Valentine’s Day Nightstand Picks from Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith admits that as a romance writer herself, it’s difficult not to get mushy about love especially around Valentine’s Day. But thanks to Leslie Knope (and maybe the internet, in general), there’s much more to February than flowers and chocolate. In the spirit of going beyond the love story, Smith shares a few nightstand picks that hooked her for more than just the heat and the hearts.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. I love how Lauren Willig’s books give you a slice of history and a ton of humor! The entire Pink Carnation series is full of delightful character romps and a dual love story spanning 200 years between past and present plus a mystery: who is the Pink Carnation spy from England who aided French aristocrats in escaping the guillotine? I loved reading The Scarlet Pimpernel as a girl and this series is an updated, sexy new twist on the concept.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I’m a big vampire book fan and this is one of my all-time favorites. Two loves stories for the price of one: a young heroine falling for an older college boy and a past love story involving her father and mother. And these plots only scratch the surface of what this book offers. A lushly painted and vivid world, this book delves into the history of Vlad the Impaler and how he was a real vampire, wreaking havoc on this one particular family. It’s not a horror novel, but sensual, spooky, modernized gothic literary fiction that will leave you peering over your shoulder with chills up your spine.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This book isn’t so much a love story as it is a story of a woman discovering who she is and what she believes in. It chronicles her sad and lonely childhood and the emotional neglect she survives. When she goes to an all-girl’s school she discovers education is one way of escaping her bad position in life. Jane gains a new level of freedom (as much as one could in that era for women) as a governess, and stoutly defends herself against the world’s ridicule. She refuses to be defined by society and proves how strong a seemingly fragile woman could be. There’s nothing better than reading about a woman who isn’t afraid to be herself.
The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Loved Twilight and Harry Potter and want more? Look no further than the first beautifully written first book in Harkness’s trilogy where a witch and a vampire fall in love. But it’s so much more. As a kid, I adored the show Bewitched and loved the idea of being a witch and having powers. In this book, the heroine is a witch who has had her powers tied within her by her parents who perished when she was a child. I loved the feeling the author created in this world, how real it was, and how well-developed. I wanted to dive in and never leave.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer. Yes it has a quadrangle love story but this book is brilliant in so many more ways than the romance. Meyer spins a unique view on the age old alien vs. human battle and does it all through the eyes of an alien parasite that gets implanted in a human woman who is a member of the resistance against the alien forces. Meyer makes you embrace both the human and alien viewpoints of a conquering species. This is such a brilliant book I’ve read it once a year since it came out in 2008. That’s how great this book is!
Whether Valentine’s Day is your thing or not, I do hope you’ll share your love with one of my suggestions this month.
Lauren Smith, winner of the 2014 Historical International Digital Award, attended Oklahoma State University, where she earned a B.A. in both history and political science. Drawn to paintings and museums, Lauren is obsessed with antiques and satisfies her fascination with history by writing and exploring exotic, ancient lands. She is currently an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her second book in Her British Stepbrother series from Grand Central Publishing will release in March.
Twitter: @LSmithAuthor | Instagram: @laurensmithbooks
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