I don’t know if it’s the weather, my current online dating fatigue, or the political/#metoo bad vibes circling through my brain, but I’ve been on a massive romance novel deep dive this year. Seriously, more than 75% of the books I’ve read so far in 2018 have been romance novels. I used to think this was embarrassing or something to keep a secret, but not anymore – especially because I write about romance novels on the regular at book riot.
I think I just want to be reading books where I know everything is going to be okay. I know there will be a happy ending. And where men and women are equal in relationships. The predictability appeals to me and I can get caught up in the romance and forget everything else going on. Also, more and more romance novels are becoming super feminist and political (in a good way!).While, I think, the genre has always been inherently feminist it is really stepping up it’s game. Seriously, of the collection of books I’ve pictured above issues of race, beauty standards, PTSD, eating disorders, income inequality, immigration, and emotional labor are addressed. But none of them seem preachy or sacrifice swoons to work these issues in.
In particular, I’ve been working my way through the back lists of Joanna Schupe and Lisa Kleypas – who both mostly write historical novels.
I’ve also enjoyed:
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai – featuring childhood sweethearts separated by a tragedy that turned their once close family into enemies.
Trade Me by Courtney Milan – about a billionaire tech prodigy who switches lives for a month with a college student struggling to support her immigrant parents and falls in love in the process.
The Undateable by Sarah Title – a romance about a librarian turned internet meme and the cocky journalist who tries to write an article about setting her up on dates (this one has a very “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” vibe and is perfect if too much of the sexy stuff makes you squeamish).
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole – okay I read this one last year, but it’s too good not to mention. It’s about an ex-slave turned spy who falls for a Union detective while on a mission during the Civil War.
I know I usually write about YA books, but I honestly think there is a lot of overlap between the two genres. And I actually read way more romance novels as a teen. Let me know if you have any good recommendations! Also happy almost-Valentine’s Day!