Valentine’s Day… the day of love. I remember the day when it was all flowers, chocolates and teddy bears…. Actually who am I kidding, no I don’t. My husband and I have never really celebrated Valentine’s Day. I am not really sure how we decided on that but we rarely acknowledge the day even exists. But as the florists fill with roses and the shops fill with heart-shaped chocolates it got me thinking about my other true love – reading! I have been reflecting on some of my favourite romance novels.
I don’t actively seek out romance novels but I do like a good love story… makes me think back to the days when we were first dating – those first date butterflies and chivalrous acts. Now between children and work we’re lucky if we have any alone time except for when we’re asleep (and lately that’s with a 3 ½ year old between us). So although it’s not my favourite genre, I’m happy to live vicariously through the lives of the characters for which everything turns out ok.
Before I start the list, let’s get specific about what actually constitutes a romance novel. Is it those books whose sole focus is the development of relationship or the books with covers of bare chested men? Or is it just good old fashioned boy meets girl. For me a good romance novel is the latter.
In any case, although the books below might not be in the romance section in the library, there’s enough boy meets girl and falls in love to make my list of suggested romance reads this Valentine’s Day.
Me before you – Jojo Moyes
I loved this book – despite having seen the movie first (which I try not to do!). It’s about an ordinary girl (Louisa Clark) who takes a new job working for a wheelchair-bound man after an accident – Will Traynor. Will poses plenty of challenges for Louisa who sets out to prove to him that life is still worth living. A story of love and heartbreak, this one is a tear jerker. With a score of 4.27 out of 5 with over 790,000 ratings on Goodreads, this one is definitely worth a read. I can’t wait to read the next two instalments also: After You and Still Me.
The Hypnotists Love Story – Liane Moriarty
If you have read some of my other blog posts you will know that I love Liane Moriarty’s books. Although it’s not my favourite Moriarty book, I really enjoyed The hypnotists love story. It’s about a relationship between 3 people – a hypnotherapist, a widow and a stalker. The combination of love, obsession, the art of hypnotherapy and closure – yep, this one is a page turner.
The Grass is Greener – Loretta Hill
A less well-known book and Australian author, this one by Loretta Hill is an enjoyable read. When 2 best friends (a lawyer and vineyard manager) have had enough of their own lives, they decide to swap lives and see if the grass really is greener on the other side. A good mixture of love, friendship, attraction and suspense, this book was a nice easy read.
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
I really love this book and have previously mentioned this book in my blog about top 5 summer reads. Written by a man, from a man’s perspective, it’s a different but funny and engaging look at a man’s life (who has Asperger’s) and his quest for a wife. A different style of romance but a love story nonetheless.
And while it is not high on my list, it would be remiss not to mention 50 Shades of Grey – the fastest selling paperback book ever (beating Harry Potter) and the first book to sell more than 1 million copies on the Kindle. The word sex (and various connotations) is mentioned 275 times so I don’t think I need to explain what the book is about – and well, if you haven’t heard of the series where have you been? I am yet to see the movies and not sure I will, but if you are after something a bit more raunchy this V-Day then this is one for you.
So, those are the books that make my list this year. I have no doubt I’ll add a few more as time goes on and I look to escape into the world of love, romance and happy endings. I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day if you’re one to celebrate romance, whether with a loved one or diving into a good book. As an aside, spare a thought for the flower farmers and florists who are working like crazy at this time of year (you can hear more about how a local farmer near me gets ready for her busiest day of the year in this short interview).