From your standard bodice rippers to romance blended liberally with mystery, history, the supernatural and the just plain weird.
All In by Simona Ahrnstedt (Sweden)
Elegant, brilliant, driven to succeed in a man’s world, Natalia is curious about David’s unexpected invitation to lunch. Everyone knows that he is rich, dangerous, unethical; she soon discovers he is also deeply scarred. The attraction between these two is impossible, but the long Swedish nights unfold an affair that will bring to light shocking secrets, forever alter a family, and force both Natalia and David to confront their innermost fears and desires.
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (Peru)
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom.
Only Beloved by Mary Balogh (Wales)
Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true. For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?
Wedding Season by Katie Fjorde (England)
Sarah is a wedding planner hiding a rather inconvenient truth―she doesn’t believe in love. But as the confetti flutters away on the June breeze of yet another successful wedding season she finds herself agreeing to organize two more events, on the same day, and only two months away.
Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (Germany)
Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.
After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.
The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall (England)
Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.
A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson (Austria)
Eighteen-year-old Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be quite so unusual. Her life back in England with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn’t be called normal. but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, Ellen discovers an eccentric world occupied by wild children and even wilder teachers, experimental dancers, a tortoise on wheels, and the very handsome Marek, part-time gardener and fencing teacher. Ellen is instantly attracted to the mysterious gardener, but Hitler’s Reich is already threatening their peaceful world.
Leave Me Breathless by Jodi Ellen Malpas (England)
Ryan Willis has spent years in the protection business, a job that requires constant vigilance and quick thinking. His only chance to truly relax is at his secluded cabin in a small town where there are never any surprises. So when Ryan returns after an assignment and encounters a beautiful stranger, he isn’t only surprised, he’s also instantly intrigued.
The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley (Ireland)
As a child, Julia Forrester would linger in the hothouse of Wharton Park estate, where exotic flowers tended by her grandfather blossomed and faded with the seasons. Now, recovering from a family tragedy, she once more seeks comfort at Wharton Park, newly inherited by Kit Crawford, a charismatic man with a sad story of his own. But when a years-old diary is found during renovation work, the pair turn to Julia’s grandmother to hear the truth about the love affair that turned Wharton Park’s fortunes sour.
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh (New Zealand)
On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates. That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement to not look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.
Much Ado about You by Samantha Young (Scotland)
At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.