Back in July, Megan Frampton wrote about The Ten Romance Novels You Should Read (An Opinionated Opinion). Since I read mainly contemporary books, I am weighing in with 10 Contemporary Novels You Should Read—and yes, it is an opinionated opinion.
10. 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
Why? Not only is Ms. Macomber's story to publication extremely inspiring, especially since she is dyslexic, but a new television series—Cedar Cove—is currently airing on Hallmark based on this book. She also was a frontrunner in writing interconnected books and small-town romances.
9. Sarah’s Child by Linda Howard
Why? It is an perfect example of the '70s and 80s collective consciousness that love forgives most everything; or, in other words, love means you never have to say you are sorry. It is a great discussion book on when the hero's actions cross the line.
8. Can’t Hurry Love by Molly O’Keefe
Why? A great comparison to Sarah’s Child. Tortured hero in the 21st century, but the heroine’s motivation for staying in the relationship has changed. I love the juxtaposition of comparing it with Sarah's Child.
7. A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith
Why? A book rich in heritage, history, family, and enduring love. This book has it all — humor, angst, friends to lovers, and a reunited couple! The setting is rich with Southern traditions.
6. Something About You by Julie James
Why? A refreshing story with a wonderful lack of gay-character stereotyping. Which is reason enough to put it on the list, but the book is also entertaining, funny, and sexy.
5. Ain’t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Why? Susan Elizabeth Phillips gives her hero and heroine some of the most unlikeable traits—pompousness, and selfishness, not to mention some cruelty and spitefulness—but in the end we care about Sugar Beth and Colin. Textbook-perfect example of an author taking unlikeable characters and redeeming them.
4. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Why? Best of Chick-Lit. Forget your preconceived ideas of Chick-lit stories. This book is witty, amusing, and touching.
3. Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners
Why? Story that poignantly illustrates that with perseverance and patience, the nice guy can get the girl. I think of it as a modern-day version of When Harry Met Sally.
2. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Why? Bittersweet can be an ugly word for romance readers. But this book has the perfect blend of poignancy and optimism. Plus one of the most realistic set-ups between an adoptee and her biological mother.
1. Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Why? With over 200 published romance novels, it is difficult to just pick one Nora Roberts book, but Vision in White is unique in that with this story Ms. Roberts returns to her roots of writing a simple love story. The hero, Carter Maguire, has a clumsy-cute meeting with the heroine, and later his guileless courting skills will bring a smile to your face.
Leigh Davis, Blogger