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Alison Gowans
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Feb. 12, 2024 – Romance has long been one of the most popular genres of literature, and recent offerings feature a diverse array of characters and settings, from Regency England to Ancient Greece and even contemporary Iowa. Library staff offered some of their favorite romantic reads in honor of Valentine's Day.

Browse the list below and click on covers to put titles on hold in the catalog.


"Part of Your World" by Abby Jimenez

This is such a cute 'opposites attract' romantic comedy. The story tells the tale of Alexis, a city ER physician who meets small town carpenter Daniel, when she has car troubles on her way back from Cedar Rapids. Alexis and Daniel become part of each other's lives, and Alexis begins to heal from past traumas and deal with stressful family obligations. From the very beginning, I was hooked. Abby Jimenez writes so wonderfully that I actually laughed out loud when Alexis and Daniel first met!

- Melanie, Patron Services Specialist


"Pas De Don’t" by Chloe Angyal 

Ballet artists Heather Hays and Marcus Campbell have instant chemistry when they meet in Sydney, Australia. There is one problem, however … the Australian National Ballet has a strict no-dating policy. This debut novel by an Iowa author offers the perfect mix of sweet and spicy as Heather and Marcus dance around their growing feelings! 

(Read this one before Angyal's visit to the Downtown Library on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2-4 pm as part of the "Romance Lovers in the Library" program.)

- Renee, Programming Librarian


"Neon Gods" by Katee Robert

If you enjoy retellings of the ancient Greek myths, particularly those concerning Hades and Persephone, this one’s for you!  The combination of being told in contemporary times with characters who clearly have a deep connection along with a whole lot of spice made for a really fun read. This kicks off Robert’s "Dark Olympus" series (six books so far), so there’s a lot more where this came from!

- Kristine, Materials Librarian


"It Had to Be a Duke" by Vivienne Lorret

Verity's the normal one in her family, so no one is more surprised than she is when she announces she's engaged to the Duke of Longhurst. Magnus, the titular Duke, just wants to marry an heiress and can't believe he has to travel to the country to resolve a fake engagement. The attraction between Verity and Magnus is off the charts, but they're in such denial. When they finally give in? *chef's kiss*​​ Fabulous!

"A Nobleman's Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel" by KJ Charles

While somewhat hard to describe, I'd say this book is sort of a mix of enemies-to-lovers and workplace romance. Rufus d'Aumesty thought he had his inheritance sorted until Luke Doomsday shows up claiming to be the true Earl of Oxney. Rufus hires Luke as his clerk. Keep your enemies closer, you know. Even if you are attracted to them. I'm a fan of intrigue and plots, so this one was right up my alley!

"Every Duke Has His Day" by Suzanne Enoch 

I already submitted this for a previous list, but hey ... poodles. I didn't know that all the romances I read were missing something essential until this book had five poodles. It all starts when Elizabeth's badly-behaved poodle, Galahad, is accidentally swapped for Michael's aunt's well-behaved poodle, Lancelot. This causes the villain's plot to go awry, setting up a series of events that introduces a whole host of likeable characters.

"The Redemption of Philip Thane" by Lisa Berne

Did you ever watch the movie "Groundhog Day" and wished it could be a romance set in Regency England? Your wish has been fulfilled! Philip Thane is the one learning his lesson (over and over again) after his aunt forces his participation in a small village festival. Rakes often quickly turn into Mr. Right in historical romances, so it was lovely to see and believe the transformation. 

"The Duke Gets Desperate" by Diana Quincy

This enemies-to-lovers romance features Raya, an Arab-American merchant who has just inherited a castle, and the Duke of Strickland, who has no money but wants his castle back. I'm a sucker for banter, and this book has plenty of it! Raya's determination and resilience made it easy for me fall in love with her as a character. I won't share what endeared Strick to me. No spoilers!

- Rebecca, Librarian


"Written in the Stars" by Alexandria Bellefleur

This "Pride and Prejudice"-inspired contemporary queer romance features uptight Darcy Lowell and free-spirited Elle Jones. After a disastrous first date, Elle is sure that's the last she'll see of Darcy. But when Darcy is desperate to stop her brother from meddling in her love life and lies to him about how the date went, one thing leads to another, and the two find themselves in a fake relationship. But will their charade turn into something real?

- Alison, Content Writer