Historical Fiction Romance

Recently, I have been reading historical fiction romances and I may be obssessed with it now.

One of the reasons I like these kinds of books is the setting. I like getting a glimpse of the society back then where getting a woman married is a necessity and getting ruined seems to be the end of the world. I think I like it because it is so very different from what I see in our society today. It’s also refreshing – the dialogues are very different and so is their humor.

Also, let’s admit it, the men in these books are really swoon-worthy. The books I have been reading lately have rakes as the center of interest of the main character. I guess I like that these guys fall in love really hard with their girl. My favorite so far is Rhys Winterborne of Lisa Kleypas’ Marrying Winterborne.

I guess I also liked the premise of the stories. Most books have almost similar plots – innocent girl meets experienced rake. There will be courtship or flirtations and then the girl might be ruined after a kiss or maybe they have slept together. The rake will then marry the girl but in the end he will realize that he is so lucky because he is indeed in love with the girl.

So far, I’ve only read Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and I’ve enjoyed their books immensely. Needless to say, I haven’t had enough yet and will keep reading the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn. I’ve only read The Duke and I, the first book of the family series, and I want more.

I highly recommend historical fiction romance for people like me who are hopeless romantic and wants something different from contemporary fiction today.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revolution needs a spark,” I murmur, repeating what Julian would say in our lessons. “And even sparks burn.

Red Queen is set in a world where people are divided into the color of their blood -Silvers, people who have evolved with powers, rule the reds who are considered inferior to them. Mare Barrow is a 17-year old Red girl steals for her family. “It is the best she can do,” she says, “…before she gets conscripted.” In this world, reds are sent to fight a war when they reach eighteen when they do not have jobs. But an accident turned things around for Mare. Instead of living as a Red, Mare must now pretend to be one of the Silvers and marry a prince.

Red Queen, even with the same elements of a dystopian story is kind of refreshing. Red Queen actually reminds me a lot of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass but with powers and a lot more of rebellion and war. Victoria Aveyard did a good job of creating this alternate world. While I was reading, Norta feels more and more real as I read on. The characters, especially Mare, is actually very relatable.Mare was driven by grief and love for family which for me sets her apart from the other main characters in other books. With her as the center, the book did not revolve about romance. It actually portrayed a lot of inequalities and the effects of war to people and families.

Enough about Mare… let’s talk about the swoon-worthy princes of Norta. Maven and Cal. I loved them both but I loved Maven much much more. Throughout the book, I understood where their princes are coming from. I understood their decisions. Cal, being the heir to the throne, was trained to always do the right thing. And Maven, oh Maven, the often overlooked son, my heart broke for him (though he broke my heart a thousand times more). Their love triangle is not a typical love triangle. I questioned more than once if there is really a love triangle at all. For me, it was clear who Mare reallys loves… but then… that plot twist!

The best (and at the same time, the worst) thing about Red Queen is the plot twist in the end. I sooooooo did not expect that. I was convinced that I would read the next books and let myself get lost in this world but that plot twist hurt me so much. I may not read the next book because of that plot twist. I just feel so betrayed. Even if the book already warned me that

Anyone can betray anyone.

Still, that plot twist is so unexpected.

Over all, I loved this book. Maybe  a bit too much – the reason for my review 0f 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book for dystopian book lovers. This book is filled with action, a bit of adventure and a love triangle – the ingredients of a dystopian book.

Landline

Landline
Landline
by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love you more than I hate everything else.

Landline is about Georgie McCool, her marriage with Neal and the struggle in juggling family life and career. Georgie McCool has been waiting for a big opportunity her entire career, however, in order to achieve it she must work around Christmas. Instead of staying with Georgie, Neal decided to go on with their trip with their children, leaving Georgie in Los Angeles that christmas. Georgie then starts to wonder if this is the end of their marriage. She goes home to their childhood bedroom where a yellow telephone allows her to talk to past Neal – before the marriage even happened. Georgie starts to wonder if it will be better if they didn’t marry at all. Is their love for each other enough? They are very different people with different interests after all.

Some romance books dwell on the beginning of love where the fire burns oh so brightly. This book, on the other hand, dwells on the love that has surpassed almost a couple of decades. This story is not about the expectation of love – it is really love itself. Most books would show love with grand gestures – showing up in front of your door and declaring your love to the other person. This book has that too. But the great thing is, it has more than that. This book shows us the truth. That there is more to love than the great things. Marriage is a hard work (I’m not married yet though so I’m just guessing here). And sometimes, it’s just a matter of choice between to go on and try again or just give up.

Even if the book is dealing with something heavy, the narrative is really light. I really enjoyed the shift from the present married life to the time they were just dating and starting their life together.The pace of the book is really exciting as well. The book is also very emotional as well. I also just chose to ignore the concept of a magic time-travelling phone since Rainbow Rowell didn’t really give us an explanation. Maybe it’s just really magic. Setting aside the magic phone, this book is actually very realistic with its portrayal of love.This book is really great but I just felt like there is something missing. I didn’t feel like I was really into the book the way I am with Colleen Hoover’s romances. I don’t know why but I just felt a little bit detached. That’s why I gave it four stars.

This book, even when it’s about marriage, will be a good read for everyone in my opinion. It will teach us a lot about relationships and ourselves too. Family is also a big component of this book. So if you’re looking for just a light-hearted book but you don’t want a shallow concept either, this book will be a good read for you.

This Is What Happy Looks Like

 

This Is What Happy Looks Like

 

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

He could see her, and it was just like he’d thought.

It was just like being punched in the stomach.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is a typical story – girl meets boy she thinks she can’t have. In this case, a movie star – typical element also.

Graham and Ellie met through one of fate’s accidents- a mistyped email address. After their short funny emails, they started to tell each other little things, they tell each other what they think what happy looks like, they tell each other small details about their lives but never about the important ones. For months, they talk to each without really knowing each other. Until Graham convinces the production team to shoot his new movie in the small town of Henley, Maine – the small town where Ellie lives.

Even though the plot and the elements are typical for romantic comedies, something about This is What Happy Looks Like lured me in, caught my attention, maintained it and made me crave for more of their cute moments. I loved how they were brought together and what Graham went through before actually meeting her (there were misunderstandings along the way). I loved the moments that they had. They were realistic. Except from him being a movie star, the time spent together was how things are like when teenagers are in love. So, it was like you were there. It was like falling in love over again. You smile about their quirky comments. You just know that their love is possible – and it could have been you.

However, what I think the best thing about this book is actually, the conflict is just really internal. It wasn’t just because Graham is a movie star. It’s what Ellie thinks of what life would be like if she dates a movie star. It’s her internal battle with the guy he likes and the life she wants to maintain – a quiet and peaceful life, far from the blinding lights of the cameras.

Over-all,  I liked this book. It was an easy read- I was just sitting on my bed reading and then oooops, I have finished the book. The book was not enough to change me but it was certainly enough to entertain me and make me smile. I also realized that celebrities’ life isn’t really that easy. Well, no one’s life is really easy. So, I hope that whatever comes- Ellie and Graham can stay together, and if not, I hope they stay friends.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is perfect for those looking for light-hearted romantic comedy books.