The #1 bestselling author of 'Book Lovers' and 'Happy Place' shares her favorites ahead of Valentine's Day
It should come as no surprise that romantic comedy titan Emily Henry loves love. Her bestselling books have become mainstays of the genre because of their relatable characters and true-to-life storylines but it's the chance to live vicariously through someone else's relationship ups and downs that keeps readers coming back again and again.
“There’s just something about a good love story. For me, nothing beats it. The experience of falling in love is so all-consuming, so visceral and the best kind of reading feels much the same," Henry explains. "The rest of the world just falls away. The book becomes your reality for a while, and through it, you can learn and grow and change, as if the characters’ experiences were your own. Love stories, I believe, have so much to teach us. Plus they’re just plain fun.”
Henry's newest romantic comedy, Funny Story, hits shelves this April. But in the meantime, PEOPLE asked for her favorite books on love to tide us all over. Here are Henry's reviews of her top five romantic reads.
'The Devil in Winter' by Lisa Kleypas
Evie is a wallflower in dire straits. Sebastian is a cash-poor viscount with a rakish reputation. To protect her ailing father’s business interests from the clutches of his conniving family, Evie proposes a marriage of convenience to Sebastian.
Kleypas is one of the queens of the historical romance genre, and she’s crafted something especially irresistible in this story of two polar opposites who might just hold the key to unlock each other’s true potential.
'Before I Let Go' by Kennedy Ryan
Years ago, after a heartbreaking loss, Yasmen and Josiah’s marriage fell apart. The two have managed to stay close—sharing both their restaurant business and their parenting duties—but when it comes time for them to try to move on, they’re forced to reckon with everything that remains unsaid between them.
It’s a sexy, mature love story about the hard work it takes for two people to grow and heal together across a shared life. This one is beautiful, heartfelt and life-affirming.
'One Last Stop' by Casey McQuiston
August, 23, is drifting somewhat aimlessly through her life in New York City when she meets Jane, the enigmatic and beautiful woman August shares her train commute with. But Jane has a secret that challenges everything August thinks she knows about this world: Jane has come loose from time. Specifically, from the 1970s.
What follows is as much a mystery and adventure as it is a love story. One Last Stop is a perfectly cozy, cinematic and magical read.
'Thank You for Listening' by Julia Whelan
Audiobook narrating star Julia Whelan crafts a delightfully meta, heart-squeezing, face-heating love story about two audiobook narrators paired together to record a famous romance novelist’s final book. It’s ridiculously romantic, with fully drawn characters and charming shades of You’ve Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner, while also feeling like something that’s never been done before. One of my top reads of 2022. As an added bonus, Whelan narrates the audiobook version, which is a total treat.
'A Love Song for Ricki Wilde' by Tia Williams
Ricki Wilde is an artist in a family of businesspeople, none of whom understand her desire to succeed on her own terms or her passion for crafting bespoke floral arrangements. When an opportunity to open a flower shop in Harlem arises, Ricki pounces on the chance. As she falls in love with her new life and home, she keeps crossing paths with a mysterious man: A musician she feels an inexplicable pull to, despite all of his secrets and idiosyncrasies.
Since Tia Williams’ 2021 smash hit, Seven Days in June, I’ve been eagerly awaiting her next release, and somehow, she’s outdone herself in this sensual, passionate, genre-bender of a love story.
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