A Guide to the Summer’s Best Swoon-Worthy Romance Novels
In the mood for love? Right this way!
by : Mishal Cazmi- Jun 17th, 2021
If the record of smashing success of Bridgerton proved anything, it’s that the appetite for dramatic love stories is stronger than ever. The Netflix adaptation of author Julia Quinn’s historical tale has also inspired a new legion of fans who are now in search of romance reading material. This genre saw an increase in sales in 2020, its novels evidently providing a much-needed respite during uncertain times. Luckily for romance lovers old and new, 2021 is a year filled with both highly anticipated debuts from authors like Jesse Q. Sutanto and new releases from established favourites including Mhairi McFarlane. Filled with charming meet-cutes, heartfelt declarations of love and—perhaps the most important hallmark of a romance—happy endings, these books will make you laugh, cry and swoon, possibly in the same sitting. Here are some picks you’ll want to fall in love with this summer.
Just Last Night By Mhairi Mcfarlane
Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since their teens and have managed to remain close into their 30s. Another thing that has stood the test of time: Eve’s unwavering crush on Ed. When an unexpected incident changes their lives, Eve is forced to confront her past and re-evaluate her future in a tale that tackles love, friendship and grief with Mhairi McFarlane’s signature humour.
Hana Khan carries on by Uzma Jalaluddin
Though Hana works part-time at her family’s halal restaurant, her true passion is radio; she even has her own podcast—with one particularly loyal listener. Life in Toronto’s Golden Crescent neighbourhood becomes complicated when a competing halal restaurant opens up and Hana develops feelings for the owner. This is Canadian author Uzma Jalaluddin’s second romance novel; it follows the successful Ayesha at Last, a modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice.
While Were Dating By Jasmine Guillory (July 13)
Ben Stephens, who is very focused on his advertising job, manages to wrangle a major campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, who is similarly career-minded and determined to become a household name. When Ben helps the actor with a family emergency, their harmless flirtation turns into something more. Jasmine Guillory is known for her big-hearted romcom hits; this, her sixth novel, brings warmth and sizzle in spades.
One Last Stop By Casey Mcquiston
Following her sparkling debut, Red, White and Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston returns with another delightful and heartfelt coming- of-age tale. August, a 23-year-old cynic, doesn’t believe in the kind of soaring romances that exist onscreen until she meets Jane on her commute to school. Turns out her subway crush is from the ’70s and has somehow got stuck in the present, forcing August to reconsider her thoughts on time traveland maybe even love.
Dial A For Aunties By Jesse Q. Sutanto
When Meddelin Chan accidentally kills her blind date, her meddling mom and aunties get involved to help cover it up. Things take a turn for the worse when the body is sent to a billionaire’s wedding the Chans are working at and her college sweetheart shows up. Full of hijinks, Jesse Q. Sutanto’s laugh-out-loud book about this Chinese-Indonesian-American family is already being developed by Netflix with Fresh Off the Boat producer Nahnatchka Khan.
People We Meet On Vacation By Emily Henry
Polar opposites Poppy and Alex have been best friends since college and go on vacation together every summer until one facepalm-worthy trip when their friendship takes an awkward turn. Two years later, Poppy insists on jetting off one more time with the hope that things can return to the way they used to be. Following last year’s hit Beach Read, Emily Henry’s latest promises to be another poignant page- turner—and tear-jerker.
If you liked Bridgerton, you'll love AN Earl, the girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
This multicultural Regency-era romance (the second book in a series) follows Jemina St. Maur, a shipwreck survivor who arrives in London from Jamaica with amnesia and embarks on a quest to uncover her identity. Get your fill of scandal, misunderstandings and a secret society to boot.
If you liked Love Actually, you'll love It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark
Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn run a wedding-planning business in Brooklyn, but when Eliot dies, he shockingly leaves his half of the business to his young mistress, which makes for a disastrous matchup. Centred on the diverse lives of five couples, this story, told with a sparkling Love Actually-style narrative, is filled with second chances, soulmates and charm.
If you liked Emma (the 2020 film by Autumn de Wilde), you'll love Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (July 6)
In this Indian-American take on Sense and Sensibility, Yash Raje, an ambitious politician running for governor of California, turns to his sister’s best friend, stress-management coach India Dashwood, for help in dealing with anxiety after a traumatic event. Jane Austen fans, take note: You won’t want to put this one down.
If you liked Emily in Paris, you'll love Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst
Newly single, 48-year-old Maggie heads to Paris in the hope of finishing her manuscript but finds herself dealing with distractions like her ex-husband and a mysterious Frenchman instead. The delicious carb-filled jaunt through the City of Light is guaranteed to inspire wanderlust—and just plain lust.
If you liked Schitt’s Creek, you'll love It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey (July 13)
A Hollywood party girl is cut off from her rich family and sent packing to a remote fishing village where she meets a grumpy local who doesn’t think the socialite is cut out for small-town life. It’s easy to imagine this riches-to-rags tale as Alexis Rose does Westport, Washington State.
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