“Emma” by Jane Austen
Gentile, clever and independent, Emma Woodhouse wants for nothing in her privileged life in the village of Highbury. But when she takes it upon herself to play town matchmaker, she may bite off more than she can chew. Jane Austen’s wit is sure to entertain, but this classic romance novel is more than just a delightful comedy of errors—it’s an examination of marriage, social status, love and gender in Georgian-Regency England.
“Ayesha At Last” by Uzma Jalaluddin
Speaking of Jane Austen, you might call this novel a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice, if it were set in the world of an everyday Muslim community. When the lively Ayesha Shamsi meets a soft-spoken man named Khalid, she is quick to dismiss him. But it doesn’t take long for her to realize there’s something more between them. Along with telling a riveting story, author Uzma Jalaluddin explores taboo topics like substance abuse and colorism in the Muslim community, painting a complex and moving portrait of modern love.
“The Worst Best Man” by Mia Sosa
When wedding planner Carolina Santos is left standing at the altar, the irony doesn’t escape her. But that doesn’t stop her from coordinating some of Washington D.C.’s most prestigious weddings—including one that requires her to work with the man who toppled her own wedding plans: her ex-fiance’s best man. This fun and flirty read was named one of the top romances of the year by O, the Oprah magazine, BuzzFeed and more.
“Swimming in the Dark” by Tomasz Jedrowski
This wistful debut novel follows the life of Ludwik, a Polish immigrant living in New York. The novel unfolds in a series of letters from Ludwik to his former lover, a young man named Janusz, whom he met in the rural countryside of the Polish People’s Republic. Their shared love of James Baldwin brings the unlikely couple together, igniting a flame that endures in spite of social restraints and an increasingly tumultuous political environment.
“Beach Read” by Emily Henry
Grab your flip flops and a folding chair—this playful page-turner lives up to its name. Emily Henry’s fun-loving novel follows two writers, January and Gus, who find themselves reunited and falling in love. Both suffering from writer’s block, the two vow to write each other’s genre for a change. As the words pour forth, their romance blossoms—but will it be cut short by difficulties from their pasts?
“Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak
This epic romance was adapted for the silver screen in 1965 to critical acclaim, and the book that inspired the film is just as masterful. During the Russian Revolution, young Yuri Zhivago is raised by adoptive parents after his father’s tragic death. Yuri soon falls for the beautiful yet violent Lara Guishar, but their affair is interrupted when he is thrown into the depths of war.
“My Autobiography of Carson McCullers” by Jenn Shapland
Literature lovers will adore this nonfiction tale of love inspired by none other than famed novelist Carson McCullers. During her time as an archival intern, author Jenn Shapland happened upon surprising love letters between McCullers and a woman named Annemarie. This chance discovery was a life changing event for Shapland, who began to explore her own identity as a lesbian. Rich with research about McCullers’s life, as well as personal reflection from the author, this unlikely romance explores the way we view historical figures, and how they can change the way we view ourselves.
“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel
Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel spins a tale of star-crossed lovers with a magical twist. When Tita de la Garza meets Pedro Muzquiz, their love is instant. But as the youngest in her family, tradition dictates that Tita must care for her aging mother, and she is forbidden to wed. Pedro instead marries Tita’s older sister, and Tita can only express her love through her cooking, which begins to take a supernatural turn.
More Reading You’ll Love
Looking for your next page turner? Check out our Top 10 Books to Read This Summer for must-reads you might have missed!
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