Mysterious and romantic books for mysterious and romantic readers

mysterious romantic books
A library patron asked for some mysterious and romantic books the other day, and I proceeded to overwhelm her with book after book. Most of my recommendations went the “omg this is so good” route, not the best way to sell someone on a book, actually, because it tends to freak them out. She took it well, though, and went home with Legend by Marie Lu.

Here are some of the other mysterious and romantic books I thought of, including a few adult books just for kicks. With more detailed reasonings than just “read it because”!

Unspoken Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Romance! As this is BASICALLY a YA paranormal book, I’m sure you’re all waiting for me to complain about the insane romance subplot or whatever. Well, HA. There isn’t any. In fact, Unspoken is basically a SUBVERSION of that trope I hate, so if you’re like me and can’t stand most YA paranormal-with-romance books, you’d probably like this one because it goes almost in exactly the opposite direction from most other books.

Ash sm
Ash by Malinda Lo.
I actually need to reread this because the first time I read it I wasn’t overly wowed. However! It fits into m&r perfectly: it’s a retelling of Cinderella with evil-ish fairies and it’s fairly dark and creepy. And romantic!
The Diviners
The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Flappers! Flapper slang! New York flappers speaking flapper-y flapper slang! etc. Also ghosts or whatever.

assassin's curse cassandra rose clarke
The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
(I have yet to review this because I only just read it.) This is the book that kicked off the hunt for mysterious-romantic books in the first place! It’s got action, adventure, romance, pirates!, assassins, Middle Eastern-inspired settings and (I think?) magic and it’s really fab.
Sun and Moon Ice and Snow
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.

Basically: ARGH, SO GOOD. Fab characters, wonderful plot, really good writing, and all the annoyances I’d had with the original story were fixed! I honestly can’t think of a single thing wrong with it. If you had problems with other retellings of this story, you might want to try this one.

Rebecca
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

The narrator (unnamed) is a bit of a drip, but I think she’s actually a lot braver than what you can see from first glance. If you had married a dude 21 years older than you, and then he brought you back to a creepy house filled with ghosts and sadness, and then the housekeeper started basically gaslighting you: would you have stuck around as long as Unnamed Narrator did?

THE BOOK aka whyyyyy, that cover! guh.
Freedom & Necessity by Steven Brust & Emma Bull.

I thought the four main characters were a really good mix of personalities and types, and they meshed really well together. Even when they’re annoyed at one another, you can still tell how much they love each other and what a good family they are. Er, though it was a bit weird when they started have romances with each other, but since they’re all cousins it’s not as weird…maybe.

Which books would you add to this list? When I think of “mysterious and romantic” I tend to think more of paranormal/fantasy-ish and gothic/mystery books, not scifi or anything like that. Can you think of any scifi books that’d fit under the m&r label?

2 Comments

  1. Not quite in the same genre you’re talking about, but right now I’m reading The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge. It’s set during the English Civil War and is a rich, leisurely read, with a fair amount of psychological and philosophical discussion if you have a tolerance for that sort of thing. It’s definitely romantic and mysterious though, with gypsies, witches (black and white), spies, and more!

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