NPR's November Romance RoundupThis month, cozy up to a bunch of pro ballplayers who end up solving their relationship hassles by reading romance, a gender-flipped classic rom-com and an intrepid Victorian lady ghostbuster.
Another month brings another batch of delightful novels that showcase the breadth of Romancelandia — from contemporary romantic comedies to heroes who read romance novels to lady ghostbusters at the turn of the century, it's never the same old journey to happily ever after.
The Bromance Bookclub by Lyssa Kay Adams has a title that demands you pick up the book and a premise that insists you read further: A bunch of professional baseball players have a secret book club in which they read historical romance novels. It comes in handy when one of their team members, Gavin Scott, needs help winning back his wife. Why? Because he freaked out when he discovered that she'd been faking her orgasms throughout their entire marriage. Not your typical romance hero stuff. And it's wonderful.
Thea is every woman who quickly got married and had kids and is suddenly wondering what happened to HER. She's not even sure she wants to be wooed by her husband, but there is no denying he's making a genuine effort. After reading his first historical, Gavin tries devastating kisses and lordly insisting. He fails. But he listens to Thea, reads more romance and tries again — and that is the really swoonworthy stuff. (Also, his abs.) Thea and Gavin find their way back together again for a real happy ever after — and lots and lots of orgasms for her.
Andie J. Christopher's Not The Girl You Marry is billed as a millennial take on the rom-com classic How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days. Jack Nolan has a history of being a perfect boyfriend, even if it interferes his work. Now he's got a lead on a Big Political Story that could make his career — as long as he does one last fluff piece on how to lose a girl. Too bad the girl he picks is one who could totally be The One.
Hannah Mayfield is a stellar event planner, and if she could just do weddings, she could take her career to the next level. But her boss has deemed her "not romantic" enough. Enter fake boyfriend Jack to show she is a relationship kind of gal, even if she has come to accept that she's not the girl you marry.
Jack's efforts to lose Hannah only backfire — and her efforts to string him along are complicated by their genuine feelings. It's no spoiler to say they fall for each other, making the reveal of Jack's scheme all the more brutal. But the way Jack sets out to win Hannah back is really the stuff of true romance.
For a spookier romance, look no further than A Sanctuary of Spirits by Leanna Renee Hieber. It's 1899 in New York City and Eve Whitby, fearless leader of the NYPD Ghost Precinct — think lady ghostbusters — is confronted with a gruesome case involving the ghosts of children, a missing mortician and an especially creepy mesmerist. Fortunately she has the help of an assortment of spirits, mediums and the dashing Detective Jacob Horowitz who not a ghost and very much a man. He and Eve are courting — is it for the sake of appearances, or are real feelings developing? Eve fears losing her independence and ability to work if she marries, but her feelings for Jacob are becoming too real to ignore.
Readers may want to start with the first book in the series (this is the second), though starting here doesn't get in the way of enjoying this otherworldly mystery, gorgeous writing and slow burn of a romance with a man who truly understands a woman, ghosts and all.
Maya Rodale is a best-selling romance author. Her new book is Some Like It Scandalous.