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Books for Valentine’s Day

By Emma Beech

Whatever your relationship status this year, you can find comfort in a good book.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, what books should we be reading? Is there a set list for everyone: the hopeless romantic, loved up couple, or even the cynic, or is this something more flexible? Well, these are the recommendations that make up my set list of novels for this time of year.

The first book that is an absolute must-read in the run-up to Valentine’s Day: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. The narrative centres around Bridget, who is desperate to find love, but has to overcome the “obstacles” of her weight, and addiction to alcohol and cigarettes. She is an unlikely heroine for the modern age. Bridget’s wit makes it a thoroughly enjoyable and light-hearted read, whilst the character of Mark Darcy is very enticing for those who prefer to read something with a gentlemanly love interest. And, as a further pull factor, there are multiple books in this series, and a trilogy of films, therefore Bridget should be keeping us all very well entertained over the Valentine’s period. Furthermore, the book is based upon Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which is also key novel to read for Valentine’s Day for those who are interested in something more classic.

On the subject of classic literature, a less typically romantic read is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Set in the Yorkshire moors, this book tells the story of Heathcliff and Catherine’s haunting transcendental love, full of obsession and wild passion. Its gothic genre makes the book more appealing as it is less of a typical blissful love story, and instead has great depth and morals. You could say that it is about a negative, more destructive and selfish kind of love. Heathcliff’s pursuit of revenge is enthralling, and further provides a stark contrast to the romantic aspects of the novel, such as the conventional love of Catherine and Edgar Linton. Overall, I would thoroughly recommend reading Wuthering Heights as it is an unforgettable story about the power of love and hatred, and how the two can be cruelly intertwined.

Centuries onwards from Bronte, but still sharing a first name, is Emily Henry’s You and Me on Vacation. This novel tells the story of two best friends, Poppy and Alex, who go on holidays together, whilst navigating their own personal lives. This is the ultimate feel-good novel, and one that is very uplifting whilst it is so cold outside. The text is very conversational and uncomplicated, which makes it easy to follow. As an easy-going book, it is definitely readable in a weekend as a “pick-me-up” or comforting read.

One for the more teen fiction audience, is Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. You may have seen the film, but I definitely recommend the book as it has the same feel-good factor and sense of nostalgia. The book tells the story of Lara-Jean Covey, who wrote letters to every one of her crushes growing up, and kept them hidden away, until one day she finds that they have been posted. As she navigates the aftermath of this, relationships flourish and crumble, and this book is perfect for those that want a cosy read over this period of the year.

Another less typically romantic book is Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (which was also adapted for the screen). Rebecca Bloomwood is addicted to shopping, like many of us, and in her quest to conquer this, she finds love and friendship. Although not your typical book for Valentine’s Day, it is a compelling read due to its comedic aspects and relatability. It is especially interesting for those who love fashion, or just shopping in general, whilst being something to make us all reconsider our shopping addictions in whatever form. Nonetheless, it remains thoroughly entertaining, as its comedy and flirtatious romance shines through.


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