Soak in the best of Valentine's Day with these 14 romance titles

Books, romance titles of course, have come to be the perfect gift for one's partner on a Valentine's Day.

For as long as writers have put pen to paper, there have been works of romance, exploring its many agonies and ecstasies. However, the frequency of their appearance, in the past two decades at least, have been dramatically altered by a single event in history – the martyrdom of a third century priest in Rome. On February 14 every year, we 'celebrate' this as Valentine's Day, somehow obscuring its gruesome origin with red roses, expensive wine, and larger than life extravaganzas of love on social media.

However, these years, neither red roses nor taller-than-me teddy bears could endear young couples any more. And, flowers do wilt and teddy bears are tossed away in the endless pursuit to be woke and in-the-know.

Books, romance titles of course, have thus come to be the perfect gift to get your partner. This unprecedented demand has, for better or worse, changed the genre altogether. What were once lit books exploring the traditional, courtly variants of love have now all been replaced by ones which hint, if only remotely, at sexual abandon, and those that question the many injustices in society, albeit in the background.

Onmanorama put together a round-up of fourteen love stories that have caught our attention this past year. Some of them celebrate romantic success, some help ease the pain during heartbreak, others still ponder the very idea of love and what it really means.

Thirteen Kinds of Love | Soumya Bhattacharya

Thirteen Kinds of Love follows the fortunes of several families living and working in an apartment block in Mumbai. This is a book about loving and losing, about trying to redeem oneself, about attempts to remake and refashion what has been torn asunder. This is an astute exploration of how we live and love today.

(Harper Collins | Get the book here)

The Swap | Shuma Raha

There is nothing really wrong with Priya Bakshi and Akash Srivastav's six-year-old marriage ... except that Priya is having an affair, reads the blurb of this book that explores the lives of a young couple as they find themselves in a world of swinging couples and sexual abandon. Witty and racy, The Swap is a sparkling social novel about sex, marriage and morality.

(Harper Collins | Get the book here)

The Reason is You | Nikita Singh

Nikita Singh needs no introduction. With twelve books under her belt, she is undoubtedly the queen of romance in India. The Reason is You is a stirring story that explores emotional health, the boundaries of traditional relationships and second chances.

(Harper Collins | Get the book here)

After the Storm | Lakshmy Ramanathan

In After the Storm, this journalist-turned-author pens the story of a girl determined to build her career and find love on her own terms. Set against the backdrop of a city threatened by floods, this reportage-laced-fiction is certainly an page-turner.

(Harper Collins | Get the book here)

Tiger Woman | Sirsho Bandopadhyay

Nationalism is on the rise and the Bengali intellectuals are leading the protest against British rule in India. In this charged climate, ardent patriot Priyanath Bose prepares to set up the first Bengali circus. He discovers an exceptional young girl, Sushila and trains her to be a trapeze artist. As the circus flourishes, Sushila and the tigers become the star attractions. But the prize Sushila craves is unattainable, as Priyanath, a married man, is forced to reject her love for him. Jilted, she begins a relationship with a fellow circus artiste, but he may not be as loyal as Sushila believes. At once a riveting page-turner and an uncommon historical novel, Tiger Woman places this tragic love triangle in an era of patriotism, as the circus becomes a metaphor for a frustrated social revolution.

(Pan Macmillan | Get the book here)

Everglow: A Romance | Nandita Bose

When her father’s unexpected death renders Disha homeless, she is brought to Kolkata by her father’s best friend, to live with them. Home is now a rambling joint family where there are more young men than Disha has even known in all her life. Among them is Siddhant, the star of the family.

When Disha's elder sister wants her to come back to her hometown to be seen as a prospective bride for her husband's cousin, Disha's world is thrown out of balance. For she and Siddhant have drawn very close, thanks in part to their love for music.

(Rupa | Get the book here)

Our Start-up Affair | Sheila Kumar

Aditi Pillai is an entrepreneur—part-owner of the Snack Team, a food start-up. Aditya Shenoy is the owner of cab aggregator start-up Caboyea. They start a whirlwind romance negotiating deadlines, irate clients and big-name competitors.

Will this Bangalore start-up affair take wings, or will it crash and burn? Weaving its way through the lanes and bylanes of Bangalore, Our Start-up Affair is a funny, hip, romantic story that will warm every reader’s heart.

(Speaking Tiger | Get the book here)

A City Happens in Love | Ravish Kumar

In these crisp, powerful, micro stories, the celebrated journalist, TV anchor and writer Ravish Kumar brings alive the love, longing and heartbreak which flourish in the city’s spaces. And even as lovers find the niches they need, the city itself shapes their relationships.

Brilliantly translated from the bestselling Hindi original Ishq Mein Shahar Hona, A City Happens in Love is a tribute to the modern Indian city, its capaciousness, and to the power of love.

(Speaking Tiger | Get the book here)

Roses are Blood Red | Novoneel Chakraborty

Twists, dark plots and strong female protagonists have all become staples of a Novoneel Chakraborty's novel and the latest, Roses are Blood Red, is no different. In this haunting story of passion and eternal love, we explore the deep wounds that love creates and what it takes to heal them.

(Penguin | Get the book here)

Across the Line | Nayanika Mahtani

A poignant tale of love that switches places across the India-Pakistan border over a period that stretches between 1947 and 2008. It explores love amid riots, war cries and hectoring. As Jai and Inaya's unlikely worlds collide, another story unfolds. A story that started with the drawing of a line. A story that shifts the truth in their lives. A tale of borders and beliefs, Across the Line was even endorsed by Vidya Balan. What else do we need?

(Penguin | Get the book here)

The Secrets We Keep | Sudeep Nagarkar

Rahul, an intelligence officer on a secret mission, is undercover at a major's house. In the process, he falls in love with the major's daughter, Akriti, unknowingly putting her in danger. To protect her, Rahul decides to hide her at his parents' house. However, estranged from his family for years, he must first make amends with them. But just when he thinks he has found a haven for Akriti, she goes missing. An absolute page-turner, this one.

(Penguin | Get the book here)

The Boy Who Loved | Durjoy Datta

The only thing you cannot plan in life is when and who to fall in love with . . .

Raghu seems normal on the outside, but deep down he is tormented by an enormous guilt of letting his closest friend drown in the school’s swimming pool. This draws him back into the shadows, away from love and friendship until he meets Brahmi. Just as he begins to care, life throws him into the deep end and he must once again face his worst fears. Will love pull him out?

The Boy Who Loved, first of a two-part romance, is warm and dark, edgy and quirky, wonderfully realistic and dangerously unreal.

(Penguin | Get the book here)

The World Between Us | Sara Naveed

When Amal finds out that her disastrous Tinder match is now going to be her boss, she can't be more annoyed. Qais Ahmed is everything she never wants to be: narcissistic, manipulative and arrogant. However, despite her relentless efforts, she is unable to resist his charm and wit and is drawn to him once she gets to know the real him.

She soon discovers that there's a connection between him and a past she is trying to forget.

Will this disturbing secret tear them apart or bind them together forever?

(Penguin | Get the book here)

Your Dreams Are Mine Now | Ravinder Singh

No Valentine's list is complete without the King of romance in India – Ravinder Singh. Set against the backdrop of dominant campus politics, Your Dreams Are Mine Now is an innocent love story that is bound to evoke strong emotions in your heart.

(Penguin | Get the book here)

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