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Romance

  • Me Before You

    Me Before You by JoJo Moyes—“This is one of those books that really makes you sad to finish. Charming characters and good twists. Heartbreaking and also happy if that is possible.” …  “love love the subtle romance and touching "sigh" resolution. Nice to read a story about a bright 20 something in search of finding her importance too.” …  “the perfect beach book if you don't mind your tears falling into the surf. It's the stereotypical love story between people who have no business falling in love - but it's gorgeously written and makes a real statement about what's important in life. On a scale of 1 to 10, this one is an 11." 

  • Metropolis

    Metropolis by Elizabeth Gaffney: "Historical fiction set in NYC during building of Brooklyn Bridge."  From Amazon: "On a freezing night in the middle of winter, Gaffney’s nameless hero is suddenly awakened by a fire in P. T. Barnum’s stable, where he works and sleeps, and soon finds himself at the center of a citywide arson investigation.  Determined to clear his name and realize the dreams that inspired his hazardous voyage across the Atlantic, he will change his identity many times, find himself mixed up with one of the city’s toughest and most enterprising gangs, and fall in love with a smart, headstrong, and beautiful young woman. Buffeted by the forces of fate, hate, luck, and passion, our hero struggles to build a life–just to stay alive–in a country that at first held so much promise for him." 

  • Night Circus

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  "Not my usual kind of read because of its fanciful and magical nature but now one of my 'must reads.'   The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.   But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, they tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead."

  • One Day

    One Day by David Nicholls. This novel, published in 2009, has gone a little viral, perhaps because of the impending movie adaptation. Contributor comments: “It should be called ‘One Date,’ as it's about a whole bunch of July 15ths, over a period of 20 years in the lives of Dexter and Emma. I liked peeking into the window their lives, one day (date) at a time, and felt the novel worked well structurally. I had a rooting interest in the outcome, and appreciated their witty exchanges.” … “Great read, well written, good characters.” … “Picking up this book was like reliving 20 years of time with two best friends I didn't even knew I had! Dexter and Emma meet at Edinburgh University on July 15 1988 and every chapter is a glimpse into their lives on July 15 for the next 20 years.”... "This would be a fantastic book to read on the beach. So engaging, you love the characters, well-written but v accessible."

  • Piano Teacher

    The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y.K. Lee. "Part love story, part war story (yea, I know, been there, done that) but set in Hong Kong during Japanese occupation. Some different characters, even though I certainly didn’t like all of them, weave their lives and their loves through this amazing time."  (NB: This isn't the book they made the movie out of.)

  • Range of Motion

    Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg. "If you haven’t read any Elizabeth Berg, I’d suggest checking one of her books out of the library to see what you think. This is one of my favorites, about a woman, Laieny, whose husband is in a coma after he was hit on the head by ice falling from a building. Lainey has great faith that he will recover, and tries everything to coax him back to consciousness.  It could be treacly, but somehow it's not.  Very beach booky, I think, though her writing has a certain elegance."

  • Royal We

    The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. “It would be too easy to say this is Wills/Kate/Harry fanfiction. It’s certainly inspired by that, but it’s actually really smart, funny, delightful, and juicy. Perfect summer read, so says USA Today and The New York Times. I loved it.” “This book is absolutely ridiculous. Absurd and flawed, and I absolutely adored it and only wish I’d saved it for the beach, because it really is a dictionary definition ‘beach read.’” About the novel:   “American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.” 

  • Saint Anything

    Saint Anything by Sara Dessen. “If you need a little YA action in your summer reading, Sara Dessen is a great author who write breezy, thoughtful fiction for young adults that even us oldsters can enjoy.  Saint Anything is about ay oung woman whose charismatic brother goes to jail for drunk driving, and she's left to find her place in the family structure and future out who she is. Man, that sounds trite and gross, but trust me — this book is sweet and good!”

  • Secret History of the Pink Carnation

    Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. "It’s billed as historical fiction, but I think it would be better categorized as historical romance/farcical caper. I flew right through it and enjoyed it. It’s one a few similar books by this author."

  • Secret Life of Violet Grant

    Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams.  Beatriz writes the BEST beach books.  A Hundred Summers was on the list last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This is her latest novel, another romantic, page-turning saga set against vivid historical backdrops.  Secret Life has interwoven narratives – that of young Vivian Schuyler in 1964 Manhattan, and of her aunt, Violet Schuyler Grant in 1914 Berlin - an aunt Vivian never knew she had until she receives a mysterious parcel and begins to unravel a secret family history.

  • Silver Bay

    Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes. From Amazon: “Liza McCullen will never fully escape her past. But the unspoiled beaches and tight-knit community of Silver Bay offer the freedom and safety she craves—if not for herself, then for her young daughter, Hannah. That is, until Mike Dormer arrives as a guest in her aunt’s hotel. The mild-mannered Englishman with his too-smart clothes and distracting eyes could destroy everything Liza has worked so hard to protect: not only the family business and the bay that harbors her beloved whales, but also her conviction that she will never love—never deserve to love—again.”

  • Tempting Fate

    Tempting Fate by Jane Green.  “I'm a sucker for Jane Green books.  I can't help it.  Woman in her 40s, married, meets hot dude in his 30s, tech millionaire.  Will they?  Won't they?”

  • The Rosie Project

    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson—“very charming main character that will make you think about every quirky but kind person you might meet.  There is a heart behind them.”  “A brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife).”  “A brilliant, autistic-spectrum professor with no self-awareness or social skills sets out to find a wife using a detailed survey.  Of course, in the process of his research he meets Rosie, who meets very few of his criteria, but teaches him that love does not follow rules.”  “lovely, funny, poignant book about a professor with Aspberger's (although somewhat unaware he has it) and how he tries to find love and companionship...it sticks with you long after you've read it...One reviewer wrote "Touching and laugh-out-loud funny -- think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets Silver Linings Playbook "  “New Zealand-based Professor on the spectrum creates questionnaire to find a wife. Ends up meeting someone who meets none of the criteria, but for whom he develops what he can only assume are feelings. He becomes obsessed with her quest to find her birth father.  A quick read (did it in a two days off and on), and a sweet story."

     

  • Time traveler's wife

    The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  Huge bestseller in the early 00s.  From Amazon:  "A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant."  They made a movie out of it with Rachel McAdams.

  • Watermelon

    Watermelon, by Marian Keyes. “Easy summer reading.” This Irish author has written a bunch of other books, too. (Don't forget Irish novelist Maeve Binchy - also good for beach reading).

  • Winter's Tale

    Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I am just getting into this book, and admit to having had to really soldier through the first 80 or so pages, despite the interesting characters and absolutely exquisite writing. Now I’m hitting a groove with it. I was going to wait until next year to recommend, but then I though, “why wait?” Read the Amazon reviews. It’s interesting how many people cite this as an “all time favorite.”