With the never-ending snow and ice these days, hanging out poolside with a book and a tropical drink might seem light years away. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in some quality reading time now – and February is a perfect month to curl up with a romantic novel, a glass of wine and some chocolate. Whether you want a sweet Western, an unlikely modern love story or an escape to Paris, check out some fantastic new releases for your Valentine’s Day.
“The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris” by Jenny Colgan: This charming UK book including recipes is now available in the States from Sourcebooks. After an accident working in a chocolate factory, Anna is confined to a hospital bed, confused about what happened to her toes. When Claire, Anna’s old French teacher, ends up in the next bed and offers her the chance to work in Paris with a master chocolatier, Jenny jumps at the opportunity. Alternating between Anna's modern day story and flashbacks to Claire's life as a young woman in Paris, readers learn how love and the city of light changes both of them.
“The Love Detective” by Alexandra Potter: Ruby is a writer who makes happy-ever-afters happen, but her perspective changes when she discovers her fiance is a lying cheat. To get away from it all, Ruby escapes with her sister on an exotic vacation to Goa, India. What she didn't realize was that it would turn into an adventure she’d never forget. The magic of India and a series of mishaps (stolen bags, a missing sister) sweep readers up in a wild tour across the country, where Ruby learns more about love and loss than she ever imagined.
“Girl on the Golden Coin” by Marci Jefferson: Travel back to Restoration England and the court of the Sun King in France in this engaging debut novel about Frances Stuart. After rejecting King Louis XIV’s offer to serve as his mistress, Frances is sent from the French court back to her homeland of England, where she’s never been … and charged with the task of winning the heart of King Charles II to strengthen relations between the two countries. Frances must gain the king’s favor or risk destroying her family, but enemies like Charles’s longstanding mistress threaten her path.
“I Always Loved You: A Novel” by Robin Oliveira: When Mary Cassatt leaves post-Civil War Philadelphia to become an artist in Paris, she knows it will be a struggle. She wasn’t quite prepared to work for a decade only to be rejected to the Paris Salon. With troubles at home and her father insisting she find a suitable husband, Mary starts to wonder if she’d made a mistake. But when she’s introduced to Degas, her life takes a new turn, and a tumultuous relationship begins. Art lovers will fall for this story full of beautiful details about the world of the Impressionists in Belle Époque Paris.
“Out of Warranty” by Haywood Smith: What starts out as a marriage of convenience for medical benefits turns into something more in this laugh-out-loud story about love after 50. Still grieving the loss of her husband, Cassie faces a stack of medical bills and a rare form of arthritis that's just going to cost her more and more. She sets out on a quest to get married again in hopes of getting better health insurance, but fix-ups and online dating just end in disaster. After befriending Jack, a fellow patient, the pair embarks on a business arrangement of a marriage that eventually becomes real love.
“Kissing Her Cowboy” by Adele Downs: Daisy, a cop who fled from Pennsylvania to Houston to join the mounted police, signs up for riding lessons...but the only problem is, she's terrified of horses. Her instructor, Trey, is a former rodeo cowboy struggling with secrets of his own. As Trey helps Daisy overcome her fear of riding thanks to a horse called Big Blue, Daisy also helps him get back in the saddle. This sweet and sexy short story is part of the Lunchbox Romance line, and at 32 pages it makes a nice break from your usual desk salad routine.
“Sweet Temptations Box Set” by Cara Marsi: This virtual box set includes three fun foodie-themed romances, including two short stories for quick pick-me-ups. The novel “A Catered Romance" features old flames working together in a catering business, while “A Taste of Romance" is a short story about a pastry chef who helps her parents open a restaurant and falls for the sexy chef. Finally, a bakery owner hopes to win over a favorite customer on Valentine’s Day in the short story “Sweet Temptations."