Love in Time of COVID

Love in the Time of COVID

I can only imagine that finding and falling in love during a pandemic can’t be easy. Masks, limited outings, and social distancing certainly put a damper on romance! But that’s love in the time of COVID.

Thankfully, people haven’t given up on finding their happy ever after! I’ve read about the interesting ways couples have found to go out on dates, get married, or even avoid divorce during these trying times. All fairytales waiting to be told.

But until these COVID stories make their way into our favorite bookstores (or I find a way to write one), there are plenty of other wonderful books full of romance and love to whisk us away. Below are a few titles I’ve curated for you to read and add to your reading log!

(BTW: If you pick one of these titles and read it in February, make sure to enter your name into the Scrivenings Press 2022 Reading Challenge. You might win a prize!)

Romance Novels You’re Sure to Love

**NOTE: While I try to read and recommend as much clean fiction as possible, know that I haven’t read all of these titles and can’t guarantee there isn’t explicit language, violence, or sex scenes in the titles listed below:

Amish Romance

Her Secret Amish Match by Cathy Liggett

An Amish matchmaker in need of a job…and a widower in need of a wife. After Hannah Miller loses her dream job, becoming a nanny—and matchmaker—for widower Jake Burkholder is her only option. Finding Jake a wife is her hardest assignment yet. After all, he once broke Hannah’s heart when he married her best friend. But as long-held secrets are revealed, Hannah can’t help but wish she could be Jake’s perfect match.

Contemporary Romance

Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant

Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. The prize money could finally give her a solid financial footing and keep her cousin with special needs paid up at her beloved assisted living home. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site. 

Jude Strong is tired of being a puppet at his manipulative father’s law firm, and the food truck festival seems like the perfect opportunity to dive into his passion for cooking and finally call his life his own. But if he loses the contest, he’s back at the law firm for good. Failure is not an option. 

Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month. 

Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one?

Historical Romance

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until, despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does . . . the One who will never let her go. A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love. 

Western Romance

Love’s Twisting Trail by Betty Woods

Stampedes, wild animals, and renegade Comanches make a cattle drive dangerous for any man. The risks multiply when Charlotte Grimes goes up the trail disguised as Charlie, a fourteen-year-old boy. She promised her dying father she’d save their ranch after her brother, Tobias, mismanages their money. To keep her vow, she rides the trail with the brother she can’t trust. David Shepherd needs one more successful drive to finish buying the ranch he’s prayed for. He partners with Tobias to travel safely through Indian Territory. David detests the hateful way Tobias treats his younger brother, Charlie. He could easily love the boy like the brother he’s always wanted. But what does he do when he discovers Charlie’s secret? What kind of woman would do what she’s done? The trail takes an unexpected twist when Charlotte falls in love with David. She’s afraid to tell him of her deception. Such a God-fearing, honest gentleman is bound to despise the kind of woman who dares to wear a man’s trousers and venture on a cattle drive. Since her father left her half the ranch, she intends to continue working the land like any other man after she returns to Texas. David would never accept her as she is. Choosing between keeping her promise to her father or being with the man she loves may put Charlotte’s heart in more danger than any of the hazards on the trail can.

Time Travel Romance

The Reckoning by Mary Lu Tyndall

When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he? Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father. Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.

Biblical Romance

A Man to Marry by Mary Ellen Boyd

Will she wed her father’s choice? Or will she find a man she can love? 

Miriam ruined her reputation three years before by chasing after a married man. 

The villagers have long memories, and her mistake haunts her. 

Then she meets a widowed man in the market when she finds his young son. She quickly discovers he does not know her history, or that she is the daughter of the richest man in the village. 

A series of clandestine meetings begin. 

But she cannot keep her identity secret long. 

How can a former slave with no money and a child even consider this woman? 

Then disaster strikes the vineyards, the source of her father’s wealth. Hophni needs a successful son-in-law to pay her dowry so he can start over. He picks a prosperous old man. 

