Love is in the air at Library Journal! Their recent genre spotlight on romance includes these steamy Macmillan reads:
HISTORY OR HER STORY?
Kerrigan Byrne’s THE DUKE (St. Martin’s, Feb. 2017), the fourth installment in her “Victorian Rebels” series, features a nurse by day/spy by night who gets tangled up with a duke who has lost a hand as a prisoner of war.
Addison Fox’s AT LAST (Swerve: St. Martin’s, Nov.) stars a former NFL hero who walks away from the pros and clashes with a Brooklyn brewery owner.
While the traditional games will continue to thrive, the genre is broadening to include new and ever more exciting sports. Consider Rebecca Yarros’s WILDER (Entangled, Sept.), which features a five-time X Games (extreme sports) champion.
MORE THAN BRAWN
Romantic suspense is also getting tech-savvy with a heroine computer hacker in Sarah Castille’s new “Ruin & Revenge” series, which begins with NICO (St. Martin’s, Dec.).
Even our favorite professionals, librarians, are coming out in force with Dawn Ryder’s suspenseful DEEP INTO TROUBLE (St. Martins, Mar. 2017). This third title in her “Unbroken Heroes” series matches up a library worker with a special agent.
LOVE FROM ANOTHER WORLD
Romance writers have taken on the epic fantasy and sf tales with crossovers that transcend genre boundaries. Jacqueline Carey is no stranger to epic fantasy that also delights romance readers with strongly sensual, erotic plots, such as her “Kushiel’s Legacy Trilogies.” Carey here retells Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a tale of forbidden love, MIRANDA AND CALIBAN (Tor, Feb. 2017).
For sf romance lovers, marriage and divorce give way to seven-year contracts in Erin Lyon’s I LOVE YOU SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITIONS (Forge, Jan. 2017).
HIT AND MYTH
Fairy tale and myth retellings are also keeping paranormal romance in view. Monique Patterson, executive editor and editorial director of romance for St. Martin’s Press, thinks that “retellings never waned in romance and have been happening across all the romance subgenres.” The press is releasing Kerrelyn Sparks’s new “Embraced” series, which opens with a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast, HOW TO TAME A BEAST IN SEVEN DAYS (Mar. 2017).
In debut author Madhuri Pavamani’s new dark and erotic “The Keeper” series, an assassin must kill a target that has nine lives. The series begins with DUTCH (Swerve: St. Martin’s, Feb. 2017), quickly followed by JUMA (Swerve: St. Martin’s, Mar. 2017).
A DIVERSE UNIVERSE
All readers deserve books that represent their individuality. For years, many publishers have developed imprints dedicated to multicultural fiction, others to LGBTQ+ works, while still others increasingly offer a broader selection of materials, whether related to ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities, age, or body type. Diverse titles we’ve seen are predominantly from African American authors (and feature African American characters).
Tracy Brown’s BOSS (Griffin: St. Martin’s, Jan. 2017), a contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, has been likened to the immensely popular TV shows Empire and Scandal.
The availability of LGBTQ+ fiction is still growing as publishers realize these titles appeal to a broad spectrum of romance readers. As a result, St. Martin’s and others are actively seeking romances featuring characters with a wider variety of sexual orientations and gender identities. Despite the plethora of historicals, contemporary M/M romance still dominates the market.
For a billionaire fix, try Opal Carew’s A FARE TO REMEMBER (Griffin: St. Martin’s, Jan. 2017): a cab driver and her passenger take a red-hot detour.