Books

12 Canadian books about love and romance to read in summer 2021

If you're looking to heat up your summer reading, check out one of these great Canadian books.

If you're looking to heat up your summer reading, check out one of these great Canadian tales of love and romance.

Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson

Our Darkest Night is a novel by Jennifer Robson. (Natalie Brown/Tangerine Photo, HarperCollins Canada)

Our Darkest Night is a novel about a young Jewish woman who posed as a Christian farmer's wife during the Second World War in order to survive the Holocaust. Antonina leaves behind her family to live with Nico, a young man who was studying to become a priest but had to return home to run his family farm. But Antonina, who grew up in the city, struggles to adapt to farm life. When their neighbours become suspicious, they are not sure their lie will be enough to keep Antonina safe.

Jennifer Robson is a historical fiction writer from Toronto. Her other books include Goodnight From LondonMoonlight Over ParisAfter the War is OverSomewhere in France, Fall of Poppies and The Gown.

Genki Ferguson talks to Shelagh Rogers about his novel, Satellite Love. 13:19

Soulstar by C. L. Polk

Soulstar is a novel by C. L. Polk. (Tor, Mike Tan)

Soulstar is the third and final book in C.L. Polk's Kingston Cycle fantasy series, after Witchmark and Stormsong. Robin Thorpe has led a quiet life in Riverside, keeping her magical powers a secret so she can stay safe. But when freed witches come to town, wanting to rejoin the kingdom, Robin knows it's time to use her powers again — but will she have to sacrifice her personal happiness in the process?

Polk is a fantasy writer from Calgary. Their other books include Witchmark, Stormsong and The Midnight BargainWitchmark, their debut novel, won the 2019 World Fantasy Award for best novel. The Midnight Bargain was championed by Olympian and broadcaster Rosey Edeh on Canada Reads 2021.

Ann Shin's documentary gives a voice to the refugee experience

6 years ago
Duration 2:40
Documentary filmmaker Ann Shin follows the real-life story about two men reunited in Canada 29 years after they met fighting on opposite sides of the Iran-Iraq war in her film My Enemy, My Brother. 2:40

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Accidentally Engaged is a novel by Farah Heron. (farahheron.com, Forever)

Accidentally Engaged is the second romantic comedy from Farah Heron. In Accidentally EngagedReena Manji refuses to be attracted to the man her parents have set her up with — the charming and attractive Nadim. But when Reena gets the opportunity to enter a cooking competition, she will do anything to win — even pretend to be engaged to Nadim.

Heron is a writer from Toronto. She is also the author of the romantic comedy The Chai Factor. Her first YA novel, Tahira in Bloom, will also be published in November 2021.

Satellite Love by Genki Ferguson

Satellite Love is a novel by Genki Ferguson. (McClelland & Stewart, genkiferguson.com)

The novel Satellite Love is set in a city in Japan in 1999. Anna is a lonely teenager who turns to stargazing for comfort and escape. But when the Low Earth Orbit satellite (aka LEO) returns Anna's gaze and comes down to earth as Leo, what follows is an unconventional story about love, loneliness and human connection.

Genki Ferguson is a writer from Calgary, and the son of acclaimed writer Will Ferguson. Satellite Love is his first book.

Toronto writer Uzma Jalaluddin is back with her second novel, Hana Khan Carries On. It's a romantic comedy about rival Halal restaurants that's drawing comparisons to the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie, You've Got Mail. Jalaluddin’s book is already on the Globe and Mail's bestseller list. She joined Tom Power to talk about the novel and how she puts a different spin on the rom-com format. 19:17

The Last Exiles by Ann Shin

The Last Exiles is a novel by Ann Shin. (HarperCollins Canada, Katia Taylor)

The Last Exiles is a novel set in North Korea. It's about two young lovers, Jin and Suja. They meet in university, but their class differences become apparent when they return home — and may keep them apart. When Jin sees how much his family is struggling, he decides to escape. When Suja discovers this, she sets after him, and what unfolds is a dangerous and precarious journey for them both.

Ann Shin is a writer and filmmaker from Toronto. Her documentary films include My Enemy, My Brother and The Defector: Escape from North Korea. My Enemy, My Brother was nominated for an Academy Award in 2014. She has directed programs for several television networks, including CBC. She is also the author of three poetry collections. The Last Exiles is her first novel.

