For January, 3 Romances That Understand It’s Complicated

Yes, a romance novel has to have a happy ending — but that doesn’t mean the stories take place in a fantasy land. This month, we’re showcasing three books that draw on the challenges of real life.

The One You Fight for

Romance: it's complicated. As these three novels show, it's far from just the simple premise of boy meets girl ... and they got married and lived happily ever after in some fictional la-la land. The best romances draw on real life to spin stories of love and overcoming challenges on the quest for happy ever after — and here are three of the best for January.

In The One You Fight For, Roni Loren takes one of the most gut-wrenching issues of the day — school shootings — and makes it the backdrop for a romance that asks whether the brother of an infamous mass murderer can possibly find or deserve happily ever after — especially with the sister of one of the victims?

Taryn Landry has a lot going for her: She's a psychology professor on track for tenure and her program to identify and counsel potential mass shooters is about to be voted on by the local school board. The mission is personal; she herself is the survivor of a school shooting which claimed the life of her younger sister. Shaw Miller is a survivor of same shooting — so to speak. He was an Olympic-caliber gymnast when his younger brother shot up prom night. In the aftermath, he had to abandon his Olympic dreams, change his name, alter his appearance and never, ever let anyone get close.