Sweet reads for Valentine’s Day
In the spirit of the season, we have gathered a group of new novels that delightfully explore the elusive nature of love. If you’re looking for fresh insights concerning the inscrutable ways of Cupid, then peruse the books below. Here’s to true love!
A VERY LITERARY ROMANCE
Fans of old-fashioned amour will cozy up to Love Letters. The novel’s leading lady, Laura Horsley, is a bibliophile to the bone. When her bookstore closes and she finds herself out of a job, she impulsively joins the organizing committee of a literary festival. A misunderstanding leads the committee to believe that she has inside connections to Dermot Flynn, a celebrated writer notorious for his love of privacy. Laura, who has adored Dermot’s work since her university days, is dispatched to Ireland to sign him up for the festival. Can she charm the reclusive author into participating? It’s an incredible mission, and one that seems doomed to fail when Laura finally meets the difficult Dermot. Wrestling with his latest work, he’s moody and gruff, yet Laura finds him irresistible, and as she tries to commit him to the festival, the events that transpire defy her wildest fantasies of fandom. With Laura, British author Katie Fforde has created a spirited heroine the reader can’t help rooting for, and she spins her adventures into an unforgettable story. This hilarious romance will convince the harshest cynic that love conquers all.
DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
A shrewd depiction of romance in an era of instant connection, Teresa Medeiros’ Goodnight, Tweetheart demonstrates the ways in which courting via computer can expedite seduction—but also trick the heart and muddle the mind. So it goes for the story’s central character, novelist Abby Donovan. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Abby’s a writer with serious aspirations. How, then, to account for her addiction to Twitter, the famous social networking site that’s a bit, well, frivolous?
Led to the website by her publicist, Abby intends, at first, to tweet only for promotional purposes, but business gives way to romance when she connects with the bookish “MarkBaynard,” a charmer who can pack poetry into the briefest tweet. As the two forge an online relationship, Abby finds it increasingly difficult to concentrate on her work. Her story unfolds, in part, through tweets and direct messages, as she compulsively corresponds with a guy who seems, onscreen, like Mr. Right. But how much does Abby really know about Mark? The mysteries and questions Medeiros puts into play are timeless, and they give extra depth to this cleverly crafted tale.
A poet, food critic and radio personality, Hervé Le Tellier is known in France as a Renaissance man. His 15th book, a piece of chic, contemporary fiction called Enough About Love, chronicles the turbulent romantic lives of a group of well-to-do Parisians. Elegant, accomplished and on the brink of 40, Anna has a solid marriage and a pair of adorable children. Yet when she meets Yves, an offbeat writer, she’s more than a little intrigued. Likewise, Louise—a successful lawyer, wife and mother—experiences sparks with Thomas, who happens to be Anna’s psychiatrist.
Blindsided by emotion, the lives of all four lovers are transformed virtually overnight. This provocative novel unfolds in brief chapters, each of which offers the perspective of a different character, creating a richly textured mosaic of incident and emotion. For Anna and Louise, the comforts of family are threatened by surprising and potent passion. It’s a classic battle—sudden desire versus the long-cultivated bonds of monogamy—and Le Tellier uses the conflict to explore the difficult decisions that so often accompany love. A wise and witty writer, he brings Parisian flair to this tale of romantic entanglement.
LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS
A sensitive rendering of a remarkable friendship, The Intimates, Ralph Sassone’s accomplished debut novel, examines love in its many varied forms and the demands it makes on the human heart. Kindred spirits, Robbie and Maize gravitate toward each other in high school, but romance fails to blossom between them. Instead, they become steadfast friends, attending the same college and supporting each other as they enter the “real world.” Both struggle to make sense of adolescence even as they embark upon adulthood. Maize—at heart a sensitive writer-type—goes into real estate in New York City but finds the experience, to put it mildly, disillusioning. Meanwhile, Robbie, who has vague designs on the publishing industry, explores romantic relationships with men.
Although Robbie and Maize are driven by desires that change with time and experience, their special intimacy—a passionate yet platonic tie—endures. With authenticity and an eye for the subtle machinations that can make or break relationships, Sassone has produced a moving, often funny novel that beautifully reflects the complexities of love.