Who doesn’t enjoy the sigh-worthy romance of a well-crafted love story?
Studio 5 Contributor Teri Harman shares her favorite 10 clean romance
Unlike movies and television shows there is no content rating system for
books. The pages may contain sex, violence and foul language or be
perfectly clean; it’s a gamble. If you are content conscious, it is especially
risky to pick up a book about romance or love.
But who doesn’t enjoy the smolder, intrigue and sigh-worthy romance of a
well-crafted love story? So if you want all the good stuff of a romantic read
without worrying about content, look no further than this list of favorite clean
romances. All of these books are free of graphic/descriptive sex scenes (in a
few of the books sex occurs, but is only mildly described or happens “off-
stage”) and contain no or only small amounts of foul language and violence.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel is terminal. She’s known it since she was diagnosed with Stage IV
thyroid cancer at age 13. Now at age 16, thanks to a miracle drug, she’s been
given some time to live a quiet life, but knows there are still fewer days
ahead. The last thing she expects is to fall deeply in love, but when seriously
handsome, intelligent, bold Augustus Waters appears at Cancer Kid Support
Group, Hazel’s simple life takes a whole new direction.
This book is simply amazing. The story is so real and achieves that elusive
goal of speaking about life, death and love in a way that is meaningful
instead of pretentious. Bold, slightly irreverent and genius.
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
Abby, a senior in high school, has a normal, predictable life: good friends,
reliable boyfriend and college applications in the works. But all her normalcy
is interrupted when mysterious, gorgeous and Italian, Dante Alexander shows
up. He’s unlike anyone she has ever met and Abby soon discovers that she
cannot resist Dante’s allure. But as Abby is swept up in his love she is also
pulled into his world of danger and time travel, filled with secrets that reach
all the way back into the sixteenth century.
Pick up this beautifully written young adult novel, the first in The Hourglass
Door Trilogy by local Utah author Lisa Mangum, and forget everything else
for a day or two. The love story is loaded with swoon-worthy moments and
the time travel adventure feels fresh and new.
After Hello by Lisa Mangum
After you finish The Hourglass Door Trilogy, get your hands on Lisa
Mangum’s next young adult book, After Hello, which hits shelves in
September 2012. With inviting writing, a quick pace and a wonderful first-
love story, this book is a pure delight to read. Mangum has a gift for subtle,
but smoldering romance.
It’s Sara’s first trip to New York City. With her camera in hand, she is ready to
capture every moment of the experience. As she stands on the busy streets
of the city she watches a handsome guy step out from a bookstore and she
impulsively takes his picture. From that one picture a whole day of adventure
is born. Sam and Sara partner together to find an elusive piece of art work
and along the way discover the unexpected: love and themselves.
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Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs
The Kerr family is a family of secrets. Lady Elizabeth Kerr hides her devotion
to the auld ways. Her husband, Lord Donald, hides his shameful behavior
from the household. And the dowager Lady Marjory hides gold under her
floor boards and harbors regrets of the past. As the city of Edinburgh is
turned-over in the wake of a rebellion, so, too, are the Kerr’s secrets left bare
for all to see.
Everything about this book is intoxicating: the romance, the writing, the
emotions, and the vivid eighteenth-century Scottish history. It’s nearly
impossible to put down and, thank goodness, when it ends there are two
more books to finish the story (a trilogy).
Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs
Ah, the fated love triangle. In the autumn of 1788, on the mysterious Scottish
Lowlands, Jamie and Evan McKie fight to inherit their father’s lands and
flocks and two sisters, Leana and Rose, vie for the attention of one handsome
man. Only one brother can inherit and only one sister can be the bride.
Liz Curtis Higgs, master of historical fiction, pulls the reader in from the first
word and takes them on a journey of passion, drama, deceit, betrayal,
jealousy and secrets. This is also the first book in a trilogy.
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
From a harrowing attack by a highway man to the unexpected attention of a
handsome gentleman, Marianne’s visit to the fabulous English country estate
Edenbrooke is nothing she expects. Local author Julianne Donaldson’s new
Regency (think Jane Austen) love story is a pure delight. The first in a new
brand of novels called “Proper Romances” from local publisher Shadow
Mountain, this book has all the smoldering romance without any of “that
other stuff.” Watch for more “Proper Romance” titles coming out yearly.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Can a hummingbird cake bring back lost love? Is there a ghost dancing in the
woods? In the small Southern town of Mullaby, North Carolina, these kinds of
questions are not a rarity, but the norm. When Emily Benedict comes to town
to stay with the grandfather she’s never met, in hopes of learning more
about her mother, she is surprised to find that strange is around every
corner. From the wallpaper that changes to fit her mood to the strange light
flitting around the yard late at night, Emily finds nothing she expects, but
everything she needs.
