Right, on Wednesday it's Valentine's Day. I'm sure you've noticed. Whether you've been walking past shop window displays or viewing messages in your inbox, hearts and roses have been the thing over the past few weeks.

But for publishers, romance isn't just a big deal for a week in February. Certainly in the USA, romance is the bestselling book genre and the fastest growing.

It's always been popular, and readers of romantic fiction are known for devouring several books a week so it's been successful commercially, but these books and authors have always been a little 'under the radar' and treated with some condescension.

The pandemic is believed to have changed things. People were looking for escapism, and romance led that trend.

Authors such as Colleen Hoover and Sarah Maas have achieved huge followings, the BookTok phenemenon has made romantic fiction attractive and acceptable for a younger audience, and tv series such as Bridgerton have also made romance 'cool'.

The romance writer Beth Reekles says 'Romance offers you the ability to switch off and say  "I'm just going to enjoy this. It doesn't have to be productive or value-adding, it's just something I like and I"m going to indulge in. It's no longer a guilty pleasure, it's just a pleasure."'

Sadly I don't have a romance novel to recommend this week, but will be looking out for something to mention soon. We could all do with a guaranteed happy ending, couldn't we?!

Thank you for reading.