Kemuel has no idea how to compete with that choice. He and Miriam concoct a wild plan. 

It will take time, with no guarantee of success. 

And she will be wed to her father’s choice in two weeks. 

This book is a sequel to His Brother’s Wife, but can be read as a stand-alone. Characters from both Books 1 and 2 of the Days of the Judges series appear here.

Mystery/Thriller Romance

Wilderness Hideout by Hope White

Trapped in the mountains with a killer… 

Can they get out alive? 

After nearly drowning in a remote Montana river, Dr. Brianna Wilkes can’t remember how she got there—or why someone’s trying to hurt her. But her rescuer, Jacob Rush, won’t let her face this danger alone. When hiding Brie puts Jacob and his daughter in the path of killers, can they survive the wilderness and a killer who wants Brie silenced?

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance

The Heights of Perdition by C.S. Johnson

When survival is all that matters, does truth still make a difference? “I’m your enemy,” Aerie told him. “There. It’s that simple. Now, I’d appreciate it if you would stop with the pleasantries and start torturing me. I’ll be much happier when I am dead.” “I can understand your thoughts on the matter,” he said, obviously smothering a laugh, “but I’d love for you to give me the chance to change your mind.” Frustration hit her again. Was he teasing her? Or worse – was he telling her the truth? There is nothing Aeris St. Cloud wants more than to win her father’s love and the acceptance of her family unit by joining the Military Academy at New Hope. But after she is captured by the fearsome space pirate, Captain Chainsword, Aerie is certain falling in love with her nation’s arch-enemy is the last possible way to earn their coveted esteem. Driven by vengeance, Exton Shepherd never set out to save anyone. As he circles the war-torn world in his pirated starship, the Perdition, he only sees his father’s ghost lurking around every corner and the looming darkness on the horizon. When Aerie unexpectedly tumbles into his life, he finds he cannot trust her, any more than he can ignore her. But just like the raging war down on Earth, it’s tempting to think he can … When the war ascends to the heights of the Perdition, Aerie’s loyalty, and Exton’s heart, are put to the test. But will love be enough to save them – and others – from certain destruction?

Memoir/Biographical Romance

The Guynd by Belinda Rathbone

Guynd (rhymes with “wind“) is Gaelic for “a high, marshy place.” It’s there that Belinda Rathbone’s memoir takes place after her unlikely marriage and move to pastoral Scotland. There she learns to cope with a grand but crumbling mansion still recovering from the effects of two world wars, an overgrown landscape, a derelict garden, troublesome tenants, local aristocracy, Scottish rituals, and a husband who loathes change. 

Alternating between enchantment and near despair, Rathbone digs into family and local history in an effort to understand her new surroundings and the ties that bind us through generations. “The book lifts and excels,” wrote The New York Times, “Rathbone nails down a little bit of the Scottish soul in all its stark splendor.” 

The perfect book for anyone who loves a fish-out-of-water romance and a touching story of home.

Nonfiction Romance

The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. 

Orphaned at a young age, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser claimed lineage from one of New York’s best-known families. She grew up in Newport and Paris, and her engagement and marriage to George Vanderbilt was one of the most-watched events of Gilded Age society. But none of this prepared her to be mistress of Biltmore House. 

Before their marriage, the wealthy and bookish Vanderbilt had dedicated his life to creating a spectacular European-style estate on 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness. He summoned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to tame the grounds, collaborated with celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000-square-foot chateau, filled it with priceless art and antiques, and erected a charming village beyond the gates. Newlywed Edith was now mistress of an estate nearly three times the size of Washington, DC, and benefactress of the village and surrounding rural area. When fortunes shifted and changing times threatened her family, her home, and her community, it was up to Edith to save Biltmore—and secure the future of the region and her husband’s legacy.

So which of these sweet romances will you read this month? No matter what you choose, I hope your heart overflows with love with each page your read! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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