It sounds to me that you're looking for literary fiction with romantic elements, or literary love stories, rather than romance, per se. To qualify as a Romance in any of the subgenres, the relationship must be the central focus of the book. If the relationship is removed, the plot will collapse. All romances also must have a Happily Ever After ending, or a Happy For Now ending (acknowledging that people change and fall out of love sometimes).
If the story can stand without the relationship, then it is whatever genre with romantic elements. At the moment, I can't think of any specific books that are literary with romantic elements, but an author friend is working on one at the moment, still untitled. I'm not sure when she'll be published though.
Nicholas Sparks is often referred to as a Romance author, but strictly speaking, his books are Love Stories, rather than Romances, since they don't always have that Happily Ever After ending. Actually, his style of writing and his stories might appeal to you if I'm interpreting what you're looking for correctly.
Good luck finding great reads!
posted 10 months ago. ( permalink )