Ayesha at Last by Uzma JalaluddinStarring: Ayesha Shamsi, substitute teacher and aspiring poet; Khalid Mirza, whose traditional dress and socially awkward manner disguise the fact that he may be perfect for Ayesha.
Why you might like it: Sympathetic leads and a diverse supporting cast anchor this warmhearted Pride and Prejudice retelling set in Toronto.
For fans of: the authentic Muslim Canadian characters in Sonya Lalli's The Matchmaker's List; modern multicultural Jane Austen adaptations such as Soniah Kamal's Unmarriageable.
Rebel by Beverly JenkinsNew Orleans, 1870: When white supremacists destroy Valinda Lacy's school for emancipated men and women, Captain Drake LeVeq, scion of one of the city's most illustrious families, comes to her rescue.
Why you might like it: With its vividly rendered Reconstruction-era setting and nuanced depiction of the social issues of the period, this well-researched novel educates as well as entertains.
Crossover alert: This opening installment of the Women Who Dare series features appearances by characters from the author's beloved House of LeVeq trilogy.
Daisies and Devotion by Josi S. KilpackThe list: "Blonde, tall, graceful, with blue or green eyes, a bow-shaped mouth, dainty fingers, and rosy cheeks..." These are the qualities that Timothy Mayfield desires in a wife -- and the qualities that Maryann Morrington doesn't possess.
And yet... The more time Timothy spends with Maryann, the more he's tempted to revise his list. Meanwhile, despite Maryann's unrequited love for Timothy, she's determined to help her friend find his perfect wife.
Series alert: This chaste Regency romance is the 2nd book in the Mayfield Family series, after Promises and Primroses.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenWhat happens: After food poisoning sidelines the wedding party, Olive Torres (the sister of the bride) and Ethan Thomas (the brother of the groom) impersonate the newlyweds to ensure that the couple's all-expenses-paid Hawaiian honeymoon doesn't go to waste.
Read it for: Olive's snarky narration, a steamy enemies-to-lovers plot, and a pile-up of romantic complications on the way to happily-ever-after.
Author alert: Christina Lauren, the pen name of two best friends, writes much-loved romantic comedies including Dating You / Hating You, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, and My Favorite Half-Night Stand.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuistonStarring: Alex Claremont-Diaz, the bisexual Mexican-American son of the (first female) U.S. president, and his nemesis Henry, Prince of Wales, who must pretend to be friends for the sake of international diplomacy.
Why you might like it: a fake friendship between rivals becomes a real romance in this smart and steamy new adult romantic comedy.
Reviewers say: "Diplomatic Anglo-American relations have never been so much fun" (Vogue).
Focus on: Pygmalion-inspired Romances
A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie BarnesWhat it's about: Prizefighter Raphe Matthews, the new Duke of Huntley, is more familiar with the boxing rings of St. Giles than the drawing rooms of Mayfair, which is why he needs Lady Gabriella Radcliffe to teach him the ways of the ton.
Reviewers say: This 1st Diamonds in the Rough novel "puts a sexy spin on Pygmalion" (Booklist).
You might also like: Nicole Jordan's My Fair Lover or Megan Frampton's Lady Be Reckless, both of which offer Regency-set, gender-swapped twists on My Fair Lady.
The Knave of Hearts by Elizabeth BoyleWhat it's about: After Alaster "Tuck" Rowland humiliates her on the dance floor at Almack's, disaster-prone Lavinia Tempest isn't sure she should accept his offer to repair the damage to her reputation. Especially if it includes dancing lessons.
Why not? "The last time she'd tried to dance a cotillion, Lady Essex's house, Foxgrove, had caught fire."
Series alert: The Knave of Hearts is the 5th book in the Rhymes with Love series, which starts with Along Came a Duke.
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa DareWhat it's about: Taking his matchmaking mama at her word, Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, chooses the most unsuitable bride he can think of: barmaid Pauline Simms. (The dowager duchess said "any girl" will do.)
The perils of Pauline: Between Griffin's bribe (a small fortune if she promises to fail her "duchess training"), her would-be mother-in-law's scheming, and her own inconvenient attraction to the duke, Pauline must make some difficult decisions.
Reviewers say: This 4th installment of the Spindle Cove series is a "beguiling blend of sparkling wit and simmering sensuality" (Booklist).
My Fair Princess by Vanessa KellyWhat it's about: Oh-so-proper Charles Valentine Penley, Duke of Leverton, has just acquired an unwanted protégée in the form of Gillian Dryden, who despite her royal blood lacks social graces.
Why you might like it: In Gillian's case, "lacks social graces" is a polite way of saying "once trekked across Sicily to hunt down the bandits who murdered her stepfather."
Look for: a cameo by Griffin Steele, the hero of author Vanessa Kelly's Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom.
Lady Claire Is All That: Keeping Up With the Cavendishes by Maya RodaleThe wager: That Maximilian DeVere, Lord Fox, can transform bluestocking Claire Cavendish into the belle of the ball.
The odds: Claire, more passionate about mathematics than the marriage mart, sends most suitors fleeing -- yet Fox finds he can't stay away.
Should you start here? Although Lady Claire is All That is the 3rd installment of the Keeping Up With the Cavendishes series, the storylines of previous volumes run concurrently with this novel, meaning that the books can be read in any order.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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