Waiting for Tom Hanks
Screenwriter Annie Cassidy is more than just your average romantic: she’s obsessed with rom-coms. She watches Sleepless in Seattle over and over again, dreaming of writing a hit screenplay to rival Nora Ephron’s, and of meeting her own leading man. Preferably, a man exactly like Tom Hanks’s character: a handsome, sensitive boat-owner. Annie’s sure that romance can solve all her problems. But when she does find herself in her own personal love story, the man she meets is nothing like she thought he would be. A meta rom-com that fans of the genre will adore.
The Reckless Oath We Made
Greenwood tells an unconventional modern fairy tale in this novel about a tough, 6-foot-tall, temperamental Kansas woman and Gentry, her (literal) knight in shining armor. Gentry is a shy, authentic knight with autism and a sword to boot. Two years ago he heeded an internal call to be Zee’s champion, and he’s kept watch over her ever since. But it isn’t until Zee faces a crisis that she actually turns to Gentry for help, and that’s when their story really begins.
The Wedding Party
Alexa’s getting married, which means her two best friends, Maddie and Theo, have to share bridal party responsibilities. The only problem is they hate each other. They’ve never gotten along, except for that one night neither one can stop thinking about. Still, the idea of dating each other is laughable! They just need to relieve some tension, which they do by sneaking off to be alone when Alexa is busy. But when the wedding date’s pushed up and Maddie and Theo realize they only have a few more months of hooking up, they’re shocked to find they’ve caught feelings. Could opposites be this attracted?
Ellie and the Harpmaker
Hazel Prior’s debut novel is a charming love story about a solitary harpmaker and the woman who walks into his life one day. Dan Hollis lives in a barn in the English countryside and prefers spending his time alone. When Ellie Jacobs takes a walk alone on the anniversary of her father’s death, she happens to find herself near Dan’s barn. She loves his collection so much, and Dan is so charmed by her, that he gives her a harp and stores it for her, telling her it’s ready whenever she’d like lessons. As Ellie gets to know Dan, she learns about his differences—like the way he always counts the 17 steps up to the practice room—and finds that she loves the way he sees the world.
In a romantic story of refreshing realism and depth, Michelle Hazen brings together two characters with some heavy baggage. Andra Lawler lives alone on her family’s Montana horse ranch, having isolated herself after a traumatic sexual assault in college. She hires just one person to help her out with training the foals: LJ Delisle, a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans. LJ is friendly, gentle, and a fabulous cook. When he sees that Andra is eating frozen TV dinners by herself, he offers cooking lessons and begins to bake his way into her heart. But just as the two are getting closer, he has to go home to deal with a family emergency, and Andra has to decide if she’s ready to leave the ranch to go with him.
Jen Deluca’s debut is a funny, enemy-to-lover romance about a woman who never pictured herself spending a summer as a wench at the Renaissance Faire in her sister’s small town. Nonetheless, Emily relocates for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident and gets roped in to volunteering with her niece. Simon, the serious teacher in charge of the volunteer group, has no time for Emily’s jokes; the faire is his family’s legacy. She thinks he’s way too uptight. But once they’re in costume, it’s like they’re different people. Now Emily’s starting to fantasize about staying in town long past the summer.
Ayesha At Last
Uzma Jalaluddin charms readers with a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, this time with a Muslim cast of characters. Ayesha is an aspiring poet turned teacher living with her family. Her younger cousin Hafsa is busy rejecting marriage proposals from her hundreds of suitors. But Ayesha doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who’s intelligent and good-looking but rubs her the wrong way with his judgmental attitudes and his conservative style of dress. And yet, when Khalid and Hafsa announce a surprise engagement amidst gossip about his family, Ayesha is compelled to uncover the truth…and face the truth about herself, too.
The Bride Test
Khai Diep’s autism means that he processes emotions differently from other people. But he’s afraid it means that maybe he doesn’t have any feelings at all. Khai’s unsure if he can feel the big, important emotions that people talk about: joy, grief, love. His family knows better. When he avoids getting into any relationships, his mother decides to find him the perfect bride in Vietnam. And she finds her in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City: Esme Tran, who sees the opportunity to meet a potential American husband as the good luck her family needs. But breaking the ice with a man who thinks he’s not capable of love turns out to be harder than she anticipated. What if she’s the only one falling?
A good rom-com can save any bad day with a comfortable time-worn plot, heartwarming romance, and lots of laughter. Rom-coms are an undying genre, and luckily, they’re available in book form, too! These love stories are sweet and funny, steamy and emotional. Read on for Sleepless in Seattle–style meet-cutes, contemporary fairy tale knights, wedding day comedies, Shakespearean lovers, the latest Pride and Prejudice retelling, and some adorably odd couples.
Featured Image: @angieacastro85/Twenty20