Forced Proximity | a great romance trope

Bri Castellini
2 min readJan 18, 2023

Welcome to the first edition of Forced Proximity, where I, Bri Castellini, will trap you here in my hyperfixation on romance novels for as long as the fixation lasts. It felt fitting that my first batch of recommendations would themselves feature forced proximity as a major plot device!

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Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore. The first in the A League of Extraordinary Women quartet (I think- only 3 books are out so far) follows Annabelle Archer, who manages not only to secure a spot in the first female cohort of University of Oxford students but also a scholarship from the rising women’s suffrage movement. This puts her in the path of the stern, no nonsense Duke of Montgomery whose vote they need to help establish the Married Women’s Property Act on the hunt for a well bred, above scandal duchess. So… not an impoverished bluestocking with loud political opinions. HMMMM.

Rating: 5/5

How hot? 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren. A book set right near where I grew up (around Moab/Green River, Utah) that follows Lily, a broke trail guide who leads tourists through Canyonlands in fictional search of Butch Cassidy’s lost score, and Leo, the one who got away who ends up on one of her tours where it turns out… the search might not be so fictional. A steamy, adrenaline pumping second chance romance by one of my favorite romance authors (who is actually a writing team, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). Bonus: only one sleeping bag!

Rating: 5/5

How hot? 🔥🔥🔥

Book Lovers by Emily Henry. You know how in every small town romance story there’s a heinous city person who the protagonist eventually dumps to stick around with their Christmas Tree Farm new love? This book is about the heinous city person wondering what it will take to get someone to stay with her. Also a story about grief and family and a book agent and book editor falling in love despite the tropes that should keep them apart.

Rating: 5/5

How hot? 🔥🔥

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Bri Castellini

Freelance indie film and crowdfunding consultant. Writer of mystery TV and romance novels. Human bulldozer. www.BriCastellini.com