Big-Hearted Books for Your Gal-entine or Valentine

Adrian Liang on February 08, 2018
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A dozen roses? Bah. A friendship necklace? So 2010. Books are the gift that brings hours of delight. And there is no better day to spread delight than Valentine's Day.

If your favorite reader likes to put their emotions through the wringer and come out rejuvenated on the other side, one of these big-hearted books below is sure to become their new best-loved read.


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The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah - New to shelves this week is the next book from the author of The Nightingale, a huge fiction favorite since its publication in 2015. Set in Alaska in the 1970s, this family-focused story takes on PTSD, mother-daughter relationships, and heroic perseverance with a compassion that will resonate with readers today. Looking for more info? Read our interview with Kristin Hannah.

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - The Amazon Books editors chose Little Fires Everywhere as our top fiction pick of 2017, and customers love this book as well. No community is perfect, but Shaker Heights, Ohio, comes pretty close, at least on the surface. But when single mom and artist Mia Warren comes to town with her bright teenage daughter, Pearl, the perfect surface is peeled back to reveal the cracks that can break relationships...or mend them even stronger than before.  

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Ginny Moon: A Novel by Benjamin Ludwig - Man, I love this novel so much, and it's always on the tip of my tongue when I'm recommending fiction to friends. It’s the rare novel that has an autistic teenage heroine, and an even rarer novel is one that surprises you on every single page, as Ginny Moon quite emphatically does. Ginny is a 13-year-old foster child who has perhaps finally found her forever home, but her obsession to return to her "Baby Doll" and her birth mother perplexes her therapist, her new family, her teachers, and the police, all of whom get pulled into Ginny's mission. Heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring, this book is a winner.

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Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate - In Memphis 1939, five children are kidnapped from their home and put in an orphanage, only to be sold into wealthy families seeking children. Toggling between the five children struggling to keep their family together and a woman today who slowly discovers the secrets lurking in her background, this novel explores the many complicated definitions of family. Before We Were Yours has been a mainstay on the Amazon Charts fiction list for almost 30 weeks.

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The Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn - Historical fiction lovers will be swept away by Quinn's tale of two women impacted by two different world wars but who are tied together by the Alice Network, a group of female spies activated in France during World War I. When Charlie St. Clair knocks on the door of Eve Gardiner in her search for a missing cousin gone missing behind Nazi lines, both women begin a journey that will uncover secrets buried for thirty years—and uncover tales of sacrifice and courage as well.

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Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman - How do I love Beartown? Let me count the ways. It’s a domestic drama in which a family is pulled apart by an act of violence. It’s a coming-of-age story for a young woman who must choose to speak out or keep silent. (And a young man, too, actually.) It’s a slow-build thriller, opening the story with the statement that one teenager is going to put a shotgun to the head of another and pull the trigger. It’s a cautionary tale of small-town thinking…yet at the same time celebrates how a handful of people can change a tight-knit community. There are hard moments here, and readers might find difficult discoveries in their own hearts as the people of Beartown struggle with what they hope is real but fear is not. Masterful in its storytelling and honesty.

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An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones - Jones's moving contemporary novel about a young black man incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit—and its effects on his bright new marriage—was already lifted by a wave of good buzz before Oprah picked it on February 6 as her latest book club read. Jones creates real people—with flaws and strengths, blinkers and epiphanies—as she plunges into the heads of the three most impacted by Roy's incarceration: Roy himself, his wife Celestial, and Celestial's longtime best friend who has always carried a torch for her. When Roy's sentence is overturned, he and Celestial have to rethink their assumptions of who they are and what they can be to each other. There's so much to unpack here that you'll need me-time after the final page to sort through it all. Read our interview with the author.


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