Romantic novels filter: happy couples edition
October 7, 2016 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I just read the last available Eileen Wilks book and the next one won't be out for a while. What should I read in the meantime?

What I love about the World of the Lupi is that it's populated with happy couples who work through problems together. Sure, they fight, but they figure stuff out as a team. I'm not at all attached the werewolves or the magic or the battling evil gods part of it (though I do like that stuff).

I'm looking for books (movies and TV ok, but books are really where I'm heading) that

-happy couples
-problem solving

Do Not Have:
-will they won't they

May Or May Not Have:
-romance novel structure
-sci fi

I have also loved Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife series for these same reasons. Also Harriet Vane/Peter Whimsey. Also also Death Comes to Pemberly. And I know folks will recommend Smart Bitches Trashy Books, but I have yet to figure out how to filter it down for these criteria.
posted by faethverity to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Amelia Peabody!
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:48 PM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you read Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric novellas? The "couple" share a body, but otherwise meet your criteria.

Some older books, like those of D.E. Stephenson, are I guess categorized as domestic novels, but also feature spunky protagonists (female), gentle conflicts, no violence, and light romance. I liked Listening Valley, Anna and her Daughters, the Miss Buncle books, and Celia's House. The plots and characters do sometimes directly mirror Jane Austen books, however, which I find sometimes distracting.

Have you read the Jill Patton Walsh continuation of the Vane/Whimsey books? I enjoy them, although I acknowledge that these books never reach the heights of Gaudy Night.
posted by Malla at 12:49 PM on October 7, 2016

I haven't read the books you refer to, so please forgive me if I'm entirely off base.

If you like historicals, you might enjoy Ashley Gardner's Captain Lacey series. I'm linking to book two, since book one deals with rape. In any case, Captain Lacey solves mysteries in Regency London and has a slow burn romance with a woman above his station.

Kat Richardson has the Greywalker series - Seattle PI Harper Blaine gets drawn into the world of the supernatural, along with her ferret and her boyfriend (who I think it might take a book or two for her to start dating.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:55 PM on October 7, 2016

Rainbow Rowell's Landline is really good about a mature married relationship going through a rough spot. Oh, I smiled and laughed and cried while reading it.

She also wrote Fangirl which is so darn phenomenal. About a woman going off to college and she is an internet-famous fanfic writer for Harry Potter-esque novels. Then there's the recent Carry On which is the novel based off of the fanfic!
posted by jillithd at 1:25 PM on October 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson books, or the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews? They're not for me because I don't like alpha males, which both of the series feature as the romantic male lead, but people seem to dig them and they could fit your parameters.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:39 PM on October 7, 2016

Some of the Mercy Thompson books mentioned above do have the occasional harrowing rape plotlines, please read with caution if you wish to avoid such altogether.

You might like Nalini Singh's Psi-Changeling series?
posted by Coaticass at 8:12 PM on October 7, 2016

I read the Mercy Thompson books a few years ago, so sorry about that!
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:56 PM on October 7, 2016

You could definitely look at a bit more by Lois McMaster Bujold. I'd recommend Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - the couple in that one, esp by the end, makes me really happy to read about.
posted by Lady Li at 1:54 AM on October 8, 2016

I was totally coming in here to recommend the Sharing Knife series - until I saw that you've already read them!

Another series that I completely love and that you might too is the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. (The first novel is Furies of Calderon.) The part of your question that most sparked this recommendation is "populated with happy couples who work through problems together" - this is totally the case. I mean, sometimes the couples aren't happy because they're fighting a bad guy together, but they're doing it *together* and their unhappiness is external to their relationship.

It does have:
- happy couples
- problem solving
- feminism (as it exists in the fantasy world of the novels)
- some sex, not super explicit
- magic

It does not have:
- will they won't they
- cheating
- abuse

However, the first book does have a kidnap/rape plot thread. I think you could avoid it by being careful in the Isana chapters in the second half of the first book, but it's definitely there. The rest of the violence/scary stuff is pretty on par with the Sharing Knife books.

I also agree that you might like more of the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, but they don't necessarily scratch the happy-couple itch.

Thanks for asking this question - now I have more books to put on my list!
posted by bananacabana at 8:04 PM on October 9, 2016

Thank you so much for these recommendations! I should have specified that I read and reread the Vorkosigan books regularly, though they don't all fit my criteria. But I hadn't even heard of the Penric novels!

Yes, I've read a bunch of Mercy Thompson novels, but dropped the series as soon as rape and the threat of rape became a plot driver regularly.

I have Fangirl out of the library right now. :-D
I'll add these all to my list! Keep them coming!
posted by faethverity at 11:15 AM on October 10, 2016

I think you might well enjoy Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris, in which the newlywed Darcys discover their talent for detection (with a hint of the supernatural). And if you do, there are six more in the series (and counting), though the paranormal aspect tapers off after the second or so.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:26 PM on October 25, 2016

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