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25 Romance Books That Are Sexy, Smart, and Anything But Sappy

They’re a total guilty pleasure.

best new books romance

Filled with enough drama, witty repartee, and tension to keep you on your toes till the very end, many of the most popular romance books today are love stories that go beyond the white, cis-het lens. We're excited to see more diversity represented in the romance genre, however, there is still much more progress to be made. According to an annual independent report from the Los Angeles-based bookstore The Ripped Bodice, for every 100 books published in 2021 by leading romance publishers, fewer than 12 books were written by people of color.

We celebrate the books that allow more readers to see themselves (and their own romantic adventures and mishaps) in their pages and think that any lover of lit can take pleasure in their stories. Featuring both longtime best-sellers and new reads, these 25 romance books are definitely worth adding to your personal library.

Joy Revolution Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

At the intersection of romance books and YA novels is this charming, geeky, yet emotionally complex read from author Talia Hibbert. It follows Bradley, a star student athlete, Celene, a burgeoning social-media influencer with a conspiracy-theory TikTok account, and the long-running misunderstanding between them.

Paired together during a survival course in the woods with full scholarships on the line, these frenemies are forced to work together to overcome their struggles. Thankfully, they begin to recognize the redeeming qualities (and cuteness) of the other along the way, too.

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William Morrow Paperbacks 99 Percent Mine: A Novel by Sally Thorne

Darcy and Tom have been friends — just friends — since they were kids. Tom and Darcy's twin brother are best friends, so their bond has always been a platonic one. When Darcy inherits a fixer-upper cottage and Tom is tasked with restoring the home to its former glory, suddenly the rules no longer apply.

St. Martin's Griffin The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel by Tracey Garvis Graves

Annika and Jonathan fell hard for one another after they met at chess club while studying at the University of Illinois. Their love seemed like it could withstand anything — until an unexpected tragedy forced them apart.

Now, 10 years later, they've reconnected. Both on different paths with the careers they always dreamed of, Annika and Jonathan need to decide if they should take their second chance at being together before it’s lost.

Atria Books It Starts With Us: A Novel by Colleen Hoover

Thanks to #BookTok, Colleen Hoover's 2016 romance book It Ends With Us has had a major resurgence . Now, the long-awaited sequel is here.

It Starts With Us picks up 2 years later, and this time, the story is told from the perspective of Atlas, Lily's first love and the one who came before her abusive ex-husband Ryle. While the two of them finally have a second chance at happiness together, Ryle's bitter jealousy threatens to keep them apart for good.

Knopf Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin's blockbuster novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is not your typical romance book. Instead, it is about the depth and richness of friendship love.

Protagonists Sam and Sadie are bonded in childhood by their love of gaming — years later, they design a game together which explodes into something bigger than they could've ever imagined. The book is an expansive, decades-sweeping character study that reckons with trust as the bedrock of a lasting partnership.

Algonquin Books An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage was named a top book in 2018 by the likes of Amazon, the New York Times , and NPR (it was even an Oprah's Book Club pick!). So it’s no surprise that our former parenting editor Latifah Miles names it as one of her favorite romance books as well.

She says, " An American Marriage is full of twists and turns and made me rethink the meaning of true love and how far you are willing to go for the person you have committed your life to. Where is the boundary between love and personal happiness, and how do we pick up the pieces after everything falls apart?"

Flatiron Books My Ex-Life: A Novel by Stephen McCauley

David and Julie had a short, misguided marriage, managed to part as friends, and allowed their lives to completely diverge. Decades later, they both find themselves teetering on the cusp of a midlife crisis, with Julie seeking David out for help in tutoring her daughter. Their reconnection rekindles something more complicated than romance — it’s more of a fractured friendship that’ll never quite look the way it once did.

Sweet Rose Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Jordan Collins is a total bookworm and the founder of a floundering romance-book club. He's also desperate to save his passion project. Rex Bailey, a smart-mouthed bookstore employee, offers to join the Meet Cute Club and help Jordan revitalize the local lit community he loves so dear.

Though reluctant at first, Jordan eventually agrees to let him join the club and in doing so, gets to know Rex on a deeper level — even if he's the last guy on Earth that he'd expect to fall for.

Lake Union Publishing The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

An Amazon Charts and Washington Post best-seller surrounds the story of Amy Byler who's headed to New York City for a summer to take a much-needed break from her overworked life.

After letting loose and taking in all the city has to offer, she meets one particular man who leaves her contemplating if she should stay or go back to all that she left behind in Pennsylvania.

Avon Books Bridgerton: The Duke & I by Julia Quinn

Yes, that steamy Netflix show is a romance book adaptation. Set in Regency-era, high-society England, Daphne Bridgerton finds her reputation at stake, while the promiscuous Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, is bombarded with more marriage proposals than he can stand.

To play the court at its own gossipy game, the two join forces and fake their love affair to elevate Daphne in the public sphere and take the duke off the market for good. But with the undeniable chemistry between their feisty jabs at each other, could this faux romance turn real?

Custard Books Before You Say I Do by Clare Lydon

This romance book follows Abby, an engaged woman who is so busy with work that her fiancee has to hire a professional bridesmaid, Jordan, to help her keep things in order as the wedding fast approaches.

There's no question that when the two women meet, sparks fly, and Abby wonders if her life priorities have been completely out of whack all along.

Katherine Tegen Books Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Be forewarned: You'll want the tissues handy when you start reading this otherworldly romance book. Jack and Kate meet at a party, and it was like it was always meant to be. Neither of them has ever felt such a happy, goofy, instant bond with another person.

When Kate suddenly loses the battle with her chronic illness and dies, Jack gains the ability to travel back in time over and over again to try and relive their love story, and also change whatever he can about it so that she can live.

Riptide Publishing Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox

You might never know where you'll meet The One. Evie Whitmore has a dance routine to learn with just hours to spare, and Tyler Davis is the one who is tasked with teaching it to her. Taken by her skill and the effortlessness of their pairing, Tyler is still healing from a past abusive relationship, but he may be ready to let someone new into his life.

This tender romance between an asexual person and a trans man is about the importance of patience and trust.

Berkley Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake

They say you’ve got to take the bitter with the sweet, but Delilah Green is finding that it works the other way around, too. Pressured to return to her much-despised hometown to photograph her stepsister’s wedding, Delilah is dreading the whole event until she runs into Claire Sutherland. Claire, one of the bridesmaids, is dealing with grief, single parenthood, and maintaining a work-life balance ... so Delilah’s arrival after years apart completely throws her for a loop.

Although free-spirited Delilah and homebody Claire make an unexpected pairing, their relationship soon moves beyond the casual realm into the loving support they each didn’t realize they needed.

St. Martin's Griffin Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

Alex Claremont-Diaz's mother is president of the United States, meaning that he has to keep up a wholesome public image, so as not to rock the boat with any foreign relations. Unfortunately, he's in a bit of a quarrel with British royal Prince Henry, and the tabloids have the receipts of their altercation.

Both Alex and Henry agree to smile for the camera to keep the nations that their families lead in peace, but as they're forced to get closer, it turns out the two influential sons might be hiding their attraction for each other under the guise of rivalry.

Berkley Book Lovers by Emily Henry

To call this romance novel a bookish read may be redundant, but it feels particularly apt when we're taking about two rivals in the publishing world.

Nora Stephens is a literary agent who knows all of the tropes of every rom-com out there ... so she knows she'll never get herself snagged in one. And Charlie Lastra is a book editor who helps meet-cutes come to life on the page but takes the red pen to every scenario he finds himself IRL. Come for the irresistibly snappy banter and sexual tension in Book Lovers , but stay for the unexpectedly heartfelt connection.

Feiwel & Friends Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

This YA romance book follows two girls whose love story had a bit of a false start. The super popular Sana Khan asked out aspiring filmmaker Rachel Recht, and let's just say that it didn't go well.

Both walked away from the encounter feeling like they'd been pranked. They've managed to keep their distance — until Rachel reluctantly casts Sana as the lead in her senior film project. Perhaps take two of their romance is more successful.

Berkley The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This romantic read is just as sexy as it is sweet. Khai and Esme live on opposite ends of the globe, and seemingly in two different realities — Esme in the world of starry-eyed romance, and Khai in a matter-of-fact, socially isolated viewpoint.

The two are paired together through an arranged courtship and must navigate through their differences to reach common ground together.

Berkley Well Met by Jen DeLuca

It turns out, these two star-crossed lovers can only express their true feelings when they're role-playing at the Renaissance Faire (!).

Bubbly, lighthearted Emily agrees to volunteer at the Faire for the summer and is under the supervision of the disgruntled Simon. It's only when they're in costume that the flirtation gets hot and heavy.

William Morrow Paperbacks Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel by Sonali Dev

This reimagining of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is set in #MeToo-era San Francisco. Reversing the gender roles of the classic romance book, Dr. Trisha Raje and chef DJ Caine initially clash over their different worldviews, and both are incredibly loyal to their families. Eventually, the two reconcile to save DJ's sister.

Headshot of Melanie Yates

Melanie Yates is the senior home editor of Best Products, where she's covered all things decor- and bedding-related since 2015. Apart from penning countless gift guides and interviewing industry experts, Melanie has also conducted numerous product tests for the site, evaluating everything from blankets to blenders to pillows to pens, to help readers find the very best they can buy. Her digital byline can also be found on Bustle, House Beautiful , and Elle Decor . A longtime classical-music enthusiast, Melanie spends her off-hours enjoying performances big and small across New York City.

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The Best Romance Novels of 2022

The genre has had an exceptional year — one of its best of all time.

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By Olivia Waite

In this illustration, rendered delicately in shades of gray and buff, two billing birds perch on a pale green book lying on its side on a bookshelf. There’s a potted plant in the background.

Welcome to the first New York Times list of the year’s best romance novels! My teenage self would not have believed this list possible, much less that I’d be writing it.

The genre has had an exceptional year. (Other top candidates for Best Romance Year are 1992, which brought us Julie Garwood’s “The Secret,” Laura Kinsale’s “Flowers From the Storm,” and Amanda Quick’s “Ravished” and “Reckless”; and 1995, which had Beverly Jenkins’s “Vivid,” J.D. Robb’s “Naked in Death” and Loretta Chase’s “Lord of Scoundrels.”)

Many of the books below have been featured in this column before; a few are new, discovered as I circled back to titles I’d missed.

Best Contemporaries

For too long, I’d been craving a baseball romance book by an author who loves baseball and romance equally, and along came KD Casey’s FIRE SEASON (Carina Press, ebook, $4.99) , the story of two major-league pitchers who become roommates and then considerably more. Casey’s work feels as supple and lived-in as a fielder’s favorite glove, resilient but never rough, and the difficulties of queer identity in an entrenchedly heterosexual industry are handled with care but never allowed to steal the limelight from her heroes.

I initially skipped Akwaeke Emezi’s YOU MADE A FOOL OF DEATH WITH YOUR BEAUTY (Atria, 278 pp., $27) because I thought it was more women’s fiction than romance — a mistake I regret, and which I’m thrilled to correct now. Widows are a stock character in romance, but rarely is the experience treated with such brutal depth as in this tale of Feyi, a young, haunted Black widow who falls for her new boyfriend’s famous father. The book is gloriously messy at the start, but like Feyi, it lights up when Alim enters: a queer and wildly charismatic Black chef who also knows about loss, and who is as foolishly, impossibly attracted to Feyi as she is to him. A modern masterpiece, and a perfect romance to start with if you come from the more literary side of the book world

Chencia C. Higgins’s D’VAUGHN AND KRIS PLAN A WEDDING (Carina Adores, 336 pp., paperback, $14.99) is a warmly funny love letter to queer Black women and the queer Black women who love them, disguised as a high-concept rom-com about a reality wedding show. Romances that decenter both whiteness and the gender binary are still dismayingly rare in traditional publishing, so to see a Black lesbian stud as a central character is like water on a parched bit of ground.

