Let’s face it: as much as we all want to believe in true love, sometimes it’s hard to see the light when everything has been going awry. Whether you’re coping with loss, lingering in the aftermath of a breakup, or just experiencing a good dose of everyday loneliness, let these emotionally resonant romance novels pick you up and give you new hope this Valentine’s Day season. Brimming with charming characters, heartwarming humor, and second chances, these books are all sure to not only brighten your day but also leave you feeling hopeful . . . and wanting more. If you’re not careful, these titles, as sweet as they are sexy and as tender as they are exciting, may just heal your heart.
6 Heart-Mending Reads for Romance Fans
HEART BONES, by runaway bestselling author Colleen Hoover, is about finding love in the face of loss. Born into poverty, Beyah Grim has always fended for herself. Just when she has built a future she wants, a devastating tragedy takes it all away. Now, Beyah is left with no choice but to spend a summer on a Texas peninsula with her estranged father. There, she meets neighbor Samson who, despite coming from money, is obsessed, like Beyah, with all things macabre. Soon, the two start an affair and begin to discover the intensity of their bond.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us and It Starts with Us!
Moving, passionate, and unforgettable, Colleen Hoover's novel follows two young adults from completely different backgrounds embarking on a tentative romance, unaware of what the future holds.
After a childhood filled with poverty and neglect, Beyah Grim finally has her hard-earned ticket out of Kentucky with a full ride to Penn State. But two months before she’s finally free to change her life for the better, an unexpected death leaves her homeless and forced to spend the remainder of her summer in Texas with a father she barely knows.
Devastated and anxious for the summer to go by quickly, Beyah has no time or patience for Samson, the wealthy, brooding guy next door. Yet, the connection between them is too intense to ignore. But with their upcoming futures sending them to opposite ends of the country, the two decide to maintain only a casual summer fling. Too bad neither has any idea that a rip current is about to drag both their hearts out to sea.
In this TikTok sensation, Anastasia has always had one goal: to become a US Olympic figure skater. Now that she’s scored a full scholarship to college and is on a competitive figure skating team, it seems her dreams are finally becoming reality. That is, until a facilities issue forces her to share the ice with the hockey team and its captain Nate. Nate can tell Anastasia hates him, but as sparks start to fly and Anastasia’s skating partner runs into issues, the two must forge a whole new kind of relationship on the ice.
A TikTok sensation! Sparks fly when a competitive figure skater and hockey team captain are forced to share a rink.
Anastasia Allen has worked her entire life for a shot at Team USA. It looks like everything is going according to plan when she gets a full scholarship to the University of California, Maple Hills and lands a place on their competitive figure skating team.
Nothing will stand in her way, not even the captain of the hockey team, Nate Hawkins.
Nate’s focus as team captain is on keeping his team on the ice. Which is tricky when a facilities mishap means they are forced to share a rink with the figure skating team—including Anastasia, who clearly can’t stand him.
But when Anastasia’s skating partner faces an uncertain future, she may have to look to Nate to take her shot.
Sparks fly, but Anastasia isn’t worried…because she could never like a hockey player, right?
Simone, a high-strung pastry chef, loves her job at a prestigious cookbook publisher. But when the company insists that she modernize and start producing videos, Simone fails at her job for the first time ever. Enter Ray, the new test kitchen manager whose YouTube homebrewing videos are a runaway success. Even though Ray’s constant cheer grates on Simone’s nerves, the two are paired together to give Simone one last chance. Just as Simone thinks she may be softening toward Ray, they come out as nonbinary to mixed reactions—leaving Simone to figure out how to fight for the new kitchen manager.
A high-strung pastry chef’s professional goals are interrupted by an unexpected career transition and the introduction of her wildly attractive nonbinary kitchen manager in this deliciously fresh and witty queer rom-com.
Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect loaf of sourdough and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life.
To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray.
Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).
Five years after the death of her partner, artist Feyi thinks she’s ready for love again. After a passionate chance encounter, Feyi suddenly finds herself on a dream vacation to a tropical island at the behest of a curator who could change her art career forever. But while she’s started to date the man who seems to be the perfect guy, she can’t stop thinking about the one person she should stay away from: his father. Akwaeke Emezi mesmerizes readers in this intense and vivid portrait of love against the odds.
A New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and “one of our greatest living writers” (Shondaland) reimagines the love story in this fresh and seductive novel about a young woman seeking joy while healing from loss.
Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.
It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.
She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love?
Akwaeke Emezi’s vivid and passionate writing takes us deep into a world of possibility and healing, and the constant bravery of choosing love against all odds.
Hilarious and heartwarming, WHAT NORA KNEW is about one woman rediscovering what romance means. Thirty-nine-year-old divorcée Molly is a writer in New York who has been on assignment for her fair share of eccentric articles. Despite doing everything from posing nude in an art exhibit to sneaking vibrators into unexpected places, Molly doesn’t know how to take risks in her dating life and finds herself settling for a middle-aged chiropractor. But when she is assigned to write about romance in the style of Nora Ephron, Molly will discover there is one man who can truly go tête-à-tête with her.
In this novel, Molly Hallberg is almost forty, a divorced writer living in New York who wants her own column when she’s assigned to write a piece “in the style of Nora Ephron” about romance in the Big Apple. As she works her way through Nora’s work, she learns that her city cynicism might just be what’s holding her back.
Liv grew up starring in the hit teen television show Girl on the Verge. But after her father dies and her co-star love interest Ransom—who was also her best friend off screen—betrays her, Liv decides to cultivate a life of obscurity, only occasionally appearing in indie films. Years later, a streaming service hosts a show reunion and Liv is thrilled to find that not only has Ransom aged well, but also their chemistry is still intact. Now, with a reboot looming, Liv has to decide if returning to her past is the best direction for her future.
When two former teen stars reconnect at the reunion for their hit TV show, they discover their feelings for one another were not merely scripted in this charming and heartwarming novel perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne.
Liv Latimer grew up on TV.
As the star of the popular teen drama Girl on the Verge, Liv spent her adolescence on the screen trying to be as picture perfect as her character in real life. But after the death of her father and the betrayal of her on-screen love interest and off-screen best friend Ransom Joel, Liv wanted nothing more than to retreat, living a mostly normal life aside from a few indie film roles. But now, twenty years after the show’s premiere, the cast is invited back for a reunion special, financed by a major streaming service.
Liv is happy to be back on set, especially once she discovers Ransom has only improved with age. And their chemistry is certainly still intact. They quickly fall into their old rhythms, rediscovering what had drawn them together decades before. But with new rivalries among the cast emerging and the specter of a reboot shadowing their shoot, Liv questions whether returning to the past is what she needs to finally get her own happy ending.
Photo credit: iStock / Albert Cabezas