It’s Valentine’s Day, which means it’s the season for love!
I know that Valentine’s Day is kind of a commercial holiday. It’s filled with overpriced bouquets of red roses, gigantic stuffed teddy bears, and expensive dinner reservations. It didn’t really start that way, but it has definitely evolved into that in today’s world.
However, February has long been celebrated as a month of romance. Celebrations during this same time of year were already happening even before Roman times, but they were mostly filled with sacrifices and fertility rituals. But Valentine’s Day became romantic by the time of the age of chivalry and courtly romance. People were sending each other romantic Valentine’s Day greetings all the way back in the Middle Ages.
Okay, back to modern times.
Yeah, Valentine’s Day got a little commercial on us over the years, but I still believe in some good ol’ romance. I’m not the kind that swoons for expensive flowers that will die in a few days, and I have no need (or space in my home) for oversized stuffed animals. But I do love love. And especially because February is pretty cold where I’m at, the extra warmth is certainly welcome.
These novels have got you covered if you’re also in the mood for a little extra romance this month. Curl up with a good book and delve into some seriously sweet stories this February!
Jess is a single mother to 10-year-old William, who has had no connection to his father Adam. But Jess and William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, the restored castle in the French countryside that Adam has turned into a successful hotel. While Jess is amazed by what Adam has accomplished, she’s in France to make Adam finally connect with his own son. It’s a summer of reconnection and rediscovery set amid a gorgeous backdrop. Perhaps love lost can sometimes be regained.
Set in the time between the two world wars, Selina Lennox and Lawrence Weston come from two different worlds. Selina is a socialite from a prosperous family, with a life full of parties and being pursued by the press. Lawrence is a penniless artist who stumbles into Selina’s life one night, and their secret tryst begins. But when tragedy strikes, Selina is forced to choose between her head and her heart and finds herself choosing what’s safe over what’s right.
Lucy and Joshua don’t just dislike each other – they hate each other and have been forced to compete on a daily basis since their companies merged together. They are locked in a ruthless game of one-upmanship. Tensions have reached an all-time high, and now they’re up for the same promotion. But Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua… and maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or is this just another game?
This novel was also recently used as the basis for a romantic comedy film by the same name, starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell.
Cinema buff Nick longs for love that mirrors what he sees on the big screen, and his relationship has been just picture-perfect for the past four years. Except, Ellie has moved out after claiming she no longer felt the fire between them. Alone and left to wonder what happened, Nick is sifting through his memories in an attempt to find out what went wrong. Love, Unscripted explores how love isn’t (and shouldn’t) be like what we see in the movies, even for a hopeless romantic.
Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles is a modern retelling of Homer’s Greek classic The Iliad. It’s a tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart. This time, the captivating story is told through the point of view of Patroclus as it moves fiercely to the conclusion of the Trojan War. Achilles and Patroclus, cursed from the start, embark on a journey of sacrifice and love – making this novel both an action-packed adventure and an epic love story. Even if you’re not an expert on Greek mythology, you’ll still find this story hard to put down.
Related: Greek Mythology Retellings That Aren’t Percy Jackson
If you’re looking for a heartwarming and funny romantic comedy, check out The Friend Zone. Kristen is planning her best friend’s wedding when she runs into the best man, Josh Copeland. Their memorable first encounter grows into an intense and flirty relationship, but there’s a catch: she’s facing a necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children, and she knows he wants a big family. But, it’s getting harder to keep him at arm’s length. Expect to laugh and cry with this one.
Third-year Ph.D. candidate Olive Smith needs to convince her best friend that she is over her ex and dating again, so she does what any sane person would do – she kisses the first man she sees. As it turns out, the first man happens to be Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known arse. But when the reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep up her fake relationship charade, Olive is floored. The fake relationship might start developing into something genuine, though.
Rosie and Dominic seem like the perfect couple. They were high school sweethearts, best friends, and madly in love. Well, they used to be, anyway. Now that they’re married, the two have lost the spark they once had. With her friends’ encouragement and wanting to demand more from her life, Rosie invites Dom to attend a marriage boot camp with her. Each ridiculous (yet helpful) assignment after another helps strengthen their relationship. Just as the two are reuniting, though, a secret will be revealed that will cause Rosie to rethink her relationship with Dom.
In case you were unaware, political romance is absolutely a thing, and Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory is a page-turner. Dating is the last thing on attorney Olivia’s mind, who just moved to open a new law firm. A chance meeting with a handsome man at the hotel bar turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking. That’s because she discovers too late that he is actually a hotshot junior senator. The high-profile job leads to secret dates and silly disguises. And while Olivia knows they have something special, is she strong enough to survive the scrutiny of the spotlight?
Alex Claremont-Diaz is America’s First Son, after his mother became president. He’s the stateside version of a young royal: handsome, charismatic, and pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s just one problem: Alex has beef with Prince Henry of Wales from across the pond. All was fine until a royal cake-related event provided the tabloids with some incriminating altercation photos, making U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. The two are forced to fake a bromance for damage control, but the Insta-worthy friendship starts growing deeper into a secret romance.
Lina was a wedding planner left at the altar after the groom’s brother and best man encouraged him to jilt the bride. Worst best man ever, right? Three years later and she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life, but there’s one hitch: she has to collaborate with that same brother. He irritates her, and she despises him. They’ll have to nail the presentation without killing each other if they want to come out ahead. But soon, they discover that animosity may not be the only emotion between them.
In How to Hack a Heartbreak, Mel Strickland is a helpdesk tech at a startup that is fed up with bad dates and misbehaving dudes. After too many awful matchups on a ubiquitous dating app, she uses her brilliant coding skills to design an app of her own: one that uses a peer-reviewed system to identify jerks. Mel is suddenly in way over her head, and her dreamy new beau has no idea she’s the brains behind the viral app. You’ll find this novel navigates the tough world of online dating with a fresh take.
Oh, come on. You didn’t think I could put together a list of romantic novels for Valentine’s Day without including Jane Austen, did you? Pride and Prejudice has endured for almost two centuries and through numerous adaptations. It still stands as Austen’s most popular novel and is one of the all-time classics. Despite having read it more than a couple of times, the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy still deserves a spot on my must-read list!