Higgins has a knack for writing scenes that are hilarious and natural, as opposed to the capital-H high jinks that often pass for the com part of a rom-com and that tend to stress me out. It is impossible to feel stressed while reading this book, even as you hold your breath to see whether D’Vaughn and Kris will make it to their televised wedding day.

As I read Mia Hopkins’s TANKED (Little Stone, ebook, $4.99) , I thought, Finally, an author brave enough to put the painful pandemic reality on the page of a romance — and then to insist a happy ending is possible in spite of all of that. Gorgeous and emotionally bruising, this story of a former underground fighter and a social worker out of work will wring you out in the best way, cementing this trilogy as one of my top contemporary series of all time.

Best Historicals

A romance lover’s romance, Alexis Hall’s SOMETHING FABULOUS (Montlake, 363 pp., paperback, $9.99) riffs ruthlessly on Georgette Heyer and other classic historical romance archetypes in a way that verges on surreal and anarchic, even as the emotional through-line (a domineering duke unlearning power while relearning himself and his desires) stays engagingly tender and sincere. Part of that is because our domineering duke is paired with bubbly, beautiful Bonny, about whom I cannot say enough good things. It was hard to pick just one of the four books Hall published this year; please admire my restraint.

When I think of Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty-set RED BLOSSOM IN SNOW (Independently published, 300 pp., paperback, $14.99) , I think of scenes with a boat gliding up a river through a dense fog, and characters wrapped in silk, and a pervasive sense of yearning. Sadness is a necessary balancing flavor in romance, and Lin makes it shine like the moon in this tale of cross-class lovers, family secrets and murder. One of those breathtaking romances where the obstacles to true love feel staggering and insurmountable, even for the reader who knows very well how it’s going to end.

Best Paranormals

It’s been a very good year for paranormal romance, and one reason is Sangu Mandanna’s THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES (Berkley, 336 pp., paperback, $17) , an effervescent stunner about a lonely modern witch hired to teach three troublesome younger witches at an idyllic country house with gardens full of secrets. My favorite bits all come at the end, and I refuse to spoil them, but the joyous shock of this book’s finale has lingered since summer.

At the busiest time of the year, I found time to not only read Everina Maxwell’s queer sci-fi romance OCEAN’S ECHO (Tor, 460 pp., $27.99) but also reread it, and I found it even more delicious the second time around. Somehow, Maxwell has combined fake dating with a far-future military adventure, set it against a backdrop of vicious civil war and psychic powers, and made it lush and poetic. There are moments that gesture toward the crystalline beauty of “This Is How You Lose the Time War,” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, or the character-forward complexity of Lois McMaster Bujold’s beloved Vorkosigan series. One of the rare books that deliver at every level on every page.

Fantasy romances are on the upswing, with plenty of L.G.B.T.Q. love stories to boot. C.L. Polk’s second-world romance “Witchmark” brought home a World Fantasy Award in 2019, and this year they’ve graced us with EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THE END (Tordotcom, 144 pp. $19.99) , a queer women’s magical noir where every femme’s fatale. Helen Brandt, a private detective with only days left to live, is on the trail of a supernatural killer, and desperate to protect her beloved Edith from both those facts. Eerie, sharp and fiercely bittersweet.

My Favorite

My unabashed most-loved book of 2022? That would be THE DEAD ROMANTICS (Berkley, 345 pp., paperback, $17) , by Ashley Poston. The plot: A romance ghostwriter on deadline loses her father, and then encounters the ghost of her hot new editor, who cannot pass over until she finishes her latest manuscript. The feelings: swoony. The sentences: truly breathtaking.

This romance has haunted me since I finished it, and it has become the standard by which I’ve judged everything else from this year.

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5 Best New Romance Books (2023)

Best new romance books, old paradigm.

As we know, romance novels have changed from the ones that first came. The old featured a paradigm that needed to be followed for a novel to be (1) considered a romance book and (2) for a novel to be deemed publishable. As the years and decades piled on, things were bound to change and the customs were abolished completely.

Stark Contrast

Nowadays, a romance can feature a diverse cast, the plot can be completely in opposition or contrast to the tales of olden, and the content can vary in degree of explicitness. With time, the label of a new romance – meaning a romance book that has very, very recently been published – came and as a result of that, we are going to be giving our choices for the best new romance books now.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Standalone novel.

Bestselling authoress Rebecca Serle always puts out terrific novels. Most of the time, Rebecca resides in New York City, though she does take frequent trips to Los Angeles, too. Her novel named In Five Years which was published this year is just as superb as the writer’s best.

Dannie Cohan

In Five Years follows Dannie Cohan. Dannie is a wonderful lawyer living and working in Manhattan. As it turns out, she has just recently landed an interview at a law firm that would secure her career’s trajectory as being the right one.

However, the interviewer asks Dannie an ordinary question, though one with life-changing implications. Dannie is asked where she sees herself in a half-decade. Dannie gives an answer and after she has become engaged to her boyfriend, she seems to be on the path towards her half-decade goal.

Turn of Events

An odd turn of events unfold as Dannie finds herself waking up from sleeping. However, she isn’t in her apartment, nor is the ring she’s sporting the same one as her boyfriend gave her, and her boyfriend is not the same man that’s with her.

Dannie finds out that she is no longer in 2020, but in 2025. She is dumbfounded at what happened, but then wakes up once more, back in 2020. Dannie doesn’t think it was a dream, but she brushes it off soon enough.

Another Turn

Things take one more turn when in 2024 Dannie meets the man that was beside her in her short trip to 2025, some 4 years ago. We cannot recommend this particular novel enough. Be sure to check it out for yourself, reader!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Josie Silver is a terrific novelist. At the present moment, Silver resides in a small town in England with her spouse and children. The novel of hers that we have chosen for our list of the best new romance book is none other than The Two Lives of Lydia Bird. The novel is more than worthy of being amongst the best new romance books and we will show just why.

Lydia and Freddie

The main characters of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird are the titular Lydia and Freddie. The two of them have been in each other’s embrace for more than ten years now and their relationship seemed like something that could never in a million years be broken off.

Life is rarely kind to us and just as Lydia was to be turning 28, the news broke that Freddie had succumbed to the wounds sustained in an automobile accident and he had passed away.

Lydia cannot imagine her life without Freddie and doesn’t want to live a life without him. She tries isolating herself at home and just crying until the tears that burn finally become tears that heal, but they never do.

Knowing that Freddie would never want her to live like this, Lydia takes baby steps in her attempt to take control of her life once more. She’ll never find anyone like Freddie again, but she can put herself out there in the world of dating again.

Back With Fredie

However, she does find someone like Freddie: Freddie. By the virtue of events whose background we cannot spoil, Lydia finds herself back with Freddie who is well and alive, but the last couple of months have not transpired, it seems. As easy as that, as plight-inducing as that, Lydia finds herself back with Freddie, yet straining to juggle two lives at once.

The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Talented duo.

The infinitely talented duo that is Christina Lauren has not stopped one bit with publishing since their first novel in 2011. Their 2020 modern romance work named The Honey-Don’t List is just as fascinating as any of their superb tales. Let’s learn more about it in our best new romance books review.

Carey Duncan

The main character of The Honey-Don’t List is none other than Carey Duncan. Carey has been employed for the home-remodeling and home-design aficionados Rusty and Melissa Tripp for the better part of the last ten years.

Carey began working with them when she was a mere sixteen-year-old and has, in more senses than one, aided them make their company what it is now. The two of them have a brand new show and even a book that they are going to come out with fairly soon and it is fairy manifest that they are going to become stars just as soon. A little caveat to the whole affair is that they aren’t crazy for one another.

James McCann

On the other hand, having graduated from MIT University and being unmatched in terms of engineering, James McCann has just recently been given a job with Rusty and Melissa as a structural engineer.

However, as it turns out, the job of James entails much more than just keeping up the structure of a building or home, but also keeping the foundation of the Tripps solid. He got more than what he bargained for when he and Carey are bunched together to keep Melissa and Rusty from doing something rash. This is more than just a fun and entertaining romance novel and we cannot suggest it quite enough.

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland

Wonderful work.

Vi Keeland was born and brought up in the beautiful state of New York, in the United States of America. Vi Keeland has continuously produced wonderful stories and the 2020 release of Inappropriate is no exception.

Ireland Saint James

We follow Ireland Saint James. Ireland is residing in Los Angeles, employed as a newscaster for the (very, very) early-morning slot of Lexington Industries. It is the case, though, that Ireland’s BFF’s wedding is approaching and the two of them went on a one-week holiday in celebration.

However, they were a bit too leisurely for the taste of Lexington Industries as an intimate video of Ireland’s is made public. The career that she had been making for quite some time now goes to waste as she is fired from her job.

Ten Years Lost

Ten years down the drain and Ireland is furious for what has happened. Angered, she sends a message to Grant Lexington expressing all that she feels in the unabashed, unadulterated manner that the reader has surely come to love.

Grant, on the other hand, is not accustomed to anyone saying no to him or even putting up resistance. Being that he is so affluent, a CEO of a large company, and a dashing twenty-nine-year-old, he has never encountered such a thing. We covered this book in our article about the best MMA romance books as well. Check it out!


He sends an email back to Ireland in light of the intrigue he begins to feel and they go from there. He hadn’t known Ireland personally, but he finds her more and more fascinating with each email and pretty soon he wants to meet her. Lucky for him, Ireland isn’t averse to a date either.

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

Super engaging.

Mhairi McFarlane is a terrific authoress whose country of birth is the mesmerizing country of Scotland. Mhairi was born in the year of 1976, but her soul is very much entwined with the newest of new romances and her entry into our list is none other than If I Never Met You.

Laurie has been together with her significant other for a long time, a decade in fact. However, things are never secure as he chooses to break it off and Laurie is left in the anguish and turmoil of a break-up. The pain and plight are double as they are employed at the same company. It is not easy at all to move on and it’s even harder to think of finding a new partner.

Soon, a rumor is spread in the office that her former boyfriend’s girlfriend is pregnant and it is nothing short of completely disconcerting and mortifying. Nonetheless, a bit of luck seems to be headed Laurie’s way as she meets a guy in an elevator of all places – one that is not quite functional.

Jamie Carter

Jamie Carter, on the other hand, is not a believer in the potency of love, though he does require someone to be with him in order to become respected amongst his peers. Laurie is interested only in finding a way to get the gossip and rumors to veer into another direction, so the two of them seem to have an agreement of sorts.

Jamie and Laurie feign being together so as to pull the wool over the eyes of the people around them, but the shoe is on the other foot when they begin catching feelings for the other. If you had to read just one book off of our list of the hot new romance books, we would definitely suggest picking up If I Never Met You first.

best new books romance

Alissa Wynn

Alissa is an avid reader, blogger, and wannabe writer. (She's a much better cook than a writer actually). Alissa is married, has one human, one feline, and two canine kids. She always looks a mess and never meets a deadline.

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24 Best Romance Novels of All Time to Get You in the Mood

Historical, contemporary and plenty of new steamy books.

best new books romance

Whether you salivate over historical romance that takes you back to fluttering hearts of yesteryear, paranormal romance that proves you don't need flesh and blood to get frisky, rom-coms that pair hilarious misadventure with the steamy stuff or sexy stories that are too spicy for public transit, we've got a romance book to fit the bill.

Many of these great reads are romance-plus-other, so they're perfect for people who think they aren't into the genre. The romance realm has a lot to offer beyond the bodice-rippers you may have seen hiding in your mom's bedside table or waiting for impulse buyers at the grocery store checkout counter. Alongside the love stories that categorize the form, many of our favorite romances also feature exciting plot lines, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ love stories and lyrical language that keep us breathless right through the final page. Add these to your TBR pile, and don't forget to check out the Good Housekeeping book club once you're done, for even more fantastic stories.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018)

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018)

You really can't go wrong with any of Jasmine Guillory's fun, romantic romps, but this sporty love story is especially great. Freelance writer Nik's boyfriend proposes at a Dodger's game, and the dude can't even spell her name right. She says no (obviously), and the video goes viral. Handsome doctor Carlos sweeps her away from the frenzy, but he can't possibly be the real deal. Or can he?

RELATED: The 50 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time to Watch With Your Friends

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (2016)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (2016)

If you've ever carried a torch for a colleague (the scandal!) this novel will feel familiar. Coworkers Lucy Hutton and her sworn nemesis Joshua Templeman have a rivalry as bitter as they come, especially as they compete for the same promotion. At least, it starts out that way.

Vision In White by Nora Roberts (2012)

Vision In White by Nora Roberts (2012)

The prolific Nora Roberts has penned more than 200 romance novels, but this one earned top marks from her fans as the first installment in The Bride Quartet . Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot operates a wedding planning company with three friends. When a day on the job introduces her to sweet and stable English teacher Carter Maguire, their casual fling might lead to her own happy ending.

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (2018)

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (2018)

More nerdy storylines, please! In this novel from Helen Hoang, Stella Lane is the genius mathematician who puts herself in remedial romance — by hiring escort Michael Phan to teach her the ins and outs of sex. We consider it the perfect equation for a great read.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (2022)

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (2022)

Chloe Green has spent her whole tenure at Willowgrove Christian Academy competing for valedictorian with the principal’s perfect daughter, Shara Wheeler. But when Shara kisses Chloe and then disappears on prom night, she leaves only a string of cryptic clues. Chloe forms an unlikely alliance with Rory, Shara’s misfit neighbor, and Smith, her quarterback boyfriend, to suss out where Shara has gone, ending with a dramatic finish no one will see coming.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (2014)

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (2014)

If you like your romance in multiple installments, try the Crossfire series. Big city newbie Eva Tramell literally falls at the feet of billionaire tycoon Gideon Cross, kickstarting a steamy affair that reveals secrets from both their dark pasts. Sound familiar? There's a reason one Amazon reviewer called it the "soap opera version of Fifty Shades of Grey ."

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (1977)

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (1977)

If you've never read Anaïs Nin and call yourself a romance fan , fix that right now. This vintage short story collection's erotic vibes still hold up. But don't take our word for it — turn off the lights, slip into something slinky and try it for yourself.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

This classic is so old, it's free if you have a Kindle! And you should definitely take advantage of that – it's basically the O.G. romance novel. If you're already a Jane Austen fan, check out Curtis Sittenfeld's reinterpretation Eligible , which sets Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in modern-day Cincinnati.

Love at First Like: A Novel by Hannah Orenstein (2019)

Love at First Like: A Novel by Hannah Orenstein (2019)

Eliza co-owns a jewelry shop with her sister, and accidentally posts an Instagram of herself wearing a diamond ring on you-know-which finger. The photo blows up, and she realizes even a fake engagement is good for the ol' bottom line. But then she meets Blake. He's great, except for one thing: Blake doesn't know about her ruse, and Eliza doesn't know how much longer she can keep it all up.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

They say you never forget your first love. Test that theory by taking a trip down memory lane with Eleanor and Park, two lovestruck misfit teens in 1986. They're smart enough to know young love never lasts, but brave enough to try.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)

Before it became an epic costume drama on Starz, this time-traveling romance novel introduced the world to Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, and her Scottish warrior love interest ... who's living in 1743. This one's got it all: time travel, danger, intrigue and of course, plenty of love.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1979)

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1979)

This sweeping multigenerational tale of life on a sheep station in the Outback often gets described as "an Australian Gone With the Wind ," so if you love the Civil War version, try this one on for size. The romance primarily focuses on an illicit affair between Maggie, a resident on the remote ranch, and a handsome priest.

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman (2017)

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman (2017)

You may have already seen the film starring Timothee Chalamet, but this steamy love story between two young men in the Italian Riviera is worth a read either way. Pro tip: Grab a juicy peach before you crack the spine. Just trust us.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (2021)

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (2021)

This quiet love story centers around Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon — four people trying to find their way in the world. Romantic entanglement ensues (this is a Rooney novel, after all) and you'll find your own allegiances shifting and changing as you read.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2014)

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2014)

What happens when you fall in love with someone who lives on a totally different timeline? That's the story for Henry DeTamble, a librarian who gets unstuck in time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life progresses the conventional way. This romantic tale is as unique as it is beautiful.

RELATED: 102 Best Love Quotes That Will Make Anyone Believe in True Love

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (1996)

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (1996)

Say it ain't so, but we first watched *that* rain scene 15 years ago. Revisit Noah and Allie in the book about a South Carolina socialite separated from her summer love before their letters (and later notebooks) bring them back together.

A Lot Like Adiós: A Novel by Alexis Daria (2021)

A Lot Like Adiós: A Novel by Alexis Daria (2021)

From the superstar author of You Had Me at Hola comes another luxurious romance about a Puerto Rican career-focused woman with a nonexistent love life who gets a second chance with Gabrielle, the only man who ever made her heart race. Will they? Won't they? We'll never tell.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (2021)

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (2021)

Twenty years ago, Eva and Shane fell in love over a whirlwind of a week. When they happen to reconnect in Brooklyn, Eva (now an erotica writer) and Shane (now a bestselling author) have a chance at closure, or rekindling the spark that brought them together in the first place. It's sexy, sultry and deliciously steamy.

Violeta by Isabel Allende (2022)

Violeta by Isabel Allende (2022)

Allende is one of the best romance writers of our time, and her latest doesn't disappoint. This epic story of a woman who perseveres two pandemics, war, the Great Depression and the battle for equal rights is not only a passionate love story but a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Dead Collections: A Novel by Isaac Fellman (2022)

Dead Collections: A Novel by Isaac Fellman (2022)

In this wildly original LBGTQ+ romance, an archivist named Sol falls for a widow when she comes to donate her late wife's work. Sol suffers from vampirism, and has been sleeping in his office to avoid the punishing sun, and his nocturnal lifestyle makes dating a real challenge. As they fall for each other, they have to navigate grief, transphobia and the struggles that come with living two very different lives.

Headshot of Lizz Schumer

Lizz (she/her) is a senior editor at Good Housekeeping , where she runs the GH Book Club, edits essays and long-form features and writes about pets, books and lifestyle topics. A journalist for almost two decades, she is the author of Biography of a Body and Buffalo Steel. She also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at New York University's School of Professional Studies and creative nonfiction at the Muse Writing Center, and coaches with the New York Writing Room. 

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NYPL's Best New Romance Books

From Regency-era passion to contemporary LGBTQ+ love stories, and ranging from mild to spicy to sizzling hot, there's something for everyone on our list of the best new romance titles—handpicked by our expert librarians and staff.  Download the list and find out what's available in accessible formats.

Best New Romance Books for Adults

Filter results below, 50 books found, always be my duchess.

Ballerina Geneviève Valery is desperate to find work and Lysander Blackstone just wants to get his work done without being pursued by the society ladies of London. A chance encounter in a dark alley may be the solution to both their problems. A retelling of fan favorite, 90's rom-com "Pretty Woman".

Cover of Always Be My Duchess

Bend Toward the Sun: A Novel

Noah is mourning a patient. Rowan is only interested in her plants at the winery and getting her PhD. But like Rowan's plants, their affection blossoms. Is it enough to overcome the problems that threaten to keep them apart?

Cover of Bend Toward the Sun: A Novel

The Best Men

One weekend in Miami: two men who are unapologetically horny for each other, last-minute wedding planning, a British period drama, and one very scandalous spreadsheet.

Cover of The Best Men

Bet on It: A Novel

All bets are on when Aja and Walker make a bingo-based sex pact. As their friendship grows, so do feelings. Will their pact keep things between them from getting out of hand?

Cover of Bet on It: A Novel

The Bodyguard: A Novel

Bodyguard Hannah is having a terrible year. Enter Hollywood heartthrob Jake Stapleton. He needs protection from his stalkers while visiting his family’s ranch—with one stipulation: they can’t know who she is and she must pose as his girlfriend instead.

Cover of The Bodyguard: A Novel

Book Lovers

Literary agent Nora never gets to be the plucky heroine of her own love story until she heads to a small Southern town for vacation and runs into brooding book editor Charlie—a plot twist she didn’t see coming.

Cover of Book Lovers

The Bride Goes Rogue

In Gilded Age New York, Katharine is tired of waiting for her potential groom to get his act together and finally propose to her, so she decides to take matters into her own hands—scandal be damned!

Cover of The Bride Goes Rogue

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris: A Novel

Sparks fly in 1899 Paris when Dominican heiress Luz Alana Heith-Benzan travels to the Paris Exposition to market her family's rum and meets Lord Evan Sinclair, a Scottish Earl and whiskey distiller. As problems arise, they realize an arranged marriage could benefit them both.

Cover of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris: A Novel

A Daring Pursuit

A feud between their families has always kept Carys and Tristan apart. When Carys, who is doing everything in her power to never get married and avoid scandal, proposes a week of indecency together, they might find they are more entwined than expected.

Cover of A Daring Pursuit

The Dark King

Tricked into marrying a faerie king on a trip to Vegas, Bryn is now a pawn in a deadly game of power and every night of passion with Caiden makes it harder for her to be certain if she wants to leave or not.

Cover of The Dark King

The Dead Romantics: A Novel

A floundering romance ghostwriter and medium, Florence Day’s belief in true love has died…along with her new editor Benji. Then he shows up in her hometown as a ghost. Turns out Benji is one broodingly handsome and irritating ghost that cannot be ignored.

Cover of The Dead Romantics: A Novel

Delilah Green Doesn't Care

Pressured into photographing her estranged stepsister’s wedding, Delilah Green returns to the small town she ran from. She plans to do the job and leave. But her plans go sideways when she runs into Claire, a single mom and her stepsister’s BFF.

Cover of Delilah Green Doesn't Care

Electric Idol

After Aphrodite orders her son Eros to kill Psyche, he does the next worst thing. He marries her. A modern retelling of the famed Greek myth.

Cover of Electric Idol

Every Summer After: A Novel

Persephone and Sam had six summers to fall in love and one to ruin it all. Now, twelve years later, they have one weekend to make it right. Told between past and present, this is also a great YA crossover novel.

Cover of Every Summer After: A Novel

From Bad to Cursed

The witch families of Thistle Grove are back. When Beltane festivities are brought to a halt by dark magic, it’s up to wild child Issa Avramov and her nemesis, (wildlife superhero) Rowan Thorn to find out the cause before it’s too late.

