Anthology Review: Love Gone Viral: Five COVID-19 Related Romances (2020)

Heat Factor: Really ranges from fairly hot to more heartwarming.

Character Chemistry: A wide variety of people clicking in different ways.

Plot: This anthology examines different scenarios where people are able to overcome obstacles, find ways to cope together, connect, and ultimately find love during the pandemic.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this after wondering if I was ready for pandemic lit.

Are we ready for pandemic literature? 

I was really unsure when we were initially approached, myself. Mainly because, like all of us (especially in the burning hot dumpster fire that is America right now), we’re all slogging through this pandemic one hit after another. And by hit, I mean with a baseball bat and brass knuckles, not “That Thing You Do”.

But you know, this book was actually written by five authors who saw that things were going really spectacularly badly for a lot of people, asked themselves what they could do to help, and of course the obvious answer was a romance anthology with all the proceeds going to help Feeding America and the World Central Kitchen, so I figured if they can channel their unique skill set to help people–so can I. My unique skill set is reading romance novels and discussing why they are good, and why you should read them. So here I go. A-hem. 

<cracks knuckles gif>

So, are we ready for pandemic literature? After reading this anthology, I think the answer is yes. Books have always helped us examine the human experience in beautiful ways, and romance examines how love changes us in transformative and beautiful ways. Life is still moving forward through this pandemic. People are still falling in love while there are riots and racial violence. Actually, I think that continuing to live our lives when things are falling apart around us is a testament to how resilient and powerful we are, and it gives me hope for our communities and our futures. Here are some highlights from this anthology that I thought were particularly beautiful and well-done:

I LOVED the paranormal short stories– ”Falling Through Air” and “Bending Love.” I felt like taking something a little too real and throwing in something mystical allowed me to settle right in and both examine the situation we’re all in and enjoy a good love story. 

If you want a nice, satisfying slow ( -ish, it’s a short story) burn, I adored “Joan’s Journal.” I got some major Mr. Darcy vibes and I was all about it.

I also thought it was satisfying to have two that featured more mature characters–”Second Drop” and “Lease on Love” both featured characters not in their twenties. I love a good book with characters who have some zesty life seasoning.

Here’s the takeaway from this experience for me–in this new quarantined, distanced life we’re living it can be easy to get sucked into our own fears and worries and darkness. Yes, the pandemic is an integral part of this anthology, but it was nice to see how many ways people found happiness in the midst of something so difficult. It was nice to feel connected to new people, even if they were characters. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

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