“As you wish.”
If you are clever, you know that “as you wish” translates to “I love you”. And love is a feeling that is central to the happiness of humans. Some of us love the idea of love so much, we live it vicariously through the stories of fictional characters. We are the readers of romance novels. Traditionally, a romance novel can be defined as: “a literary work that places the primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.”
In this month of love, I give you 10 realistic romance novels–no vampires, werewolves, druids or witches here. From historical to contemporary, from poignant to comical, there is a title for every romantic on this list.
P. S. I love You by Ceclia Ahern: Holly has always depended on her husband’s practical advice to keep her going and despairs when she loses him to brain cancer, until a package arrives filled with advice for carrying on with her life without her beloved husband.
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery: Valancy Stirling, an inhibited twenty-nine-year-old spinster, undergoes a total personality change when a doctor tells her she has no more than one year to live. When she decides she needs an adventure, love enters her life.
Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas: Living a life of pleasure and zero commitments, millionaire Texas playboy Jack Travis confronts responsibility for the first time in his life when an enraged aunt and the abandoned infant of one of Jack’s former lovers appears on his doorstep.
Never Change by Elizabeth Berg: Myra Lipinsky, a 51-year old visiting nurse, has been content to be a self-appointed spinster–until a man she adored in high school is struck by an incurable illness and returns to New England to spend what time he has left.
Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand by Carla Kelly: Can a soldier who subjected his wife and lover to a very public divorce find happiness with a vicar’s widow and her two daughters in the wilds of Yorkshire? That is the question Lord Winn poses. He is pressured by his sisters to marry, although he is no longer received in London. Widow Roxanna Drew is harassed by her brother-in-law, who wants her as a mistress. Their solution is a marriage of convenience, which suffices at first. Then each must find a way to convince the other that this is really something more.
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding: The daily chronicle of a 30-something single English woman who is convinced her life would be perfect if she could lose weight, stop smoking, find love and develop “Inner Poise.”
The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney: To keep her fortune, heiress Lady Jocelyn Kendall impulsively weds a penniless officer dying of wounds received at Waterloo, but when the man recovers, she suddenly finds herself with a healthy, vibrant husband who wants to renegotiate the terms of their bargain–and possess her heart.
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden: Lydia Pallas works as a translator for the U.S. Navy and Lieutenant Alexander Banebridge, who is fighting the opium trade, enlists her help, but his actions against those responsible for the trade force her to deal with secrets from her past.
Vision in White by Nora Roberts: Wedding photographer Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother–an encounter that has them both seeing stars–and has Mac turning to her three best friends and business partners to see her way to her own happy ending.
Love Walked In by Maris De Los Santos: Harboring romantic notions about golden-age Hollywood film stars, thirty-one-year-old Philadelphia cafe manager Cornelia Brown embarks on a too-good-to-be-true relationship with the debonair Martin Grace.
And since you can never have enough love, here are a few more suggestions:
Sullivan’s Island by Dorothea Benton Frank
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean
The Last Time they Met by Anita Shreve
The House on Olive Street by Robin Carr
Echoes by Maeve Binchy
Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis