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Romance Reads with a Magical Twist

By Holly Butterfield, Lucy O’Neill and Brittany Holness 


Finally, the end of winter has arrived, and spring has begun to sprinkle her petals. While February blessed us with Valentine’s Day and an influx of romantic moments, the romance genre truly comes to life in March. As we head into the lighter months, it is clear that there is a change in the trends of romance releases as familiar, light-hearted storylines develop into those of a more mystical nature. In these new novels, romance will rid itself of its previous shackles and obtain an element of the mystical. Unlike romantasy books, these are new releases we can relate to, dream of or get lost in while still rooted in our day-to-day lives. Yet, a sprinkling of magic or a hint of mystery adds another layer to the genre. 


So, what is it about these types of stories that are so beloved? They often have an almost fairytale-like quality, which can appeal to larger audiences. With so many romances being published each year, it’s easy for them to start feeling a bit similar, but a magical twist can help add a contrasting element to the story. There’s also an unpredictability with magic systems that means these stories don’t always hit the classic beats of more traditional romances. Whilst many love the predictability of the genre, for some, knowing exactly how the book will pan out can be boring, especially when you’ve read hundreds of books with seemingly the same plot about two people slowly falling in love before encountering the dreaded third act conflict. However, an added magic system allows for unexpected moments throughout the story that can leave readers guessing, hooking them in as they read on to find out what happens next. 


The genre can explore magic in different and unique ways and how it exists in that specific setting. Magical realism is one such manner of incorporating magic into a character’s regular life. Several books have utilised magic in this way, implementing it into the story as an added element where it is not explained but accepted as the way things are. 


Ashley Poston


The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston uses magical realism to introduce an apartment that transports the protagonist seven years into the past. While the reason behind this is not explained throughout the story, the author introduces an unpredictable element that maintains readers' interest. These stories are often set in the real world with aspects similar to contemporary romance, just with slightly mystical elements. Stories that fall into this bracket are not too abstract and thus cannot be confused with other genres. They are the kind of stories that appeal to the masses in a way that high fantasy novels packed full of mystical beings and intricate magic systems don't. 


Ashley Poston has been leading these stories. The Seven Year Slip and The Dead Romantics provide a magical or supernatural element to otherwise contemporary romances. Stories of time-travelling apartments and ghostly love interests have that sprinkling of magic that has readers wanting more. Her upcoming release, A Novel Love Story, continues with this magical trend, telling the tale of a protagonist who gets transported to the fictional town in her favourite romance series, getting stuck in the author’s latest and unfinished story. 


Rebecca Searle


Another upcoming release to keep an eye out for is Expiration Dates by Rebecca Searle. Beloved for her previous romance releases, this one takes things in a slightly magical direction with a protagonist who receives notes informing her of the length of each of her relationships, telling her whether she’ll spend weeks, months or years with her current love interest. One day, she receives a note with nothing but a name. That added little twist is bound to have readers turning the pages as they search for answers to their burning questions.


So, if you’re not typically into fantasy but feel like your romances are just lacking a little something, why not give one of these a go? It’s a light-hearted and whimsical trend that will stand the test of time. Be sure to keep your eye on upcoming releases to see what other magical romances are announced.


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