By L. Robideau
1.The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
A rom-com turned reality is one way to describe Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date. This light-hearted—but insanely realistic—story starts when two strangers, Alexa and Drew, get stuck in an elevator together. Of course, I realize that most people don’t get stuck in an elevator and instantly hit it off with the person they’re stuck with, but bear with me, it becomes very real. Drew is on his way to his ex’s wedding where he is actually in the wedding party. The awkwardness of this situation can be felt through the page. Even more awkward, he is on his way there stag and feels like he needs to find a date ASAP. The moment Alexa and Drew are stuck in the elevator together, he finds himself asking Alexa to the wedding. To his everlasting shock, she agrees. What starts off as a fake date that they surprisingly pull off very well, might I add, soon turns into something more. They decide to give a committed relationship a try. However, Drew is a surgeon in Los Angeles and Alexa is the major’s chief-of-staff in Berkeley. The two must quickly learn how to balance a long-distance relationship and their busy, demanding work schedules (this is when it becomes all too real). A story of a fake date turning real, Alexa and Drew must work through the complications that a new and exciting relationship brings. But will their meet-cute/chemistry be able to last? Find out in The Wedding Date.
2. The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes
It is 1960. Jennifer Stirling wakes up in a hospital bed remembering nothing. She doesn’t remember how she got there, who her husband is, nor her love affair. When she is released from the hospital, she notices that her husband has become distant and demanding. Jennifer starts to find love letters hidden around the house, but they are all signed “B.” The mystery of the man is lost in her forgotten memory, and Jennifer struggles to find her answers. The only thing she does remember is a feeling of certainty that she is deeply in love with this man.
Fast-forward to 2003. We are introduced to Ellie who is a journalist that is in a rut in her own life. We find out that she is having an affair with a married man and is confused about that relationship. After finding some of the lovers’ letters between Jennifer and B, she becomes obsessed with piecing together their love story and wants to know if they ever ended up together. Author JoJo Moyes does an excellent job pulling us into these two stories, and even though Moyes moves back and forth within her novel, the two stories blend together seamlessly, making it a heart-wrenching book with a surprise ending.
3. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
The Japanese Lover opens with Irina Bazili, a 23-year-old health care worker that assists the elderly, through whom she meets Alma Belasco and her grandson Seth who she creates a strong connection with. As Alma’s health starts to decline, Seth and Irina wish to know more about Alma’s life—specifically who the Japanese man in the picture that is in her room. Alma starts from the beginning.
In a flashback to 1939, when Poland fell under the rule of the Nazis, we see Alma’s parents send her to their relatives in San Francisco so that she will be safe. While there, she meets the Japanese gardener’s son, Ichimei Fukuda. Their passionate love affair soon starts, and they fall madly in love with each other. The two are secretly enthralled in their love with one another when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurs and all Japanese people are sent to internment camps. Will the two lovers be reunited, or will their precious love be lost forever? Find out in The Japanese Lover, in which Allende paints a beautiful picture of what love, loss, and fate truly are in this world.
4. The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory
Lindsay Emory’s The Royal Runaway is a refreshing rom-com that has empowering undertones. Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria is about to be married and live happily-ever-after in her castle with her Prince Charming until the prince doesn’t actually show up to the wedding. The princess is sadly left at the altar alone. After this shocking event, the queen of the fictional monarchy, Drieden, sends Thea away for four months (basically to calm down and relax). When Princess Thea returns, she sneaks out to a pub to get away from all of the drama. This is when she meets the mysterious Nick, whom Thea cannot help but flirt with and kiss towards the end of the night. Come on, let the girl have some fun, she just got left at the altar.
Only one problem: Nick is the brother of Thea’s ex-fiancé that left her nearly four months ago. But wait, one more problem: Christian (the ex-fiancé) knows something about the royal family that could disband the entire monarchy. Thea will not allow that to happen, so she and Nick set out to find Christian before he spills the family secrets. This absorbing, light-hearted novel will be difficult to put down, trust me.
5. One Day by David Nicholls
It is July 15, 1988 and Dexter and Emma have only just met. We are thrusted into their lives after they have both just graduated from the University of Edinburgh and now have their whole lives ahead of them. They spend the night together on the first day they met, and then both part ways in the morning. David Nicholls’ One Day follows Dexter and Emma only on one day, July 15th, for almost twenty years. Each year shows a new step that each of them has followed, be it good or bad, and how they have grown into their lives and careers, while never losing touch with one another. They fight, laugh, and cry. This novel is humorous, heart-wrenching, and altogether a story about love. Will Dexter and Emma miss the opportunity to be together, or will that “one day” ever come?
