Midnight rendezvous’ with fictional beaus
Happy Valentines everybody!
How do you plan on spending your Valentine’s Day? I’ve planned a Galentines date at a nice Italian restaurant – Carluccio’s, here I come! – with a friend to celebrate our single status’.
However, once I get back at night I’ve already planned a few rendezvous’ with my favourite romance novels. Being 18 sure has some liberating perks in terms of what books I’m now allowed to purchase…
Rest assured, none of the following books are remotely related to the horribly written 50 Shades franchise (while I do acknowledge the novelty of it, I certainly could not stand listening to Ms. Steele’s inner self every 3 seconds) and I do enjoy a more historical persuasion, such as copious amounts of Lisa Kleypas as she knows how give justice to ‘happily ever after’s.
Without further ado, in no particular order I’ve compiled a list of my favourite feel-good romances.
The Wallflower Series
By Lisa Kleypas
I’m going to cheat by including this whole series because to me the books can never be standalones. Once you finish the first book (Secrets Of A Summer Night), the urge to read to next is immediate.
All four ladies would certainly not be wallflowers in our time and I’m glad that this was the series that introduced me to the world of romances. All the male leads are incredibly swoon worthy – from the stereotypical reformed rake (which Kleypas does justice to) to stiff lipped aristocrat – all are wonderful reads.
My favourites from the series happen to be Scandal in Spring and Devil in Winter.
Scandal in Spring, mainly because I identified mostly with Daisy throughout the series, and who wouldn’t want to be described as “thunderstorms and rainbows wrapped together in a convenient pocket-sized parcel” by a guy who loves mathematics? Excuse me while the Asian side of me swoons.
The rogue appears in Devil in Winter and dear Evie – the heroine – having always had a soft spot in my heart proves to be the character with the most depth and development in the whole series. Sebastian is also the type of man that could make you melt because of how protective he is. He shows his love with actions instead of words. Did I mention that he’s also a closet romantic? Because he is.
“A man’s vanity is more fragile that you might think. It’s easy for us to mistake shyness for coldness, and silence for indifference.”
I highly recommend you to read this series even if you usually prefer audio books because the Scottish accent of the narrator may cause you to hear “my wife is a pony” instead of “my love is upon you”.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton
By Julia Quinn
The whole Bridgerton series is a standout for me and while I highly recommend every book in the series, the fourth instalment – Romancing Mister Bridgerton was the first book that made me fall madly in love with a beta-male lead.
Funnily enough, both leads are amazingly easy to relate to as Julia Quinn renders them both absolutely wonderful embodiments of teenage and young adult struggles of finding oneself and understanding your own potential.
“She’d met Colin on a Monday.
She’d kissed him on a Friday.
Twelve years later.
She sighed. It seemed fairly pathetic.”
Penelope Featherington (our adorable heroine) is also incredibly endearing and proves to impress everyone I’ve recommended this book to.
Mine Till Midnight
By Lisa Kleypas
The Hathaway series follows closely after the Wallflowers, and the first book stole my heart within its first few chapters, securing a permanent spot in my favourites bookshelf without even trying.
Cam Rohan (our gypsy male lead) who first appeared in Devil in Winter of the Wallflowers series has to be the most charismatic hero to ever grace the regency romance genre.
“You’re not like any man I’ve ever known,” she said. “You’re not even someone I could have dreamed. You’re like someone from a fairy story written in a language I don’t even know.”
“The prince, I hope.”
“No, you’re the dragon, a beautiful wicked dragon.”
The bed scenes in Mine Till Midnight are especially sensual and very, very romantic… Opposites attract just plays out so right in this.
The third book of the series featuring Poppy Hathaway and the rich, egoistical I-don’t-really-know-whether-or-not-I-like-you hero, Harry (who I came to love almost as much as Cam) – Tempt Me At Twilight was also a very satisfying read.
“He can have her heart,” came Harry’s casual reply. “As long as I have the rest of her.”
Thief of Shadows
By Elizabeth Hoyt
The Maiden Lane series’s fourth book may be hard to understand if you haven’t read the book preceding it, however, Thief of Shadows is undeniably the stand out from the series.
Winter Makepeace, our hero, is definitely ‘a hero’. Running an orphanage by day and vigilante at night, rescuing kidnapped children, he is the Ghost of St. Giles. The heroine, Lady Isabel Beckinhall is slightly headstrong, but her sense of justice is so admirable – you start developing girl crush on her.
“I’ll never look at you in any way but complete admiration.” He stroked her hair soothingly. “You will never be a millstone about my neck. Rather you’re the sunshine that brightens my day.”
The fact that Isabel happens to have more experience and is older than Winter also makes this a refreshing change in the historical romance scene.
By Lisa Kleypas
One of the reasons I love reading Kleypas so much is because of the ease she writes with. The words are always poignant but leave a deep impression, the pages always weighted – but never heavy.
And when she decided to try her hand at modern day romances, I also read a few. None really stood out to me as they weren’t my preference, but this particular book from her Friday Harbour series did appeal to me.
Now, I wasn’t sure if I should include this as I wasn’t thoroughly impressed by neither her writing or her story here. But one thing made the whole book better.
The food scenes. (which I will not quote and ruin for you)
Kleypas takes food porn to another level with Dream Lake and foodgasms seem so literal (the Friday Harbour series features supernatural aspects and Zoë – our female lead – can do magical things with her food).
“You’re my love song, my birthday cake, the sound of ocean waves and French words and a baby’s laugh. You’re a snow angel, crème brulée, a kaleidoscope filled with glitter. I love you and you’ll never catch up, because I’ve gotten a head start and my heart is racing at light speed.”
Dream Lake would be a great treat to end the night. A fluffy, sweet dessert type of read. slightly bittersweet, but never cloying or demanding too much of your already full palate.
I hope you’ve found this list a little useful for some light reading on such a day.
I’m sure this could keep me occupied for at least a week (given, one most dedicate a period to gently letting go of the last hero before continuing the journey) and I look forward to hearing your recommendations as well.