In the Spotlight Episode 1: Romance – the in depth look

Romance in literature can be broken down into many different categories. In my video that I posted yesterday, I discussed a few of the romance books that I have read and really enjoyed, breaking them into groups, based on what kind of book you might be looking for.
In this post I just want to talk a little bit more about the books I mentioned in that video and recommend them further.

The first book I mentioned was ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green and, in fact, this was the first book I thought of when Eli and I decided on the theme of romance for this fortnight. I don’t know anyone in the book community online who hasn’t read this book but I think although the storyline is about a lot more than just romance, the romance aspect of it was so believable and heart-warming, and eventually tragic, that I couldn’t not include it on this list. The relationship that Hazel and Augustus share is romantic, of course, but it is also an intense friendship, which to me is the strongest form of fictional romance. They’re link goes beyond physical attraction and the experiences they share are something that no one but them can understand. I just think that this was a beautiful book and definitely high up on my romance recommendation list for a reason. It’s one that’s definitely overdue a reread!

‘The Lover’s Dictionary’ by David Levithan was a book that I was a bit sceptical about how good it would be because of the unusual formatting of the story, but having read it, I have to say that the format was what made this so powerful. Basically, this book is set out in dictionary entry form, as I said in my video, with each entry telling the story of a relationship between two unnamed people. I think that the different lengths of entry and the mixed time-line really makes the overarching plot very realistic, putting emphasis on different aspects of their relationship. This book would be perfect for someone looking for a quick but impactful read that really makes you think about relationships between humans.

The next pick was ‘Skinny Bitch in Love’ by Kim Barnouin. This is a much lighter read than the first two in that it is a lot about the main character’s career, friends and, of course, relationship, but it is also full of humour. The protagonist was a strong female character and although there was a bit of a love triangle going on at one point, the relationship between the protagonist and the main love interest was quite interesting. If you want to read a book where the relationship isn’t always perfect, then this would be great for you. Also, the food and cooking aspects of this were highly enjoyable.

‘The Lingerie Wars’ by Janet Elizabeth Henderson was a fun contemporary set in a rural village in Scotland, and I think that it is the unusual setting that made this such a good read for me. The relationship itself was fun but I think it’s the lingerie war itself that makes this such a light-hearted book. The side characters were full of personality and the romantic interests were fully fleshed, with interesting backgrounds and strong personalities.

Another one that contains an unusual setting then I would recommend ‘Burning Embers’ by Hannah Fielding, which is a contemporary historical romance set in 1970s Kenya. The protagonists both have troubled pasts and the male love interest has a lot of mystery surrounding him which really kept my interest throughout. Coral, the female lead, wasn’t just there to be in the romantic relationship – she also had other reasons to be in Kenya at that time and a bit of mystery surrounding her as well.

For those of you who like short stories, I would recommend ‘Cupidity’ by Holly Hepburn. This is an odd mix of fantasy and contemporary, being a story about Cupid getting sent down to earth to fix Lost Cause Annelise. At only 85 pages long, it’s a quick read with a strange plot and the romance is predictable yet enjoyable all the same.

Another one that I would like to mention that didn’t appear in my video is ‘Attachments’ by Rainbow Rowell. Again, this has an unusual format in that the chapters alternate between Lincoln’s story and emails sent between Jennifer and Beth. The romance seems to develop very naturally, although the ending annoyed me a bit, but I think that the humour of this book made up for any parts that irritated me. Each character, not just the main ones, have really interesting backgrounds that are interwoven throughout the book, without it just being an info dump and I think that this made it a fast-paced and funny read that I would thoroughly recommend.

So that’s it for my romance picks for In the Spotlight. Make sure you check out Eli’s video on this theme next week and look forward to a new theme the week after! Happy Reading!

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