Joshua Whitehead and Darcie Little Badger talk to Shelagh Rogers about Love After The End. 17:19

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Hana Khan Carries On is a novel by Uzma Jalaluddin. (HarperCollins, Andrea Stenson)

Hana Khan Carries On is a romantic comedy from Uzma Jalaluddin. In Hana Khan Carries On, Hana is an aspiring radio host who is working at her family's halal restaurant. When her aunt and a cousin come to town, and a rival restaurant opens in their neighbourhood, Hana's life is upended and family secrets are revealed. Fighting for her family is a big battle, one that will put all of Hana's skills to the test. It's a battle that gets more complicated by Hana's growing attraction to the rival restaurant's attractive owner, Aydin.

Jalaluddin is a teacher, parenting columnist and author based in Ontario. She is also the author of the novel Ayesha At Last.

Our books columnist Jael Richardson fills us in on a new read to check out: Sheung-King's debut novel You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked. 9:30

Letters Across the Sea by Genevieve Graham

Letters from Across the Sea is a historical novel by Genevieve Graham. (Simon & Schuster Canada, Nicola Davison)

Letters Across the Sea is the story of a Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour in Toronto, against the backdrop of the Depression. Their lives are forever changed living through the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and a wave of hate that would ignite the Second World War.

Genevieve Graham is a historical fiction writer from Nova Scotia. Her other books include At the Mountain's Edge, Tides of Honour, Come From Away and The Forgotten Home Child.

The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pésémapeo Bordeleau, translated by Susan Ouriou

The Lover, the Lake is a novel by Virginia Pésémapeo Bordeleau (pictured), translated by Susan Ouriou. (Freehand Books)

The Lover, the Lake was a sensation when it was originally published in French. Now available in English, The Lover, the Lake is a celebration of Indigenous sexuality and sensuality. It is the story of a forbidden but fulfilling love affair between Wabougouni and Gabrie, set against the backdrop of Lake Abitibi.

Virginia Pésémapeo Bordeleau is a visual artist and published author of Cree origin. She has published three novels and four poetry collections, including Blue Bear Woman.

Susan Ouriou is a writer, editor and literary translator from Calgary. She has won the Governor General's Literary Award for translation for her work.

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

Ties That Tether is a novel by Jane Igharo. (www.janeigharo.com)

Ties That Tether is about a young woman who must decide between a promise she made her dying father and following her heart. Azere was 12 years old when she told her father she would marry a Nigerian man and honour her family's culture, even after moving to Canada. But when Azere has a one-night stand with a white man she meets in a bar, things surprisingly get serious. Can Azere make it work without betraying her family, or herself?

Jane Igharo came to Canada from Nigeria when she was 12 years old. She currently lives in Toronto. Ties That Tether is her first book.

Love after the End edited by Joshua Whitehead

Love after the End is an anthology edited by Joshua Whitehead. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Joshua Whitehead)

Love after the End is an anthology of speculative fiction that imagines a utopian future for LGBTQ and two-spirit people, curated and edited by poet and novelist Joshua Whitehead.

Contributors include Nathan Adler, Darcie Little Badger, Gabriel Castilloux Calderon, Adam Garnet Jones, Mari Kurisato, Kai Minosh Pyle, David Alexander Robertson, jaye simpson and Nazbah Tom.

Whitehead is an Oji-nêhiyaw, two-spirit writer, poet and Indigiqueer scholar from Peguis First Nation. His book, full-metal indigiqueer, is a collection of experimental poems that aim to provoke discussion and debate. Jonny Appleseed, his debut novel, won Canada Reads 2021 when it was championed by actor Devery Jacobs.

Joanna Goodman talks to Shelagh Rogers about her novel, The Forgotten Daughter. 13:39

You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. by Sheung-King

You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. is a book by Sheung-King. (Maari Sugawara, Book*Hug Press)

You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. is a surreal novel about a translator who travels the globe with his lover. Along the way, they tell each other stories, pose philosophical questions and share their ideas about the world. It's glamorous and stimulating, but the lover often disappears without explanation.

Sheung-King is a writer born in Vancouver, raised in Hong Kong and currently living in Toronto. You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. is his first book.

The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman

The Forgotten Daughter is a book by Joanna Goodman. (joannagoodman.com, HarperCollins Canada)

The Forgotten Daughter is about a surprising love affair set against the backdrop of the Quebec separatist movement of the early 1990s. Veronique is the daughter of a prominent separatist activist, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a politician in the 1970s. Veronique has passionately taken up her father's cause. James is a journalist who opposed separation, and whose sister, Elodie, was one of the Duplessis Orphans, and was wrongly declared mentally ill as a child and sent to an institution. As Veronique grows closer to James and Elodie, all three must reckon with Quebec's past and their own role in shaping its future.

Joanna Goodman is a novelist originally from Montreal and now living in Toronto. She is also the author of The Home for Unwanted Girls.

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