February is the shortest month that feels the longest, with Valentine’s Day coming right in the middle. What we all need, clearly, is a bit of happily-ever-after to get us through the dark winter days. I’ve been listening to the audiobooks of a series of mysteries with a romance pedigree: Sherry Thomas’ Lady Holmes books, beginning with A Study in Scarlet Women (Berkley, 2016) and continuing in five more volumes, with a new installment, A Tempest at Sea, coming on March 14. Charlotte Holmes is a fiendishly clever woman who knows she wouldn’t be accepted as a detective in Victorian society, so she creates a fictional brother—that would be Sherlock—who’s had to take to his bed with an unspecified illness, leaving Charlotte to deal with clients while pretending to consult with him at his rooms on Baker Street. She has a posse of associates, including Mrs. Watson, a former actress who’s the widow of one Dr. John Watson, and Lord Ingram Ashburton, who loves the unconventional Miss Holmes—and though she has no desire to tie herself down through marriage, she has a very great desire for him. Author Thomas wrote historical romance before turning to mystery, and the slow-burning romance of Charlotte and Ash will have you racing through the books even if you don’t care much about the well-crafted mysteries or Charlotte’s battle of wits with a criminal ringleader named Moriarty.

For a more traditional romance, try Kate Clayborn’s Georgie, All Along (Kensington, Jan. 24). Georgie Mulcahy is the latest of Clayborn’s realistic, relatable women, an unemployed personal assistant who leaves Los Angeles for her Virginia hometown, where she finds an old diary she’d written years ago with her best friend, full of their high school hopes and dreams. Georgie decides to try living out some of those dreams, and she gets some help from Levi Fanning, the town bad boy, whom her parents let crash at their house while they’re out of town. Our starred review said, “Clayborn’s stories always feel equally specific and universal, written with vulnerability, humor, and empathy, and this latest is no exception. Georgie and Levi each have an incredibly charged presence on the page as the story explores their individual narratives, but their differences allow them to forge an entirely perfect whole.”

Joanna Shupe’s Fifth Avenue Rebels series has followed a group of friends in Gilded Age New York, and one thing they’ve all had in common is rejecting the Duke of Lockwood, an English aristocrat who crossed the ocean in search of a wealthy American bride. In The Duke Gets Even (Avon, Jan. 24), it’s a pleasure to finally get to know the unfortunate Lockwood and see him fall in love with Nellie Young, a railroad tycoon’s daughter with a wild streak and a less-than-sterling reputation who would rather help women get access to illegal contraception than marry anyone, let alone a duke. “The chemistry between Lockwood and Nellie is sizzling,” according to our starred review.

Alexis Daria’s Take the Lead (St. Martin’s Griffin, Feb. 14) is set against the backdrop of a reality TV dance competition. Gina Morales is a professional dancer who wants to win this season; Stone Neilson is the star of his family’s Alaskan wilderness reality show who’s hoping to help their flagging ratings. Gina doesn’t want to be the stereotyped sassy Latina on The Dance Off, and she doesn’t want a “showmance” with Stone—but they can’t help their attraction. “Daria creates a rich, multilayered romance for Stone and Gina,” says our starred review. “They are different in every way, which requires honest communication and true sacrifice.…The description of their dancing is joyful, sexy, and mimics the trust and intimacy they develop as partners and lovers.”

Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.