Unlikely friendships, stories of resilience and bouncing back, complicated families gathering together – these themes are rife in the relationship fiction genre, the most recent topic in our popular Crash Course webinars. This week, Rebecca Vnuk from LibraryReads and I dove into the finer details of this genre, detailing the history, trends, themes, and appeals, and most importantly, how to help readers find books they’ll love. Below is our suggested starter pack of titles and whether you are new to the genre or an avid fan, we’re sure you’ll find something here to love.
Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner – Moving and upbeat, this character-driven story follows four women who bond through the experiences of pregnancy and new motherhood. Jennifer Weiner’s trademark wit infuses this warm-hearted and compassionate story about the ups and downs of parenthood.
Grown-Up Pose by Sonya Lalli – Thirty-year-old Anusha Desai feels like she’s stagnating in a boring marriage and a life she didn’t choose. Realizing she has never had the opportunity to explore what makes her happy, she asks her husband to leave and ventures out to figure out her life. This #OwnVoices novel explores the intersection of self-fulfillment with respect for cultural and familial expectations.
The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McCallister – Exploring pain and loss through a humorous lens, The Young Widower’s Handbook travels along with grief-stricken Hunter as he brings his wife’s ashes on an epic road trip. Readers who love quirky characters and a bittersweet tone will find a lot to love here.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – After her mother left her on her sixteenth birthday, Cassie Harwell has built up an emotional barrier around her heart in this romantic novel. Ten years later, when her mother asks her to help nurse her through a health crisis, Cassie reluctantly goes. Her new job places her in a fire department where she is the only woman, but despite her best intentions, she finds herself falling for one of her colleagues. Blending themes of forgiveness, love, and loyalty, this novel exemplifies much of what relationship fiction fans adore.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams – Hailed as a modern-day Bridget Jones’ Diary, Queenie is a raw, sardonic exploration of what it means to be a single Black woman in London today. After a messy breakup, the titular Queenie embarks on a series of increasingly awful romantic encounters and endures a frustrating job but is surrounded by supportive friends and family.