Top picks for Romance novels by BCPL staff

February is the month of love and Boone County Public Library staff members share their favorite Romance novels.


Kathleen Piercefield, Circulation Assistant, recommends Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (which she read long before it was made into a television series).  It not only has a wonderfully romantic love story, but also the romance of historical events, a remote and beautiful landscape, fascinating characters  … and time travel!  Who could ask for more?




Julie Bockstiegel, Collection Services, recommends One Day in December by Josie Silver.  A recent popular read, this title was written up in several reviews toward the end of 2018.  Despite the mention of December, it is not really a “Christmas” story.  The plot deals with a woman who briefly sees a guy at a bus stop, and for some reason she has a jolt that he could be “the one”. She looks for him and months later finally meets him – as the new boyfriend of her best friend!  Years go by, and people come and go in their lives.  But rest assured, there is a happy ending.



Julie also recommends A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer.  As a widow makes preparations to get married again; there are romantic complications among her grown daughters and future step children. The story has appealing characters and keeps you interested in who they will end up with and how they will resolve their problems.



Carrie Herrmann, Director, recommends Montana Sky by Nora Roberts.  Jack Mercy has died, leaving his ranch to his three daughters.  In order to inherit the ranch, the three sisters must live together on the ranch for one year.  Each daughter has a different mother and are as different as three women can be ranging from one living on the ranch, one escaping an abusive relationship and one with a job in Hollywood.  It’s a story about the three women learning to be a family while dealing with love-of-their-life relationships as well as a serial killer that is wreaking havoc in the small community. It is a wonderful mix of romance, mystery and women’s fiction.



Karen Helmle, Page Supervisor, occasionally enjoys reading a romance novel, but ends up feeling as if it was formulaic. However, every now and then a romance novel comes along that really grabs her. Ransom by Julie Garwood was one of those novels. There is humor, mystery, and the main character was brave and strong.  She didn’t try to prove herself and there wasn’t created conflict for the sake of making the story more dramatic. This historical romance was so much fun.


Caron Ward recommends Precious Bane by English author Mary Webb. Featured in a Masterpiece Theatre presentation, Precious Bane is set in the 18th century countryside of Shropshire. In a time when people were superstitious, being born with a disfigurement could cause a lifetime of judgement. Prue, who wants to be loved and has more character than most women of her time, is pursued by Kester Woodsheaves, an itinerant weaver whose intellect and character are immense enough to be the perfect match for Prue.


Jennifer Cheek, Public Relations Specialist, is not much of a Romance reader, but says everyone should read the children’s picture book The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson and illustrated by Tricia Tusa.  The story is written to the rhythm of Clementine about a man who goes to great lengths to ask a lady to be his Valentine.  The illustrations show that the lady continuously misses the signs from her admirer as everyday tasks keep her too busy to notice.  The book is hilarious, a great read for all ages and impossible to read without singing to the tune.  Jennifer’s favorite line from the book is “Now you’re my –al–n–ine.”

The book is better but the movie is worth it!

Some of the greatest movies were adapted from books. We’ve all heard the saying, “The book was better than the movie.” According to BCPL staff, here are a few instances where the book is of course better than the movie, but the movie is worth it too!

Liza Vance, Local History Associate – Frankenstein

Everyone knows the story of the eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein who is successful in bringing life to a being of his own creation. However, this creature is not what the doctor expected but rather a grotesque monster who yearns for human interaction but ultimately rejected by his creator and mankind in general.

For a world history course during my undergrad, I had to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and then compare it to the 1994 film. There are a number of film adaptations of the novel (my personal favorite being the original 1931 version with Boris Karloff as the Monster). And while the 1994 version follows the book fairly well, in this face off, I have to choose the book over the movie. Both went into great detail about the Monster’s struggle to fit into society and learning to speak, read, and write by secretly observing a family, all the while facing constant rejection. However, I think the original novel does the best job of bringing the story to life (pun intended). Through the novel, you empathize with the Monster more than fear him. It is still one of my favorite books of all time!


