This month of love, we have and will see plenty of extravagant loving gestures. Yet we might not always appreciate relationships for what they are – hard work.
It’s only when we experience the work it takes to build trust, friendship, and affection that we truly appreciate our bond with another… especially when we started out hating them. Love is strange and tough, and to celebrate it, we’ve put together a reading list of enemies-to-lovers novels.
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Captive Prince hums to the tune of erotic, political intrigue. Once a celebrated hero, warrior and heir to the throne of Akielos, Damen is stripped of his identity when his half-brother seizes the throne.
Sent to the enemy nation of Vere to serve as a pleasure slave, Damen is caught in a play for the throne that risks both countries. To save himself and his country, Damen must help the one man who has the most reason to kill him – his new master, the deadly and cruel Prince Laurent.
If you’re looking for a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers story, then this is the series for you. C.S. Pacat ’s trilogy allows us to witness the heart-wrenching story of two people learning to trust and love again under the threat of war and death.
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat is available on Book Depository.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Set in 1920s Shanghai, These Violent Delights puts a sinister and debauched spin on the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. Kept apart by their warring gangs and further torn by a chasm of betrayal, heirs Juliette Cai and Roma Montagov sought the other’s end until something more heinous emerged. Now, they must sheath their grudges or there won’t be a city left standing.
Chloe Gong ’s love letter to Shanghai is a vivid, fantastical mystery set in the city’s flapper era, and it’s sure to have your blood pumping. In such a setting, this debut novel deliciously blurs the line between love and hate while exploring themes of power, identity and misogyny.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is available on Book Depository.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue has all the classic romantic tropes covered. Enemies to lovers? Check. Prince Charming? Check. Pretend (platonic) relationship? Check.
First Son Alex Clairmont-Diaz enters a staged friendship with his archenemies, Prince Henry, after photos of a fight between the two are publicised. As damage control turns into a blossoming secret romance, Alex discovers that what his heart wants could very well derail his mother’s bid for re-election and upend two nations.
Casey McQuiston ’s debut novel touches on the topics of racism, ethics and gender while tastefully maintaining a humorous undercurrent to the story. A loose millennial take on modern politics, every page is a refreshing and hopeful look to the future.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston is available on Book Depository.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Nothing epitomises steamy workplace drama quite like The Hating Game. Engaged in a competitive headlock with colleague Joshua Templeman, Lucy Hutton refuses to bow to her archenemies – especially with a promotion that could make or break her career on the line. However, when the heat of anger begins to blur into desire, Lucy needs to figure out if Joshua feels the same or if it’s all part of the game.
Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? In Sally Thorne ’s debut novel, the light-hearted premise of an office rivalry-turned-romance allowed for a sweet and realistic unfolding of love, while also featuring witty dialogue that will leave you in stitches.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is available on Book Depository.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
A romantic comedy to boot, The Unhoneymooners sees Olive resigned to her role as the unlucky twin when she’s forced to spend time with Ethan, her sworn enemy, at her sister’s wedding.
When everyone comes down with food poisoning, Olive and Ethan, as the only ones left standing, get the all-expenses paid honeymoon to Hawaii. Their plan to avoid each other are thwarted, however, when an innocent white lie leads to them pretending to be blissful newlyweds.
This page-turner by Christina Lauren presents us with a protagonist, far from perfect and truly struggling with family, loss and heartbreak, and gives her respite in the most unexpected way. Hilarious and achingly relatable, this book is the perfect addition to your shelves.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is available on Book Depository.
This article was first published in City Nomads.