Romance Sub-Genre Rec – Sweet Romance
Hey, and welcome to my new post series – where I recommend various romance sub-genres to you. The idea came to me the first weekend in February, while I was chatting with Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books. She asked me to recommend romance books to her. But she wanted romance with no actual sex, and not too heavy on the romance. Easy, right? Actually, it was. I read a whole lot of romance, and I love what the different sub-genres can bring us.
So for this first post in my series, I am recommending romances that are sweet, where there is chemistry between the characters, but where the romance is not necessarily the most important aspect of the story. These are all mostly contemporary romance, while some also can be categorized slightly towards historical romance.
In The Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende is a beautiful romance, set in current times, but with flash-backs to the past of the three main characters. Lucia has arrived in New York to be a guest lecturer at the university for at least one semester. However, one of the reasons she agreed to come to the cold was Richard, a scholar she had met at different conferences in the past. Evelyn, a young Guatemalan woman is also an important character. The slow romance between Richard and Lucia is not the main theme of the story – growing older, getting to terms with life, and the past definitely is.
The fact that the story spans over several decades and include four different countries added to my pleasure of reading.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli is categorized as YA, however, I think it can be read by anyone – just as all books can be read by any reader. This is the story of a character who has to come to terms with her sister starting to explore what it means to be in a couple. Trying to find love. All the while leaving her sister behind. There are friendships, awesome parents. There is little romance and a lot of beautiful relationships that are even more important than the actual romance is.
The character development made me so happy. And the relationships both between the sisters, the sisters and their mothers, and the whole family and other people made the story exceptional!
Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino is part mystery, part contemporary romance. The character depth is so good, it feels like they jump of the pages and truly share their lives with the readers. And while I have never experienced what these characters have experienced, I found the story, plot and characters to be very realistic. The writing drew me in from the start, and I couldn’t stop reading until I arrived at the ending.
Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot is also young adult, set in a small town in the Colorado mountains. Hunter Kennedy is a huge star, unable to go anywhere without being accosted by people. He really needs a break from the celebrity circuit, though, and without his knowledge, he is brought to a place for some rest. Some anonymity. Some true friendships. And some real heartbreak.
The whole Whiskey Creek series by Brenda Novak is one of my favorite romance series. There is a bunch of friends that are as close as family, and we follow them through their highs and lows. Sometimes, the friendships take a hit, other times, the romance seems impossible. Whiskey Creek is a small town, and almost everyone knows everyone else. Which can make for some humorous scenes, but also some anger at times.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is an emotional roller coaster for sure. And this is one book where I found the movie to be better than the written word. I know a lot of people fell completely in love with the book, though. And there are some very important themes brought up in this story. The romance is in the background, as there are some heavy subjects that need to be dealt with as the main characters get to know each other.
The Piano Man Project by Kat French is a cute, flirty story. There is substance as well, though, and it was a contemporary romance I really enjoyed when I read it. There are several layers to the story, friendship, sisterhood, relationships and work are important here. I enjoyed the female relationships and the honesty between friends as much as I enjoyed the romance.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber is a very sweet Christmas romance. There are two stories in one here, and both touched me in different ways. The cuteness of the characters and the strong chemistry between the romantic leads made me swoon – even when they were just getting to know each other at the beginning.
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith is a YA story that I found to be fresh and cute. There is a lot of longing here, and I think that sense of missing someone is one of the things I enjoyed the most when I read it. The main characters met in one city, but they live at opposite sides, far away from that place. They are completely unable to forget about each other, though, and the way they keep thinking of each other was very well done.
Finding Colin Firth by Mia March is a chick-lit romance on the surface. Once I got into the story, though, I found that there were many themes that became important. One was about motherhood. Not every single woman wants to be a mother, and that’s OK. Plus, very often, when a woman does become a mother, she is often the one who makes the most changes to her daily life. Be it to stop working, work less hours, spend more time at home… And those questions are important! They were very well introduced in this story, and I enjoyed getting to know Gemma, her questions, and her quest for her true self.
Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright is a fun story. It involves a very strong female character, her almost fiancé, and her almost fiancé’s brother… Because Emma was such a Jane Austen fan, she always dreamt of her one true love and her happily ever after. When she realized she might not get that, she got mad. Not only at herself, but also at Jane. As she had to go far out of her comfort zone, she started questioning what she had been doing up until that moment. And she had to take a good hard look at herself so that she wouldn’t make the same mistakes over and over.
I have more recommendations in the ‘sweet’ sub-genre of romance, but this post is already so very long, so I’ll just link to my reviews, without a tiny summary to tease you with.
Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson, Starry Night by Debbie Macomber and Too Good To Be True by Kristan Higgins are among my favorite romances where there is a lot more going on than the romance. And where there is little to no sex involved.
I’m pretty sure I could have gone on for a long time, still, but then, I am sure I would have lost most of you before the end 😉
Thanks for stopping by today! Have you read any of these? I will have more romance sub-genre recs next week, and then, I’ll tackle romantic suspense, so please come back.