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We asked our friends at the Given Book Shop to pull a few romance novels that’ll get you in the Valentine’s Day spirit — in one way or another. Some of these are legitimate recommendations. The others are books that we’re literally judging by their covers. Forget what mom said, it’s fun.

For the Actual Romance Enthusiast:

No. 1:

Our guess: A millennial ultrasound technician uses her OB GYN career to start a lifestyle blog. Photo editing, brand endorsements and heartfelt interactions with patients lead her through a journey of self-discovery and creative enlightenment.

What a Given Book Shop reader thinks it’s actually about: “In mid-century Burma, a daughter goes searching for her father. Through her search she learns about his one great love, and the life he led before he moved to America. It’s a mesmerizing story with many twists and turns.”

No. 2:

Our guess: The “French Gardener” is either a charming lead that seduces a young woman summering in her grandparents’ villa, or a lost pizza delivery boy who is doomed to spend his days hacking through overgrown lavender on a quest to find his PT Cruiser.

What it’s really about: “A neglected garden. A cottage that holds a secret. A mysterious and handsome Frenchman. Prepare to be “spellbound by the sheer charm” (Daily Express, UK) of Santa Montefiore’s tender and powerful novel about passion, loss, and the healing power of love.”

No. 3:

Our guess: A few members of a small-town, elementary school PTA gets together once a month to drink wine and talk shit about the other PTA members who aren’t pulling their weight with the spring benefit. They tell their spouses they’re going to book club. They tell their children to stay out of the kitchen because “mommy and her friends are ‘peeling potatoes’ to make a large batch of french fries.

An actual review from a Given Book Shop Reader: “I loved the book and growled at the movie for making nonsensical changes but at the same time the movie is okay.  The book, especially the audio book, keeps the personal tension building at a slow pace.  I learned lots about the island of  Guernsey and WWII, but really appreciated the pacing of the author to bring the happy ending along.

For Those Just Interested in the Cover Art

No. 1:

Maybe this rescue wouldn’t be so high-stakes if the engagement photographer weren’t forcing this couple to stand SO CLOSE TO THE EDGE of this MASSIVE CLIFF.

Props to you, Beth Cornelison, for making this modern take on Instagram culture into a novel worthy of the category of “romantic suspense.” There’s plenty more material on the train tracks in downtown Southern Pines.

No. 2:

Subtitle: A night of awkwardness. We don’t know why the fact that he’s Italian matters, but we can only assume it’s because sharing a slice of heart-shaped pizza from Papa John’s counts as foreplay.

No. 3:

Come on, Pam Houston. Anyone who’s browsed a romance section knows that cowboys are every woman’s weakness. There’s nothing like skinny jeans, fringe, tumbleweeds and horse sweat to really get a gal going.

But, we do need some answers about this wavy bed. Is it, like flying? We can only assume the ghostly wrought iron is foreshadowing some sort of underlying paranormal theme. And we don’t mind an outdoor love scene, but we see some *small* issues with the setting of a frozen hellscape.

We do know one thing: If you love romance novels, you’ll love “Waltzing the Cat.”

Find more romance novels at The Given Book Shop. There’s plenty more where these came from. If you enjoyed our takes on these books, check out our article on questionable 90s teen novels.

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