Originally from Italy, author and professor Ali Hazelwood moved to the US a decade ago to pursue a PHD in neuroscience, and – rather impressively – managed to write her debut novel, The Love Hypothesis, alongside her day job as a professor. A great reminder that romance novels make for heartwarming and uplifting books, read on to find out which eight books Ali would take with her to the sandy shores of a desert island…
R Lee Smith writes like no one else. This book is a mix of horror and fairy tale. I love the romance arc, I love Lan, I love Azrael, but above all I love the post-apocalyptic world she has built.
Land of The Beautiful Dead by R Lee Smith
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The Spare by Carolyn Jewel
Buy Pride and Prejudice from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Buy The Spare from Bookshop.org or Book Depository.
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It’s a really interesting romance novel that plays a lot with timelines, the supernatural, and the idea of soulmates. I love the grumpy-sunshine dynamic and the Cumbria setting. What I loved most about this book was how it played with timelines a lot, and it also has this wonderful paranormal element and a soulmate component where the characters are meant to be; I love soulmate stories and this book has a wonderful twist which is quite unusual for a romance novel.
Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
I decided to end with a non-romance book. Smilla is unlike any character I’ve ever encountered, I love the combination of science and snow, and I love the slow unfolding of the mystery within the narrative.
Buy Heart of Obsidian from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
This is another self-published book, and I love it because it’s a green-card marriage book, and as someone who has been an immigrant in the US for many years, and has struggled with visas and only recently got a green-card, I just loved every part of this book. The slow burn is just delicious, and I love Vanessa’s character development (building her own business, training to run a marathon, learning to stand up for herself.)
Buy Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
No one writes as lyrically as Sherry Thomas. She’s famous for her Lady Sherlock series, in which Sherlock Holmes is a woman; all of which are amazing. And she writes a lot of main characters who are either in STEM, or have lots of STEM-related interests. Plus, this is a second chance romance, which is my catnip. Not Quite a Husband is set between the UK and India, and is a story about two of the main characters falling back in love, which I just dig. I find her use of language incredibly inspiring.
Another one of my favourite writers, Lisa Kleypas also writes both historical and contemporary romance, and this particular book is the third book in a series about a family in Texas, and I just love the entire series. It has the. Best Banter. In the universe. This book is essentially about protagonist, Ella, who has to take care of her sister’s baby while her sister is in rehab, and the way she fallis in love with her sister’s baby despite herself is just top notch. It’s a really layered story about not just romantic love, but about the love Ella has for her sister’s baby as well. It warms my heart every time I read it.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
Buy Smooth Talking Stranger from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
Pride & Prejudice was such a formative book for me; it has meant a lot to me at different points of my life. I’ve read it so many times I know a lot of the scenes by heart – it’s a book that I can re-read again and again, and it still feels like the first time.
Buy The Wall of Winnipeg and Me from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones. I love all books in this series, but Heart of Obsidian is special because of the way Sahara literally saves the world from Kaleb’s fury, and because it’s obvious that he hates pretty much everyone but her. I waited for this book for absolutely years, and I was so happy when it finally came out.