After discovering Jackie Lau three years ago, she quickly became one of my favorite romance novelists. Ever since then, when I have a long plane ride or need cheering up, I turn to her hilarious, heartfelt stories for a pick me up. Her romantic comedies strike a balance between being light and funny, while also feeling very much set in the real world with characters who have real problems. I’ve especially appreciated when she writes characters dealing with anxiety and depression. These stories don’t shy away from the horrible parts of living with mental illness, but they aren’t trauma narratives. Instead, she writes about these characters with nuance and gives them beautiful, romantic happily ever afters.
Most of Jackie Lau’s characters are Asian Canadians, like herself. She has said she started writing more nonwhite characters and lighter, funnier romantic comedies during the Trump era to tap into what readers needed during that time. She is a hybrid author with a mixture of self-published and traditionally published books. Her stories often feature family or friend group dynamics, but the focus is on the hero and heroine. And, as in all true romance novels, a happily ever after is guaranteed.
With 21 romance novels and novellas, it can be hard to know where to start when reading Jackie Lau for the first time. Here are my three suggestions on where to begin!
I would start with this delightfully titled fake dating romance. It is the first Jackie Lau book I read. I sped through the whole thing, staying up way too late so I could finish the book in one sitting. A group vacation is Will’s idea of a nightmare. His social anxiety and extreme introversion has been a problem with all his past relationships. But when his best friend’s little sister, Naomi, needs to bring a date on her couples’ trip, Will reluctantly agrees. Little does he know, Naomi has had a long time crush on him and is determined to make their relationship anything but fake.
After reading Grumpy Fake Boyfriend, you might want to get into the holiday spirit with this romance novella. It’s a perfect November read with a sweet romance and an even more hilarious family subplot. Nick loves his bachelor life in Toronto. But his family is getting tired of him and his siblings putting off marriage. This year, they set Nick and his three siblings up on blind Thanksgiving dates. What is already a recipe for catastrophe gets even more out of control when Nick’s last one night stand, Lily, shows up at the house. But she’s not Nick’s blind date. She’s being set up with Nick’s brother Greg.
This is Jackie Lau’s newest book (out last month!). The pun in the title and the baking element instantly made me know how much I would love this book. Ryan is an actor trying to promote his struggling romcom film. His paths cross with Lindsay when he asks for her help preparing for an episode of a celebrity baking show. Despite causing mayhem in her bakery, an attraction grows between the pair. This is such a sweet, romantic story. I promise, you won’t want to miss it.
With 18 other romantic stories, once you get hooked on Jackie Lau you’ll have a huge backlist to read through. My absolute favorite thing! And if you’re curious about other romance novelists to try out, may I suggest Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, or Sarah MacLean.