Lowell Reading Club: Romance Edition

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We are not really romantics here at Lowell’s First Look, but everyone needs a little love in their life, right? With it being Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we searched our reading lists to find some titles that would be perfect for the occasion. Here’s what we found:

Amanda’s Romance Suggestion

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
5 out of 5

I’m not typically a romance novel kind of person, especially if it’s a traditional plot where everything is roses with a handful of struggles thrown in for excitement sake just to end up with a perfect happily ever after ending. Heart Bones is considered a romance and there are some elements of a traditional plot within this genre, but I didn’t feel like I was reading a romance book. I really felt drawn in by all of the characters in this book. I could see things happening in my head. I could feel the emotions they were feeling.

Beyah, the main character has just graduated from high school. Before going off to college she finds herself spending the summer on an island where residents are on the higher end of the payscale. This is the opposite of where Beyah comes from as the daughter of a single mother addict where she has had to work at McDonalds in order to be able to feed herself. Given the opportunity to change her scenery for a summer before going off to college, she finds herself having to adapt to a new situation and make new friends.

There’s a push and pull as the relationship between Beyah begins and develops. There’s some mystery behind who Sampson is and how much he’s willing to share with Beyah. With both of them set to go their separate way at the end of the summer they come to an agreement that there should be no strings attached to their relationship. This could be easier said than done as their summer together progresses.

I didn’t anticipate this book to feel like an emotional rollercoaster of happiness, sadness, and even tragedy. If you’re not a fan of romance but enjoy likeable characters and emotional tugs, give this book a shot.

Maryalene’s Romance Suggestion

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
5 out of 5 stars

This is an absolutely delightful book about a 29-year old “old maid” who is living under her mother and family’s oppressive thumb. Then, she gets some news that turns her world on its head, and she decides to take life into her own hands.

The Blue Castle was first published in 1926 so it’s not a modern romance by any means, and I must admit to taking a little while to warm up to the main character, Valancy Stirling. I didn’t have a whole lot of patience for her moping around and refusing to stand up against her family. However, she soon strikes out on her own, associating with the “wrong people,” much to her relative’s chagrin. Of course, this is a romance so she eventually finds the man she loves although there are complications along the way.

This book gets bonus points for lots of descriptions of nature which is always a plus for me.

Bonus Suggestion from Maryalene

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
4 out of 5 stars

Love is not all chocolates and long-stem roses. It can also be messy and downright painful. India Opal has learned that the hard way as her parents’ marriage fell apart, and her father retreats inside himself to deal with the aftermath. Left to her own devices, Opal and her dog Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him) spend the summer making new friends and trying to coax her father out from his shell. Because of Winn-Dixie isn’t a romance, but the theme of love runs throughout the book.

While this story was also made into a movie, I don’t think that has the same charm as the book.  My 7-year old, in particular, really liked this as a read-aloud. As an FYI to parents: the word ‘hell’ is used in one section in the context of ‘war is hell.’

Do you have a favorite romance? Share your pick in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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