Next up in our series of posts leading up to the Annual Poll are romances in two categories that touch readers’ emotions: romances that make you laugh – Funniest Romance – and romances that make you cry – Biggest Tearjerker.
Last year’s winner in the Funniest Romance category was Julie James’ It Happened One Wedding, which was also the winner in the Best Romance category. Sherry Thomas’ My Beautiful Enemy won for Biggest Tearjerker. This wasn’t the first win in these categories for either of these authors. Ms. Thomas also won for her 2012 Ravishing the Heiress and for her 2009 Not Quite a Husband. Ms. James’ A Lot Like Love tied with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Call Me Irresistible for Funniest Romance in 2011.
The winners in these two emotion-tugging categories have spanned romance genres and have included many widely read romance authors. Recent winners include:
- 2013 Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand
- 2012 Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas
- 2011 (tie) The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne and When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
- 2010 Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
- 2009 Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
- 2013 Tangled by Emma Chase
- 2012 A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
- 2011 (tie) A Lot Like Love by Julie James and Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
- 2010 Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
- 2009 What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
But what about romances published in 2015? Are there any leading contenders for books that have made readers laugh or cry? When I look back on my reading of 2015 I’m a bit stumped as to how to vote in these two categories. I can readily think of two books that made me laugh out loud inappropriately while listening to the audio version in public. But neither of the two – Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce mystery As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust and Gail Carriger’s steampunk Prudence – fits as a romance. I’ll admit that I did shed quite a few tears while reading Lauren Willig’s final Pink Carnation entry The Lure of the Moonflower. But while a few near tears were generated for the emotions evoked when I realized just how lonely and isolated Jane has been, most of the actual tears were sadness that the series has now ended.
I asked my colleagues at AAR for their suggestions.
Maggie had a number of recommendations for Funniest Romance. She wrote, “For funniest A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer received a B+ in a midweek mini and it is funny in a quiet way. A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Hunter is a regency farce. Win me Over by Nicole Michaels is probably my favorite funny in terms of true comedic nature.”
LeeB had the following recommendations for the Funniest Romance category: Copygirl by Anna Mitchael and Michelle Sassa, Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, and Maternity Leave by Julie Halpern. Lee also had one recommendation for Biggest Tearjerker – Before I Go by Colleen Oakley.
Caz commented that, “Tearjerkers – for me are almost all by Grace Burrowes! Actually though, I got teary reading Lorraine Heath’s The Duke and the Lady in Red ….Bits of Sherry Thomas’ The Immortal Heights (YA) were pretty emotional, too.” Caz added that, “I can – unfortunately – think of several books that were unintentionally hilarious!”
Sara wrote, “For Funniest: Again, My Lord by Katharine Ashe; Truth or Beard by Penny Reid. I second Caz’s choice for Tearjerker, The Duke and the Lady in Red. That’s the first book in a very long time that literally made me cry. All the others just are sad.
Heather commented, “Rock Hard by Nalini Singh made me giggle quite a bit…The T-Rex! I gave it to my mom and she loved it too. It’s probably the funniest book I’ve read this year.”
Dabney added, “Maggie Fenton’s writing cracks me up and I laughed lots while reading Virtuous Scoundrel. My love for Kristan Higgins’ If You Only Knew comes from how funny the book is and from how hard it made me cry. Tessa Bailey’s Chase Me is flat out hilarious in parts–I read it in a doctor’s office and annoyed my fellow patients by repeatedly giggling madly. The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long brought me, several times, to tears. (And no, not just because I hate saying good-bye to Pennyroyal Green.)”
One thing that’s interesting to me as I look over the ballots you submit, is how many readers vote in just one of these two categories. Does this indicate a preference for either tearjerkers or funnies amongst most readers? I’m not sure. It may be that many readers just haven’t encountered a great example for each category in a given year. And that’s where we’re hoping you can help.
If we began voting today, what books would you consider for these two categories? We still have plenty of time to read them, so are hoping you’ll come up with some great ideas.