What do romance authors read? Romance—and a lot of other things. You’ve been meeting the authors of the #romanceclass community through their monthly columns here on Bookbed. That’s who they are and what they write. Here’s what they’ve been reading:
1. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, as recommended by Stella Torres, author of Save The Cake and Crushingly Close
In writing my characters, I tend to explore the issues of vulnerability and intimacy—that keeps them from committing to relationships built on love and trust. While most of the book relies heavily on qualitative research, what appeals to me here as a writer is the exploration of vulnerability through the stories we tell ourselves, especially when it comes to dealing with pain and heartbreak. I feel that the more we explore these issues as writers, the more we learn about our characters and how they speak to us as human beings, so that their stories of love, pain and resilience resonate to our readers on the page.
2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, as recommended by Ron Lim, author and editor of Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Arts Academy
It’s basically a retelling of the Iliad, but from the point of view of Achilles’ friend Patroclus. Anybody who knows their Greek mythology knows what ends up happening to these two characters, so I found it really amazing that Miller was still able to make me cry at the latter parts of the novel. It felt like all the events were new again, even if I already knew what was going to happen.
3. Under the Sugar Sun by Jennifer Hallock, as recommended by Mina V. Esguerra, author of Learning to Fall and No Strings Attached
She’s an American schoolteacher. He’s a sugar plantation landlord. We don’t see historical romance like this very often—written like it’s set in Regency England but it’s actually early 20th century Philippines. So as soon as I found out about the first book in Hallock’s Sugar Sun series, I read it as quickly as I could. It’s got a lot of history that might be overwhelming for someone who wants just the romance, but when the romance does kick in, it kicks and hard. Such an eye-opener and leaves the reader with the right questions, I think, about what other stories we can tell and where those stories can happen.
4. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron, as recommended by Dawn Lanuza, author of The Hometown Hazard
One of my favorite books ever, STPWBUTY is the story of James Sveck, on the brink of his adulthood. Funny, contemplative and insightful, this book touches the hearts of those who’ve always felt like outsiders in their own community and family, preferred the quiet, and mostly lived inside their heads. This is one of those books that didn’t have a clear plot, but it does end with you feeling like you’ve made a very good friend in James.
5. The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
as recommended by Suzette de Borja, author of When She Fell for the Billionaire
Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici’s biography reads like something out “Game of Thrones,” only it was based on real life. Born to the Duke of Milan in Renaissance Italy, the beautiful Caterina was raised to be knowledgeable in the arts, letters and weaponry. Caterina Sforza’s name came up as I was researching for a book set in Milan. She was a celebrity during her time, both acclaimed as a bold strategist by her admirers and reviled as a lustful woman by her enemies. Lev’s biography paints a fascinating picture not only of Caterina but of northern Italy with its violent, warring states contrasted with its flourishing arts.
Murder, betrayal, warring kingdoms, romance, renaissance court fashion, penitent confraternities – the book has it all for the history buff and the reader who just wants a good read.
6. A Kingdom Of Dreams by Judith McNaught, as recommended by C.P. Santi, author of Maybe This Time
One of the classics of the romance genre, this was the book that got me hooked on historical romance. I love everything about the book – the plot, the details, the character development, all the funny little quirks that make it both unique and relatable. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry, hold your breath as you anticipate the next scene and wish you could have that happy ending for yourself. ☁