Recently we’ve seen a spate of books made into movies – Ender’s Game, Catching Fire and The Book Thief being three of the most recent. Which got me to thinking about romance novels I think would make excellent films or TV series. Books that I feel contain enough grit and depth to appeal to a wider audience while still containing the kind of luscious love stories that romance fans adore. I’ve added some casting hints just in case Hollywood needs the help. Here’s my list:
1. Nobody’s Baby but Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips – The story: Football hero and brainy scientist meet in the most unusual of ways. I can totally see Emma Stone as the brainy, feisty Jane. Cal is a bit harder but I can picture Mathew Fox (or a younger, hotter version of him) delivering the cereal killer line with aplomb. This sweet tale of a brainy gal and the jock she brings to his knees would make a terrific rom com.
2. A Summer to Remember – Mary Balogh– A love story with the same terrific, tender scope of Pride and Prejudice. Amanda Seyfried would be Lauren but who could play Kit? I could easily see this as a miniseries done along the lines of the 1990’s Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
3. Cry No More – Linda Howard – of all Howard’s books I think this would translate best to the big screen. The story of a mom searching for her son and the man who helps her, this is a suspenseful thriller with an intense romance. Charlize Theron would probably make an excellent Milla and Javier Bardem would be my choice for Diaz.
4. The Shadowy Horses – Susanna Kearsley – The tale of an archeological excavation, a ghost and who boy who sees dead people, this is a romance with both heart and intellect. I love all of this author’s books but I think this one would be the easiest to convert for the big screen. Add a spooky atmosphere, find the right leads and this paranormal tale of love and history would capture our hearts and imaginations.
5. Virgin River series – Robyn Carr – These books have all the heart and angst of small town living but they also have the action and adventure needed to keep a series from heading too deeply into schmaltz territory.
6. Wings of Glory series Sarah Sundin – Watching Foyle’s War and Land Girls has convinced me that WWII can be well done by the BBC, and this series about American WWII pilots would also be a fantastic, romantic series to bring to life.
7. In Death series J.D. Robb – The books have already done all the heavy lifting. The plots for over a year of episodes can be lifted directly from the mysteries in the books. The series is perfectly set up to do a two hour premiere episode and then one hour weekly episodes. And the large cast of characters is perfect for television where you can have people making guest appearances while still having a relatively small core cast.
8. Betsy the Vampire Queen Series Mary Janice Davidson – These could be a fun take at the vampire craze which television has always had. Given some of the questionable film choices Johnny Depp has made lately I think playing Sinclair might be a step up for him. And I liked the chemistry he had with Eva Green in Dark Shadows. I think they would be terrific in a television series based on these books.
9. Troubleshooters series Suzanne Brockmann – These could be turned into a show that would be a great mix of Homeland and the A-Team. I think the action and adventure could lure male watchers while the women would totally be there for the eye candy and romance. And wouldn’t Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy make an awesome Sam?
10. Bess Crawford series Charles Todd – While not really a romance series (we are taking the super slow, circuitous route to our HEA) I think these would make a wonderful TV series. The WWI setting has proven it can work given our love of Downton Abbey. The mysteries are adventurous enough to translate well from the written to the visual. Because of her excellent work in Atonement I can’t seem to shake the image of Kiera Knightly as Bess.
What romance books do you think would make great movies? Do you have any book series you think are small screen worthy?
– Maggie Boyd
I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.