Cover of From Bad to Cursed

Funny You Should Ask: A Novel

Chani Horowitz once wrote a career-defining profile of heartthrob Gabe Parker. Ten years later, Chani has the chance to set the record straight about that weekend—but only if she can keep her cool around the man she’s never been able to forget.

Cover of Funny You Should Ask: A Novel

Grace Under Fire

In this romantic suspense novel, Grace is just supposed to be making a quick trip to Boston on her way to Scotland. While on a walk, she gets lost, a wounded man stumbles into her arms, and she ends up firing at his shooter in self defense. Surrounded now by more questions than answers, she has ex-Navy Seal, Michael, to watch over her whether she wants him to or not.

Cover of Grace Under Fire

Heartbreaker: A Hell's Belles Novel

Matchbreaker and thief Adelaide Frampton and Henry, the crusading Duke of Clayton, race to Gretna Green together to both make and break a marriage—if they don’t kill each other first.

Cover of Heartbreaker: A Hell's Belles Novel

Honey & Spice

College student Kiki Bongo is smart, sassy, and no man’s fool as the campus relationship expert on her popular radio show, Brown Sugar. Then one kiss from her nemesis Malakai Korede, compromises her credibility. The only way to fix it? Have a fake relationship with Malakai.

Cover of Honey & Spice

Hook, Line, and Sinker: A Novel

Local fisherman and ladies man Fox Thorton has not been one to change his ways, until he meets Hannah Bellinger. Only problem is she has her eyes set on her coworker and asks for his help in getting the man’s attention.

Cover of Hook, Line, and Sinker: A Novel

The Hookup Plan

For pediatric surgeon London, a weekend hookup with her former high-school archnemesis Drew is exactly what the doctor ordered. But when he shows up for work at her hospital a few days later, London must devise rules and a plan to keep it casual. What could go wrong?

Cover of The Hookup Plan

How the Wallflower Was Won

In order to secure an inheritance and gain admission to a scholarly society, gambler Finn and bluestocking Tabitha enter a marriage of convenience.

Cover of How the Wallflower Was Won

How to Deceive A Duke

Fiona McTavish, a self taught scientist, goes to London to market her newest invention, only to get caught up in a street protest and thrown in jail. To get released she’ll need to live with the unyielding and oh-so-proper Duke of Wildeforde—the man who broke her heart.

Cover of How to Deceive A Duke

I'm So (Not) Over You

When Kian receives a text from his ex, Hudson Rivers, he doesn’t know what to expect: a declaration of undying love or an anguished apology. What Hudson needs is a favor—he wants them to pretend they’re still together while his parents are visiting.

Cover of I'm So (Not) Over You

The Kiss Curse

By-the-book Wells Penhallow learns the hard way what happens when you open up a competing witchcraft shop across from the woman who drives you crazy. Newbie witches, a talking cat, and witchy hijinks included...

Cover of The Kiss Curse

Daniel and Catie are both athletic, focused, and always at odds—until they get snowed in together and rumors start to swirl. To avoid a PR scandal, they agree to a pretend courtship. Can these two fierce competitors survive this new game they’re playing with hearts intact?

Cover of Kiss Hard

A Lady for a Duke

In this groundbreaking romance, Viola, presumed dead after Waterloo, returned to England to live as her true self. But it came with the cost of losing her best friend, the Duke of Gracewood. Now, years later, they get the chance to regain what they’ve lost.

Cover of A Lady for a Duke

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting: A Novel

With massive debts and sisters to support, Kitty Talbot needs a husband with a fortune, and fast. When she starts circling his younger brother, Lord Radcliffe tries to put a stop to her plans, but he’s never met a woman like Kitty before… A very Austen-esque romance.

Cover of A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting: A Novel

Lead Me Astray

In this romance/mystery, more than just sparks fly between a new ghost, a non-binary empath, and a werewolf detective down in New Orleans.

Cover of Lead Me Astray

Lizzie Blake's Best Mistake: A Novel

When a one-night stand with Aussie Rake becomes a two-night stand followed by an unexpected pregnancy, Lizzie will have made her best mistake.

Cover of Lizzie Blake's Best Mistake: A Novel

A Merry Little Meet Cute: A Novel

Adult film star Bee is trying to change up her acting career when she’s cast as the lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie with former bad boy pop star Nolan. Things heat up when Nolan recognizes her from her ClosedDoors account—which he just happens to be a member of.

Cover of A Merry Little Meet Cute: A Novel

Much Ado About Dukes

Beatrice believes marriage is a trap. But when she finds herself without a fortune or home, the forward-thinking Duke of Blackheath proposes. Entering a marriage of convenience with her former rival is the only sensible decision, even if the duke refuses to fall in love.

Cover of Much Ado About Dukes

Not the Witch You Wed

Violet Maxwell is a witch who never came into her powers. Lincoln Thorne is the alpha werewolf who shattered her heart when she was just a teenager. Now as adults they need to pretend to be together, but their mutual animosity grows into something else.

Cover of Not the Witch You Wed

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes: A Novel

In this Georgian Era romance, Marian has just shot her husband (he had it coming), and the only person she can turn to for help is Rob, the cheerful criminal who has been blackmailing her.  

Cover of The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes: A Novel

The Proposal Playbook

Cheery wedding planner Daisy gleefully helps her brother come up with the perfect proposal, only to come up against his friend—grumpy ex-Navy Seal Xander who doesn’t believe in love or happily ever after.

Cover of The Proposal Playbook

A Proposal They Can't Refuse: A Novel

Forced into a fake engagement by their scheming grandfathers, Puerto Rican chef Kamilah Vega and Irish American whiskey distiller Liam Kane are perfect for each other if they could just stop fighting and admit it.

Cover of A Proposal They Can't Refuse: A Novel

The Rake Gets Ravished

Mercy Kittinger is determined to do anything, including ravishing the most captivating man she’s ever met, in order to steal back the deed to her home. However, Silas Masters won't be played like that.

Cover of The Rake Gets Ravished

The Rodeo Queen

The Closed Circuit Rodeo is back with lawman Diablo joining Rodeo Queen Sierra in the arena. While sparks instantly fly between them, their contracts clearly prohibit fraternizing. With so much at stake, is their budding romance worth the price?

Cover of The Rodeo Queen

Rules of Engagement

United in tragedy, Raleigh and Adam, operatives for a top-secret organization, are thrown together for one last mission to bring down a terrorist group. Forced to untangle a web of secrets and lies, tensions mount as their suspicions of each other begin to turn into intense desire. A romantic suspense novel from politician and activist Stacey Abrams.  

Cover of Rules of Engagement

The Runaway Duchess: A Novel

Lavinia was born to be a duchess, but is desperate for a way out after her wedding to the most terrible duke in England. When Neal mistakes her for the botanist correspondent he invited to his nursery to woo, Lavinia sees her chance to escape.  

Cover of The Runaway Duchess: A Novel

When Henrietta, the only child of a country gentleman, goes to London for the Season and becomes the toast of the town, Charles, her longtime, friend-zoned neighbor must join her to head off the sudden competition. A sweet, Austen-esque romance.

Cover of The Season


Charli and Neil are melting the ice as their teams return to the hockey rink. After a drunken night, the pals return home married. With annulment not an option, Neil suggests they leverage their situation for good. Will their rocky start put an end to what could have been more?

Cover of Shenanigans

Ship Wrecked: A Novel

What’s worse than being abandoned by the best one-night stand of your life? Finding out you’ve been cast as each other’s love interests in a hit, fantasy TV show.  

Cover of Ship Wrecked: A Novel

The Stand-Up Groomsman: A Novel

What do you get with a pink limo, fried crab claws, mochi donuts, and a karaoke-singing grandma? A laugh-out-loud romance between stand-up comedian Melvin Lee and corporate financier Vivian Liao... who also doesn’t quite know what to do with these elements.

Cover of The Stand-Up Groomsman: A Novel

Starry-Eyed Love

London does not have the time for a new relationship. She is focused on expanding her family’s hotel business, but when hunky millionaire Jackson enters her life, offering a partnership, she has to decide if it will be business or personal.

Cover of Starry-Eyed Love

The Summer Proposal

After entering an open relationship, Georgia isn't expecting hot hockey star Max to crash her blind date. With Georgia's boyfriend on the other side of the world and the likelihood of Max being traded, the two decide to date just for the summer.

Cover of The Summer Proposal

Thank You, Next

After seeing her most recent ex’s fiance say “yes to the dress”, divorce attorney Alex decides to revisit boyfriends past to find out why she’s never been “the one.” Her long time best enemy, Will, goes along for the ride.

Cover of Thank You, Next

A Thousand Miles: A Novel

Ten years ago, BFFs Dee and Ben took a road trip and buried a time capsule. Then their friendship imploded and they haven’t talked since – until Ben shows up at Dee’s door, asking for her help in digging up the capsule. After all, what’s a thousand miles between old friends?

Cover of A Thousand Miles: A Novel

To Catch a Raven

In the Reconstruction Era South, expert thief Raven is forced to use her skills to retrieve a stolen artifact. She and new partner Braxton must pretend to be married to infiltrate the household of a vile person. Raven is resistant to love, but Braxton has plans to make her truly his.

Cover of To Catch a Raven

Would You Rather: A Novel

Best friends Noah and Mia would do anything for one another—even get married to secure a good insurance plan. When a suspicious coworker and hopeful friends start to meddle, the pair are forced to confront old feelings and baggage.

Cover of Would You Rather: A Novel

The Best New Romance Books of January 2023

The Best New Romance Books of January 2023

A new year means a lot of things — like the promise of new goals we set for ourselves, whether personally or professionally, not to mention as readers. (Mine is to get through my neverending pile of a TBR, which I may or may not succeed in, because in case you haven’t noticed, books are coming out all the time!) It also means a month of new romances. While the below list barely scratches the surface of some of January’s best titles, from second chances to fresh starts, small towns to big cities, each of these picks has something for someone.

(A small note: In solidarity with the HarperCollins union, which has been on strike since November of last year, I will be refraining from including reviews for certain titles debuting this month as part of the overall January list. That said, I would encourage you heartedly to check them out, regardless, since no consumer boycott of books or authors is being requested at this time! If you want more information on how you can support the union, you can follow them on Twitter as they continue the fight for a fair contract.)


Release Date : January 10 from Berkley

Why You’ll Love It : Lea’s second in her Influencer series is a romance novel for those of us who love romance novels — not only reading and becoming lost in these stories, but dissecting all of our favorite aspects of them too. Tara Chen, the lead of Exes and O’s , has dedicated her online presence to her favorite genre and all that she adores from it, but when it comes to her IRL love life, the stars have never perfectly aligned to score her the HEA she deserves. Clearly, the answer is to go back and comb through her past relationships to try and make a second-chance romance happen, right? As Tara reunites with each and every one of her exes — and gets firmly reminded of why things didn’t work out in the first place — she may not realize that she has the perfect potential guy sitting around in her hot new roommate, firefighter Trevor Metcalfe. A steamier, sexier version of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, including the hot tub scene that set the internet ablaze.

Publisher’s Description : Romance-novel connoisseur Tara Chen has had her heart broken ten times by ten different men—all of whom dumped her because of her “stage-five clinger” tendencies. Nevertheless, Tara is determined to find The One. The only problem? Classic meet-cutes are dead thanks to modern dating apps. So Tara decides to revisit her exes in hopes of securing her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance.

