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The world, to say the very least, has been very challenging lately. And that won’t be changed by a fast and/or easy fix at all. So, I’ve been making it a point to find joy wherever I can because, yay, serotonin boosts. One thing that has always brought me happiness is music and I often listen to it while working, writing, or just relaxing with a game. And I have quite the eclectic collection of mixes.
When I was recently listening to my Madonna mix, it struck me that romance novels would pair up quite nicely with some of her songs. Now, I know that this may take some convincing but if you’ll allow me to expand on this, I’m confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised with my thought process. Because, with it being too hot to go out and do much of anything, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this.
With the June release of her latest album Finally Enough Love, the release of a limited series based on A League of Their Own based off the movie that featured Madonna on the screen and soundtrack alike, and August 16th being her birthday, now seemed the perfect time for a list.
So, without further delay, I present for your consideration, Madonna songs and romance novels match-ups!
Remember Me by Syd Parker
Pairs with: This Use to be My Playground
With its heavy baseball theme, this book matches up perfectly with this song and the idea of going back in someone’s history. Samantha and Ellis are two women who take a road trip together to find out more about the life of Sam’s late grandmother. As they travel, they find themselves unable to ignore the attraction growing between them.
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Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins
Pairs with: Human Nature
It’s not really a romance list from me if there isn’t at least one Beverly Jenkins novel. I am picking this one for this song because Spring embodies theme of unapologetically living her life the way she wants. Her past and present may not be deemed “acceptable” by the rigid standards of society, but she is an independent woman with no regrets. Plus she has a very “modern” stance to safe sex and not wanting kids, which is awesome to see in a historical romance novel.
Pink Slip by Katrina Jackson
Pairs with: Die Another Day
Personally, this James Bond theme is superseded only by Tina Turner’s Goldeneye. It being a Bond theme is the reason why it pairs well with this book about two married spies, their personal assistant, and what happens when all three adults stop ignoring the attraction that has been brewing among them. Be sure to have a glass of water and fan at the ready for all the steam headed your way.
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
Pairs with: Papa Don’t Preach
When I was brainstorming this list, I immediately thought of this book when it shuffled to this song. While Lady Georgiana didn’t end up with the father of her baby, she was still a proud and independent single mom, determined to do whatever it took to take care of her child. Seeing that type of perseverance, especially in a historical setting, is a unique thing and stands out, much like Madonna did when she released this song.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Pairs with: La Isla Bonita
Understandably, this song evokes images of a tropical paradise with the romantic partner of your choice. So it seems to go hand in hand with the latest release from this author, both for the cover design and the fact that the Feyi, the heroine of this novel, gets swept away to a tropical location as part of her romantic journey.
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Pairs with: Bad Girl
Please note that I don’t think a woman owning her sexuality is bad and I don’t think Madonna does either. However, I think this song was a release of sorts for how everyone saw her when she chose to embrace all facets of her sexuality and how that may affect potential romantic partners. Which matches up perfectly with Jessica, the courtesan from this book who agrees to take part in a scheme to corrupt moralist Mark, since the money from that will allow her to retire, before falling in love and fearing that she may still end up ruining his reputation by association.
How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson
Pairs with: Causing a Commotion
This song is an opposites attract song if I ever heard one, that doesn’t outwardly state it like another early ’90s banger. And Lu and Tru are almost complete opposites who balance each other perfectly. Plus, they cause many a commotion during their adventures to try to stop the titular character from getting married and it’s a riot to experience.
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
Pairs with: Beautiful Stranger
“Haven’t we met? You’re some kind of beautiful stranger” perfectly encapsulates the way Emmy feels the first time she sees Talia after so many years away from home. There’s also the bit about Emmy swallowing her pride and accepting her love for Talia. That’s it; that’s the comparison.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Pairs with: Open Your Heart
Kris is very upfront and forthcoming that one of their reasons for going on the show is to find someone to settle down with and when she’s matched up with D’Vaughn, she’s overjoyed. I picked this one since Kris spends a good portion of the book convincing D’Vaughn to do just what the song says, and open up her heart to her.
Hot Under His Collar by Andie J. Christopher
Pairs with: Like a Prayer
Okay, real talk…I was thisclose to picking Priest for this for obvious reasons. But I choose a more recent addition to the hot priest trope for this song; so, the touch of controversy is still there. And, considering that this music video likely still has the uber conservative clutching their proverbial pearls, it would go hand in hand with this oddly specific trope.
And a bonus recommendation!
On Pointe by Shelly Ellis
Pairs with: Me Against the Music
Okay so yes, technically this is a Britney Spears song that Madonna just guest stars on, and technically ballet is not exactly the same thing as the dancing referenced in the song and video. But I still couldn’t resist matching this up to this age gap romance novel about a dance teacher who reunites with a former ballet student once he is all grown up.
Hopefully this list made you smile, gave you something to add to your musical rotation as well as to your TBR. Happy reading and stay hydrated.