My 5 Favorite Romantic Non-Romance Books
I have a confession: I don’t consider myself a romance writer, not really. Which is crazy, because two of my three novels have a very strong romance plot line. WHILE YOU WERE GONE is almost strictly about the relationship between the main characters. But when asked what kind of books I write, I hem and haw and say “oh, some mystery, some romance, some murder” (which is all true). Regardless of how I identify as an author, or even if I align myself with anyone one genre, everyone loves a love story. We all love that sweeping feeling of getting caught up in a romance that seems to span space and time and makes your heart skip, your eyes tear.
There are some fantastic books out there that nail down this love thing, but don’t fit neatly into a romance genre. They aren’t happily ever afters, they skimp on the heat, they’re more about the love. My top five:
- THE MAGICAL LOVE STORY: Lemongrass Hope, by Amy Impellizzeri
This is a book about missed chances and alternate endings. Remember the movie SLIDING DOORS? What would happen if you could go back to that pivotal moment in your life, the moment when your path was forever forged, and choose the door #2? Lemongrass Hope gives us that chance but not without complicated, heartbreaking consequences. The atmosphere is intoxicating, the characters are hugely compelling and I flew through the pages as fast as I could click next on my Kindle. With a touch of magical realism, the plot was sheer genius and at one point, I gasped out loud. It’s more than your average love triangle.
- THE TRAGIC LOVE STORY: Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes
This is more of a tragic love story than a happily ever after, but I fell in love with Will and Lou. Lou is a bit wacky, pretty, headstrong, probably could be mistaken for ditzy but is truly very smart. She’s stalled in her life, you don’t know why. She meets Will, paraplegic, cantankerous, miserable. There’s a real Beauty and the Beast theme to the whole thing, without the weird bestiality angle. I fell in love with the possibility of happily ever after for Lou and Will and up until the very end didn’t know which way it would shake out.
- THE OUTCAST LOVE STORY: Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Jacob and Marlena are ill-fated, it seems. Marlena married to the abusive August, the ringleader of the Benzini Brother’s Circus. You can see Marlena isn’t meant to be with August, he’s crass and crude and Marlena is beautiful and talented. Jacob is smitten, but carefully so because August is so volatile. Rosie, the elephant, acts as a matchmaker of sorts and their furtive love story, set to the backdrop of the depression era circus. The cast of secondary characters is so colorful, you can’t help but fall in love with all (well, most) of them. Especially Rosie.
- THE VOLATILE LOVE STORY: Rodin’s Lover, by Heather Webb
Camille Claudel was more than Auguste Rodin’s muse. She was an incredibly head-strong, ambitious, volatile, jealous artist. I was more in love with the turbulent character of Camille than I was the romance! Webb brings a certain humanity to Camille that I forgave her all her sins. The attraction and romance between Camille and Auguste has this larger-than-life quality. She is his muse; he is both her salvation and her demise in the art world. She’s determined to be her own person, her own artist, outside of Auguste but 19th century Belle Époque France has other ideas. Auguste, a product of the times, may not be a big enough man to handle Camille. But there’s no denying his infatuation with her. It taps into the idea that there is someone out there who will love us, warts and all, for who we are: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not to mention the descriptions of the art world, the city, the fashion are all intoxicating.
- THE TEENAGE LOVE STORY: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
Gus and Hazel Grace are atypical teenagers. Not only are they intellectual, philosophical, sarcastic and irreverent but they have cancer. Both of them. They meet at a cancer support group and Gus pursues Hazel, despite her self-deprecation. He thoroughly convinces her to love him, and how could you not? His sweeping proclamations about life and love are classic teen: dramatic and urgent. Their jokes about cancer are a sneak peek into the mind of a teen with a terminal disease. They fall in love almost accidentally and it’s tempting, as an adult to scoff at teenage love: that fast and furious rush of emotion, that immediacy. It’s so enthralling to remember that feeling.
By Kate Moretti
By Kate Moretti
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Despite Karen Caughee’s intense focus on her music, her life is drifting out of its lane. Her alcoholic mother keeps calling from bars for early-morning rides, her boyfriend doesn’t think she gets him, and that Toronto Symphony Orchestra position she applied for ends up going to her friend, Amy. By chance, she meets American Greg Randolf just before she’s in a car accident. He pulls her from the wreckage, but after major surgery, her recovery is slow. Without her music, her life’s pursuit, Karen is pushed further adrift.
Greg stays by her side while she heals, and he sees her every time he’s in Toronto for work. Without any other support or friendship in her life, Karen craves his enthusiastic attention, and their friendship deepens to love. Though she’s fallen hard for him, he doesn’t share everything with her. In one heartrending moment, Karen’s life comes to a crossroads, and she must face the full truth about who Greg is, and about who she has become.
Kate Moretti lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life.
She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.
Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway.
Goodreads page: http://bit.ly/1W4cgMS
Blog: A Beaker’s Reflection
Red Adept Publishing Page: http://bit.ly/RAPWhileGone