Deputy Entertainment Editor Chloe Barrett shares a little list of romance books that will make you giggle while swinging your feet, or blush due to the steam.
Romance books have recently taken over the reading community, and are present on nearly every bookstore shelf. Trying to pick the perfect one can be tricky, as the choices can be overwhelming. Do you want enemies-to-lovers? Smut or closed door? However, fret not, as I am here to give you a few specialised recommendations after wading through thousands of romantic pages. Don’t worry, there will be no Colleen Hoover here.
Starting strong with an author who many think of as the newly crowned queen of the genre, Emily Henry’s books will not disappoint. While all of her adult romance books have the potential to be a five-star read, my personal favourite is People We Meet on Vacation. The book introduces you to Poppy and Alex, two unlikely best friends who met while they were in college. They started an annual tradition of taking a summer holiday together, which always ended up as the highlight of each of their respective years. However, something occurred while they were holidaying in Croatia, and they have not spoken since. That was two years ago, and now Poppy wants her friend back, inviting him for a grand vacation finale. It is most definitely a slow burner, but the build-up is more than worth it. Taking you back in time to previous trips and how they became friends, Henry is one of the best writers in the romance genre to date, and she will not let you down.
Last year, I was introduced to the work of Casey McQuiston, and I have not looked back. Their books are filled to the brim with the most lovable and diverse characters, and due to their writing style revolving around characters, you will not forget them in a hurry. Red, White & Royal Blue focuses on the president of the United States’ son, as he slowly falls in love with the prince of England. Featuring a small enemies-to-lovers arc, a heartwarming plot about figuring out who you are, and some focus on politics, there is something within this novel for everyone. Another novel written by McQuiston is, which stars a woman called August who meets Jane Su, a punk lesbian while riding the subway. August soon realises that Jane has been stuck on the train for fifty years, and is determined to help her out. Both of McQuiston’s novels are new adult fiction, so they do contain some steamy scenes.
Not many romance books comment on the scientific field, but Ali Hazelwood writes main characters who follow their brainiac ambitions. Especially with an emphasis on women in STEM, and how much more of a difficult time they have versus their male colleagues. Her most popular novel, The Love Hypothesis, was a bestseller and incredibly popular on all book-centric social media due to the well crafted characters and the steamy scenes. It is based on Kylo and Rey fanfic but changed enough that no Star Wars knowledge is required. If you want to dip your toes into her novels, she now has a book out with three of her novellas in one paperback. It is the perfect read if you are busy and want short little stories to delve into.
Anna K by Jenny Lee is a joyous book. It is based on the famous classic, Anna Karenina, but with a gossip girl twist. Set in New York among rich and classy teenagers, it examines class, race, and the hottest parties around. It is a wonderful reimagining and incredibly entertaining, so thank me later. It is a mature young adult read, and has the potential to reach a wide audience.
What’s better than a romance book on its own? A romance thriller. Dial A for Aunties is a charming novel about Meddelin who accidentally murders her blind date, and is forced to call upon her mother and aunties for assistance. The date’s body is accidentally shipped to the wedding of the century, as Meddelin’s family are working as the wedding planners for the event. If that wasn’t bad enough, an old flame from college is also present, and unresolved feelings swim into the mix. Jesse Q. Sutanto crafts a wonderful story that will have you falling in love with the Asian aunties, and their chaotic antics. Aspects of smut are replaced with murder elements so the novel does not get overcrowded.
Want even more suggestions? Here are some of my personal favourites: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo; The Song of Achilles; It Happened One Summer; Twisted Love; and The Hating Game.