6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Sandhya Menon’s deeply delightful novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, follows two 18-year-old Indian-American teens, whom their parents believe would be perfect to set up for an arranged marriage. Dimple is not too keen on the idea of an arranged marriage and wants to pursue her passion for coding and app development. You go girl! But all her mother wants is for her to get married. When Dimple’s mother agrees to let her go to a six-week summer program in San Francisco, she thinks she is in the clear from having to be an 18-year-old bride. There is one catch: Dimple’s parents know Rishi’s parents, and both of the teenagers are going to the summer program, so why not play a little matchmaking. Unlike Dimple, Rishi is a traditionalist, who believes in destiny and is ready to get married any second. When Dimple and Rishi are forced together at the program, they have an instant connection, even though Dimple holds back a little. Menon creates a funny, swoon-worthy novel that only intensifies at the end and will have you cheering for the teenagers to be together.
7. Internal Conflict by E.A. Stripling
Olivia Moore has just lost the love of her life. Her heart is broken into a million pieces and the last thing she wants to do it go to different bars with her roommate Natalie. Natalie believes that the best way to get over a lost love is to hook-up with new guys. They are on the prowl when a potential love interest pops into the story. His name is Victor Montgomery. He is quick-witted and easy on the eyes, and Victor and Olivia start to hit it off immediately. That is until Victor speaks some ill-choice words that immediately turns Olivia off. Victor’s sense of humor and sexual advances finally convince Olivia to just go for it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Olivia actually starts to weave Victor into her life, but then someone from her past comes into her life again, sending Olivia spinning. She is confused about her past, present, and future. Who wouldn’t be?! Olivia, however, is a strong woman, and although she is thinking about her romantic relationships, she also focuses on herself, which allows her to grow. This has love, heartache, drama, emotions, and conflict all wrapped up in one for you. If you’re going to lose yourself in a novel on Valentine’s day, let it be E.A. Stripling’s novel Internal Conflict.
8. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
A spin-off, or even a follow-up novel, to The Notebook, is The Wedding. Much like the prequel, NicholasSparks takes us on a journey through Noah and Allie Calhoun’s son-in-law’s marriage. Wilson Lewis feels that the romance has died from his marriage with his wife, Jane. Jane is no longer in love with Wilson and believes it is entirely his fault. Wilson was unable to express his feelings or show his love to Jane, and she has had enough. Even through his lack of displaying it for a year, Wilson dedicates himself to showing his wife just how much he truly does love and appreciate her. Cue the candle-lit dinner and rose petals. Two weeks before their wedding anniversary, their daughter tells them she is engaged and wants to be married on the same day her parents were. With all the chaos surrounding the impending marriage, Wilson and Jane must figure out where their marriage still stands after their daughter’s wedding. Will Jane be convinced that her husband loves her enough to fall back in love with him, or will she call it quits? Being known to write sappy love stories, Sparks does it again, and this novel will surely get you in the lovey-dovey mood.
9. Revelation by KJ Cartmell
A story of young love and secrets, KJ Cartmell’s Revelation will have you wanting even more by the end. While waiting in an airport, Thomas and Adeline meet for the first time. As they strike up a conversation, they realize that they are from the same town, but they attend different schools. The two are polar opposites, however. Thomas is a photographer with a shy personality, who is extremely skeptical of Adeline’s faith. Adeline is the daughter of a pastor in their town and is very devout in her faith, so their connection is bound to cause complications between the two teens. Despite their differences, however, they fall for each other, but they must keep their relationship a secret due to her father’s occupation and her family’s role in the town. There is no doubt about the love these two have for each other, and Cartmell does a wonderful job pulling us into the story. Will secrets be revealed? Will Thomas and Adeline end up together? Find out in Revelation.
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Is it possible to have a Valentine’s day list without including Jane Austen? She was the queen of romance at her time (and is perhaps still considered the queen of love stories). A true classic and ultimate love story, Pride and Prejudice stands out the most. Although not so good at love herself, Austen sure knew how to write about love in her novels, especially Pride and Prejudice. This story focuses on Elizabeth Bennet (Lizzy) and Mr. Darcy, but has a few subplot love stories mingled throughout. We meet Lizzy, who is a strong, intellectual woman before we are introduced to the proud and arrogant Mr. Darcy who is standoffish the moment he meets Lizzy. The couple go through their ups and downs, involving their friends and families, but they also have undeniable chemistry. The beginning of the story can move slow for some, but if you love England, period pieces, and long-set longing, you will fall in love with Pride and Prejudice along with all of Austen’s other works.