Another Tuesday, another Top Five list! This week, our esteemed host Bionic Book Worm has asked us to share with her our favorite romantic reads. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, Shanah is secretly just mining us for reading recs!) Because some of my favorite romances evolve over a period of books, a few of these are going to be series recs instead of a single book. Without further ado, let the heart pitter-pattering commence!
I guess you should be forewarned there are going to be light spoilers ahead for who ends up with who in certain books. I’ll try to be vague, but that might not always be possible.
Covers link to Goodreads!
CROWN DUEL by Sherwood Smith
This novel was originally released as two separate books, CROWN DUEL and COURT DUEL. These days, you can buy them in one volume, the first half of which follows Countess Meliara as she fights a civil war against a greedy king. That is all fun and exciting, but the second half of the book, which takes place after (spoiler) the war is won, becomes a court drama with a full on PRIDE AND PREJUDICE-esque enemies to lovers romance, which I have read multiple times (though not in some years…reread time?)
POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder (Trilogy)
More enemies to lovers! This time, Yelena is offered a reprieve from execution by agreeing to become the King’s food taster, a highly risky position (there is, after all, only one way this position becomes available…) that comes with a fairly luxurious lifestyle for as long as she lives. To ensure she remains loyal and doesn’t try to escape, Yelena is given a deadly poison that is only kept at bay by daily administration of an antidote by the king’s head of security – her employer and trainer in the art of detecting poisons. It’s a relationship that becomes all the more complicated by plotting rebels and Yelena’s strange developing magical powers. This setup might seem to lend itself to an abusive relationship, but Yelena proves herself more than a match for the threats thrown her way, and the power dynamics become a much more equal playing field before love is in the air.
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon
If you like your romance to be served in a nice fluffy rom-com, please turn your attention to this delightful tale of two Indian high school students who meet at a summer coding camp in San Francisco. But the meet-cute is an instant meet-disaster when Dimple realizes that the whole camp was just a ruse by her parents to set her up with a nice Indian boy. But the two eventually realize that they may have a spark, despite Dimple’s determination not to fall in love. Besides rom-com antics, there’s plenty of discussion of the difficulties of being descended from immigrant parents, the inner war of loving your parents and resisting their traditional views on how your life should be.
MERCY THOMPSON Series by Patricia Briggs
Prepare yourself for a slow-burn romance of annoyed acquaintances to friends to lovers, an arc that will take several books. Mercy Thompson is a coyote shape-shifter living in the Tri-City Area, in a home just down the road from Adam, alpha of the local werewolf pack. Mercy’s spent most of her life around werewolves and grew up with Adam, making her that annoying girl from his childhood, a reputation Mercy delights in keeping relevant by deliberating tweaking Adam’s metaphorical tail. As various threats arise in the city, the two begin to grow close, and eventually fall in love. I particularly loved the tension that arose from Mercy, a very independent woman, and her concern about wanting to be with Adam but not belong to Adam, making sure that no predator instincts or pack hierarchies were going to make her anything less than equal to him.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
Last, but certainly not least, I have to include the classic book that always set’s me swooning. The quintessential enemies to lovers is a battle of wits and manners and features one of the worst marriage proposals in history. We also have a man who realizes his flaws, fixes them, anonymously helps out the family of the woman he loves in their hour of need, and then expresses his feelings by adding “If you don’t reciprocate, I understand and I will never bring it up again.” It’s just a delight and I adore almost every film adaptation I’ve seen.
Your turn readers – what are your absolute favorite romantic reads?