What? Only ten?
When the Alachua County Library District contacted me about listing my top ten picks for Read-A-Romance-Month, I knew it wouldn't be easy. After all, I've been reading romance since I was a young girl and checked Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw out of my school library (that was a sneaky way of adding an eleventh book).
However, I understand that we can only talk about books in limited time and space, otherwise we'd be here well into the new year. Since I'm willing to do almost anything for my public library district, I ruthlessly pared down a list to come up with my ten picks from various genres in romance.
The modern romance novel is defined by Romance Writers of America this way:
"Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.
A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love."
So, while one can say Pride and Prejudice is a romance novel, Wuthering Heights would not fit the definition. Is my list subjective? Heck. yeah! But at the same time, you'll find all of these novels listed on some "Best Of" groupings. For more to read, I highly recommend NPR's list of 100 Swoon-Worthy Romance novels. It's an excellent compilation. And I love to share my recommendations, and you can reach me at darlenemarshall [at] darlenemarshall [dot] com. Happy reading!
Western: The Outsider, Penelope Williamson
Americana: Morning Glory, LaVyrle Spencer
Erotic Romance: Natural Law, Joey Hill
Regency romance: The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer
LGBT: Think of England, KJ Charles
Suspense: Cry No More, Linda Howard
Contemporary: Bet Me, Jennifer Crusie
SF & F: An Accidental Goddess, Linnea Sinclair
Paranormal: Slave to Sensation, Nalini Singh
Inspirational: Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers