WSIRN Ep 203: What happens in book club stays in book club

WSIRN Ep 203: What happens in book club stays in book club

In today’s episode, I talk with Emily Carter, a Florida reader who thought she was too smart to be reading certain kinds of books—and, as you’ll hear, my own experience here was quite similar. But then Emily entered a season when she was busy and stressed, and she discovered that the genre she’d once categorically dismissed was full of books that were exactly what her lackluster reading life needed.

As a fellow repentant book snob, I loved our conversation about what we miss out on as readers when we seal ourselves off from whole sections of the bookstore, how our misperceptions can be corrected with the help of our fellow readers, and how we can take smart chances on books outside our readerly comfort zones. 

Let’s get to it!

You can connect with Emily on her blog and on Goodreads.


Click here to read the full episode transcription (opens in a new tab).

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More fun book recommendations happen on our Instagram feed where we use the hashtag #readerrecs to gather your recommendations for a reader who’s looking for a little literary inspiration.

Books mentioned in this episode:

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Books mentioned:

The Bride Test, by Helen Hoang
Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Rose Garden, by Susanna Kearsley
The Worth Saga, by Courtney Milan
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
The Van Apfel Girls are Gone, by Felicity McLean
The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay
The Bromance Book Club, by Lyssa Kay Adams
John Adams, by David McCullough
Abigail Adams, by Woody Holton
Grand Union, by Zadie Smith
Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat
Everything Inside, by Edwidge Danticat
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Also mentioned:

Pop Culture Happy Hour’s romance episode
Sarah Wendell’s book blog

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What do YOU think Emily should read next? Is there a genre you intially wrote off, but came to love over time?

80 comments | Comment

80 comments

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  1. Georgia says:

    I loved this episode because I was just as book snobby as Anne and Emily about romance until I accidentally read a capital R romance called Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips a few years ago and loved it (it was the non-Fabio cover that tricked me, the title probably should be given it away though). I have to say I love the newer non-model modern romance covers and also how many great, heartwarming, and banter-filled happy ending stories there are!

  2. Johna says:

    I’m so thankful romance novels are getting their due! I was so disheartened during/after the 50 shades phenomenon and terrified of fan fiction/erotica being the only subcategory people related to romance as a whole, but now I feel like maybe it opened some doors? I don’t know what started the conversation but I’m glad it did.
    I’m wondering how she feels about books by Sherry Thomas? Is she excited about the Bridgerton Netflix series? Also, I would love to recommend to ANYONE the Lucy Parker London celebrities series. It’s about the theater scene in London. There are four out now-#2 is my favorite! Also, Kate clayborn has a series called The Chance of a Lifetime and all three are fantastic.

      • Emily Carter says:

        Johna- I adore the Lucy Parker London Celebrities series! I haven’t gotten to the last one yet, but Act Like It is my favorite. Another of my favorite series is Fandom Hearts by Cathy Yardley. I sort of relate that one to the Lucy Parker theater scene, because it’s set in the world of Geek Girl gamer/fan culture and each heroine has a roommate/best friend connection with each other. So much fun!
        Also Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite authors, and I felt sort of remiss that I completely forgot to mention her while talking to Anne. Her writing in her romances is so smart and witty and sexy. I’m working my way through the Lady Sherlock series too.
        I will definitely check out the Kate Clayborn series! And Recurison!

      • Emily Carter says:

        Johna- I also wanted to say that I am completely with you on the 50 Shades influence. I read the first book on a recommendation of a non-romance reader and wasn’t turned off by the erotica but rather by the fairly basic writing and plot structure. I don’t think it turned me off from romance at the time, but any romance novel I’ve read and finished since has to meet the same standards of good writing I’d look for in any other book.

  3. Amanda says:

    I loved this episode. I’ve been a romance reader almost since I started reading, and while I read some of every genre and read a lot of non-romance, until recently I tried to hide my love of the genre because of the judgments people seemed to make about romance readers. I’m looking forward to reading The Bromance Book Club! It sounds like a fun take on the genre. I think Emily might enjoy Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore. The heroine is a student at Oxford and a suffragist in 1879 England, and I enjoyed this story very much.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Amanda- I’m reading that one right now! I love the suffragist angle and how the hero and heroine are drawn to each other despite their protestations.

