The Romance Reader's Guide to Life

Growing up in the shadow of the Second World War, the lives of sisters Lilly and Neave could not be more different. Lilly is a beauty who runs through men like water, while Neave is a bookworm who would rather read about love than experience it. While Lilly is breaking hearts, Neave escapes reality by losing herself in an illicit copy of The Pirate Lover, a romance in which the heroine is almost as swashbuckling as the hero.

When the men return from war and take back their jobs, the sisters are expected to settle down and marry. Unwilling to give up their independence, they set out to create a makeup empire instead. But just as the business is taking off, Lilly disappears. Desperate to find her, Neave discovers a whole new meaning to the ties that bind and truth being stranger than fiction.

A haunting, darkly funny and compelling tale of sisterhood that deftly weaves together shades of The Lovely Bones with a pirate romance, The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life proves that sometimes the guiltiest of pleasures contain some essential kernels of truth about life. And you should always be kind to dogs.

Smart, funny, and compulsively readable.
— Kirkus Reviews
A compelling mix of mystery, love, family dynamics, and growing up. Smart and smartly told...A pirate romance novel, as unlikely as that seems, plays an important role, revealing to Neave some of the secrets of life.
— Library Journal
Deliciously entertaining.
— Chevy Stevens
Sharon Pywell’s historical fiction novel is actually two books in one. Pywell toys with romantic tropes to show the darker side of relationships with dangerous men, but infuses enough humor, love, and wit to leave the reader hopeful.

Longtime fans of the romance genre won’t want to miss out on this one.
— Bookish