of Scotland to a Canadian travelling circus, the stories are captivating from start to finish. They'll make you smile, laugh and cry and hope these characters find the love they're after - whether that be romantic, platonic, passionate or familial.
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    The sadly missed author Jackie Collins' final book is full of the spark, sensation and sauciness that made her so beloved around the world. Focusing on the legendary Santangelo family, it's not long until scandal hits again...

    There's a vicious hit, a vengeful enemy, a drug-addled Colombian club owner and an Italian family obsessed with sex. And Lucky Santangelo has her hands full having to deal with it all.

    There are also plenty of problems in Lucky's own family: her teenage daughter Max is making a name for herself as a model in Europe, while son Bobby is being set up for a murder he didn't commit. Luckily, Lucky and husband Lennie have the nous to make sure the Santangelos always come out on top, no matter what the consequences.

    A mob story full of love, passion, revenge and plenty of shocks, this is gloriously addictive.
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    Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, this is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you for ever. When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind - until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out. Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more. But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view...
  • Cathy Bramley Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780552173780 - Cathy Bramley
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    Three feel-good reads from Cathy Bramley, an author who specialises in writing heart-warming love stories that are ideal for drifting away with.

    Appleby Farm follows Freya Moorcroft as she attempts to find love, friendship and do a bit of farming; Ivy Lane follows Tilly Parker as she looks for a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude; and Conditional Love looks at the surprises life has in store for Sophie Stone when a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance. There's only one catch - she has to meet the father she has never seen.

    Perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews, these books are sweet and sure to keep you smiling. Perfect escapism.