    • Taryn Peine says:

      Amanda – I just finished this book and couldn’t read it fast enough. Any other recommendations? I am new to this genre!

  4. Kira Buono says:

    Bookish Serendipity: when you buy John Adams by David McCullough on Saturday and it’s talked about on the following WSIRN episode. 💕

  5. Sophie says:

    I loved what your guest said about Elinor Oliphant. If it at all makes a difference, that book was hard for me to read, but I really enjoyed it on audio. But I definitely agree that it seemed the ending was too rushed and I wanted more about HOW Elinor moved on from her trauma.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Sophie- if I’m not into a book I rarely read all the way to the end so this one was definitely a book that I finished and then had to really think about why it didn’t sit well with me. I can see how audio would be a totally different experience with it too.

  6. Patriciamethe&gmail.com says:

    I too enjoyed “Evvie Drake” recently. I REALLY enjoyed “The Flatshare” as well as a pair of new-to-me historical romance novels by Laura Wood – “A Sky Painted Gold” and “Under A Dancing Star” both of which might be classified as YA. Both are DELIGHTFUL.

  7. Patricia says:

    I too enjoyed “Evvie Drake” recently. I REALLY enjoyed “The Flatshare” as well as a pair of new-to-me historical romance novels by Laura Wood – “A Sky Painted Gold” and “Under A Dancing Star” both of which might be classified as YA. Both are DELIGHTFUL.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Patricia- Laura Wood is completely new to me so I’m going to check those out! The covers look gorgeous and the description of A Sky Painted Gold kind of reminds me of I Capture the Castle, a book I loved.

      • Patricia says:

        A Sky Painted Gold is DEFINITELY reminiscent of I Capture the Castle. I’d describe it as ICTC meets The Great Gatsby (the era + setting but not sad or depressing like Gatsby!). And yes – the covers are GORGEOUS. I hope you enjoy!

  8. Katie P says:

    A question for the romance readers out there. How can you tell if a book is going to be more open or more closed door?

    Any good closed door recommendations?

    • Jill W. says:

      I don’t know many contemporary romances that are closed door (you might google that) but I have recently read The Unhoneymooners. It was cute and not very explicit. Also, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

      Classic regency romances are necessarily closed door for the most part. Georgette Heyer’s books are excellent examples of the genre.

      • Emily Carter says:

        Evvie Drake Starts Over was closed door, also My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan which I read last year. It’s more of a Happy-For-Now romance set at Oxford. The London Celebrities by Lucy Parker are not very explicit either.
        I haven’t read Kristan Higgins personally, but she is much beloved and writes closed door, smallt-town romances.

        • Katie P says:

          Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve been on a similar trajectory with owning my love of sweet, satisfying stories – I love watching romcoms and want to try reading them to:).

  9. Suzanne says:

    My favorite non-fiction writer is Erik Larson. His books read like novels. Dead Wake, about the Lusitania, is my favorite so far, but I just found out yesterday that he has a new one coming out in April about Churchill. I have a feeling that one may be going to the top of my list.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Suzanne, Anne and I actually talked a little bit about Erik Larson but it didn’t make it into the show. I am slowly getting through the audiobook of Devil in the White City and that is the kind of non-fiction historical I enjoy because it reads like a novel.

  10. Mary H says:

    Emily, I may have finally found my book twin on WSIRN. I, too, am a long-time Kearsley and historical fiction fan. I loved listening to your description of The Rose Garden. My comfort read is Marianna, also by Kearsley as you already know.

    I highly recommend Edenbrooke and Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson. Both closed-door, regency romances feature a heroine finding herself amidst family drama. Also, a great audio and YA title with similar themes is Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Mary – I think Kearsley is sometimes overlooked in favor of flashier authors, but her stories are just so lovely. I’m trying to work my way through her whole catalog. Have you read Bellewether yet? I haven’t heard of Julianne Donaldson, but I’m adding both of those to my to-read list, thanks for the recommendation!

