As the saying goes, the course of true love never did run smooth, and these three contemporary romance novels certainly indicate that to be a truism. From rediscovering love after a bereavement to rediscovering themselves after a relationship breakdown, the heroines of all three books finally seem to find that love may, after all, be worth the effort.
At twenty-six years old, apprentice baker Mia West rather smugly thought that she had everything important in life––career, home, and relationship––nicely sorted and neatly arranged. In fact, she had just secured a promotion at the artisan bakery where she was training, was convinced that her long-term boyfriend Ethan was about to propose, and had a detailed picture of their quaint future home in mind. However, when Ethan’s attempt at proposing goes awry and he admits that he needs some space, Mia’s perfect world quickly crumbles. In need of a distraction, she agrees to participate in an around-the-world aid project with her friend Rosie. Of course, working with an eclectic bunch of folks in far-flung and troubled locations has a profound effect on Mia and causes her to question if what she thought she always wanted is actually what she really needs in life. The Enlightenment of Bees, Rachel Linden’s latest novel, is a charming romance novel in which the lead character’s love life frequently takes a backseat to her journey of self-discovery. Mia finds herself transforming as she works to transform the lives of those involved in the aid project, and she ends up better off for all the troubles she experiences.
Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy, the first book in Kris Clink’s Enchanted Rock series, follows the eponymous Lark as she finally deals with the aftermath of losing her husband and acknowledges that her family life is far from the idyll she has been pretending it to be for so long. Finally realizing that enough is enough, Lark moves her children back to her Texas hometown and decides to pursue her long-paused dream of running a vineyard. Once settled, aside from learning a new trade, Lark also finds herself learning to fall in love again, this time with Wyatt Gifford, an injured army vet who has his own problems to overcome. Lark’s inspirational story is one of rejuvenation and the importance of recognizing and seizing second chances. The decision to leave everything she and her husband had built behind was not an easy one, but finally choosing to pursue her dream of becoming a winemaker proves to be the making of the Lark and, it seems, her family. The Texas wine country setting is delightful, the characters warm and inspiring, and the story itself is romantic, humorous, and uplifting.
Former best friends are brought back together after years apart in A Lot Like Adiós and the sparks soon start flying. Michelle Amato has focused on building a successful career as a graphic designer at the expense of her love life, much to the chagrin of her marriage-obsessed family. She’s happy with her choice, however, as there has only ever been one man she considered to be marriage material: her childhood best friend Gabriel Aguilar. As for Gabriel, he left New York as soon as he turned eighteen so that he could escape the weight of his family’s expectations. Now the co-owner of a hugely successful celebrity gym in Los Angles, fate is about to intervene in his happy exile and force him to return to New York. Once back in the same city, Michelle and Gabriel find that they have to work together and work out where they stand with each other. This second book in Alexis Daria’s Primas of Power series is a steamy romance in which the lead characters have to navigate their own messy feelings, as well as the overly burdensome feelings of their respective families, in order to decide whether the pursuit of love is really worth all the heartache and confusion.