Romance Is Back So Settle In And Escape Reality With These Top Picks

If it's been a while since you lost yourself in a romance novel, it's time to revisit the genre. So settle in and find yourself some happy ever after with this list, curated by our friends at the Guille-Allès Library 



1.  Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks     

Colby Mills once felt destined for a musical career, until tragedy grounded his aspirations. Now the head of a small family farm in North Carolina, he spontaneously takes a gig playing at a bar in St Pete's Beach, Florida, seeking a rare break from his duties at home. But when he meets Morgan Lee, his world is turned upside-down, making him wonder if the responsibilities he has shouldered need dictate his life forever. The daughter of affluent Chicago doctors, Morgan has graduated from a prestigious college music program with the ambition to move to Nashville and become a star. Romantically and musically, she and Colby complete each other in a way that neither has ever known.

From the author of the internationally beloved ‘The Notebook’ comes a moving story about risking everything for a dream. Just like all of Sparks’ novels this really pulls at the heart strings and asks, is it ever possible to move forward and leave the past behind?

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2.  Wake-up call by Beth O’Leary

It's the busiest season of the year, and Forest Manor Hotel is, quite literally. falling apart. So when Izzy and Lucas are given the same shift on the hotel's front desk, they have no choice but to put their differences aside and see it through. The hotel won't stay afloat beyond Christmas without some sort of miracle so the race is on for Izzy and Lucas to save their beloved hotel - and their jobs. As their bitter rivalry turns into something much more complicated, Izzy and Lucas begin to wonder if there's more at stake here than the hotel's future. Can the two of them make it through the season with their hearts intact?

Wake-up call is a humorous, romantic tale with memorable and engaging characters, written with Beth’s signature heart, wit and warmth, this is a big hug of a book! 

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3.  The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella

Sasha is well and truly over it all: work (all-consuming), friendships (on the back burner), sex-life (non-existent). Sasha has hit a brick wall. Armed with good intentions to drink kale smoothies, try yoga and find solitude, she heads to the Devon resort she loved as a child. But it's off-season, the hotel is falling apart and now she has to share the beach with someone else: a grumpy, stressed-out guy called Finn. How can she commune with nature when he's sitting on a rock, watching her? Especially when they don't agree on burnout cures. (Sasha: manifesting, wild swimming, secret Mars bars; Finn: drinking whisky). But when curious messages start appearing on the beach, Sasha and Finn are forced to begin talking - about everything. What's the mystery? Why are they both burned out? What exactly is 'manifesting', anyway? They might discover that they have more in common than they think.

'I devoured The Burnout in one greedy gulp. Funny, sad, relatable, and so brilliantly done. Sophie Kinsella is the queen of romantic comedy' - JOJO MOYES

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4.  Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons        

The first time Romeo Montague sees young Rosaline Capulet he falls instantly in love. Rosaline, headstrong and independent, is unsure of Romeo's attentions but with her father determined that she join a convent, this handsome and charming stranger offers her the chance of a different life. Soon though, Rosaline begins to doubt all that Romeo has told her. She breaks off the match, only for Romeo's gaze to turn towards her cousin, 13-year-old Juliet. Gradually Rosaline realises that it is not only Juliet's reputation at stake, but her life. Will Rosaline save Juliet from her Romeo? Or can this story only ever end one way? 

I always love to hear the other side of the story and this intriguing prequel to Shakespeare’s best known tale gives, the previously silenced, Rosaline her own powerful voice.  This feminist retelling asks whether this really was the greatest love story ever told.

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5.  Games and Rituals by Katherine Heiny

The author of 'Early Morning Riser' brings us eleven glittering stories of love - friendships formed at the airport bar, ex-husbands with benefits, mothers of suspiciously sweet teenagers, ill-advised trysts - in all its forms, both ridiculous and sublime.

These short stories about the human condition explore relationships in all their various forms. Although somewhat flawed, the characters are all very relatable and their stories in turn light hearted, bittersweet and moving.

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6.  In Memoriam by Alice Winn

In 1914, war feels far away to Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood. They're too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle - an all-consuming infatuation with the dreamy, poetic Ellwood - not having a clue that his best friend is in love with him, always has been. When Gaunt's mother asks him to enlist in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, he signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings. But Ellwood and their classmates soon follow him into the horrors of trenches. 

The winner of the Waterstones debut fiction prize 2023 is a devastating story of two young men on the western front. Their tender love story emerges amongst the contrasting worlds of an idyllic public school setting and the horrors of World War I.

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7.  Happy Place by Emily Henry

Harriet and Wyn are the perfect couple - they go together like bread and butter, gin and tonic, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Every year for the past decade, they have run away from their lives to drink far too much wine and soak up the sea air with their favourite people in the world. Except this year, they are lying through their teeth. Harriet and Wyn broke up six months ago. And they still haven't told anyone. But this is the last time they'll all be together here. The cottage is for sale, and since they can't bear to break their best friends' hearts, they'll fake it for one more week. But how can you pretend to be in love in front of the people who know you best?

Bestselling author of Beach Read, Emily Henry hits the mark again. You root for her characters at every turn, touching on important topics but bringing comfort, charm and wit. Prepare to find your next favourite book.

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8.  Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

With a series of heartbreaks under her belt, Sally Milz - successful TV script writer for a legendary late-night TV comedy show - has long abandoned the search for love. But when her friend and fellow writer begins to date a glamorous actress, he joins the growing club of interesting but average-looking men who get to date accomplished, beautiful women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch, poking fun at this 'social rule'. The reverse never happens for a woman. Then Sally meets Noah, a pop idol with a reputation for dating models. But this isn't a romantic comedy - it's real life. Would someone like him ever date someone like her?

Skewering all our certainties about why we fall in love, Romantic Comedy is a witty and probing tale of how the heart will follow itself, no matter what anyone says. It is Curtis Sittenfeld at her most sharp, daring and compassionate best.

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