  11. Angela says:

    I think I finally found my book twin. Historical fiction is my go-to, but I also love Barbara Kingsolver’s novels and enjoy romance novels when I need some lighter (fluff with substance, as I call it). I used to be embarrassed reading romance novels, so much so that I wouldn’t put them on my Good Reads feed. Jenny Colgan and Sarah Addison Allen are my favorite fluff-with-substance authors.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Angela and Mary- Yay for book twins!! I think Kearsley, Allen and Jenny Colgan are all very much romance authors (all closed door too if you prefer it) that have such a strong sense of place in their books. I’m just right there with the heroine when I read it. Kearsley especially was one of my favorite authors before I thought of myself as a romance reader, and then I realized I had always been reading romance so why was I embarrassed?!

  12. Jill W. says:

    If you read romance you have probably already read Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books- she’s so good! I also love Jennifer Cruisie.

    Have you read Rosamunde Pilcher? I recently read the Shell Seekers and I was literally mad every moment that I had to do something other than read that book. It’s historical fiction that really engages you in the characters’ lives.

    Katherine Graham’s autobiography is a great nonfiction pic. She had a fascinating life.

    For short stories (very short in this case) I cannot recommend highly enough Heating and Cooling By Beth Ann Fennelly. After I read it, I wanted to by a case of the book and put one in the hands of every woman I know. It’s very slim and completely brilliant.

    • Jill W. says:

      Oh, and one more short story recommendation that might be obvious if you have already read her, but I definite TBR if you have not: Flannery O’Connor. She’s widely considered to be the queen of this format.

      • Emily Carter says:

        Jill- Those are all great recommendations! I haven’t read Susan Elizabeth Phillips (yet!) but love Crusie. I feel like she’s a really sassy and funny writer. The Shell Seekers is on my kindle right now, waiting for the right time to get started. And actually Flannery O’Connor is the one short story collection I read in college and kept on my shelves, but only one volume so I have to revisit her.
        I will definitely check out Beth Ann Fennelly’s stories and the Katharine Graham autobiography as I love investigative journalism.

  13. geri says:

    I heard that SAME Pop Culture Happy Hour episode and had that SAME experience!! A couple books I have loved since are The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – I liked the style these authors put on these particular tropes and they have had staying power for me!
    Also, Sarah Addison Allen comes to mind when combining romance or a love story and magical realism. I feel like this is something she’s familiar with already 😁

      • Emily Carter says:

        Geri- Yes, Sarah Addison Allen is so so good! I really liked The Wedding Date and was less crazy about The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, but I’m really looking forward to her newest book, Royal Holiday.
        I think it was the same summer they did the episode of the podcast that NPR published a readers’ favorites list of romance novels that I still have bookmarked. Any chance you’ve gone back to that one like I have to check things off the list? 🙂

  14. I’m always here for romance discussion! Emily, there are some really great romance anthologies out there to help you get your short story fix—the Rogue anthologies, especially. I also think Suleikha Snyder is an absolute master of the short form. Dil Or No Dil is a collection of her short stories.

    Since it seems like you might read more historical romance, I’d suggest Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series, Jeannie Lin’s The Dragon And The Pearl, Olivia Waite’s The Lady’s Guide To Celestial Mechanics, and any of Sherry Thomas’s historicals. Ooh, and Cat Sebastian and KJ Charles too.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Leigh, Thanks for the recommendations! I have heard such great things about Tikka Chance on Me by Snyder but didn’t know she also had a short story collection. I looked back at my favorite reads and found that I read more contemporaries than I thought, but I prefer books that either have a unique setting (like London theater) or have a heroine I can relate to but her life looks different than mine (Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair comes to mind).
      I have read the first book in The Loyal League series which was just fantastic. And Sherry Thomas (along with Tessa Dare and Theresa Romain) were authors I wish I had mentioned when talking to Anne because they are other favorites of mine! The other authors are all ones I know by name, but haven’t read yet. KJ Charles feels like a big blind spot for me, so I’m up for her books next. Any chance you have a good recommendation of which one to start with?

  15. Cathy says:

    I have not listened to the podcast yet but, I could relate to what you said about her. I like a challenge in reading, but I also stop during the summer and read some romance and summer beach stories. I feel better come fall and ready for college football and great reads that require my mind and some research. I just purchased Water Dancer by Ta Nehisi Coates. The Book of the Month Club said it is a challenging read. Of course, I also bought 2 more of the 5 they offer. I love Book of the Month!!!! All I ask for Christmas is/are books.

