Spring is the prime season for heading outside with a blanket, bottle of sunscreen, picnic basket, and romance novel—because, let’s be honest, there’s something about sunny weather and a shared outdoor lunch that is inherently romantic. Whether you’re sharing your picnic blanket with a romantic partner, friends, or by yourself, romanticize your picnic experience with one of these five recommendations.
1. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Catalina and Aaron’s love story is perfect for suckers of the fake dating trope (I’m guilty, too). When Catalina desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding to prove to her family that she’s moved on from her horrific ex-boyfriend, Catalina tells a white lie about an American boyfriend that spirals out of control. Enter Aaron: Catalina’s boss and arch-enemy, who just so happens to be up for a trip across the world. Determined to keep up the charade, Catalina and Aaron travel to Spain for the wedding, encountering plenty of beloved tropes along the way (hint: there’s only one bed). When their lies begin to unfurl, Catalina and Aaron start to question whether they were ever lies at all.
2. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Dev Deshpande is a highly successful producer of the reality TV dating show Ever After. Despite scripting perfect love stories day after day, he disbelieves in finding love for himself. When tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw is cast on Dev’s show, his poor acting skills and stiff personality threaten to burn everything Dev’s worked for to the ground. As Dev fights to make Charlie camera-ready, he soon realizes they have better chemistry than any of the female on-screen contestants. Perfect for lovers of The Bachelor, Dev and Charlie’s love story puts a twist on the traditional TV fairytale.
3. A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
Freya Markse creates an alternative Edwardian England where magic and gay romance run amok. It’s unfair to describe books in terms of other books, but, honestly, A Marvellous Light is like Bridgerton but better. When young baronet Robin Blyth is accidentally appointed the parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, he finds himself thrust into an entirely new reality and into the arms of Edwin Courcey, his hostile but incredibly handsome magical coworker. Complete with all the important tropes (magical house with its own personality, unresolved sexual tension, and dress shirt sleeves rolled up forearms), Robin and Edwin’s collision is the perfect springtime compliment.
4. Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Calling all fans of the sunshine character x grumpy character trope. When Maybell Parish suddenly inherits a charming cottage from her great aunt, she seizes the opportunity for a fresh start. Her spirits are high until she arrives to find the house in critical disarray. Yet no one is more dismayed than the grouchy (and gorgeous) groundskeeper, Wesley Koehler, who is put to work bringing Maybell’s vision of the property to life. As the two poke and prod at each other’s comfort zones, they soon realize they aren’t as different as they seem. Enchanting and adorable and full of beautiful gardens, Twice Shy belongs at your next picnic.
5. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Bee Königswasser just landed the job of her lifetime: the lead scientist on a NASA neuro-engineering project. But when she realizes she’s going to work with her grad school arch-nemesis Levi Ward—tall, dark-haired, incredibly brainy, with piercing green eyes—Bee begins to curse her luck. When her equipment starts to go missing, and no one on staff seems to listen to her, Bee finds herself needing to seek an ally in Levi. A classic enemies-to-lovers novel, Love on the Brain is equal parts swoon-worthy, sciencey, and sarcastic.
Any of these romances would make the perfect companion to your spring picnic! For more romance recommendations with popular tropes, click here.