Books with Relationships for People Who Don’t Love Love: 2023 Edition

When it comes to books, I have the romantic sensibilities of a rock. I’m not a huge fan of romance within pages and I have been known to snort-laugh during what’s meant to be a sentimental moment. I wrote a list of books about relationships that I loved a few years ago (you can find it here), and as Valentine’s Day draws near, I’m back with another! Some of these books feature romantic love, others loving family dynamics, and still others the kind of love that comes with the best of friends. Without further ado, here are five more books about love for people who don’t love love.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

After a lifetime of bounties and bloodshed, Viv is hanging up her sword for the last time.

The battle-weary orc aims to start fresh, opening the first ever coffee shop in the city of Thune. But old and new rivals stand in the way of success ― not to mention the fact that no one has the faintest idea what coffee actually is.

If Viv wants to put the blade behind her and make her plans a reality, she won’t be able to go it alone.

But the true rewards of the uncharted path are the travelers you meet along the way. And whether drawn together by ancient magic, flaky pastry, or a freshly brewed cup, they may become partners, family, and something deeper than she ever could have dreamed. (Taken from Amazon)

This gem of a book features a sweet yet subtle romance. What I love about it, though, is the found family dynamic. An orc, rattkin, succubus, and hob make for such a fun little group of misfits. Their budding friendships are what make this book such a special one. Watching this odd little group grow closer as they introduce a town to the previously unheard-of delight that is coffee is a joy. And that coffee shop needs to actually exist, by the way.
Full review here.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

The romance between Emily and Wendell is so much fun! It’s not sidelong glances or coquettish flirting. Instead, they goodnaturedly tease each other. Emily, in fact, is pretty clueless about Wendell’s feelings toward her for a good chunk of the book anyway, which makes watching them go from friendly colleagues to a new couple a lot of fun. Oh, and there’s no love triangle, thankfully! That’s a major point in its favor, in my opinion.
Full review here.

The Scarlet Circus by Jane Yolen

A rakish fairy meets the real Juliet behind Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. A jewelry artist travels to the past to meet a successful silver-smith. The addled crew of a ship at sea discovers a mysterious merman. More than one ignored princess finds her match in the most unlikely men.

From ecstasy to tragedy, with love blossoming shyly, love at first sight, and even love borne of practical necessity―beloved fantasist Jane Yolen’s newest collection celebrates romance in all its glory. (Taken from Amazon)

Jane Yolen is a master storyteller, and this collection showcases her talent. It will be available on Valentine’s Day, appropriately enough. What I appreciate about The Scarlet Circus is the variety of tales. There’s romantic love, familial love, new love, and even love that ends in tragedy. Told in a fairytale cadence, this is one of the few books about love that I…love.
Full review here.

Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olsen

Miss Mildred Percy inherits a dragon.
Ah, but we’ve already got ahead of ourselves…
Miss Mildred Percy is a spinster. She does not dance, she has long stopped dreaming, and she certainly does not have adventures. That is, until her great uncle has the audacity to leave her an inheritance, one that includes a dragon’s egg.
The egg – as eggs are wont to do – decides to hatch, and Miss Mildred Percy is suddenly thrust out of the role of “spinster and general wallflower” and into the unprecedented position of “spinster and keeper of dragons.”
But England has not seen a dragon since… well, ever. And now Mildred must contend with raising a dragon (that should not exist), kindling a romance (with a humble vicar), and embarking on an adventure she never thought could be hers for the taking. (Taken from Amazon)

I have never read a book like this! It’s a special story and, while it’s ostensibly about Miss Percy’s discovery of a dragon egg and all that occurs because of this, it really is a tale about her coming into her own. She learns to love herself (ah, there’s that theme of love that’s the purpose of this list). If that’s not enough of a “book about love”, she also has a budding relationship with a certain vicar that is sweet and fun to read.
Full review here.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan . . .(Taken from Amazon)

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why on earth would a book about a crotchety man feeding all kinds of things to a beast in exchange for youth and riches be included?”, but bear with me: something magical happens when that crotchety man adopts a child with the intent to feed her to said beast. She’s equally crotchety and an odd friendship develops, one that changes them both. The book is wicked, delightful fun, and a wonderful example of a new friendship (which continues to grow in book two) and how it can change everything.

And that’s this year’s list. I may not love mushy books, but I guess I do love love in literature after all. At least, sometimes. I still reserve the right to roll my eyes, snort-laugh, or react in an immature way. I love to do that too.What about you? What are some books that you love that feature love in some way?


7 thoughts on “Books with Relationships for People Who Don’t Love Love: 2023 Edition

  1. When I saw your post name and description, I thought Miss Percy’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons – a book I read late last month – would be a perfect fit! So when I saw you had included it, YES!!

    I do not think I have read any of the others however.


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