  16. Abigail M says:

    I haven’t read Eleanor Oliphant, but I have an idea what the twist is. What you said about “a pretty dark twist that needed more time and consideration” reminded me of both Where the Crawdads Sing and Transcription (Crawdads moreso). In both cases it seemed like the author wanted to end the book with a SHOCKING PLOT TWIST that left little space for reflection or processing. I hated both.

  17. Maria Tarar says:

    Hi Anne –
    I really really enjoyed this episode. I can’t wait to read The Bromance book and I am signing my kids up for Literati. Will report back on how that goes.

  18. angie kading says:

    Hi there!
    If I had not had time to listen to a podcast yet and was just looking at the show notes/books mentioned how could I tell which three books were recommended by Anne? Would it always be the last three books on the list?

    Thanks a bunch!!

    • Anne says:

      Hi Angie, if you look at the book list you can see the hearts by the loves and the triangle by the unloved. We try to make the designations subtle because some readers consider this info spoiler-y, but they’re there. However, we don’t share the recommended books here in the show notes, because A LOT of readers consider this to be spoiler territory.

      Our patrons can access our master spreadsheet at any time: that’s where we carefully track each guest’s loves and hates, as well as my specific recommendations for each guest. Get more info here.

  19. Marie says:

    Hi Emily – It was very timely that you explained about “Eleanor Oliphant” – I’m about to get on a plane and I was looking for some fluffy reading – thanks for telling me that was not going to be it!
    My recommendation is “I Capture the Castle”, which someone mentioned above. A British classic, it has a charming, endearing female protagonist who discovers herself (and some romance along the way) all set with quirky characters on a crumbling cottage on a large estate.
    By the way, I changed my own thoughts about romance novels after hearing an episode of the NPR talk show “1A.” I figured you and the folks commenting here would be interested, as there are several authors featured and lots of book recommendations: https://the1a.org/shows/2018-09-13/just-cant-help-falling-in-love-with-romance-novels

    • Marie says:

      Emily – what I meant to say about Eleanor Oliphant was… I was about to put it in my suitcase and your interview made me realize that I needed to pack something else. 😀

  20. Emily and Anne, I’m always late responding to these podcasts because I listen on my way home from teaching evening theatre classes at the local community college.

    I must confess to being a romance snob too, but for different reasons than both of you. My mom introduced me to the genre when I was in junior high or high school. Barbara Cartland and the Harlequin romance type were what she gave me. After ten or fifteen of these books I said to myself, “These are all the same,” and I gravitated toward historical fiction vowing never to read romance novels again.

    Later I discovered LaVyrle Spencer because of the TV movies made of her books and I loved her books. She’s retired from writing but you might enjoy her books.

    Another historical/romance series you might like is *The Circle of Ceridwen* series by Octavia Randolph. These books begin in England in the 800s or 900s. The series has lots of intelligent, well-educated women, beginning with Ceridwen who are powerful and influential during trying times. There are Vikings and battles and historical figures included in the stories. But the thing I loved most was the fact that the books shattered so many of my misconceptions about what I thought were the dreary middle ages.

    I hesitate to recommend this next series because it might be triggering for some Christians, but I loved *The Expected One* and the sequel novels, *The Book of Love* and *The Poet Prince* by Kathleen McGowan. The themes are similar to *The DaVinci Code* but much more intricately woven with historical figures, places, art and architecture. Maureen Pascal, the main character in the present goes on quite a journey of self-discovery and a renewal of her faith while studying and writing about several historical figures, including Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Matilda of Tuscany, and Lorenzo De’Medici.

    I hope you check some of these out. Enjoy!

  21. Caroline says:

    The pitcher in “Evvie Drake” had the yips, which is a catch-all phrase used when a high level athlete suddenly loses their coordination for an unexplained reason.

    I really enjoyed the discussion about romance novels and I enjoyed looking at them through the lens that Anne and Emily are using. But, in my own reading life, I often can’t get through them. I think it’s a pacing issue. “Evvie Drake” seemed like the perfect book for me because it combined baseball and a starting-over narrative. But I couldn’t finish it. It moved so slowly and I grew really tired of Evvie and her endless self-flagellation over her perceived sins against her late husband. I really wanted to love that book and I just couldn’t. I had a similar experience with “The Winter Sea” which Emily briefly mentioned. I love a novel with a strong sense of place and I was initially pulled in by the intriguing premise of the protagonist writing the story of her ancestor unbeknownst to her. However, about midway through, the story stalled out and I couldn’t make myself finish it.
    I guess I’m wondering if there are romance novels with the qualities Anne and Emily were discussing and also a faster pace? Or is the relaxed, methodical pacing just a tenet of the genre?

