What is Relationship Fiction?
Relationship fiction are character-driven stories that emphasize the importance of people’s relationships, whether with lovers, family, friends, colleagues, or community. Storylines range from issue-driven and thought-provoking to lighter and more humorous. Romantic love may be present, but it is not the main driver of the story. The relationship fiction genre may deal with difficult subjects such as grief, loss, and divorce, but never becomes maudlin. Source: Yaika Sabat, via Novelist
Highlighting Relationship Fiction
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But something is missing. Her father, the single parent who raised her, is ailing and out of reach. How did they get here so fast? Did she take too much for granted along the way? When Alice wakes up the next morning somehow back in 1996, it isn’t her 16-year-old body that is the biggest shock, or the possibility of romance with her adolescent crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 49-year-old version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, is there anything that she should do differently this time around? What would she change, given the chance? Emma Straub cleverly turns all the traditional time travel tropes on their head and delivers a different kind of love story.
The Patron Saint of Second Chances by Christine Simon
To fix the town’s pipes, vacuum repairman and self-appointed mayor Signor Speranza must come up with 70,000 euros, and, to boost revenue, spreads a harmless rumor about a famous actor who will be filming his new movie nearby, which spins wildly out of control.
The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson
Arriving in London, brokenhearted Libby Nichols meets elderly Frank who has been riding the bus for 60 years, hoping to find a girl he met in 1962, and decides to help him search, finding her tightly controlled world expanding as she opens her heart to new friendships and romance.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
A socially awkward, routine-oriented loner teams up with a bumbling IT guy from her office to assist an elderly accident victim, forging a friendship that saves all three from lives of isolation and secret unhappiness.
The Winners by Fredrik Backman
As simmering tensions between the towns of Beartown and Hed turn into acts of intimidation and then violence, a 14-year-old boy, increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community, puts in motion a plan to avenge his beloved sister’s death that will leave Beartown with an unimaginable loss.
Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made difficult when she is revealed as a fraud: she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast. In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.
The story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
Making daily visits to the grave of his beloved late wife, Arthur forges unexpected relationships with a nosy neighbor and a troubled teen who dubs him “Truluv” before the trio discovers healing and family together.
Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
Returning to her Maine hometown to handle her great aunt’s estate, Laurie investigates a love letter and a mysterious wooden duck she found at the bottom of a cedar chest and is swept up in a journey of self-discovery.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. And then Carol appears-in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old.
Light and Fun Romantic Comedies
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees. That man is Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor. Olive is positively floored when Adam agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big conference goes haywire, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support. Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella
Discarding her dating app to enjoy a post-breakup anonymous writers’ retreat in coastal Italy, Ava shares an idyllic love affair with a fellow romantic before their return to London forces them to acknowledge their true identities.
While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory
Ben Stephens has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy and his advertising job to focus on. Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner; Anna is not just gorgeous, she’s also down to earth and considerate…Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name. Their light-hearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency. When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, could Ben be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?
Tried and True Romance Writers
Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown
Thatcher Hutton, a war-weary soldier on the way back to his cowboy life, jumps from a moving freight train to avoid trouble . . . and lands in more than he bargained for. On the day he arrives in Foley, Texas, a local woman goes missing. Thatcher, the only stranger in town, is suspected of her abduction, and worse. Standing between him and exoneration are a corrupt mayor, a crooked sheriff, a notorious cathouse madam, a sly bootlegger, feuding moonshiners . . . and a young widow whose soft features conceal an iron will.
When She Dreams by Amanda Quick
Maggie Lodge hires down-but-not-quite-out private eye Sam Sage to help track down the person who is blackmailing her employer. Maggie and Sam are a mismatched pair. In spite of the verbal fireworks between them, they are fiercely attracted to each other, but each is convinced it would be a mistake to let passion take over. They are, after all, keeping secrets from each other. When the pair discovers someone is impersonating Aunt Cornelia at a conference on psychic dreaming and a woman dies at the conference, the door is opened to a dangerous web of blackmail and murder.
Lightning in a Mirror by Jayne Ann Krentz
Olivia LeClair’s experiment with speed dating is not going well. First there was the nasty encounter with the date from hell who tried to murder her and now the mysterious Harlan Rancourt-long believed dead-sits down at her table and tells her she’s the only one who can help him locate the legendary Vortex lab. She doesn’t have much choice, though, because her psychic investigation firm works for the mysterious Foundation and Victor Arganbright, the director, is adamant that she assist Harlan. There’s just one problem-no one knows Harlan’s real agenda. Unfortunately for Olivia, the one thing friend and foe have in common is that everyone is convinced she is the key. Her unique psychic talent is required to defuse the ticking time bomb that is Vortex. Neither trusts the other but Olivia and Harlan soon realize they must work together to survive and unlock the Bluestone Project’s most dangerous secrets before more innocent people die.
Colleen Hoover is an American author of new adult fiction and contemporary romances where women fall hard for enigmatic and sensitive male characters who hide their vulnerabilities. Hoover has a knack for creating heartwrenching narratives where relatable characters juggle the highs and lows of first love with conflicts they encounter in family relationships and inner turmoil within themselves. Readers can expect lots of intricate plots and high drama to go along with the steamy romance in moving and unforgettable love stories. Source: Novelist
Released from prison, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter, but with everyone against her, she turns to local bar owner Ledger Ward who, risking everything, secretly helps her make amends.
Jeremy Crawford has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get started. Lowen uncovers an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended anyone to read, with pages of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered. Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate him. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit, if he were to read his wife’s words.
Fans of Colleen Hoover may like:
Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway. On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, in a male-dominated world she constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé on the other side of her glass office wall every day. Things get more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller–the handsome new security guard, and coincidentally the first love of her life. The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. She soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.
Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession . . . or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the treacherous and storied red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago. When the man she once loved walks back into her life to hit the trails, the usually self-reliant cowgirl is thrown. Leo Grady wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. But Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen. But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group realizes the idea of hidden treasure wasn’t so crazy after all. Finding themselves alone, Leo and Lily must decide whether they trust Duke’s maps-and each other-enough to risk their lives and hearts for the adventure of a lifetime.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
When an aging and reclusive Hollywood icon selects an unknown magazine reporter to write her life story, the baffled journalist forges deep ties with the actress during a complicated interview process that exposes their tragic common history.
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Beach Reads: Perfect Romance & Relationship Fiction for Reading on the Beach
Beach reads are fun, easy, light books with compelling stories and satisfying endings. They don’t have too much depth or symbolism, so they’re perfect for when you just want to relax and enjoy yourself! These titles listed below take place right on the water.
Attempting to win the favor of the Hotel Nantucket’s new London billionaire owner, general manager Lizbet Keaton, with drama behind closed doors, staff and guests with complicated pasts, a ghost roaming the halls and her own romantic uncertainty, has her work cut out for her.
Old secrets come to light when four friends gather on Nantucket for a life-changing reunion in this heartwarming novel of love and self-discovery by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.
At her stepdaughter’s marriage to her pandemic boyfriend–the last gathering at the family’s beach house in Cape Cod, Sarah is faced with lovers being revealed as their true selves, misunderstandings, and secrets, ensuring that nothing will ever be the same.
Hattie gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. Soon there’s more at stake than bad pipes and dry rot: During the demolition, evidence comes to light that points to the mysterious disappearance of a young wife and mother years before.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
An acclaimed but blocked literary master and a best-selling novelist who has stopped believing in true love agree to a summer-long writing project that challenges them write well in each others’ styles.