Non-spoiler alert. When Amazon’s blockbuster hit series, Modern Love, was picked up for a second season, there was absolutely no surprise in my house. I’m a long-time fan of the weekly New York Times column that inspired the anthology series (and shares its name). With its spot-on casting and poignant writing, Amazon did a fantastic job bringing the New York Times column to life. The beautiful, moving, smart and well-adapted vignettes of the not-your-usual-love-stories left me wanting more. As John Carney — writer, director and executive producerof the Amazon series — has said, “Subsequent seasons can really branch out and dig deep into what it means to love in this complicated world.” Proving that the best love stories are the ones with unexpected plot twists and completely relatable, layered characters, Modern Love reminds us that while love is the universal language, no two people experience it exactly the same way.
The new season start date for Modern Love has only been teased as “sometime in 2020.” So while we all wait together for a new batch of complicated, contemporary love stories adapted for television, here are six books that you will LOVE if you liked Modern Love the series. Maybe these picks will help make the time go more quickly.
Fans of bestselling author Camille Pagán already know that she is an expert at tackling modern love stories, and her newest novel, hitting the shelves on February 25, 2020, is no exception. This Won’t End Well is a unique novel told largely in journal entries and emails about a young woman named Annie Mercer who has her life seemingly put on hold by her fiancé’s decision to escape to Paris for a month to find himself. Into the story walks a cast of characters so fresh and interesting, you can’t help but stare. One of Pagan’s signature techniques is to draw characters as unlikely as they are believable — no small task! Annie Mercer is a modern-day, complicated, quirky and fun hero. As she waits for her fiancé to come to his senses, she spies on her neighbor and seeks vindication for losing her job. Her unfolding story is perfect for fans of Modern Love. Stay tuned for a full review of the novel next week!
The newest release from USA Today bestselling author, Rochelle B. Weinstein, is set in beautiful Islamorada, located in the Florida Keys, and features the story of Charlotte and Peter … and Ben. As the story unfolds, so too does a love triangle. Charlotte feels torn between her growing disconnect with her often-absent husband and her newfound, confusing feelings for a very much present, single father who has stepped into her life (along with his son) under completely unexpected circumstances. With its journey through loss, love, heartbreak and grief, there can be no doubt this is a modern love story at its finest, as Weinstein reminds us that endings can often signal brand new beginnings.
This compelling memoir starts with love at first sight and then turns the notion of an ordinary fairytale right on its head. When college student and aspiring actress Tembi meets and falls in love with Saro, a professional chef, while studying abroad in Florence, Italy, their journey is anything but easy. Saro’s traditional Sicilian family disapproves of Tembi and Saro’s interracial relationship and even boycotts their wedding. Saro and Tembi do their best to move forward, adopting a young daughter, moving to Los Angeles and working on their respective careers, until a rare cancer diagnosis for Saro disrupts their life for good. In the aftermath of her grief, Tembi forges a new relationship with her late husband’s mother as she travels to Sicily to bury Saro’s ashes and tries to feed her soul. Food becomes the vehicle and metaphor for healing, and ultimately love, in this stunning debut.
Fallout Girl, the fifth in the Hollywood Lights series by Katie Rose Guest Pryal, is a vulnerable, fresh story of the jagged nature of love and life. The story starts with Miranda George jumping on a plane to escape from North Carolina to Los Angeles on the same day she buries her mother. Once in Los Angeles, she is welcomed into a makeshift family of sorts by her college friend, Daphne Salto. The jet-setting characters are at once exotic and compelling, but with her raw truth, Pryal takes us on a journey far beyond the Hollywood lights under which her story is set. Miranda, aka the Fallout Girl, lives with bipolar disorder, but the story is not about her mental illness. Rather it’s a love story about a complicated, and therefore real, woman learning to accept truth, friendship and love.
This sexy and sweet story is inspired by the author’s mother’s own immigration journey from Vietnam to America. The Bride Test begins with Esme Tran, a single mother from Ho Chi Minh City, agreeing to come to America for one summer to meet and woo a potential husband, Khai Diep. The whole summer is arranged by Khai’s mother, who is up-front with the potential couple that she believes Esme is perfect for Khai and she also believes Khai isn’t going to be able to find himself a wife on his own. Khai (much like the author of The Bride Test herself) is autistic and, while he has been accused in the past of being heartless, in fact his heart is very real and, as it turns out, perfect for the woman who simply takes the time to discover it.
What do you get when you cross a jilted suburban housewife and a gorgeous rock star on the run in Italy? You get That Month in Tuscany, and it definitely shines! Told from both male and female points of view, this is a story that seems unbelievable in its premise but is executed beautifully. Maybe it’s the lush landscape, or maybe it’s the fact that the characters are struggling with the same universal feelings of vulnerability and loneliness, but you will suspend your disbelief when you step inside this story of an unlikely relationship between Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper. Whatever the cause, the effect is an engrossing love story just perfect for those waiting to see more Modern Love on their television screen.
Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction. Amy’s first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2014), was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze Winner (Romance) and a National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist. A favorite with bloggers and book clubs, Lemongrass Hope was named the #1 reviewed book in 2014 by the blog The Literary Connoisseur. Her second novel, Secrets of Worry Dolls (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2016), was a Bronze winner in the INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards (Multi-Cultural Fiction) and a finalist for the STAR Award for Published Women’s Fiction. Her third novel, a psychological thriller entitled The Truth About Thea (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2017), is a Francis Ford Coppola Winery Books & Bottles Pick and a National Indie Excellence Award Winner for Legal Fiction. Amy’s latest novel is Why We Lie (Wyatt-MacKenzie, 2019). Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), (featured by ABC27, Above the Law and more), and numerous essays and articles that have appeared in online and print journals including Writer’s Digest, The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, and more. She is a past President of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association, a 2018 Writer-In-Residence at Ms-JD.org, and a frequently invited speaker at legal conferences and writing workshops across the country.