    • BarbN says:

      You could try some of the romantic suspense authors– Sandra Brown has a bunch, or Heather Graham, and I think some of Julie James would qualify, like Practice Makes Perfect or Something About You. Elizabeth Lowell’s Donovan Brothers books are pretty good (although it’s been awhile since I read them), and the first four “Crazy” books by Tara Janzen are good (first one is Crazy Hot, I think. But I thought they really fell off after the first few). Nora Roberts writes trilogies and standalone novels, and if you’ve never read one of her books, you might be surprised– she gets a lot of grief but she’s actually a pretty good writer. The trilogies are a little too much for me, but some of her standalones (like Chasing Fire, The Witness, or Black Hills) are really good romantic suspense.

      You could also try novellas, which because they are shorter, are less likely to stall out. The Romance Writers of America include a “Best Romance Novella” in their annual RITA awards, scroll through here: https://www.rwa.org/Online/Online/Awards/RITA_Awards/Past_RITA_Winners.aspx When it gets a little closer to Christmas, try “Hot Toy” a romantic suspense novella by Jennifer Crusie, about a librarian who runs into her ex while trying to hunt down the season’s hot toy for her nephew for Christmas.

      • Caroline says:

        Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll check them out. I didn’t even realize that was a sub genre. It sounds more my speed. I hate to dismiss a while category of books out of hand!

  22. Beth Langley says:

    I have the summer reading guide to thank for re-opening my mind to romance novels. Enjoyed those and Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors and The Unhoneymooners this summer. It felt like they had a little more substance than most of the ones I remember reading years ago.

  23. Kim says:

    The desire for more short stories and reference to The Interpreter of Maladies made me immediately think about Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam. I read it on my daily commute and couldn’t put it down when I got to work. It is linked short stories that won’t always have the happy endings, but I found it completely engrossing.

  24. Amy says:

    Excellent episode! Looking forward to trying out Bromance Bookclub. I loved the short story recommendations in this episode & would love to hear more great short story collections 🙂

  25. Jaime says:

    If you enjoy romance with a solid story line – I would HIGHLY recommend the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. I would ready them in order, starting with book #0.5 Beauty and the Mustache (which is Book 4 in a different series).

    • Amy H says:

      I’m a big fan of Marianna Zapata. She writes very funny, slow burn romances (similar to closed doo). And after reading so many romances that I tend to get bored of the similarities, I find she does hers differently.

  26. Gina says:

    I really enjoyed this episode! I guess I didn’t realize I was reading “Romance” novels. How would you define a romance novel? Would you consider Katherine Center a romance writer? I’ve really been enjoying her books recently. I always think of romances as the ones with the steamy covers or the Harlequin romances that my Mom used to read…also the mass market paperback books. I definitely prefer more closed door books than those that rely on steamy scenes. I am glad that the covers (and titles) are more discrete recently. I just feel more comfortable reading them in public and in front of my family.

  27. Anna says:

    Emily – three romance books I recently loved were the Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, Well Met by Jen DeLuca, and Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey!

  28. BarbN says:

    Great episode. I go in waves on romance novels, I won’t read one for months, and then suddenly I’m in the mood and I read three in a row. I think something that doesn’t get talked about enough is how many independent booksellers refuse to carry romance novels. The only bookstore that is local for me is run by such a bunch of snobs that I can barely stand to go in there. It’s too bad because I’d like to buy books locally — like most WSIRN listeners, I buy a lot of books, and only a small percentage of them are romance novels.

