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Intimate Reads

From Sandra Brown's new suspenseful love story to Garth Greenwell's exploration of love in its many forms, we pull our favourite reads from the romance section. / BY Athena McKenzie / February 11th, 2021

Whether it’s a book about platonic soulmates or the romantic kind, there’s a read for you.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Through the Garden: A Love Story (With Cats)by Lorna Crozier

The relationship between Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane was one of the most iconic partnerships in Canadian literature. As one might imagine, a romance between two poets wasn’t always easy, but it was passionate. The book, finished in the wake of Lane’s death, chronicles their relationship — which began when they “ran off together in 1978, abandoning our marriages and leaving wreckage in our wake” — but also serves as a reminder of the power of love, and the force of loss. As weightly, in its own way, as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.

2KinkEdited by R. O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell

This book cover might turn heads if you were reading it on a plane or public transit, so it’s probably best we’re all supposed to stay home anyway. This collection of short literary fiction explores love and desire, BDSM, and interests across the sexual spectrum, from bondage and power-play to submissive-dominant relationships. Notable contributors include Roxane Gay, the author of Bad Feminist, and Carmen Maria Machado, author of the award-winning short story collection Her Body and Other Parties

3The Beautiful Things Shoppeby Philip William Stover

If you enjoy a classic opposites-attract, will-they/won’t they plotline, this small town gay romance checks all the boxes. When buttoned-up fine arts dealer Prescott J. Henderson moves to New Hope, Pennsylvania, to rent The Beautiful Things Shoppe, he’s surprised to find he has to share the space with Danny Roman, an extrovert who deals in retro toys and colorful knick-knacks. Cue the clashes and chemistry. 

4Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

If you haven’t watched the popular new Netflix series yet, why not read the source book first? In eighth grade (in 1974 — cue Abba), introverted Kate Mularkey meets new girl Tully Hart, and the two vow to be best friends forever (and view themselves as a unit: TullyandKate.) For over three decades the two women are there for each other, through college and the start of their journalism careers, weathering the storms of friendship, men problems, jealousy, anger, hurt and resentment. But when Tully betrays Kate in an unexpected way, it tears them apart and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.


5The Returnby Nicholas Sparks

We’re all craving comfort these days and reading a Nicholas Sparks book is like putting on your favourite cozy pajamas — it’s comfort reading at it’s best. While the premise may feel familiar (Trevor Benson, a surgeon injured in Afghanistan, returns to a small town to take care of his late grandfather’s dilapidated cabin and may find unexpected love with sheriff Natalie Masterson) Sparks layers in some secrets to keep the stakes high. 

6Best Kept Secretsby Sandra Brown

Some of us like a little suspense with our love story, and author Sandra Brown has a deft hand at combining both. In Best Kept Secrets, successful lawyer Alexandra Gaither returns to the remote Texas town where her mother — a woman she never knew — died twenty-five years ago, determined to get justice for her murder. There she confronts the three powerful — and charming — men who were with her mother the night she died. 


7Hana Khan Carries Onby Uzma Jalaluddin

Uzma Jalaluddin subverted Muslim stereotyes with her first book, Ayesha At Last, a skilled retelling of Pride and Predjudice, and her latest does this same.  Using You’ve Got Mail as its guide, this entertaining read revisits the established story, but gives it a brand new set up — two Halal restaurants in suburban Toronto, instead of bookshops, and a podcast replacing emails. 



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