Sunday , March 3 2024

Bored With Cheesy Romantic Fiction? Here’s the Antidote

Wacky Goofball Studios

If your idea of a good romantic story is not a syrupy fluffy tale , but instead you prefer a dark sultry story with a twist, forget the Hallmark channel on Valentine’s Day and check out these ten novels to awaken your fictional dark side.

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn: Lucy and Owen, a young married couple stuck in a rut, decide to follow an advice from an acquaintance, to have an open marriage for six months that will follow basic rules and no questions or recriminations. The most important rule? Don’t fall in love with anyone else. Lucy and Owen will soon discover that this may prove much more difficult than they thought. Publication Date: March 21.

After the Blue Hour by John Rechy: A young writer, who has achieved certain amount of fame, accepts an invitation from a wealthy enthusiast of his work to vacation on a private island. Surrounded by his host Paul, his mistress, and Paul’s son the young writer will soon be drawn from enlightening conversations about literature and film, to a disturbing game proposed by his host.

Beat the Rain by Nigel Jay Cooper: Louise abruptly loses the man she loves, and in her grief, marries his twin brother as a way to cope with the pain. The marriage settles into domestic comfort, until a stranger walks into their lives.

Carousel Court by Joe McGinniss Jr: The real estate crisis of 2008 is the catalyst for Nick and Phoebe Maguire’s marriage to go haywire. Their dream of having their own home turns into a nightmare as they find themselves in a dark and empty neighborhood filled with fore-closed homes. As Nick and Phoebe’s marriage starts to unravel, they each have their own plan to dig themselves out of their financial hole. But their separate agendas may ultimately destroy them both.

Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay: This collection of short stories uncovers the complications and dire straits of different relationships, in which resilience, love and desire will be tested at every step.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler:  Tess arrives in Manhattan from a small mid-Western town with big dreams and even bigger ambitions. Despite her youth and inexperience, she manages to land a job as a back-waiter in one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Amidst the bustle and fast-pace Tess becomes infatuated with Jake, the restaurant’s charming and somewhat puzzling bartender. As Tess becomes entangled in a relationship not only with Jake but also with some of her other restaurant peers, she comes to realize that love might not be as transparent as she once thought.

Hausfrau by Jill Essbaum: Anna is, in her own words, “mostly a good wife”. With three children and a handsome husband Anna puts up a good front of happiness, but she is increasingly disappointed with her life and the emptiness that she constantly feels. As a result, she has a string of lovers and sordid affairs to curb her loneliness and feel alive, but the results may prove to be disastrous.

The Yonahlosee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani: Fifteen year old Thea Altwell has been sent away to a private boarding school after being involved in a shady family tragedy. Her arrival at the academy of high-class debutante equestrians, serves as the catalyst for disturbing relationships and secrets that have the power to destroy Thea and those around her.

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt: It’s the 1960s, and amidst campus protests and the Manson Murders, fourteen year old Lucy falls in love with her much older high school teacher. Convinced that their relationship is a bout of true love, she runs away with him on the last day of school. This leaves Lucy’s older sister Charlotte with unanswered questions about who her sister really was.

Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias: Juan de Vere is thrilled when Eduardo Muriel, a once-famous film director, offers him a job as his personal assistant. But Muriel’s wife Beatriz becomes an alluring enigma for Juan, as he delves even deeper into Muriel’s personal life.

About Adriana Delgado

Adriana Delgado is a freelance journalist, with published reviews on independent and foreign films in publications such as Cineaction magazine and on She also works as an Editorial News Assistant for the Palm Beach Daily News (A.K.A. The Shiny Sheet) and contributes with book reviews for the well-known publication, Library Journal.

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One comment

  1. Valentine’s day is often sold as a holiday that celebrates the joys of an ideal love. Though some of us are fortunate enough to find true love, others are left with a jaded feeling this time of year that’s burrowed deep inside our hearts.

    Even if you’re one of the lucky few who’ve found true love, or even if you’re someone who struggles to say ‘hello,’ these books are a reminder to us all that although it feels good to be loved, sometimes its good to be single too. I for one will happily curl up with a glass of wine this year and enjoy a good read!