Dip A Toe Into Romance

Bookstore Romance Day is upon us: a day where we invite our loyal romance readers to come in, browse the selection, and shop local. We’re offering a 20% discount on Romance titles for the day. Come to us, Romance readers -- we can’t wait to see you!

But this post isn’t necessarily for the seasoned Romance reader -- you don’t need my help. I’m here to talk to the rest of you lovely readers. The readers who aren’t on board yet. 

I’m sure there are reasons you aren’t a Romance reader. I’m sure those are perfectly legitimate reasons. I’m gonna ask you to forget those legitimate reasons for a few minutes. 

I’ve been a bookseller for six-ish months and realized, with some help from my enthusiastic romance-reading coworkers (lookin’ at you Erin and Danielle!) that I had NEVER in my several years of life read a Romance Novel. I read widely! I read everything from classics to kids books! Memoirs to mysteries! And yet, not one single Romance.

Why not? Maybe because I’d been told they were cheesy. Maybe I thought smart women read other genres, genres with fewer wayward dukes in them. Maybe I was just too ashamed to go into the section and pick up a book. It’s a very colorful section! The covers are salacious! It’s a little intimidating! 

(If you’re a Romance reader and you’re annoyed with me right now, don’t worry, I’ve seen the light.)

If you’re not a Romance reader, and my feelings sound familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I’m not going to go into the reasons women are shamed for reading Romance, not when so many other people have written so well on the topic. But this I will say: I’m a recent Romance convert. Maybe even an evangelical convert. 

Last week, just in time for Bookstore Romance Day, I picked up Olivia Waite’s The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics and friends -- it was glorious. It was fun and engaging and glittery and all the adjectives you could ever hope to apply to a historical f/f romance. Ball gowns! Lady astronomers! Embroidery! I was entranced.

Which isn’t to say the book was all fluff. Like other genre fiction, Romance considers issues that are important to its audience. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics considers who has been historically allowed to call themselves an artist or a scientist. It asks: who decides what is or is not considered Art? Who is the intended audience for these Great Works of Artistic or Scientific Genius? Who has been excluded from the canon as a result of this gatekeeping?

It's heavy subject matter for such a sparkly book! But Olivia Waite handles these issues with all the nuance and grace you could ask for. And Danielle assures me (and by extension all of you) that this is not an outlier! A lot of the genre is this!

So that was my gateway Romance experience. And in the spirit of bookselling, we’re hoping to help you find yours. 

In honor of Bookstore Romance day, our booksellers have collected some popular books and paired them up with their Romance Novel soulmate. Come take a peek. Dip your toes in. What’s the worst that can happen? All these books have (guaranteed!) happy endings.

If you loved... 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

  • Lone survivor of a massacre
  • Heart-pounding suspense meets slasher flick horror
  • Unexpected plot twists make for a thrill

 

 

Try

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

  • Lone survivor of a serial killer
  • Heart-pounding suspense meets grim horror
  • Unexpected plot twists make for a thrill

 

If you loved... 

Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • Society rejects relationship
  • On and off again illicit rendezvous
  • Past traumas rattle protagonists

 

 

Try

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

  • Society rejects relationship
  • Once a year illicit rendezvous
  • Past traumas rattle protagonists

 

If you loved...

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

  • Crime drama meets fantasy fiction
  • Supernatural world collides with humans
  • Large, dark hero saves Midwest

 

 

Try

Guilty Pleasures  by Laurell K. Hamilton

  • Crime drama meets fantasy fiction
  • Supernatural world collides with humans
  • Small, dark heroine saves Midwest

 

If you loved... 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  • Modern woman sent back to 1743
  • A plot with unforgettable characters and romance
  • Scottish clan politics enrich narrative

 

 

Try

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

  • Modern woman sent back to 1715
  • A plot with unforgettable characters and romance
  • Jacobite politics enrich narrative

 

If you loved...

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

  • Dramatic story of the Civil War
  • Leader of each army recounts Battle of Gettysburg
  • A fight for freedom or for a way of life

 

 

Try

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

  • Dramatic story of the Civil War
  • Black slave spies for the Union to prevent war
  • A fight for justice, freedom, and the right to love

 

If you loved... 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

  • One impossible NYC day
  • Chance encounter told in alternating perspectives
  • Karaoke date sparks-flying-cuteness

 

 

Try

What If It's Us (YA Romance)

  • One impossible NYC summer
  • Chance encounter told in alternating perspectives
  • Karaoke date sparks-flying-cuteness