Sarah Addison Allen’s writing is magical. This endearing story of every-day
magic and loveable misfits will enchant readers from the very beginning.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), of the small English village of Edgecombe St.
Mary, is everything a proper English man should be: loyal, wry, courtly and an
expert on a properly brewed cup of tea. After his brother’s death the Major
finds himself in an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani
shopkeeper from the village. As they share a love of literature and bond over
the shared grief of the loss of their spouses, the two soon find their
friendship blossoming into something more. But the village society is not
entirely comfortable with their relationship. Can they push past culture and
tradition to find happiness?
A perfectly charming and thoroughly enjoyable book. As funny as it is
sophisticated, Major Pettigrew’s love story between two older people will
leave the reader with a smile and a warm heart.
A Time to Love by Barbara Cameron
Television over-seas correspondent Jenny Knight faced the unthinkable while
in a war zone and almost lost her life. Now, as part of her recovery, she’s
staying with her grandma at her home in an Amish community. As her body
heals from the devastating injuries sustained in a car bomb attack, Jenny
finds a teenage crush for her grandma’s neighbor, Matthew, sparking to life
again. But can she look past her scars and their different lives to find love?
This book is filled with hope, redemption and sweet romance. Not only is the
story romantic, but also intriguing as life in the Amish world is revealed. A
quick, satisfying and memorable read. This is the first book in the Quilts of
Lancaster County series.
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
Violet Hayes is a proper young lady of wealthy society, but she longs to
experience mystery and romance, the kind she secretly reads about in novels.
After discovering a shocking truth about her mother, Violet manipulates her
way into visiting Chicago, intent on tracking down the woman she thought
she’d never see again. Her grandmother and three quirky sisters open their
home to Violet and each decides it’s their duty to help her find a purpose and
a husband. From the thrills of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to the city’s
depressing slums, Violet’s journey will be everything she hoped for and many
things she never dreamed of.
This light, fun read is rich with interesting history and keep-you-guessing
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adrianna Trigiani
Enza and Ciro first meet as teenagers in the majestic beauty of the Italian
Alps. But after one night of heart-felt conversation and a first kiss,
circumstances beyond their control pull them apart. They meet again,
unexpectedly, far from their native home in the hustle of turn-of-the-
century America, but still fate seems to want to keep them apart. Fate,
however, is not strong enough to keep these star-crossed lovers apart
forever. From the beauty of Italy, the drudgery of garment factories, the
trenches of The Great War and the glamour of the Metropolitan Opera, this
epic and beautifully written story of love and family is one that everyone will
be talking about.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
One of the bestselling novels of all time, Rebecca deserves every accolade it
gets. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” With this haunting first
sentence, the second Mrs. Maxium de Winter begins her tragic story of
romance and mystery. Married young to a husband she barely knows, the
new bride is forced to live in the shadow of the life of the first Mrs. De
Winter, the beautiful Rebecca.
This mysterious, suspenseful romance should be on every love-story-lover’s
list. The writing is so atmospheric and the emotions of the poor second Mrs.
De Winter heart-wrenching. A must-read!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre’s quiet patience, endless perseverance and sharp mind catch the
eye of her handsome and arrogant master, Mr. Rochester, after she is
employed as governess to his ward. Despite the fact that Rochester is far
above her station, Jane falls irrevocably in love with him and soon discovers
that he may share her passion. But tragedy and old secrets arise to stand in
the way of Jane’s happiness.
Deep sigh. Few love stories are as affecting or as tragically romantic as “Jane
Eyre.” First published in 1847, Bronte’s quiet but stalwart heroine broke the
mold of standard class conceptions and is one of the most endearing female
characters of all time.
Book Rating Websites
Also, check out these on-line resources that are helping readers take the
gamble out of picking up a book.
Rated Reads (ratedreads.com) – Book
content rating website, all genres
The Literate Mother
(theliteratemother.org) – Content ratings for youth and
young adult books
Compass Book Ratings
(compassbookratings.com) – Book content rating
website, all genres