Looking for a light *touch* of magic with your romance? Not full-on romantasy (for our picks there see our Romantasy Recs piece), but just a little ~suggestion~ of magic wrapped up in a cosy romance story.
These books are based in reality, and often set in big cities like New York, and they may include non-magical elements like horoscopes, tarot and fortune telling as key plot elements, or a magical mishap (say, a timeslip, or a magical crab) may play a role in the romance.
Looking for this touch of magical romance? Check out these movies and books!
Love thinking about fate and fortune? Watch Just my Luck dir. Donald Petrie (2006)
Ashley meets Jake at a party and soon learns that her good luck has been switched with his bad fortune. Leading an ideal life now, Jake falls in love with her and tries to win her heart.
Watch it on: Disney Plus
For some tarot-reading romance read Mystic Ridge by Lucy Lever
Sparkling rural romance meets quirky rom-com in this delightful debut story of love, magic and fighting for home. Perfect for readers who love Rachael Johns and Alissa Callen.
Is love on the cards?
Reading the tarot is in Claire’s blood. It’s a gift she inherited from her late mother. But her genius in helping others discover their path fails her when it comes to finding her own, especially once she learns of plans to bulldoze her carefully regenerated rainforest home and build a high-end wellness centre. She vows to rally her small community and save Mystic Ridge, although she has no idea where to start…
Perhaps her first port of call should be the local newspaper, but after a fake-dating misadventure with the new editor, Leo, rising tensions – and chemistry – get in the way. Meanwhile, her old love, soapie actor Jake, promises to help protect her home. Yet Claire suspects his loyalties lie elsewhere, and she doesn’t know who to trust anymore.
Will Claire find the courage to fight for the rainforest, her family and her chance at love?
With a colourful ensemble of small-town characters, and a dash of ghostly intervention, Mystic Ridge offers surprises at every turn.
Love time-slip romance? Read The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston
An overworked book publicist with a perfectly planned future hits a snag when she falls in love with her temporary roommate…only to discover he lives seven years in the past, in this witty and wise new novel from the bestselling author of The Dead Romantics.
Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it.
Six months ago, Clementine West had the worst day of her life. So, she came up with a plan to keep her heart safe: stay busy, work hard, take no risks. And it’s been working.
That is until one day she finds a strange man standing in her kitchen. A man with kind eyes, a crooked smile, and a recipe for the perfect lemon meringue pie. The kind of man that, before everything, she could have fallen for . . .
He’s perfect but for one thing: he lives in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact.
This should be impossible, but Clementine used to love impossible things. And maybe, just maybe, she will again. After all, love is never a matter of time – but a matter of timing.
… or watch Kate & Leopold dir. James Mangold (2001)
Kate, a career-oriented woman, falls in love with Leopold, a prince from the 18th century who transports to 21st-century New York through a time portal created by her former boyfriend.
Rent it on: Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV
Love magic and food? Watch Simply Irresistible dir. Mark Tarlov (1999)
A restaurant owner is not able to cook like her late mother and that is why the restaurant is failing. When she finds a magical crab, she uses its magic to regain her restaurant’s popularity.
Rent it on: Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV
Love a bit of ghostly content? Read The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
Florence Day is a ghost-writer with one big problem. She’s supposed to be penning swoon-worthy novels for a famous romance author but, after a bad break-up, Florence no longer believes in love. And when her strict (but undeniably hot) new editor, Benji Andor, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye.
Although when tragedy strikes and Florence has to head home, the last thing she expects to see is a ghost at her front door. Not just any ghost, however, but the stern form of her still very hot – yet now unquestionably dead – new editor.
As sparks start to fly between them, Florence tells herself she can’t be falling for a ghost – even an infuriatingly sexy one. But can Benji help Florence to realise love isn’t dead, after all?
If you fell in love with Beach Read, The Love Hypothesis and The Hating Game, this laugh-out-loud romance packed with sizzling chemistry will give you all the feels!
or watch Ghost dir. Jerry Zucker (1990)
Sam and Molly love each other, but their romance is short-lived when Sam is killed by a thug. Unable to tell Molly that her life is in danger, Sam’s spirit takes a psychic’s help in order to save her.
Watch it on: Paramount Plus
Love Christmas magic? Read The Magic of Christmas by Alyssa J. Montgomery
Christmas meets billionaire romance with a touch of suspense, from USA Today bestselling author Alyssa J. Montgomery.
‘This year, you’ll have to help create your own Christmas magic.’
Billionaire Jack Mancini has pulled himself up out of the worst circumstances to become a self-made CEO. The one thing Jack can’t face is Christmas. Carols, Christmas trees and cheer only remind him of his dark past. But when he’s asked to stay in London for Christmas by the only person who understands his pain, Jack’s fierce loyalty demands that he agree.
Ever since tragedy struck, Grace Robertson has done everything she can to give her younger brother the life he deserves, ignoring her own passions to focus on her housecleaning business. The two things Grace lets herself indulge in? Fantasising about her handsome employer Jack and playing his beautiful grand piano when she’s finished cleaning his house. When Grace is caught playing the piano, the last thing she expects is for the man of her fantasies to offer her everything she’s ever wanted.
But even as the line between fiction and reality blurs, it seems that the darkness that haunts Jack is inescapable. If only Jack would let in just a little bit of Christmas magic…
Always check your monthly horoscope? Read Written In The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.
Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date Because… awkward.
Darcy begs Elle to play along and she agrees to pretend they’re dating. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a faux relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars.
Think love itself is the most magical thing of all? Read One More Time by Mandy Magro
Fate, hope and desire collide for one special couple in a way they never would have expected. An epic love story, in the tradition of Nicholas Sparks, from bestselling Australian author Mandy Magro.
One split-second choice. A spark of magic. What if your life could be completely different?
Grace Burrows knows her seventieth birthday celebration is going to be an enchanting affair. And she can’t wait to immerse herself in an evening surrounded by family and her closest friends, to waltz across the dance floor as she used to and reminisce over shared memories gathered across the decades. But it’s also the evening she’ll have to finally reveal a secret that she knows will devastate her family – her time left with them is too short to be fair…
Scarred by his war-time experiences and losses, Charlie Wilson knows he’s made a lot of mistakes. Too many. But none greater than ruining his marriage to Grace when they were young. Tonight, as they dance, Charlie is determined to tell her he’s always loved her. But when old feelings and resentments are drawn to the surface, tempers fray and Charlie and Grace are left on opposite sides of the same old argument.
Fate, however, will give them one last chance to be truthful – and as a touch of magic sparks, everything changes…