As a romance enthusiast, I’m always deeply invested in fictitious characters’ paths to love. While each story is inherently unique, there are some characters that have the ability to touch my heart in a special way that makes it difficult for them to leave my mind—even months later. Memorable stories grab my attention early on with minimal slow plot moments and characters who have to fight for their love. There are multiple books that are constantly running through my mind and I’ll share four of them. Before reading any of the books discussed, please take the time to look up any trigger/content warnings that may be associated with them.

The first book, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, is a retelling of  The Iliad through Patroclus’ point of view. Greek mythology and retellings always grasp my attention, which made this book the perfect match for me. Miller’s debut novel offered a fresh perspective on a genre that is commonly used for inspiration. Using Patroclus’ point of view gives the reader an inside look into his platonic and romantic relationship with Achilles. Though the novel contains information about the Trojan War, there is not an academic sense to it. Instead, there’s beautifully written prose for a tragic love story. The second book, Don’t You Dare by C. E. Ricci, is the perfect rendition of a best friends to lovers story. Keene and Aspen have been best friends for years and have engaged in various dares throughout their friendship. A single dare at a party changes everything between them. Following the party, the two friends have to navigate how and if their relationship is going to change. Their story includes angst, tension, heartache, and exploration of their sexuality. 

The third book, American Prince by Sierra Simone, is the second book in the New Camelot trilogy and it gives a layered background into two of the main characters’, Embry and Ash, relationship from Embry’s point of view. The mind of Embry is a complicated one; he can be insecure and he will sacrifice his own happiness for others. While it is necessary to read the trilogy in order to understand the plot, Embry’s point of view was my favorite. Embry and Ash have a deep connection that is undeniable and unique to their relationship. Embry struggles with choosing to put himself first, instead he buries his true feelings at the expense of himself. 

The fourth book, A Love Letter to Whiskey, 5th anniversary edition by Kandi Steiner, is a dual-point-of-view novel that follows B and Jamie from high school to their thirties. In this raw and emotional story, life, timing, insecurities, and other people keep getting in the way. B and Jamie fight with and for each other, even when they’re not the other’s to fight for. Their relationship is a clear example of the right person but wrong time. I recommend this edition because it includes bonus material that cannot be found in the original release.

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