Boston firefighter Trevor Metcalfe will be the first to rush into a burning building but the last to rush into a relationship. Love just isn’t his thing. When his new roommate Tara enlists him to help her reconnect with her exes, he reluctantly agrees. But Tara’s journey is leading him to discover his own new chapter.

The more time they spend together, the more Tara realizes Trevor seems to be the only one who appreciates her authentic, dramatic self. To claim their happily-ever-after, can Tara and Trevor read between the lines of their growing connection?

midnight duet cover.jpeg

Release Date : January 10 from Montlake

Why You’ll Love It : Phantom of the Opera retellings aren’t as common these days as they should be, but that just means that Comfort’s latest is the kind that sings even more for how it puts a fresh twist on the classic doomed story we’re all familiar with. Erika Greene was once an unabashed diva with a career to match until a stage accident left her scarred and in need of retreat. Looking after the opera house she’s had the misfortune of inheriting — in Paris, Nevada , no less — is one thing, but renting it out to the German metal band Nachtmusik led by Christof Daae leads to a high-drama, high-stakes plot the likes of which can only be experienced firsthand to be truly appreciated. Come for a book that is piercingly self-aware, stay for a romance that calls to you and lingers deep inside your mind as long as you’re willing to pick up what it’s putting down.

Publisher’s Description : Self-professed diva Erika Greene has it all: a starring role on Broadway, legions of fans, spectacular natural talent. But after an accident on stage leaves her face scarred and her career in shambles, Erika retreats to Paris, Nevada, where she’s inherited a ramshackle opera house in desperate need of some TLC.

Erika pours her savings into the building, but it’s not enough to stave off casino developer Raoul Decomte’s avaricious gaze. With foreclosure imminent, she leases the space to some unexpected tenants: a German hair metal band, fronted by glam rock god Christof Daae.

Erika is tempted by Christof’s low-slung leather pants—and even more so by his ambitious drive to make Nacht Musik international superstars—but he’s off-limits. The rest of his band thinks he’s still dating their beloved keyboardist, who is conveniently not present on this jaunt to the American Southwest. When Erika finds out Christof’s been unceremoniously dumped and is trying to keep it under wraps, she makes a deal to keep his secret…for a price, of course.

Christof is desperate to hold the rest of the band together after his keyboardist’s departure, but he can’t maintain the charade forever. Nor can he resist the opera house’s mysterious proprietor, who tempts him with midnight singing lessons. It isn’t long before sensuous nighttime interludes turn into smoldering backstage encounters.

But can their newly ignited passion survive the searing light of day? Or will their beautiful duet turn into a brokenhearted power ballad for one?

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Release Date : January 17 from Berkley

Why You’ll Love It : I’ve always loved Everett’s Secret Scientists of London series — historical romances that revolve around the early women of STEM and the men who are either bowled over by their smarts or self-preserving enough to get out of their goddamn way and let them do their thing. However, I might have been inordinately excited about A Love by Design , which revolves around childhood friends-to-almost-lovers-to-enemies George and Margaret and how they inevitably wind their way back to each other. Maggie, an architect with dreams of starting her own engineering firm, is tasked with a particularly unwieldy project, but what proves to be even more destabilizing than distrusting investors is how easy it is for George to walk back into her orbit and remind her why it was so easy for her to fall for him in the first place. Meanwhile, George is perfectly happy to worship the ground Maggie walks on — if only she’d let him get close enough to try.

Publisher’s Description : Widowed and determined, Margaret Gault has returned to Athena’s Retreat and the welcoming arms of her fellow secret scientists with an ambitious plan in mind: to establish England’s first woman-owned engineering firm. But from the moment she sets foot in London her plans are threatened by greedy investors and—at literally every turn—the irritatingly attractive Earl Grantham, a man she can never forgive.

George Willis, the Earl Grantham, is thrilled that the woman he has loved since childhood has returned to London. Not as thrilling, however, is her decision to undertake an engineering commission from his political archnemesis. When Margaret’s future and Grantham’s parliamentary reforms come into conflict, Grantham must use every ounce of charm he possesses—along with his stunning good looks and flawless physique, of course—to win Margaret over to his cause.

Facing obstacles seemingly too large to dismantle, will Grantham and Margaret remain forever disconnected or can they find a way to bridge their differences, rekindle the passion of their youth, and construct a love built to last?

the year of cecily cover.jpeg

Release Date : January 17 from Tule Publishing

Why You’ll Love It : One of my favorite tropes in any romance novel can be found in a character who is proactively making decisions to try and make this the year that belongs to them — in whatever way that looks like. As the title of Lisa Lin’s debut indicates, this time around it’s Cecily Chang’s time to tackle her life and how she wants to make improvements to it. Then again, even when a main character thinks they have everything figured out for their future, there just has to be the wrench of someone coming right back into their lives to throw them for an utter loop. For Cecily, said wrench comes in the form of Jeffrey Lee, who broke her heart way back when — but new year, new goals, and now Jeffrey has his mind set on wooing her all over again, provided she can tweak her list of resolutions to add him there too.

Publisher’s Description : San Francisco attorney Cecily Chang is ready to tackle the New Year head on, so she creates a list of resolutions guaranteed to reboot her life—right after her dutiful visit home to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, for the Lunar New Year. Cecily prepares to face her critical, meddling mother, nosy relatives, and the chaos and drama family togetherness brings. At least the food will be delicious. This holiday, Cecily vows to remain calm—as long as she doesn’t see him.

Jeffrey Lee deeply regrets how he ended things with Cecily ten years ago, but he felt it was best for her at the time. When he runs into her again during the New Year, he sees it as a sign. Now a successful screenwriter, Jeffrey is determined to win back Cecily’s heart.

But Cecily doesn’t believe in signs or second chances and embraces her new resolutions. This time, Jeffrey won’t give up—and he’s convinced he can write them a new Hollywood happy ending.

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Release Date : January 24 from Montlake

Why You’ll Love It : The beauty of a small town setting is that it makes some collisions absolutely, deliciously unavoidable — like that between the leads of Emma Barry’s latest romance novel, Chick Magnet . Nicole Jones has made a career for herself on the internet by taking care of chickens, but the last thing she’s looking for is a new relationship after being dumped by another influencer. That said, she couldn’t have expected that her path would cross with that of ridiculously attractive local veterinarian Will Lund, who has no problem with making his opinions on her career choice known. As opposing personalities, the two of them clash from the get-go — but, as we all know, butting heads like that is something that slowly, inevitably gives way to the dilemma of whether or not to act on a different breed of tension altogether.

Publisher’s Description : Nicole Jones needs a fresh start. “Chick Nic” to millions of internet fans, the social media star and her flock of chickens bask in the spotlight—until she’s publicly dumped by a YouTuber for clout. She has no choice but to round up her birds and move on.

But when one of her hens has an emergency, Nic gets her first taste of her new stomping grounds—and it isn’t good. Veterinarian Will Lund is wildly attractive, yes, but he’s also surly. In fact, he comes right out and calls her a menace for parading her chickens on social media.

As neighbors, Nic and Will can’t exactly avoid each other. Then again, maybe they don’t want to. The two can’t deny their smoldering attraction, and it isn’t long before late-night confessions lead to backyard shenanigans.

Is this the start of a neighborly relationship—or could something more be hatching?

georgie all along.jpeg

Release Date : January 24 from Kensington

Why You’ll Love It : Confession time: I’ve never read a Kate Clayborn book that hasn’t made me cry. That’s not to say that anything she writes is a detractor, far from it — her romances are so keenly attuned to not just the reader’s emotions but also the emotional evolution of her characters that you can’t help but go on the journey alongside them, through every single up and down. Georgie Mulcahy has recently left her job in L.A. and returned to her hometown, and now she’s feeling somewhat adrift about what to do with her life. A diary from her past resurfaces as an unexpected path forward, as does the unplanned company of a new roommate — Levi Fanning, the town’s resident black sheep who finds himself slowly won over by Georgie’s, well, everything. Why shouldn’t he help her go through every wish from that diary she’s been meaning to check off? A gorgeous, satisfying, heartrending, and ultimately restorative read — and I mean that in the best possible sense.

Publisher’s Description : Longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When an unexpected upheaval sends her away from her hectic job in L.A. and back to her hometown, Georgie must confront an uncomfortable truth: her own wants and needs have always been a disconcertingly blank page.

But then Georgie comes across a forgotten artifact—a “friendfic” diary she wrote as a teenager, filled with possibilities she once imagined. To an overwhelmed Georgie, the diary’s simple, small-scale ideas are a lifeline—a guidebook for getting started on a new path.

Georgie’s plans hit a snag when she comes face to face with an unexpected roommate—Levi Fanning, onetime town troublemaker and current town hermit. But this quiet, grouchy man is more than just his reputation, and he offers to help Georgie with her quest. As the two make their way through her wishlist, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side—if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back.

Honest and deeply emotional, Georgie, All Along is a smart, tender must-read for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away . . .

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Release Date : January 31 from Berkley

Why You’ll Love It : I’m always thankful when I can stumble across a romance that introduces me to a new corner of the genre that I never would’ve encountered before. Such is the case with Taleen Voskuni’s debut, which isn’t just a love story but also a wonderfully rich exploration of culture and the search for true identity on every page. Our lead, Nareh, experiences the utterly terrifying scenario of a public proposal from the very last person she wants it from. While she’s rethinking her relationship, she decides she might as well satisfy her mother’s not-too-subtle nudging about getting back in touch with her roots by attending the local Explore Armenia event going on all month long. None of her mom’s Facebook-stalked prospects snag her attention, though — that honor goes to Erebuni, who activates that inner part of Nareh that’s very, very bi. The only problem? She’s not out yet, to anyone, but maybe being with Erebuni will give Nar the push she needs to accept every single part of herself, so she can be with the one person who makes her feel most like herself.

Publisher’s Description : When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

Carly Lane is an Atlanta-based writer who considers herself a lifelong Star Wars fan, newbie Trekker, diehard romance reader, nascent horror lover, and occasional live-tweeter. She is the senior TV editor at Collider, a former contributing editor for SYFY FANGRRLS, and has also written for Vulture, the Boston Globe, Nerdist, Teen Vogue, Den of Geek, The Toast, and elsewhere around the Internet.

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14 great new romance books you should read

From steamy baking competitions and mercenary librarians to fresh takes on historical romance

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There is nothing quite so delicious as a good romance novel.

Whenever the world is a bit Too Much, life is overly stressful, and my Twitter timeline is on fire, I turn to romance novels as a way to relax and heal my soul. The wide variety of subgenres, the emotional highs and lows of falling in love, larger-than-life characters, steamy love scenes, and a guaranteed happy ending provide a perfect balance of satisfying storytelling and escapism, and they have been the only reason I have read anything over the past few years.

And so to encourage everyone to read more romance, I have compiled this list of romance novels that, in this humble bookseller’s opinion, are well worth picking up for your next read!

Cover art for Act Your Age, Eve Brown, featuring a couple embracing with musical notes behind them

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Most love stories don’t start with somebody getting hit by a car (they’re fine), but Talia Hibbert is an author who can weave utterly magical romances from even the wildest of storylines. Her most recent romantic comedy follows Eve, a human embodiment of sunny chaos, and Jacob, an icy uptight perfectionist, as they begrudgingly work together to save the Jacob’s B&B, delivering heated attraction, hilarious hijinks, and a screamingly adorable romance. Featuring two neurodiverse protagonists, excellent body diversity, and sparkling dialogue, Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a book to hug to yourself and savor.

