[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Rebecca Serle to the site today! She’s talking self-love heroines and more.]
Hello, Frolic Readers! Rebecca Serle here, excited to share some of my favorite romantic reads with you. If you’ve read The Dinner List or my latest novel In Five Years, you know I’m a huge fan of epic love stories that take an unexpected turn. For me, romance doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Happily Ever After’ in the traditional sense, with white wedding dresses and a love that appears as flawless as the prism of a diamond ring. Instead, it is a journey in which the heroine falls more deeply in love with herself, using the mistakes, regrets, and losses along her path as fuel for a more authentic future. Here are a few books I love that accomplish this lofty literary task.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I know I can’t be the only one who has a few songs they directly associate with specific moments in their life. Listening to my favorite bands (like The Counting Crows, if you were curious) brings me right back to every time they helped heal me from a broken heart, or provided the perfect background for writing a novel. But what if you could learn exactly what was happening from the band’s perspective, when they wrote all the epic songs you’ve turned to again and again? Romance meets rock music in this spectacular novel I tore through in just a few hours, desperate to know all the dirty details of the rise and fall of the once-popular band Daisy Jones & The Six. Written as one long interview between the members of the band who would spill the beans and an unnamed journalist, Reid weaves a compelling, tension-filled story of musicians falling in love with their music but desperately trying not to fall for one another in the process. She answers the ‘Will they or won’t they?’ question with a surprising twist I honestly never saw coming!
One Day in December by Josie Silver
Do you believe in destiny? Laurie doesn’t… that is, until she sees a man on a bus that she’s convinced is The One. After a year of scouring all of London looking for him, they finally meet again — only this time, he’s her best friend’s new boyfriend. The decade that follows has humor, heartbreak, and an unexpected happily ever after. How could I not recommend the natural book-BFF of my own In Five Years, in which a woman convinced she knows the path her life is going to take finds it completely torn upside down by eventually meeting a man she’s convinced she dreamed up four-and-a-half years ago? These two books definitely belong side by side on your bookshelf.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
New York City was my home for over a decade, so I’m a sucker for a book that feels like a night on the town with a good friend for some old-fashioned revelry. The prose bursts like champagne bubbles with every turn of the page in City of Girls, which tells the story of Vivian, a college flameout exiled from her parents’ high-society lifestyle and sent to live with an eccentric aunt in New York City during the 1940’s. Vivian’s new life is certainly not without excitement: Showgirls! Writers! Actors! Sex! But when she makes a terrible romantic decision that threatens her reputation and the livelihood of her aunt’s already struggling theatre, Vivian quickly learns the age-old adage that all that glitters is not gold. I’m a huge fan of Gilbert’s writing on creativity as well (Big Magic is a must-read for any aspiring writer!) so reading how she puts all her methodology into practice was inspirational, too.
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
I was immediately drawn in to the world of the two Kaufman sisters, Jo and Bethie, as they navigate growing up working-class in 1950’s Detroit. Weiner does an amazing job playing with perspective in this novel, showing how the same events viewed (or experienced) by someone else— even someone as close to you as a sister — can often have starkly different ripple effects. Grappling with their gender roles, world events, sexual identities, and what they owe to one another despite the wounds of the past, Jo and Bethie forge very different paths in the world but eventually find their way back to one another in an unexpected way. Mrs. Everything reminded me how important it is to bear witness to one another’s pain so that we can truly celebrate each other’s joy… there is no romance, remember, without both.
About the Author:
Rebecca Serle is an author and television writer who lives in New York and Los Angeles. Serle co-developed the hit TV adaptation of her YA series Famous in Love, and is also the author of The Dinner List, and YA novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. She received her MFA from the New School in NYC. Find out more at RebeccaSerle.com.
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In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, out now!
When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.
But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.
After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.
That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.