I recently read a historical romantic comedy and two contemporary romantic comedies, or rom-coms, and enjoyed reading all three books. If you’re in the mood for some light, entertaining reads, check out one or more of these titles.
Hugh Standish, an earl in 1820s England, has a matchmaking mother who lives in America with his stepfather. He doesn’t think he’d make a good husband, and invents a fiancée named Miranda to keep his mother from finding him a real wife. His letters about the fictional Miranda’s serious illness and father’s death have delayed any wedding plans, but Hugh has run out of excuses. When Hugh helps a lovely engraver collect money she’s owed, he is stunned to learn her name is Minerva. Quite soon, Miranda and two two younger sisters are visiting his country estate, along with an actress hired to play their mother, getting lessons in etiquette and fine dining, when his family arrives early. Hugh’s mother is surprised to learn that Miranda can’t ride a horse or sing, and is getting suspicious. Some very funny scenes delight the reader while Hugh and Miranda bicker, and of course, fall in love. Readers of Julia Quinn’s Smythe-Smith quartet will likely enjoy.
Kate Sweet, an event planner known for weddings with an “aww” moment, is asked by her best friend to fill in and organized horror writer Drake Matthews’ book launch. The pair are uncomfortable spending time together, especially after a disastrous introduction. Drake is secretly writing a historical romance, while super-organized Kate is struggling with her plans for the elaborate book party. While I’ve never heard of a book launch quite so elaborate, it makes for entertaining reading. Kate and Drake’s chemistry is fun to read about, especially as the both deny their mutual attraction.
Another pretend relationship turns friends into lovers when April Parker asks Mitch Malone for help with some home improvements so she can sell her house and move to a nearby city. Mitch, a high school gym teacher and coach, is known for his performances in a kilt at the local renaissance Faire, yet needs a pretend girlfriend for a big family dinner. When Mitch’s family unexpectedly visits the Faire, April steps in again, and somehow their relationship doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Well Played and Well Met are the earlier rom-coms set at Willow Creek’s Renaissance Faire.
Another top notch romantic comedy from the author of The Wedding Date and Royal Holiday. Olivia Monroe has just moved to Los Angeles from New York City to start a law firm with her friend Ellie. Staying in a hotel before she moves into a rental, she chats with the hotel bartender about the lack of traditional desserts on the menus of trendy restaurants. A handsome stranger chimes in, and Olivia and Max enjoy a flirtatious conversation. She is surprised to see Max on the new that night; he’s California’s junior senator. They reconnect at a fundraiser, and Max sends dessert to her office. He is smitten, but she’s hesitant, especially as a black woman, to date a politician. Max is impulsive where Olivia takes her time making decisions; except what to have for dessert. When the pair go public with their relationship, it’s predictably stressful. Both accomplished professionals in their late thirties, I enjoyed their witty banter and descriptions of Olivia’s work. She definitely takes center stage; Max and his work as a senator are downplayed. This was a really enjoyable light read. Readalikes include The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole, and Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert.
Four years after judge Dominic De Vere voted Sylvie Fairchild off Operation Cake when her unicorn cake exploded and showered him with edible glitter, the pair are rival business owners in Notting Hill, London. Sylvie has opened Sugar Fair, a bakery straight out of a fairy tale, across the street from the traditional De Vere’s, where delicious cakes are beautifully decorated, mostly in white or perhaps ivory. Sylvie is asked to fill in as a judge on Operation Cake, where she gets to know the stern and prickly judge as a fellow business owner, and they gradually become friends. When Princess Rose announces her engagement to John Marchmont, the pair are finalists to bake the royal wedding cake, and end up doing research on the royal family together, with witty banter, tender moments and irresistible chemistry. I thoroughly enjoyed Dominic and Sylvie’s story, and the audiobook narration of Billie Fulford-Brown. A second Palace Insiders is planned, featuring Dominic’s younger sister.
Ruthie Midona, 25, works in a retirement community and rarely leaves the grounds. She lives on the property and rarely leaves, except to shop at a local thrift store. When two wealthy 90-year-olds need a new personal assistant, Ruthie runs their errands until the community’s new owner suggests his son Teddy, who’s trying to save money for a tattoo parlor. Teddy is staying in the adjoining villa, and is clearly fascinated by Ruthie, when not busy with the hilarious requests made by the Parloni sisters. Temp Melanie is creating a dating profile for Ruthie, who hasn’t dated in years, and helps organize the residents’ holiday party. Opposites definitely attract for Ruthie and Teddy in this sweet and funny romantic comedy. An April LibraryReads pick, this is a funny and heartwarming story about how friends can become your found family. Readalikes include I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella and Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert.
The Tuesday Evening Book Group recently read and discussed The Tourist Attraction, a romantic comedy that begins the Moose Springs, Alaska series by Morgenthaler. This is the sequel; fun, heartwarming, and full of small town Alaska quirkiness. Rick Harding runs the local pool hall/pizza joint and caters only to locals, not tourists. He lives with his nephew Diego, who reluctantly works at the town’s resort. Unexpectedly, Rick falls for rich developer Lana Montgomery, who just might be interested. Lana and her friend Zoey have taken up the challenge to find the Santa Moose, a rogue moose who has it in for the town’s holiday decorations. Lana wants her family’s company to build luxury condos in Moose Springs, but the local residents aren’t very welcoming. This is a fun, light read. A third book, Enjoy the View, is expected in January. Mistletoe & Mr. Right will be published October 6.
A video that goes viral sparks the charming multicultural romance of Zaf and Dani. Zafir, a university security guard who runs a nonprofit for young athletes, is a former Rugby pro who couldn’t handle the media attention after a family tragedy. Danika teaches literature and is a Ph.D. student. A bisexual witch, her last relationship ended badly when she couldn’t commit. Dani brings Zaf coffee every morning, and they flirt mildly. A video of Zaf carrying Dani after an elevator mishap becomes a media sensation, which helps raise funds for Zaf’s foundation. Dani is looking for a friend with benefits, so they agree to fake date for a few weeks. Zaf falls hard for the surprisingly insecure academic, who he totally gets. Their very frank language is the spiciest part of this very engaging British contemporary romance. Their supportive families are a humorous bonus. Warmhearted and funny with witty dialogue, this is ultimately a joyful, rewarding read of two complex, diverse characters who belong together. The first Brown Sisters book, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is going on my to-be-read list. Book 3, Act your Age, Eve Brown, is expected next March.