Maddie’s Library: Romances for your Valentine’s Day yearning


Emily Henry’s trio of romance novels will hit the spot for readers this Valentine’s Day. (Photo courtesy of Medium)

If you’re like me, once in a while you need your sappy, sentimental romance fix. In my experience, people might be hesitant to admit they enjoy a good romance novel. Whether that’s because of the designation of “chick lit” (cue the eye roll) or because they’re generally not as groundbreaking in form or content as literary fiction, I’m not sure. However, I am here to tell you: you are allowed to read things that you enjoy just because you enjoy them. Reading is supposed to be fun! I digress.

There’s no better time than Valentine’s Day to tear through some romances. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Beach Read,” “People We Meet on Vacation” and “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry
Emily Henry is the queen of romantic comedies. She consistently writes legendary banter, crackling chemistry and compelling characters. Personally, “Beach Read” is my choice out of the three (I’m a sucker for books about authors), but you won’t be disappointed by any of them. Her next novel, “Happy Place,” comes out in May and you know I’ll be camping outside Barnes & Noble the night before.

“Bringing Down the Duke” by Evie Dunmore
I love a regency romance, and Dunmore rises to the challenge of writing about a 19th-century man who doesn’t make me want to throw tomatoes at him because of his beliefs about women. This book — the first in Dunmore’s series — features an English duke and a suffragette. I feel like it was written for me.

“The Dead Romantics” by Ashley Poston
A romance between a ghost and a ghostwriter, Poston’s latest is full of charisma, complicated family dynamics and musings on life and death. Split between a big city and a small town, Benji and Florence are an intriguing match, and their journey is earnest with a paranormal twist.

“One Night on the Island” by Josie Silver
This story, set on an island off the coast of Ireland, is the pinnacle of a small-town romance. This is one of the only romances in my recent memory where I was truly unsure how it was going to end.

“Evvie Drake Starts Over” and “Flying Solo” by Linda Holmes
I hesitate to call these romances because there’s a lot more to them than that, but Holmes writes great stories about people who don’t always get to be romantic protagonists — widows, plus-size women and women reaching their forties. Both of these stories, which are set in the rich fictional town of Calcasset, Maine, are refreshing and fun.