  29. Beverly says:

    I have enjoyed the romantic suspense books of Joanna Bourne, specifically her Spymasters series. Spies falling in love during the Napoleonic Wars. Humor, romance, thrills, and happy endings. They’re not published in historic timeline order, so go to her website and see where the books would fall on the timeline, if you prefer to read them that way.
    I’m enjoying the Veronica Speedwell and the Lady Julia Grey mystery series, both by Deanna Raybourn, in part because of the romance between the main characters (smart women in 19th century Britain) and their problematic but thrilling male paramours.
    I’m following the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas, too, and enjoying it. One by her that is not in that series, but which I really enjoyed, is Not Quite a Husband (2009). British lady doctor and brilliant, sexy husband almost divorce over unresolved serious issues, but get caught up in a rebellion in India during the late 1800s, which helps them through their personal conflict. Family members from both sides are in supporting roles.
    I’ve read the Kristan Higgins series centered on a small town in upstate NY with a vineyard (Blue Heron) and it fits the bill for lighter entertainment with likeable characters and humor.
    Finally, I enjoyed Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (2018), a nom de plume for two female writers who publish books together. This sweet romance concerns two people who grew up together, loved, and were broken apart by circumstances, only to reconnect many years later.
    I agree that it is really tough to find intelligently written romances with compelling stories and satisfying endings! I, too, stayed away from this genre for too long because the stuff I was introduced to when I was a young adult did not satisfy and often repelled. Thanks for all of the recommendations here!

  30. Amber says:

    Emily, I love that Anne recommended Abigail Adams books. I am currently reading Those Who Love by Irving Stone which is a biographical novel of John and Abigail Adams. Stone does years of research for his novels and much of the dialogue is taken from letters and papers of his subjects. I love Stone’s writing for learning more about historical figures in a digestible way. Lust For Life, about Van Gogh I think is my favorite.

    • Emily Carter says:

      Amber- I have that one on my shelf! My mom gave me a signed copy of Those Who Love years ago and it’s been sitting there since. I did get the biography that Anne recommended and it would be fun to read them back to back and compare.

  31. Sue says:

    Awwww, I thought the Bromance Club book sounded really good, but the “lots of profanity” part was a deal-breaker. Thanks for warning me. Also, I wish these books were written by MEN—instead they are about men as we women WISH them to be…(See Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie Fraser creation). Oh well, we can dream!
    I, too, was a romance snob, in particular the Harlequins and bodice rippers; I just skip over all these small books at book sales. But if someone recommended a really good, well-written one, I’d be all over it. So this is good. I mean, who doesn’t love a love story?? A happy ending?? That’s what makes the world go round! When my sisters and I were teens, we loved Madeline Brent’s Tregaron’s Daughter, set in Cornwall, and Clare Darcy’s Regency novels, imitating Georgette Heyer. Also the Poldark novels, lots of romance, as well, as OF COURSE, Jane Austen, all romances! Princess Bride, Scarlet Pimpernel, Gone with the Wind, The Thorn Birds, The Far Pavilions….oh wait, some of those don’t have happy endings….

  32. Katharine says:

    I lean more towards contemporary romance or “chicklit” than historical, and some of my favourite authors in that genre are Sophie Kinsella (though interestingly I DON’T enjoy her ‘Shopaholic’ series, but love her standalone novels), Catherine Alliott, Jill Mansell, Lucy Parker, and sometimes Meg Cabot (she’s a bit hit and miss).

    I also recently loved The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (though I hated her second book, 99% Mine), and Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

    If you would consider YA romance, Jenn Bennett’s books are great, especially “Alex Approximately”.

    • Christie says:

      I just read The Red, White and Royal Blue and the Flatshare in succession and really enjoyed them. Clearly, I need to next dive into The Hating Game

  33. Rebecca says:

    Emily, While you are waiting on the Bromance Book Club to come out, pick up a copy of Sheila Roberts book What She Wants. It was published in 2013 and has been a favorite romance reread because it is so different.

  34. Shannon says:

    I also love romance and historical fiction. I thought of Roses by Leila Meacham and also to include the time travel and historical aspects the Discovery of witches series by Deborah Harkness . The Time Travelers Wife might be a good one for you too. All books I Loved!!

  35. here’s a biography suggestion for Emily:
    Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall it doesn’t have the happy ending of a romance but her life and times were fascinating. Marshall’s writing is accessible and she pulled me in to Fuller’s story.

  36. Emily Schuldt says:

    I loved this episode! Since Emily mentioned that she wanted to read more biography type books but liked stories that focused on relationship I wonder if she would enjoy reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan. I just finished reading it and really enjoyed learning more about the remarkable woman Joy Davidman and her relationship with CS Lewis.

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