Cover art for Battle Royal, featuring a woman and a man holding cupcakes

Battle Royal by Lucy Parker

If you’ve ever wished that the Great British Bake Off had more sexual tension, then I have the perfect book for you. A sunshine-and-rainbows baking show contestant and the dour, grumpy judge who eliminated her from the competition square off to win a coveted baking commission for a royal wedding—what could possibly go wrong?!

Battle Royal is a perfect introduction to Lucy Parker, who made her name with her equally-wonderful London Celebrities series. It is a delicious, delirious confection guaranteed to make you smile, with top-shelf banter and a rich emotional journey that will leave your mouth watering for more.

Cover art of Bombshell, with a woman in a red dress standing at the base of a staircase

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

Sarah MacLean was my introduction to the romance genre, and I love each of her books more than the last. There are any number of starting points for her books, but Bombshell is the first book in her newest series: Hell’s Belles, which follows a Victorian girl gang who are “hell-bent on smashing the patriarchy in all corners of London, from glittering ballrooms to dark alleys.” Yes please, I’ll take a million.

Bombshell follows Lady Sesily Talbot, London’s most scandalous debutante, and Caleb Calhoun, an American businessman (ahem, smuggler), who have been dancing around each other for years, never quite succumbing to their mutual attraction. Until now… *dun dun dun.*

Cover art of Deal with the Devil, with a woman standing on a pile of books against a destroyed landscape

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

For those of you who prefer a little bit of science fiction with your romance, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Kit Rocha. This sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal romance and erotica duo has written nearly 20 books set in a post-apocalyptic world (so plenty of backlist!), and Deal with the Devil begins their newest Mercenary Librarians series. That’s right—Mercenary. Librarians.

In a near-future crumbling America, knowledge is key, and information broker Nina is determined to use her own to save those in need. This dangerous mission sets her on a collision course with Knox, the battle-weary leader of a rogue squad of super-soldiers fighting to survive. What follows is an action-packed dystopian adventure that will keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime and send you to the bookstore to buy Book 2 as soon as you’re done!

Cover art for The Duke Who Didn’t, depicting a man and woman in an embrace.

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

As much as I love action and angst and adventure, sometimes I just need a sweet, small-town love story to read. The Duke Who Didn’t provides that in spades. A tiny village in the English countryside with a large Asian community, a yearly festival, a no-nonsense miss who lives her life by lists, and a charming, mischievous duke who may or may not own the whole village…what more could you want?

The historical romance genre has a (well-earned) reputation for being overwhelmingly white. Courtney Milan is one of the many authors pushing back against the misconception that people of color in historical romance is somehow “historically inaccurate,” and she has done amazing work to address diversity and inclusion in the romance genre. Throw in complex characters, effervescent banter, and enticing romance, and you’ve got the whole package.

Cover art for A Heart of Blood and Ashes, depicting a bare-chested man in barbarian attire against a black background.

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

I will admit that romantic fantasy is a subgenre that I have the least experience with, but the few that I have read have been utterly enjoyable. This first book in Milla Vane’s Gathering of Dragons series is absolutely bonkers in the best possible way: it’s got ripped barbarians, gorgeous princesses, scorching hot love scenes, magic, monsters, enough politicking to put Game of Thrones to shame, and…dinosaurs??

Listen, you’ll just have to trust me, I don’t know what else I can tell you except that A Heart of Blood and Ashes is so much fun and a fabulous read, and it has made me want to read more romantic fantasy!

best new books romance

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Whatever Kian Andrews expects when his ex-boyfriend Hudson texts him after months of radio silence, it is not a request to pretend to still be dating for the benefit of Hudson’s parents, and it is certainly not being maneuvered into being Hudson’s plus-one for the Georgia wedding of the season. As the tagline promises, fake boyfriends don’t always equal fake feelings, and as Kian and Hudson navigate their renewed (pretend) relationship, they also have to contend with their own unresolved feelings for one another.

This debut adult romance is fast-paced, hilarious, and heartfelt, and a snappy update on the timeless fake dating trope. Kosoko Jackson is definitely one to watch, and while you’re waiting for his second adult romance, make sure to check out his Young Adult novels as well!

best new books romance

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai is a romance queen that I would gladly follow into battle. Her heroines are whole, complex women who have fully-formed lives and personalities and ambitions, and their love interests are decent, sensitive heroes who drink their Respect Women Juice regularly. She also writes stellar romance, as an employee at the Taco Bell drive-thru once found out when my car stereo auto-played my audiobook mid-sex scene. It was A Time.

First Comes Like is the final book in her Modern Love trilogy, but you don’t need to have read the first two to fully fall in love with Jia, makeup expert and internet influencer, and Dev, Bollywood star and Hollywood hopeful. Rai manages to skillfully pack so much into her books about family, belief, self-respect, tradition, mental health, and more, and I cannot wait for you to read them.

best new books romance

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly

Recently-divorced Dahlia Woodson is determined to reinvent herself and make a mark as a contestant on America’s favorite cooking show. How unfortunate that her first move on the show is to fall flat on her face and shower the set with a tray of fish tacos, and that the competitor behind her is distractingly attractive.

London Parker, after announcing their pronouns on national television, is determined to not let the anxiety, the trolls, or the clumsy contestant in front of them throw them off their cooking game. But love, of course, has other plans, and Dahlia and London’s simmering attraction soon blooms into a full-blown, steamy, shenanigan-filled relationship outside of the kitchen. But do they have the right ingredients for a happily-ever-after? (Spoiler alert: They do!)

best new books romance

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian writes utterly delightful queer historical romances, and this one is no exception. Kit Webb, a reluctantly reformed highwayman who has left his thieving days behind him, is recruited for One Last Job by Percy, Lord Holland, a dapper dandy in need of a good old-fashioned heist. What follows is a delectable romp through shady coffee houses and opulent ballrooms, full of adventure, sparkling wit, and un petit Eat the Rich. I cannot recommend it enough.

best new books romance

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

The historical romance genre is inundated with rakes: dissolute, handsome ne’er-do-wells whose hard-partying lifestyle is (usually) tempered by their love for the novel’s heroine. I love reading about a devilish rake meeting his romantic match as much as anyone, but it is undeniable that the trope is deeply entangled in outdated binary gender roles. Men are allowed to be unrepentant rakes, but women almost never are. Thank goodness for Scarlett Peckham.

Seraphina Arden is a “ruined” woman who has embraced her scandalous reputation on a quest for women’s equality. She writes radical pamphlets and lives her life precisely the way she wants, complete with wine-soaked nights, handsome lovers, and all. Adam Anderson is a wholesome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children to raise, a business to protect, and a strong aversion to scandal. Their casual, summer affair soon blossoms into something more, and soon Seraphina and Adam both have to grapple with the secrets of their pasts and how their ambitions and desires for the future might ruin their future together. Sexy, heartbreaking, and empowering, I need the second book in the series immediately.

best new books romance

Smut Peddler Series by Various Artists, Iron Circus Comics

For those who like their romance a bit more… graphic (get it?!)...may I present the Smut Peddler series? These comics anthologies are very NSFW, and are some of the most diverse and inclusive romance and erotica I have ever read. An incredible array of amazing artists contributes to these collections, which are all super diverse and queer and kink-affirming and again, I cannot stress this enough, very NSFW.

After their initial two anthologies, every subsequent Smut Peddler has been themed, with the most recent being Smut Peddler: Sordid Past (erotic comics set in the past) and Smut Peddler: Silver (all featuring characters over 40.) There is truly something for everyone in a Smut Peddler , so go ahead and grab yourself one or five.

best new books romance

The Viscount Made Me Do It by Diana Quincy

This is an engaging historical romance with a slight tinge of mystery. It features Hanna Zaydan, a London bonesetter of Arab descent, slowly falling for her viscount client, who unbeknownst to her believes she holds a clue to who murdered his parents many years ago…

Diana Quincy is an exciting new voice in the historical romance scene, and her writing is captivating and her romances are sizzling. Perfect to pick up for your next read!

best new books romance

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

Soap opera darling Jasmine and telenovela heartthrob Ashton are both at professional crossroads, and soon both land leading roles in a new bilingual romantic comedy for the largest streaming service in the country. The entire production—and their careers—hinges on Jasmine and Ashton producing sizzling, believable chemistry, but a disastrous first impression and awkward rehearsals threaten to doom the show from the beginning. WHATEVER SHALL THEY DO?? Well, obviously they rehearse in private, digging beneath cool, professional exteriors to the smoldering attraction beneath, with deliciously explosive results. This book is smart, sexy, and one of my absolute favorites.

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The 38 best romance books to read in 2022, from beloved classics to bestselling rom-coms

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Books can transport us through time, across galaxies, or smack-dab in the middle of a heartfelt love story, filled with every swoon-worthy moment and a satisfyingly happy ending. Great romance books fall into all kinds of tropes and sub-genres from enemies-to-lovers to fantasy romance , but they all follow interesting characters through a series of challenges on their way to falling in love. 

The romance books on this list fit into a few categories: contemporary, romantic comedies, young adult, classics, and historical fiction. They're bestsellers, award-winners, readers' favorites on social media and Goodreads, and some of our personal favorite picks. So whether you're looking for a tumultuous romantic comedy or a sweet and simple happily ever after, here are the best romance books to read in 2022.

The 38 best romance books to read in 2022:

Contemporary, young adult, historical fiction, "honey & spice" by bolu babalola.

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $23.85

Kiki Banjo is the host of a popular student radio show, "Brown Sugar," where she gives advice to the women on campus as they navigate players and try to avoid heartbreak. When she publicly kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just denounced on her show, she needs to quickly fix the public perception, as a prized internship is on the line. She asks Malakai to fake a relationship with her, though their chemistry is undeniably real from the moment they first met.

"The Love Hypothesis" by Ali Hazelwood

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.04

Needing to convince her best friend that she's happily dating, Ph.D. candidate Olive Smith impulsively kisses Adam Carlson, a young, hot professor with an unyieldingly harsh reputation. When the two agree to start a fake relationship, real feelings start to bubble to the surface until everything changes at a big science conference. 

To find out why this is one of our favorite new romances, check out our more in-depth review .

"Seven Days in June" by Tia Williams

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.61

When they were teenagers, Eva and Shane spent one week together madly in love, so when they meet by chance at a literary event 20 years later, their immediate chemistry is no surprise. In this warm and emotional romance, Eva and Shane reconnect over seven days in Brooklyn, exploring the spark between them while addressing the questions left lingering after all this time. 

"The Charm Offensive" by Alison Cochrun

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.04

Dev has always believed in a fairytale romance, which is why he works on the notorious dating show "Ever After," even if his own love life isn't a magical love story. When the new Prince Charming, self-made tech giant Charlie, struggles to push past his anxiety to make any connections with the women on the show, Dev makes it his personal mission to ease Charlie's stress in this incredible queer romance that also addresses serious mental health issues. 

"The Dating Plan" by Sara Desai

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.99

When it seems like Daisy can no longer avoid the marital pressure from her family, she asks her childhood crush (and first heartbreak) to be her fake fiancé. Realizing a marriage of convenience could majorly benefit each of them, they begin to go on a series of fake dates to get to know each other better and find the long-buried feelings for each other are still very real. 

"You Had Me At Hola" by Alexis Daria

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $12

Jasmine is returning to NYC after a messy and public breakup to film a new telenovela with co-star Ashton, who fears his career is dead after his last character was killed off. Ashton and Jasmine make a pact to rehearse in private in order to generate on-screen chemistry. As their behind-the-scenes romance heats up, so does their performance, until the press threatens to ruin everything. Despite their initial awkward meeting, the chemistry between these characters nearly explodes off the pages and makes for a wildly sexy read. 

