From romance novels to memoirs to guidebooks, your soulmate in book form awaits.
It’s never too early to start thinking about what to gift your special someone for Valentine’s Day. Or even if you don’t have a special someone, you can stock up on hopeful romances to distract yourself from the seemingly futile Covid-era dating debacles. Here are a few new and upcoming rom-coms and romance novels to get you and your honey in the mood for this non-cancellable holiday.
Best New Books About Love and Romance for Valentine’s Day
The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry
A budding physicist, Sophie, meets Jake during their first week at Yale. A shocking development leads her on an unexpected path with physics grounding her in reality. Jake helps her through concepts like unexpected grief and loss as she grapples with listening to her heart or her head.
This guidebook to pleasure, navigating menopause, reduced libido, and other later-in-life obstacles was written by international sex expert and author of 17 books, Tracey Cox. She also co-hosts a podcast with me called SexTok with Zibby and Tracey. These are time-tested tips for any age.
While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory
I am obsessed with the character Ben Stephens, who author Jasmine Guillory says appeared fully formed in her head. A charming Black ad exec who sweeps the movie star client, Anna Gardiner, off her feet at their very first meeting, Ben also deals with the news that he has a half-sister and struggles with whether or not to tell his brother. The sexual tension in some of these scenes is truly palpable. I couldn’t stop reading to find out what would happen next; the characters were so real I missed them after I put the book down.
Downton Abbey fans, meet your new favorite book. This sweeping tale of a governess, a stable boy, the daughter of the manor, and more inventive characters contains lust-filled scenes in the stables and notes of true love. Sometimes you have to look close to home to find what’s been waiting for you all along.
What Might Have Been by Holly Miller
If you believe in destiny and soulmates, this book is for you. One decision hangs in the balance as Lucy debates her career and personal life path. Seaside or London? Caleb or Max? The concept of what is “meant to be” is called into question in Holly Miller’s novel.
Morsels of Love: A Book of Poetry and Short Form by Carmen Micsa
Joy, laughter, wisdom, and inspiration mix in this visual collection of poems that will transport and heal this Valentine’s Day.
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley (1/25/22)
Balmy Florida is the backdrop for this rom-com about a writing duo whose first book topped the charts, followed by a fall-out. When Katrina and Nathan, the co-authors, are forced to hole up to write another romance, they might just find one off the page.
Heartbreak by Florence Williams (2/1/22)
Why does heartbreak physically hurt so much? Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and author of two prior books, Florence Williams was determined to find out after her 25-year marriage ended. A combination of science and self-help, this innovative book will have you rooting for Williams to understand her own body’s pain — and, by extension, all of ours. This will also be released as an innovative audiobook by Pushkin Industries.
Lease on Love by Falon Ballard (2/1/22)
A girl shows up on a brownstone stoop to rent a room in Brooklyn. Sadie, who longs to have a side-hustle as a florist, moves in with Jack who is grieving the loss of his parents, playing video games, and watching movies to cope. Does what happens in Brooklyn stay in Brooklyn?! Read to find out what this real estate match made in heaven brings.
Anonymous Sex edited by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan (2/1/22)
Twenty-seven authors wrote 27 erotica-themed stories in this collection — but none of the essays have names attached. The reader can only guess who wrote which essay. With contributors like Louise Erdich, Rebecca Makkai, and Jason Reynolds does it even matter? They’re all sure to be amazing.
The Liz Taylor Ring by Brenda Janowitz (2/1/22)
Lizzie Morgan and Richie Schneider had an epic romance that culminated in an 11-carat diamond ring that looked just like Elizabeth Taylor’s. After they passed away, their three adult children gather to investigate their parents’ ring only to discover all wasn’t exactly as it seemed.
Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay (2/8/22)
A newbie food writer in Los Angeles sends a fan letter to an established columnist in Seattle with a packet of saffron. The gesture unlocks a food-filled friendship that carries both women through the darkness to follow.
Almost Romance: A Memoir by Nancy Balbirer (2/1/22)
Nancy and her husband, Howard J. Morris, didn’t get together until their 50s, despite 32 years of knowing each other. A slew of Hollywood TV writers and the residents of a cursed apartment building conspired to turn this almost romance into an actual one.
Free Love by Tessa Hadley (2/1/22)
I absolutely adored this book. The story opens in the 1960s with Phyllis, a young, glamorous bougie mother outside London, sitting at her dressing table getting ready to host a small dinner party. Every scene in this elegantly written novel is incredibly visual, like a movie that’s come to life. Phyllis soon takes up with a dinner guest, leaving her children and husband behind, to pursue a more bohemian life, one she’s always wanted. The ending alone makes this a must-read.
Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happily Ever Afters edited by Jessica P. Pryde (2/1/22)
An intersectional anthology that examines love through Black readers, writers, and commentators, this essay collection contains moving thoughts on how Black romance has been depicted in various media. Contributors include Jasmine Guillory, Julie E. Moody-Freeman, Beverly Jenkins, and many others telling stories of social justice, personal experience, and more.