I Wasn't A Fan Of Romance Novels — Then I Read These 3 Books

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of reading and recommending love stories, but what readers might not know is that once upon a time, I didn't like reading romance novels. That's right, this bibliophile whose bookshelves are filled with rom-coms, second-chance love stories, romantic suspense, historical romance, and more, used to avoid the genre that now brings me so much joy. So how did I go from an romance hater to a constant reader? By finding the right books, of course.

There are a lot of reasons readers say they don't like romance novels. Among the biggest complaints is that they are too formulaic or predictable, that they always had a happy ending, but that wasn't what kept me away from the romance section of the book store. The truth is, I avoided the genre for so long because instead of giving me the warm-and-fuzzies, it made me feel, well, envious and even a little anxious. Reading about other people's sweeping romances had the nasty side effect of making me feel self-conscious about my own — or so I thought.

After years of dodging love stories, one of my book clubs chose a romance novel for their monthly selection, I had no choice but to give it a try. All I can say now is, I am so, so glad that I did. Embracing a genre that focuses on women, embraces sexual pleasure and free agency, and celebrates "emotional connection," as romance author Christina Lauren put it so perfectly, has brought so much fun, happiness, and inspiration into my reading life.

Although I used to be a hater, these are the three romance novels that made me realize that I actually love the genre.

'I've Got Your Number' by Sophie Kinsella

I wasn't always the rom-com lover, but thanks to this Sophie Kinsella book, I now consider myself a die-hard fan. In I've Got Your Number, Poppy Wyatt is about to marry the man of her dreams, but when she loses her engagement ring and gets her phone stolen during a hotel fire drill, her life starts to feel more like a nightmare. That's when she finds business man Sam Roxton's abandoned phone and begins to use it as her own. Cue the hijinks. Sweet, sexy, and laugh-out-loud funny, this story made me fall head-over-heels for a genre I never knew I could like so much.

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'Indigo' by Beverly Jenkins

If there was ever an author who could turn a romance-hater into a devoted fan, it's Beverly Jenkins. Her book Indigo certainly made me a convert. It tells the story of Hester Wyatt, an escaped slave who has devoted her life to the Underground railroad, and Galen Vachon, a.k.a. the "Black Daniel," the man she has been sworn to hide and protect. Thrilling and emotional, Indigo has the power to transform anyone into a romance-lover.

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'The Little Paris Bookshop' by Nina George

A self-proclaimed literary apothecary, Monseiur Perdu spends his days upon his floating bookstore barge recommending books that help his customers with hardships come their way. Unfortunately, he can't seem to find the right prescription for his own broken heart — that is, until he finally opens the letter his great love left behind when she disappeared. With a bestselling author with writer's block and a heartbroken Italian chef by his side, Perdu journeys to the south of France determined to make peace with his own unfinished story. A heartwarming story about love, redemption, and the power of books, this novel swept me off my feet.

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