Hello bookworms and happy Valentine’s Day! I’m not a huge celebrator of the holiday, partly because my husband and I get each other candy all the time. But I still thought I’d take an opportunity to come up with a list of five of my favorite romantic novels. This list focuses on books where the romance is the main plot, though they may not necessarily be proper romance novels. I’m also going to purposely not overlap this list with my previous post with my top 5 LGBT post, so if you’re looking for specifically LGBT+ recommendations please check that out as well!
1. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Ayesha at Last was one of my top–if not my absolute top–reads this past month. Set in modern day Toronto, the novel is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice with Indian-Muslim characters navigating their personal beliefs about marriage as well as the challenges of modern dating. The main couple, Ayesha and Khalid, are modern adaptations of Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy in the best way. With the same core flaws as the main characters of Pride and Prejudice, Ayesha and Khalid have opinions, thoughts, and personality traits all their own. Additionally, though certain plot points are clear adaptations from the source material, much of the plot is an original and creative adventure that Jalaluddin takes the readers on.
2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Another book that I have discussed before on this blog, Practical Magic (adapted into a film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) is the story of the Owens women, specifically Sally and Gilly Owens. Sally and Gilly are orphaned at a young age and grow up under the care of their eccentric witchy aunts. Sally yearns for normalcy while Gilly fully enjoys her ability to wrap men around her little finger. When tragedy and trauma strike, the sisters band together to protect Sally’s young daughters and each other against the harsh world beyond, while also rediscovering true romance.
3. Avalon High by Meg Cabot
This book is a retelling of the Arthurian legends. Named after Elaine of Astolat, a young girl arrives at a new school during her parents’ research sabbatical. There she accidentally stumbles into the midst of the drama for the popular kids, Will, Lance, and Gen. Jokes about her association to Lance aside, something fishy does seem to be up with Will, and he only finds comfort with Elaine. The romance that grows in this book is one of the cutest I’ve ever read, and this is easily my favorite Meg Cabot book! Additionally, I loved the retelling style of the story. Don’t watch the Disney movie adaptation, though, it’s awful…
4. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
I’ll admit that my love for the movie version of Ivaine and Tristran is greater than that of the book, but I still adored reading their love story grow. If you’re unfamiliar with both versions of the story, Stardust is a fantasy novel in which a seemingly ordinary British town is situated beside the entrance to a magical world. In order to prove himself to the girl he loves, Tristran Thorn travels to that other world to find a fallen star. But in a world of magic, a fallen star is a wonderful prize and others seek her too.
5. The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
Yup, the series that True Blood is based off of. I actually really enjoyed this series specifically because of how romance was dealt with. Throughout the books, Sookie struggles with whom she should end up with forever. But she struggles in more than a “I love him, but I can’t be with him” way. She struggles to look at what kind of a person she becomes when she is with certain men. Other characters, too, have growing and loving relationships. As I was a fan of so many of the side characters, I really enjoyed reading their romance plotlines as well.
There you have it bookworms! Yet another book blog post about romance novels on Valentine’s Day.
Interested in your own romantic future? Consider taking advantage of my Valentine’s Day special for custom tarot card relationship/love readings!