historical fiction books | historical romance books

Summer Romance

By Edie Cay
June 16, 2020

It’s a strange year, and it doesn’t feel like the usual Summer Beach Reads are going to cut it this year. I’m not against fun, light-hearted reads. We all need them. But some of those reads can do so much more.

In fact, it’s what makes Romance novels such a revolutionary genre, and why it is the perfect summer reading for this time of change and upheaval.

Hear me out—I’m going to go get my soapbox, brb.

Romance is the whipping boy of the publishing industry. And it isn’t just the business end that feels that way, mainstream readers help flog too. Why does the same person who has no qualms about Instagramming the latest James Patterson paperback, bag on the latest Nora Roberts? They are both genre fiction, tailored to reader expectation. Nora Roberts even writes as JD Robb, a pseudonym for her thrillers.

Every genre has expectations, that’s why they are classified as genre. Mysteries require a puzzle, whether a dead body or a locked room, and thrillers require threat of danger, be it mortal or conspiracy.

Romance has two reader expectations:

#1 There is a romantic plot

#2 There is a Happily Ever After.

Ohh, but people groan about Happily Ever After. So cheesy. Really? Just like in mysteries and thrillers where the bad guy gets caught? Good triumphs over evil? So. Cheesy.

Or is that in a Romance novel, the reader knows that the heroine is going to win. Depending on the book, she gets the promotion AND the guy. Or she puts the bad guy behind bars AND she gets the guy. You know, just like every other genre book, except that the Heroine/Hero wins in both the external plot and the internal plot.

More and more, Romance is pushing boundaries. Even so much as roping in male readers and writers. You can find the classic kinds of romance novels, where you have some alpha hero pushing to dominate the female character (referred to by readers as Alphaholes). But you can also find plenty of stories with a love story between two people who are soft and loveable, with low-stakes conflict. They are set all over the globe, sometimes in space. Sometimes the heroes and heroines are werewolves or were-bears or witches. Sometimes they’re hidden artists who live as supers in the apartment buildings they manage. There are bakers and bikers, rock stars and computer programmers, writers and inventors, dukes and underground vice kings and queens.

I urge you to give Romance a chance, especially if the first thing you thought when you read the word romance was something vaguely about Fabio. He hasn’t been on a cover for thirty years. Get with it.

So let me share some of the romance novels that are on my list for this summer:

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (out in August)

A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean

To Have and To Hoax by Martha Waters

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Denmore

Storytelling is not only how we live in other worlds, it’s how we empathize with people other than ourselves. Choose your leisure reading with care, because it is how you learn to walk in another’s shoes.

Edie Cay
Written by Edie Cay

Edie Cay writes award-winning feminist Regency Romance about women’s boxing and relatable misfits. She is a member of the Regency Fiction Writers, the Historical Novel Society, ALLi, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can drop her a line on Facebook and Instagram @authorediecay or find her on her website,

View Edie’s PLW Profile

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