When is a Rom-Com not a Rom-Com? When it’s labelled as chick lit, women’s fiction or a romance novel, of course. It doesn’t really matter what category or genre it’s labelled under, in my humble opinion, if it has these essential elements:
- At least one main character who is ‘played for laughs’ with a funny voice, witty dialogue or hilarious internal monologue
- A central romance or love story (other stuff can also be happening)
- A happy ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) ending – ‘everybody dies’ books are not welcome here…
- Wacky plot details and accidental misunderstandings are entirely optional!
So without further ado, here’s a few of my favourite Rom-Com books, or whatever you want to call them.
1) Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes
Some would disagree with this book being categorised as a Rom-Com, but I think it is. There is a heroine dealing with some difficult issues and she’s an ‘unreliable narrator’ of what’s really happening, but it’s done with Marian Keyes’ trademark humour. There’s also an example of a sex scene with smouldering build-up…Luke, aka the ‘ridey’ real man. Hello!
2) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I read this one recently and absolutely loved it. The Hating Game is the debut novel from Australian author, Sally Thorned, and she nails the enemies to lovers trope. It’s very funny, from the moment the two lead characters appear on the page, glaring at each other across the partitions in their fictional office. Highly recommended!
3) Risky Business by Amy Andrews
This is another unusual Aussie choice from one of my favourite authors, Amy Andrews (who I’ve shamelessly fan-girled at the Romance Writers of Australia conference). Risky Business is the tale of a heroine, Samantha, who fears her eggs are getting past their use-by date…her fertility is coming to an end and she wants a baby. Now. Her eggs are talking to her, and the internal banter is giggle-worthy. Enter the hero, Nick, who is a manly man who also just happens to inherit a romance bookshop. This one is sexy and funny, has lots of fab Aussie references and just an all round fun read.
4) Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Rightly considered a classic in romance writing circles. This book is hilarious and features an unconventional heroine, a chubby actuary, and a bet that the hero can’t get her into bed within a month. There are heaps of misunderstandings in this one but it only adds to the fun. I don’t know why this book hasn’t been made into a movie yet. Hurry up, Hollywood.
5) Play by Kylie Scott
This book is right up there in the smokin’ hot romance scale, as well as laugh-out-loud funny. The hero, Mal, is one of the members of the Stage Dive rock band. It follows the band (part of a series of Stage Dive books) but to me, Mal is the funniest and most memorable character. His one liners are very naughty but also very funny. Trust me on this, you want to read this one but it is R rated (fair warning).
BIO: Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. Cassandra is also the Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction. Her Christmas novella, Heart Note, is OUT NOW!