Valentines – you either love it or simply hate it. Rolling around faster each year, Valentine’s day is the perfect opportunity to spend time with your friends or your significant other (I wish I could say I am doing the latter).
Well, fear not, I have the perfect answer for you if you’re feeling a little lonely after Valentine’s day. Here are some of my favourite mood-boosting romance reads that could be your perfect company for Valentine’s and won’t leave you in tears of sorrow! No need for Love island, take a look at these beauties…
The beautiful The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 21st-century classic, it seems. Having risen to fame through ‘Book-tok’ and social media, I must admit that Jenkins Reid’s romantic thriller did live up to the excitement. Her eloquent, mysterious prose follows the dazzling life of Evelyn, navigating her sexuality and relationships within the intensity of the Hollywood acting scene.
What Jenkins Reid captures brilliantly is Evelyn’s reminiscence of her love affairs. Her romantic muses are not sorrowful but endearing over her past relationships. So, for Valentine’s Day, I think The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the perfect mood-boosting read, perfect for someone who wishes to escape into the exciting, intriguing love plane of 1950s Los Angeles.
Now, not your conventional romance, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is a little more off the beaten track. Following a New York City Journalist, the novel is structured by the protagonists pining but playful letters between herself and a charming second-hand book dealer in London.
I recommend this book for its witty, adventurous, and entertaining letters, making for a light-hearted, quick read. Never meeting in person or seeing each other’s faces, I was hooked by the deep, intimate connections spread across the letters.
84 Charing Cross Road is set against the endearing backdrop of London, reminiscent of the Notting Hill Bookshops that Hugh Grant wanders so effortlessly. It’s a captivating collection that I certainly think more people should know about! You can find this novel cheaply in second-hand book shops, such as Abe books or even in your nearby charity shop.
Now, I can’t not mention Sally Rooney. What can I say; she is just the master of touching, visceral romance. Maybe steer clear from Normal People on the 14th, it pulls a little too much at the heartstrings. Perhaps try Conversations with Friends!
Rooney’s focus on Francis and Bobby’s friendship, a stable reference point throughout the novel, provides the backdrop for kinship and togetherness. Within Francis’s romantic turmoil, Bobby is the constancy, the supportive friend she turns to. Don’t we all need a Bobby in our lives! Read our full review here.
Love In Colour, a collection of short stories by Bolu BaBalola is a one you might not have heard of. Each story follows the perspective of different black women, exploring themes such as the intangible nature of love, its fleetingness, and its authenticity. Babalola discusses the equality and vibrancy across black homosexual relationships.
Fitting with LGBTQ+ month, the story of Nefertiti follows her entrancement with the lovely Ma’at. Charismatic, bold, and confident, Babalola uses a heroic couple to highlight the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in black literature.
Characters Nefertiti and Ma’at’ become each other’s idols across the text. Their overwhelming graciousness for each other is summed up perfectly by the phrase, “It was funny that I was her fantasy without it ever occurring to me that she was mine.”
So, why don’t you carve out some time for self-love? Pick up one of these mood-boosting books, perfect if you are looking for an alternative to the all-too-known romcoms of Hugh Grant.
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