xoBookClub: 10 Romance Novels for Readers (Like Me) Who Don't Like Romance Novels

The world doesn't need another trashy romance novel — but what's your favorite?
Publish date:
January 30, 2016
books, romance novels, xobookclub, Love Stories

Last week, you guys mentioned the distinctive joy of curling up on the couch with a trashy romance novel in lieu of trashy reality TV, a joy that is not unfamiliar to me.

My first introduction to the romance novel came by way of the free book room in my local library. Nestled between dog-eared Dean Koontz and James Patterson paperbacks were dozens of Harlequin gems with amply-chested lovers windswept and rippling on the covers. I was about 13. I was immediately hooked.

But as I got older, I wanted more from books than the predictable thrill of a true love conquering all against a series of oft-recycled and not all that insurmountable odds. I still loved a good love story, but I wanted it more complicated — a grittier, dirtier, messier love by far than what I could get from the free book room.

Maybe I got angry at romance novels for how simple they made things. Maybe I was angsty and jaded and stopped believing in magic and rainbows (seriously, there is a surplus of rainbows in romance novels) and really really good sex on the first try. Regardless of how it it came about, I stopped reading romance novels a few years back.

HOWEVER, there have been a few romance-y, romance-ish, and tangentially romance-related novels that I've fallen in love with since then.

Naturally, I want to know if you've encountered any of these titles and naturally I want to know what you're reading this week and if true love actually conquers all and if it is possible for a romance novel to be realistic and also happy because — as previously stated — I'm all jaded and angsty and skeptical.

Since this is, you know, a (debatably successful and not always pleasing to everyone) book club, I want to fill you guys in on what I've read this week. I started and devored Bianca Stone's Someone Else's Wedding Vows and Jeannette Winterson's Weight: The Story of Atlas and Hercules and promptly splashed them all over my instagram account. They were that good.

Tell me and one another — mostly one another — what you've got on your reading list and share whatever title you last devoured from cover to cover. I've got some ideas about what we'll discuss next week. Here's a hint:

Happy reading!