–by Bridette Mabuto–
I’m not the biggest movie person around, which is one reason I write about books, but I can appreciate the form of entertainment. One way to guarantee my bum in a movie theater seat is if it’s based on a book I’ve read or plan to read. Maybe I go out of pure excitement or maybe with the judgmental attitude booklovers are known for, but I have yet to miss a movie that is based on a book that I like.
What does this have to do with romance novels? Well, going over a few favorite novels this past week, I realized there were quite a few that I would love to see reenacted on the big screen. Because books are amazing, but there’s something special about seeing your favorite scenes acted out by gorgeous people.
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
I love history, so this book definitely had to make the list. Add that to the fact that this type of romance is so underrepresented, and you have another reason to make Indigo into a feature film.
Indigo is about an escaped slave who gives back by helping to run the Underground Railroad from her home. When one of the conductors is seriously injured, she has to nurse him back to health and, of course, they fall desperately in love. Considering the tension of the era and the poignancy of love found in tragedy, Indigo would play out perfectly as a movie.
Dream Cast: Lupita Nyong’o and Idris Elba
Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight
This book shines a light on a seriously underrepresented demographic, bisexuals. But it isn’t done in a heavy handed way that many romances use, but through a beautiful, slow story line. In Butterfly Tattoo, a woman recovering from a violent attack comes together with a man who is mourning the loss of his partner. Through a close connection with his daughter, this couple comes together and slowly starts to learn to love.
One of the best things about this book is that it’s unapologetic about the sexuality of the main character. I definitely think there’s a need for this type of story in the world right now and Butterfly Tattoo would be a perfect option.
Dream Cast: Ryan Gosling and Dakota Johnson
The Wallflowers Series by Lisa Kleypas
I’m a sucker for a good gal-pal movie. This series takes the romance an extra mile by including four difference romances. In The Wallflowers series, four women move to London with the goal to get husbands. And, just like that, the hunt begins.
While the series is made up of six books, I think combining the stories would make for a more powerful movie. Plus, there would be more eye candy. I like to imagine it as Love Actually set in mid-19th century England. What could be more romantic than that?
Dream Cast: Rosamund Pike (Evie), Emily Blunt (Annabelle), Renee Zellweger (Lillian), and Emma Stone (Daisy)
See Me by Nicholas Sparks
It would be a pretty shoddy list that didn’t include Sparks’ newest novel, See Me. My one complaint with Sparks’ books in the past has been that the characters have always been very similar. We have the sweet, Southern lady, with her perfect blonde hair and her need for a hero. Then there’s the hero, who has a shadowy past, but a desire to protect the perfect heroine. I’m not complaining, but it did get old after a while.
In See Me, Sparks breaks his mold a bit. Instead of a sweet, little Southern girl, we have a strong, hard-working immigrant who has strived to be successful. And, yes, there’s also the man with the dark past. However, in this case, it’s not his past that catches up, but hers. And that tension would play out perfectly as a movie. In fact, since it is Sparks, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this in theaters in the next few years.
Dream Cast: Jessica Alba and James Marsden (yes, again)
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
I would love to see books two and three of this series as a movie, with flashbacks to book one. I’m not saying book one doesn’t deserve its own movie, but it’s really books two and three that bring things together and capture readers.
In this series, a young thief is hired to steal something important for his queen, as is suggested by the title of the series. The next several books detail how this thief and queen go from being in contest of wit and wills, to two people in love. It’s a beautiful series that deserves its complexity to be played out as a movie.
Dream Cast: Matt Smith and Adelaide Kane
Heart of the Falcon by Francis Ray
I’m a sucker for strong black women being portrayed in love stories, since they’re another underrepresented demographic in romance. And Heart of the Falcon is an amazing place to start. The story follows an engineer that has strived to become successful in her male dominated career. When she finally meets a man who can keep up with her, a struggle of wills ensues.
I’m not usually a huge fan of ‘typical’ romance novels, but I have to make an exception for this one. And I definitely think that, with the right actors, it would play out very well in a movie.
Dream Cast: Paula Patton and Boris Kodjoe
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Since the success of the Outlander series, stories about history and time travel are all the rage. So why not continue that trend with The Winter Sea? In this book, a novelist learns about a battle, but finds herself more connected to the past than she first realized. As two stories unfold, the connection between the two women becomes clearer.
There are a few complaints that story that the story doesn’t tie together well, but I think having the right actors could really pull it into focus. Plus, the love stories in this book are extremely touching, which always comes across great in movies.
Dream Cast: Anne Hathaway and Kelly MacDonald
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
Okay, here’s a dirty little secret: I love Bollywood movies. As in, in high school, my girlfriends and I would sneak a laptop into our rooms, turn the lights off, close the curtains, and watch Bollywood movies all day. There’s something about the colors and the music and the culture that just endears them to me. So, it’s not a big surprise that A Bollywood Affair made my list of romance novels that need their own movies.
In this story, a young woman who has been engaged since she was 4 is approached by her brother-in-law to obtain a divorce for his brother. What I love about this book is that it shows a very true struggle that most immigrants experience: How to balance your culture with the culture of where you now live. And I think there couldn’t be a more perfect time for this story to come out.
Dream Cast: Priyanka Chopra and Sendhil Ramamurthy