Micha O’Connor, YS Community Events Liaison – Wonder

For family friendly options, I really enjoyed both the book and the movie Wonder by R.J. Palacio which is a heart-warming story of acceptance about Auggie, a boy born with severe facial deformities.  After reading the book, I wasn’t sure that the movie would do it justice but was pleasantly surprised.  The movie adaptation stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Auggie’s parents.

One of my personal favorite authors is Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the autobiographical Wild, which was fantastically adapted by Reese Witherspoon.  The book follows Strayed as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in search of herself after the death of her mother.


Kelly Bilz, Local History Associate – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (adapted in the movie (Love, Simon) is a love story between two high school boys who are both struggling with coming out as gay to their friends and families. I enjoyed the book and because several of my friends went through the same thing in high school and college.  The main character, Simon, was hilarious and relatable. I liked the book best–of course!–because I got to know the characters better, but you really can’t go wrong.



Jennifer Gregory, Collection & Technical Services Manager – Practical Magic

Gillian and Sally Owens grew up in their musty ancestral home on the edge of a small town where everyone hurries past their door, whispering about witchcraft in Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.  Raised by a pair of eccentric aunts, the sisters struggle with the weight of their family curse, where love and death go hand in hand.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie which starred Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.  They turned in fabulous performances as the Owens sisters. Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest were equally good in their supporting roles as the crazy aunts.  I saw the movie first, then picked up the book.  As much as I enjoyed the movie, the book was just more.  The aunts were a little nuttier, the relationship between the sisters more complex, the tragic family curse a little darker, and the funny moments even funnier.

Turning a book this good into a movie can be very tricky, but with this book, they pulled it off.  I recommend both the book and the movie.  Each adds dimension to the other.

And if you liked the Owens family, Alice Hoffman wrote another book, The Rules of Magic, about the eccentric aunts in their youth.

Suzanne Yowler, Circulation Assistant – A Simple Favor

I went to see the movie A Simple Favor, based on the book by Darcey Bell before I got a chance to read the book. I found the movie to be very entertaining with its twists and turns. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively both did an excellent job in their respective roles. I liked the movie enough that I definitely wanted to read the book. When I finished it, oddly enough, while I enjoyed the book quite a bit, I decided I liked the movie better. Both the characters of Stephanie and Nick were more likeable in the movie. Also, Stephanie is a much sharper, smarter character in the movie. In the book, she is rather naive, gullible and kind of dumb. The ending of the movie was also much stronger and more definitive than in the novel.


Regina Groeschen, Public Services Associate – Me Before You and How to be Single

Having the author as part of the screenwriting can determine the success of a book made into a movie.  I love the book Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. What was supposed to just be a job as a companion and caretaker turned into something more, a beautiful friendship and love. I enjoyed the movie just as much as the book. Since the author was the screenwriter, the movie followed the book closely.

In contrast, when the author is not a part of the screenwriting of a film, the two can be completely different. For example, in the book How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo, the main character travels to several countries to learn what it is like for women to be single in those cultures. In the movie, the main character just learns what single life is like in modern day New York City. In my opinion, the book is so much better than the movie.


Taylor Rasor, Youth Services Associate – Me Before You

Like Regina, I loved the movie Me Before You. I mainly went to see it because Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) starred in it as Louisa Clark, a quirky young woman who falls in love with the quadriplegia man she is taking care of. The movie was fantastic, full of popular actors. I read the book by Jojo Moyes after seeing the movie and have since pictured Louisa as Emilia Clarke. I loved the book just a tiny bit more because it was able to give more backstory to all the characters and really let us see inside Louisa’s mind. It was also followed by two more books that round out the series. I recommend either the book or the movie to anyone looking for a sweet, yet sad, story.


Nadine Swinford, Circulation Assistant – Life of Pi

After my first attempt in middle school to read Life of Pi by Yann Martel, I didn’t get past the first few pages. But when I saw that a movie was being made, I was determined to read the book beforehand and now it’s one of my favorites. Although I think the movie is wonderful and did a great job of staying true to the book, I definitely think the book is better. I was more absorbed in the story and created my own unique view of the characters/scenery before the movie envisioned everything for me. Plus, some of my favorite scenes in the book didn’t make it in the movie!


Looking for more book to movie suggestions?  Check out our past blog 6 books that are as good as the movie, according to BCPL staff