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Ten romantic reads to get lost in this Valentine's Day

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Reading is traditionally a solitary activity, which might make it a less than popular way to celebrate Valentine's Day. But maybe you're going to spending The Most Romantic Day of the Year by yourself. Maybe your SO is miles away, working or simply not available. Or maybe you're both bookworms and reading together is your idea of heaven.

Love heart book

 

Whatever your reasons there is never a bad one for picking up a book. We've put together a list of ten romantic reads you may not have come across before and which might make Valentine's Day 2018 your best one yet.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

We're starting off classically, but with a slightly more unusual choice than many of these lists. Persuasion is the last full novel Jane Austen wrote before she died, and was the first (alongside Northanger Abbey) to be published under her name. Unlike her earlier romances, this one concentrates on lost love: the heroine, Anne Elliot, once broke off her engagement to Captain Wentworth as her family and friends disapproved. When he reappears in her life, this 27-year-old old maid has some serious decisions to make. Much more mature and thoughtful than Pride and Prejudice, it still offers the same delicious gossip, intrigue and amusing characters and, of course, romance galore!

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

In a much more modern move, this 2011 novel is told via e-mails, as an epistolary novel for the 21st century. Lincoln O'Neill's job is to read company e-mails and issue warnings for inappropriate usage. Instead, he finds himself drawn into the friendship between Jennifer and Beth and falls head over heels for the latter. In an age where we might first become aware of somebody via their social media, this poses the ultimate question: how on earth do you explain your Facestalking in a way that doesn't make you seem like a creeper?

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice

This book has it all: romance, rock n roll, rambling country mansions and really good dialogue. Set in 1950s England, the main characters are Penelope Wallace's eccentric family and friends, from her beautiful but vague mother to ambitious but distracted brother. This is one to be read with tea and cakes and a slick of red lipstick either on your lips or on your collar, entirely up to you!

The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen's books are always a pleasure, but this one gives us the wonderful Macy and Wes, who bond over catering jobs and games of 'truth'. It's not without its heartache, in the death of Macy's father before the book begins, and her inability to connect with her mother, but the strength of the friendships she builds with Wes and his friends makes this a truly memorable and romantic book.

A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

At over 800 pages, this isn’t one to be approached lightly. Its subject matter is also pretty heavy going, from self-harm and abuse, to identity issues and suicides. I know – it doesn’t sound especially romantic. However, if you’re somebody who likes the tortured love of films and plays such as Rent, this book should appeal to you. Four college friends try to make a name for themselves in New York, but everything always comes back to one question: is Jude okay? The answer is, most definitely not, but the agony and the ecstasy of this is really worth your time.

 

The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

If long reads put you off, this is much quicker, lighter and frothier, and you probably already know the story. True, it's devoid of Ryan Gosling and Rachel MacAdams, but it has its own strengths. Sparks has almost written two love stories here: the tale the narrator tells, and that between himself and his wife. Even the hardest of hearts will be affected by the ending of this, and then you can watch the film again afterwards!

The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson

Another great YA novel. Andie's summer is turned upside down when her father steps back from his political career and her pre-med summer programme is cancelled. She's left at a loose end and takes the only job she can find: dog walking. Through this, she has the most unexpected summer she could ever have imagined, meeting new people, learning new skills, and finding out who she really is. At 500 pages, it's a hefty chunk of book, but it is so readable that you'll fly through them.

Reader, I Married Him, edited by Tracy Chevalier

Twenty-one modern female writers have contributed stories to this anthology, which takes the iconic line 'Reader, I married him' from Jane Eyre and interprets it as they see fit. The beauty of short stories is that you can never become bored, and that you can dip in and out as you see fit - which might make this the perfect book for Valentine's Day. It's also a great opportunity to come across some new writers which might spur you on to investigate their other work.

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

Don Tillman lives his life according to strict routines and he sees no reason why he shouldn't apply the same logic to finding a wife. He develops a questionnaire to try to find the perfect life partner, but he soon finds out that life doesn't really work like that. Rosie, for example, is definitely not the right girl, but he soon finds himself heavily involved in helping her to find her father. This is a reminder that love isn't neat and simple: it's messy, unpredictable, unexpected and confusing, but also wonderful. This is an incredibly funny and touching book - a must-read.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

If you haven't come across this novel before, go and find a copy now. It's hard to say exactly what makes this such a great book - in fact, it's hard to really describe the book at all. It has been compared to Harry Potter and Twilight due to its mixture of romance and fantasy, but the non-linear narrative makes this feel much more adult and literary. The Circus of Dreams is a wandering circus which only appears between sunset and sunrise, and in the dark of the night, apprentices Celia and Marco are used to settle an ancient grudge - seriously, just read this!




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