Don’t let the name fool you, the stories in Carla Sarett’s collection called, Nine Romantic Stories are not so much the ripping bodice off by Fabio love stories, but more of a look at what really constitutes a romantic story.

In the first story, “A String Theory Valentine” can remind a reader of the last act of the play “Rabbit Hole” in which the boy who killed the couple’s son discusses how there are a bunch of different universes happening all at once. For Sarett’s story, a third person narrator looks at the relationship of Anna and Jonah who meet and date when they are in high school. As the couple gets older, they break up and move on to other relationships. Anna spends the last paragraph envisioning a universe in which she and Jonah are back in their teen relationship with each other. This story is very relatable because every reader can recall his or her first love and some may even want to visit the other universe where the relationship never died.

As the collection continues, readers are treated to the story “Mandolinata.” In this first person narration, the story unfolds as a new twist on the Catfish epidemic. Lucia has developed an on-line relationship with Henry Oliver. He calls it quits right before the couple is about to take their relationship off-line. Instead of licking her wounds and always wondering what she did wrong, Lucia creates another profile online looking to rehook Henry. It succeeds and Lucia gets to do what most people wish they could do when a relationship disappears for no known reason.

“Victor’s Proposal” can remind some readers of a person with a very practical mind trying to propose marriage to a woman. While the ending is ambiguous, watching the characters try to enjoy their dinner as this man bares what he thinks is his soul is very funny and also a bit sad.

In the last story, “In Rittenhouse Square” Sarett does a great job capturing the small world surrounding the park. The characters put the reader in the mood of sitting on a park bench in the park and watching life unfold around them.

In the collection, Nine Romantic Stories, Carla Sarett looks at what really makes a story romantic. This small collection moves fast but stays with a reader long after the last sentence is read.

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