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A&E Book Club: Three books to read this month

Fictional love stories to live vicariously through this February

<p>Three romance novels to enjoy whether you are spending Valentine's day in love — or single, again.</p>

Three romance novels to enjoy whether you are spending Valentine's day in love — or single, again.

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Love is in the air as February approaches. What better way to celebrate your happy relationship — or lack thereof — than with some festive reading? Whether you’re looking for a sweet romantic comedy or a darker reminder of love’s challenges, there’s a book for you. Below are three novel recommendations featuring love stories for you to savor like the box of chocolates you are bound to receive — if not this year, one day. 

“One to Watch” by Kate Stayman-London

Nothing screams saccharine love and commercialism like “The Bachelor,” so what better way to celebrate Valentine season than with a literary riff on the franchise? Kate Stayman-London’s 2020 release “One to Watch” offers a “Bachelorette”-esque romp with substance and heart. The story follows a popular plus-sized fashion blogger named Bea as she is offered the lead on hit reality show “Main Squeeze.” Bea agrees to embark on the journey of televised romance to promote both body positivity and her career, but has one caveat — she will not fall in love. However, Bea realizes it may be more difficult than she predicted to keep feelings out of the equation. With the whole country watching, she is forced to face viewer criticism and her own insecurities — is anyone there for the right reasons? Should she open her heart to the men after all? 

A newer release, “One to Watch” has lived up to its title having already garnered more prestige than the show it was inspired by. Among other accolades, it was recommended by Oprah magazine and recognized by TIME as one of the 100 must-read books of the year. If that’s not enough to convince you to give it a try, take it from — Hillary Clinton, for whom Stayman-London served as a digital writer for during the 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton described the debut novel as “thoroughly charming.” This sweet romcom with depth is the perfect book to boost your mood when the winter weather has you feeling down. 

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

For a darker and twistier plot, try this love story — a gritty picture of what it takes to make it in Old Hollywood. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2017 release follows two intertwined storylines — that of  Marilyn Monroe-level icon Evelyn Hugo and journalist Monique. The elusive Evelyn approaches Monique specifically to be her interviewer, much to the shock of Monique and the magazine for which she works. As Monique interviews Evelyn in the present day, decades of the star’s dramatic past are revealed — including her rise to fame in the 50s and 60s and her seven husbands. Throughout the book, two huge questions will keep you on the edge of your seat. Who was the love of Evelyn Hugo’s life, and why is Monique the one she asked to tell her story? 

Engaging writing laced with juicy secrets at every twist and turn make this book impossible to put down. It’s no mystery why author Jenkins Reid’s career has been skyrocketing as of late. She has a new book on the way, and her 2019 hit “Daisy Jones and the Six'' is slated to become a limited Amazon series with Reese Witherspoon’s production company at the helm. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is the perfect way to introduce yourself to her work as it is an incredible book you won’t forget.

“You Deserve Each Other” by Sarah Hogle

For a romantic comedy with an unconventional plot, check out Sarah Hogle’s 2020 release. Even if you’ve watched every 2000s chick flick under the sun, this book brings a fresh take on the genre. Hogle’s debut features an engaged couple — Naomi and Nicholas — who act more like enemies than fiances. But neither one of them wants to be the one to dump the other and pay for the upcoming nuptial festivities. So the war begins, each battle more ridiculous than the last until someone breaks it off — unless they fall in love all over again, of course. An Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Romance, it’s the fun and carefree distraction you need as COVID-19 cases rise across the country. The epitome of a lighthearted romantic comedy, let “You Deserve Each Other” be your Valentine this year.

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