Culture Writer Liv Jones compiles a list of her four favourite romance reads for this summer!

Book worm and Modern Languages student
Images by Liv Jones

Who doesn’t love a romance novel? Especially as the summer holidays are approaching. I absolutely love reading heart-warming love stories whilst basking in the summer sun. So here are a few recommendations from me! 

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

This book kicks off with an out-of-the-ordinary flatshare and bedshare agreement between two complete strangers, Tiffy and Leon. Firstly, they only engage through post-it notes and no face-to-face contact. They both have the bed/flat at opposite times of the day; Tiffy is there in the evenings and overnight and Leon works night shifts so he is there in the day. Of course, and with no surprise, this ends up blossoming into something more! 

This is just a hilariously wacky love story that makes the reader feel excited, doubtful, confused and emotional, experiencing the rollercoaster of a love story that Tiffy and Leon have.

This book feels like a breath of fresh air: a truly heart-warming novel that will make you smile

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie tells the story of a twenty-five-year-old strong but troubled woman who has all sorts of boy drama, friendship drama and struggles with anxiety and depression. On top of this, she experiences casual everyday racism which ultimately fosters in her a lack of self-confidence. This is a heart-breaking yet uplifting novel in which the reader will find themselves angry for Queenie. In light of the recent Black Lives Matter movement I feel like, as a white woman, this book is relevant and allowed me to have just a small taste of what prejudices black women face on a daily basis. 

However, aside from the sad parts (and some foul play from some awful men), some genuinely hilarious moments made me laugh out loud an achievement I have to say.

If you are looking for a down-to-earth romance novel with all the real-life and extremely relatable issues that one encounters with love and friendships — this is the one for you.

This book [has] allowed me to have just a small taste of what prejudices black women face on a daily basis

Out of Love – Hazel Hayes

Out of Love tells the story of a relationship but back-to-front. We start with the breakup and end with the couple meeting. It’s a different and completely refreshing concept and I loved it. Even though we know the couple and that their love doesn’t last, almost anyone can relate to the heartbreak and emotional struggles of the protagonist. 

The female (unnamed) also struggles with some mental health problems and we read how she thinks, manifests, and copes with the struggles she faces. I personally think these sorts of stories are so important for readers to gain awareness of mental illnesses and understand that sometimes these illnesses are hidden from view. 

This book also touches on friendship. Everyone needs a Maya in their life; she’s kind, caring, and just a great friend to our protagonist.

Considering the tough year and a half that we have all been through, this book feels like an honest and raw depiction of life. It is not easy, and not everything goes the way we want it to. However, love – whether from family, friends, or a partner – often provides us with comfort. 

This book feels like an honest and raw depiction of life

Sweet Sorrow – David Nicholls

It’s the summer of 1997 and Charlie Lewis has just about managed to finish school. His GCSEs have not gone well. On top of this, he is trying to process his mother moving out and having to look after his depressed, unemployed father. Fed up, he turns to reading novels he can find in his house in an attempt to distract himself from his dreaded future. This is when he meets Fran Fisher.

The book then goes on to tell us about Charlie and Fran’s blossoming, young love. However, the relationship costs Charlie his schoolboy friendships as he joins Fran’s drama group and ends up playing Benvolio in the company’s production of Romeo and Juliet. 

We then are taken on a journey of Charlie and Fran’s summer love – sneaking off to “practise lines” and going on secret adventures to hideaways. But will this last? 

I found this a relaxing and easy read. I would compare it to a Sunday afternoon film – warm and cosy. David Nicholls writes realistic love stories with ease and doesn’t fail to include the embarrassing and awkward moments. It also was refreshing for the novel to be from a teenage boy’s perspective and discuss male friendship. 

I would compare [Sweet Sorrow] to a Sunday afternoon film – warm and cosy

See on Goodreads: The Flat ShareQueenieOut of LoveSweet Sorrow


Read more on Redbrick Culture:

Book Wormhole 2-in-1: House of Earth and Blood & A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book Wormhole: Everything I Know About Love

Why Not Judge a Book by its Cover?