"The Devil Wears Black" by L. J. Shen

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.75

You will love to hate some of these characters in a romance that's as entertaining as it is delicious. Maddie has set up everything for her perfect life until her ex walks back in with an outrageous proposition that lands her in the middle of a fake engagement. It combines the fake relationship and enemies-to-lovers tropes to a unique plot with Grade-A characters. It's romantic, funny, angsty, and full of all kinds of heartbreak. 

"The Proposal" by Jasmine Guillory

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $13.02

Nikole attends a baseball game with her boyfriend of five months when he very publically proposes, despite his inability to spell her first name and the fact that they aren't even in love. After she says "no," — and Carlos, a stranger sitting nearby, rescues her from a stadium of disapproving onlookers — Nik sets off on an epic rebound with her new hunky doctor/hero until they start breaking all the hookup rules. This is one of those books that made me forget I was reading because the story played out so smoothly. 

"In Five Years" by Rebecca Serle

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.03

In a job interview, Dannie is asked where she sees herself in five years. That night, Dannie accepts the job offer and a proposal but wakes up five years into the future in a different apartment next to a different man. Dannie struggles to figure out what happened — until she's back in 2020 an hour later, the experience remaining barely more than a visceral vision. This is a fast read that had me so interested in the balance between what we want and what we need.

"The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.30

This steamy romance is about Stella, a 30-year-old math genius with Asperger's who wants a bit more experience in the love department. When she hires Michael, an escort, to help her practice everything from kissing to complicated positions, he can't resist her offer — and she soon finds that she can't resist him. This one has a ton of sexy scenes but also takes us on Stella's journey of accepting that romance might not fit her careful computations. 

"Take A Hint, Dani Brown" by Talia Hibbert

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.80

Dani is on the hunt for a friend-with-benefits when she and Zafir, the flirty security guard, go viral for a video of him carrying her out of a building during a fire drill. Monopolizing on the publicity by faking a relationship is mutually beneficial: Zafir gets the publicity he needs for his rugby charity, and Dani gets to see him naked. It's fun, it's flirty, it's down-right sexy — but this rom-com is also fantastic for tackling (pun intended) toxic masculinity, anxiety, and witchy spirituality. 

"The Light We Lost" by Jill Santopolo

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.58

I cried actual tears on public transit because of this book and I am not sorry. This is a 13-year journey of the battle between fate and choice between Lucy and Gabe, starting from their senior year at Columbia. They reunite a year later, just before Gabe receives a photojournalism assignment in the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. This book is overflowing with emotion, fantastic prose, and heartbreak. It explores all kinds of love, especially the kind that changes you forever.

"The Intimacy Experiment" by Rosie Danan

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.99

Naomi's sex-positive business has taken off and Ethan is looking to bring more congregants to his synagogue. An unlikely pair, the two team up to host a seminar series on "Modern Intimacy," a solution that will save Ethan's synagogue and expand Naomi's business to higher education — until their attraction for one another threatens their success. This book is beloved for its strong plot and for the way it doesn't follow the common tropes of many new releases. It's also extremely sexy while tackling real issues, making it an enriching (and very steamy) read. 

"The Bodyguard" by Katherine Center

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.99

Though you wouldn't guess it at first glance, Hannah Brooks has been hired as superstar actor Jack Stapleton's bodyguard, protecting him from a determined stalker. But when Jack's mom gets sick, he doesn't want his family to worry about the stalker or his bodyguard and asks Hannah to pretend to be his girlfriend as a cover in this sweet, magical romance.

"Delilah Green Doesn't Care" by Ashley Herring Blake

best new books romance

This adorable and steamy rom-com is about Delilah Green who reluctantly returns to her hometown of Bright Falls to photograph her estranged stepsister's wedding for an irrefutable amount of money. Though she's hoping to lay low and leave quickly, Delilah soon runs into Claire Sutherland, one of her stepsister's best friends, and decides to have a little fun messing with Claire until real feelings develop as they're forced together time and time again. 

"The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.44

Truly one of the funniest books I've ever read, "The Unhoneymooners" takes place on a romantic Hawaiian vacation between sworn nemeses Olive and Ethan. When food poisoning at her sister's wedding leaves everyone but Olive and Ethan heaving, the two head on the abandoned, all-expense-paid honeymoon with the intention of avoiding each other. All of it works out — until Olive's new boss is at the same resort and the couple fakes being madly-in-love newlyweds to avoid being caught in a lie. The banter between these two characters made me want a whole series of just their conversations.

You can find more Christina Lauren books here .

"People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily Henry

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.98

Emily Henry is quickly becoming the queen of unique summer rom-coms (her last one, " Beach Read ," blew readers away) and this one continues the trend. Alex and Poppy are complete opposites and were inseparable best friends until two years ago. They decide to take a week-long vacation together again to mend their friendship and find their old happiness again. This is a romance that's wholly cute and emotional at the same time. 

"The Bromance Book Club" by Lyssa Kay Adams

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.78

I found myself utterly invested in this book's non-traditional romantic plot and deep characters — the first in a short and highly entertaining series. The "Bromance Book Club" is a secret club amongst Nashville's major-league baseball players who read sexy romance novels to keep the romance in their marriages alive. When Gavin finds out that his wife faked every orgasm, his teammates bring him into the club to help him save his marriage. This is the perfect, easy romantic read when you need a laugh. 

"In A Holidaze" by Christina Lauren

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.95

Okay yes, this is a holiday read but it's such a fun "Groundhog Day"-style romance that it's worth reading any time of year. At her favorite cabin with her family and friends, Mae awkwardly makes out with Theo — a family friend on whom she's had a crush since she was 13. On the drive back to the airport, Mae finds out that the beloved family cabin is being sold, just before a truck crashes into the side of their car. She tumbles into living the same day over and over until she finally allows the universe to tell her where to find happiness. 

"Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry" by Joya Goffney

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.89

In this authentic and heartfelt enemies-to-lovers romance, Quinn loses her precious journal of lists — filled with everything from all the days she's cried to the boys she'd like to kiss — when an anonymous account blackmails her into facing her greatest fears or else the journal will go public. She teams up with Carter Bennett to face her fears, track down the blackmailer, and just maybe fall in love.

"All The Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.48

Theodore Finch is always thinking about death and dying, but every time he comes close to taking his life, something stops him. Violet is pining for the future where she can escape their small town and the memories of her late sister. After Violet and Finch meet at the bell tower, each saving each other in some small way, they set out to discover the wonders of their state. Along with having a memorable and surprising story, this book also touches on the delicacy and importance of mental health in young people.

You can read our review of "All the Bright Places" here .

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.49

As the moving truck next door brings Olly into Maddy's exceptionally small world, she knows love and disaster are inevitable. Maddy's immunodeficiency confines her to her home, but Olly is the key to a world she can't help but ache to explore. This and Nicola Yoon's other YA stories have garnered so many readers in need of a happy ending. "Everything, Everything" comes with a great message, eager and aching characters, and a classic teen romance.

"Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.43

A love story between two completely different (but equally quirky) teenagers, Eleanor and Park begin to fall for each other over mixtapes and late-night conversations in 1986. Anyone who's ever felt that all-consuming, first-love feeling can attest that this book captures it perfectly. It's told with alternating points of view, so you really get to understand the souls of these characters as they navigate a teenage romance in the midst of two separately difficult lives.

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.10

How could I list YA romances without "The Fault in Our Stars"? A cult favorite, "The Fault in Our Stars" has earned every tear dropped onto its pages. Hazel is living on borrowed time with her terminal cancer diagnosis when she meets Augustus in her support group, who lights up a world that's felt so dark. This is a magical love story that will fill your heart just to break it and put it back together again. I think this book is still so deeply loved because the writing is so moving and the testaments between Hazel and Augustus feel incredibly real.

You can find more John Green books here .

"Red, White, and Royal Blue" By Casey McQuiston

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.97

The sheer comedy and sweet enemies-to-lovers story make this is a queer, YA, royal romance staple in the genre. When a confrontation between Alex (the First Son in the US) and Henry (British royalty) hits the tabloids, the PR teams decide the best course of action is for Alex and Henry to stage a very public, fake friendship. But as their time together buds into a secret romance, Alex and Henry know so much more is at stake than teenage heartbreak. 

"Five Feet Apart" by Rachael Lippincott

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.18

This is a YA love story about two teens living with cystic fibrosis. Perpetually stuck in the hospital, Stella is on the waiting list for new lungs and Will can't wait to turn 18 so he can walk away from all the treatments. They have to stay six feet apart in order to not risk infection — but six feet for a budding teenage love might as well be a universe away. I was so emotionally invested in the characters while also learning so much about cystic fibrosis and the trials each patient endures. 

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.37

Published in 1813, "Pride and Prejudice" is the epitome of a classic love story. It explores the contrast between marrying for love and marrying out of societal and familial pressure, all as Elizabeth's witty and flirty relationship with Mr. Darcy unfolds. This story is a masterful, high-society classic that is enchanting from the very first page. 

You can find more Jane Austen books here .

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.95

Jane Eyre is a Victorian, gothic romance that follows Jane from her teen years to adolescence. This, at least on the surface, is a story woven and sometimes driven by romance but it is so much more than the love between Jane and Rochester, the contemplative and mysterious man by whom she's been hired. "Jane Eyre" feels so ahead of its time, telling the story of an intellectual and morally driven young woman navigating the secrets held by Rochester and his home.

"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Brontë

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.44

Catherine and Heathcliff are doomed lovers, selfish and borderline monstrous as characters. Their two families are linked by fate — the actions of one inevitably affecting the other. The love and lust that runs through this story is just one component of the careful balance between good and wicked that continues to uphold this classic's epic status to this day. 

"Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $15

"Gone With The Wind" is rightfully one of the bestselling novels of all time, beloved for the tragic and emotionally absorbing story of Scarlett O'Hara and how the Civil War changed her life forever. Scarlett is a character designed for us to hate — she's selfish, self-absorbed, and seems to have little to no redeeming qualities, but must tear herself from poverty after Sherman's March to the Sea. This classic is simply a masterpiece, with nearly every line meticulous and memorable.

"A Room with a View" by E. M. Forster

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.99

Published in 1908, "A Room with a View" is a love story between independent Lucy and the handsome George Emerson, but it's also a wide-angle portrait of the human condition. Set in Italy and England, this book gives us a great look at the societal changes of the early 1900s and the charming love between two characters as Lucy finds the bravery that will set her free. It's a short classic, but the progression of Lucy's character development and love story is unforgettable.

"The Duke and I" by Julia Quinn

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.29

In Regency-era London, Daphne Bridgerton should be poised, courteous, and perfectly ladylike — but her honesty and lack of desire to play the games to get a husband leaves her without a suitor. She finds that a fake courtship with Simon, Duke of Hastings — who wants to shun marriage completely — could be more than mutually beneficial...until she begins to fall for him. In this book, we get to know the families and histories of Daphne and Simon really well, which multiplies our empathy for the characters. This is a really sweet story with a couple of sexy scenes that will have you reaching for the rest of the books. 

You can find more Julia Quinn books here.

"Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmus

best new books romance

Available at Amazon and Bookshop , from $18.76

Years ago, Elizabeth Zott was a chemist on an all-male research team with only one man who didn't treat her like she didn't belong. Now, Elizabeth finds herself a single mother, reluctantly hosting the nationally adored cooking show "Supper at Six." Set in the 1960s, Elizabeth is unwittingly teaching women not just how to cook, but how to fight against the status quo in this hysterical and poignant historical romance.

"Secrets of a Summer Night" by Lisa Kleypas

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.36

Annabelle's situation is tense — she must wed a wealthy man to help her family, no matter what. But Annabelle's only persistent suitor is Simon, an entrepreneur who wants Annabelle as his mistress. This might be easy to resist, considering what's at stake — if Annabelle's attraction to Simon was remotely resistible. The tension and magical romance in this novel keep this historical read at the top of my list.

"The Duke Heist" by Erica Ridley

best new books romance

Chloe Wynchester is able to blend into any crowd, a curse she finds highly useful when recovering a missing painting becomes her father's dying wish. In the heist, she accidentally kidnaps the hunky Lawrence Gosling, a Duke who must marry an heiress to mend his family's reputation, complicated by his immediate attraction to Chloe. If you've read an Erica Ridley novel in the past, you know most of her romances are slow burns with low steam. In this series, she cranked up the heat to deliver a fast-paced, sexy, and playful heart-melter of a story. 

"Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

best new books romance

The plot of this book is a rollercoaster of motives and morals that so many readers can't resist. Claire is a former combat nurse on a second honeymoon in 1945 when she finds herself inexplicably thrown back in time to a war-torn Scotland in 1743. In her potentially impossible mission to get back home, she meets James Fraser, a complex man with whom love is easy, and finds herself romantically torn between her husband (who she may never see again) and her newfound protector. 

"The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks

best new books romance

I've read a lot of sometimes-cheesy, super-romantic Nicholas Sparks novels over the years but this one is still my favorite. Noah is restoring a home in North Carolina after returning from WWII, reminiscing about the love-filled summer he spent with Allie 14 years ago. When she suddenly returns to town to see him again, their love story continues to unfold. "The Notebook" is every bit as sappy and cheesy as we've come to want from a Nicholas Sparks story, but this romance will likely draw out the waterworks, too.

"Bringing Down the Duke" by Evie Dunmore

best new books romance

Available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $12.39

In 1879, Annabelle is among the first women accepted into Oxford University. The only stipulation? She must support the women's suffrage movement by recruiting Sebastian Devereux-a Duke to their cause — while denying the attraction she has for a man who stands against everything she's fighting for. This book is a chemistry-filled debut with an interesting look at the women's suffrage movement in Britain. 

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The best new books for March

There’s no such thing as required reading. From a literary romance to a surreal debut, this month's books span genres and topics.

Some of The Inquirer's book picks for March

In much the same way Catholic school can scold the religion out of you, majoring in English made me a bad reader for a while. Having had my fill of dull and difficult texts by important geniuses, I spent my post-college years in the easy lane of pulpy sci-fi, silly horror, and dubious alien abduction memoirs.

I found my way back to more challenging fiction slowly, and in phases, with a lot of short stories in the mix. Alice Munro and David Foster Wallace and George Saunders. Then Vonnegut and Eggers, Kazuo and Zadie.

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was a revelation, a reminder that literature was more than comfort, escapism, and clever turns of phrase, that novels could be a powerful comment on (and predictor of) the world to come. Have you read Oryx and Crake ? It’s about genetic experimentation run amok. Rocked my world.

Atwood’s got a new collection of stories due soon: Old Babes in the Wood (Doubleday, $30, March 7). It’s a sort of a Whitman’s Sampler of what the great Canadian author can do. In “The Dead Interview” she shoots the breeze with the ghost of George Orwell. “Metempsychosis” has a killer opening: “They were right about the soul: There is one. But nothing else we were told was correct.” “Freeforall” describes a futuristic dystopia in which those who have STDs are walled off from those who don’t. If you haven’t browsed the literature section of your local bookshop recently, consider this collection an entrance ramp with a wide shoulder.

While we’re talking about shorties: Mexican author Yuri Herrera — whose novel Signs Preceding the End of the World should not be slept on — has a new collection en route. Ten Planets (Graywolf, $15, March 31) is a swift, slender volume populated by cosmonauts, Martians, and monsters. “Whole Entero” recounts the short unhappy life of a sentient bacterium living in the colon of some dude on acid. The wayward sailors in “Flat Map” stumble onto the edge of the Earth.

Much like Atwood of Canada, Herrera has sometimes been crowned the greatest living author of his home country. And yet here they both are writing about crazy, weird sci-fi stuff. Still, somewhere there’s a lit major struggling through a John Milton migraine. Breaks my heart.

Monstrilio , Gerardo Sámano Córdova

In his masterful and surreal debut novel, Mexican author Gerardo Sámano Córdova revels in the mire of grief, then lifts the veil and gets playful with it, like the Brothers Grimm ghostwriting Stephen King. Monstrilio begins with the death of a small child, and his despairing mother rooting around in the body for some small, gruesome relic. She decides on a bit of liver, then watches it grow into a hideous creature she must keep hidden in the walls. To say more would spoil the fun. Monstrilio is full of surprises and delightfully messed up — at once precise and inscrutable and horrifying. (Zando, $27, March 7)

Buy it now on bookshop.org

Thirst for Salt , Madelaine Lucas

In Madelaine Lucas’ sensuous literary romance, an unnamed narrator with a keen memory lets her mind wander back to a seaside relationship she had in her 20s with an older man. “Lonely and between lovers, I looked him up online,” she says, and seeing a recent snapshot of Jude — creased mouth, tired eyes, young child in his arms — she recounts their entanglements with melancholy and wonder, from their meet-hot on the beach to their bitter, inevitable breakup. Thirst for Salt is simple and direct but wise and textured, letting you linger on sandy legs, salty breezes, jellyfish stings, slipping swimsuit straps, silver temples, and the push and pull of doomed affair. (Tin House, $16.95, March 7)

Birnam Wood , Eleanor Catton

Ten years after winning the Booker Prize for her historical fiction behemoth Luminaries — and seven years after being tagged a traitor for daring to criticize her country’s political and environmental policies — New Zealand author Eleanor Catton returns with a novel laced with wit, vision, and venom. With a title cribbed from Macbeth, Birnam Wood concerns a suspicious alliance between an American prepper billionaire and a collective of outlaw Kiwi gardeners all eyeing up the same unclaimed patch of rural paradise. In this page-turning thriller-slash-sneaky dystopian satire, everybody’s sure they’re the most moral and reasonable, but they’re all deliciously doomed. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, March 7)

Buy it now on bookshop.org | Borrow it from the Free Library

Flux , Jinwoo Chong

Not sure I’ve ever called a novel “cool” before but that word came to mind as I raced through Jinwoo Chong’s brainy, brawny debut built around futuristic tech and corporate intrigue. Flux is brisk, stylish, and sexy, a high-stakes noir thriller that makes room for big philosophical ideas, sharp commentary on pop culture (particularly as it intersects with queer and Asian identity), a hint of Theranos, a touch of The Matrix , and why not, how about a bit of Back to the Future ? (Melville House, $28.99, March 21)

Lone Women , Victor LaValle

The author of 2017′s beloved and well-decorated novel The Changeling returns with another suspenseful, cinematic tale that weaves a delicate thread of magic into the fabric of history. Lone Women begins in 1915 with young Adelaide Henry tucking her dead parents into bed, setting fire to the family farmhouse, and fleeing California. Her motivations are as mysterious as the heavy, padlocked trunk she hauls on her journey to a new life as one of the few Black homesteaders in vast, untamed Montana. With inventive storytelling and grim humor, LaValle spins a tense, tight literary horror story. (One World, $27, March 21)

Also out this month:

Your driver is waiting , priya guns.

This snazzy satire about a rideshare hack on the emotional edge is billed as a queer, comedic, and (more?) feminist take on Taxi Driver . (Doubleday, $26, out now)

Mimicking of Known Successes , Malka Older

The author of the futurist poli-sci adventure Infomocracy and its sequels returns with a “cozy Holmesian murder mystery and sapphic romance” set on colonial Jupiter. (Tor, $19.99, March 7)

Heart Sutra , Yan Lianke

Some barbs in this sardonic novel about faith and government — which the author was unable to get published at home in China — may be hazy for Western audiences, but the illustrations and a little Googling should set you straight. (Grove, $28, March 14)

The Undertow: Scenes From A Slow Civil War , Jeff Sharlet

Veteran journalist Sharlet says he wrote The Undertow to amend his own previous miscalculations; modern America is indeed an incubator for old-school fascism. (WW Norton, $38.95, March 21)

Y/N, Esther Yi

A Korean American woman obsesses over a K-Pop star in this witty, worldly romp into a subculture of boy bands, fanfic, and online parasocial relationships. (Astra House, $26, March 21)

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The 38 Must-Read Books of Spring 2023

From a deep dive into the history of J.Crew to Sarah Ferguson's latest romance novel.

spring books 2023

This season, you have no excuse for being without something good to read. Offerings include explosive novels, revealing memoirs, brilliant biographies, and everything in between. No matter what you like to read, there's a title coming out this spring that's sure to be just what you're looking for.

A Likely Story

A Likely Story

In her smart, absorbing debut novel, Leigh McMullan Abramson tells the story of Isabelle Manning, the daughter of parents who lived at the white-hot center of New York City's literary elite. All grown up and a writer herself, Isabelle hasn't found the success that her father did, but instead she discovers something else entirely: family secrets that could upend everything she ever thought she knew about the people who raised her.

The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J.Crew

The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J.Crew

Not every fashion retailer becomes more than just a store—but J. Crew certainly has. In this warts-and-all look at the history of one of America's most storied brands, Maggie Bullock explores the hard work and chutzpah that helped the company define an era (OK, maybe two) as well as the troubles that threatened to derail it. It's an insightful, candid, and engrossing story about the American Dream, rollneck sweaters, and the incredible value of the stories we tell through what we wear.

Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld

Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld

T&C contributor William Middleton, who wrote the must-read Double Vision , a biography of Dominique and John de Menil, is back with a deeply researched, definitive biography of Karl Lagerfeld, detailing the late designer's time at the helm of Chanel and his incredible life in some of the world's most rarefied circles. Read this in anticipation of the upcoming Met Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to Lagerfeld's work.


This latest novel from the author of The Comedown follows two young men who meet at a summer program that's one stop away form juvenile detention and form a seemingly unbreakable bond over their desire to, well, scam people. It's a witty page turner that chronicles the way an idea that's too good to be true can be sold to the highest bidder, and deftly explores how our culture loves con artists—until, of course, it doesn't.

Saved: A War Reporter's Mission to Make It Home

Saved: A War Reporter's Mission to Make It Home

Journalist Benjamin Hall was no stranger to reporting from some of the world's most dangerous places, but during a trip to Kyiv in March 2022, he came closer to danger than he'd ever been before. This eye opening memoir of his experience surviving (and recovering from) a bombing is not only an impactful story of perseverance and the human spirit, but also an invaluable look at what it means to report the news today, and why the bravery of those on the front lines can matter more than ever.

A Most Intriguing Lady: A Novel

A Most Intriguing Lady: A Novel

The Lioness of Boston

The Lioness of Boston

We never miss a chance to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum when we're in Boston, so it should come as no surprise that we can't wait to dive into Emily Franklin's new novel, based on the life and times of the aristocratic rebel. The Lioness of Boston looks at how the city's reigning society tried to ice Gardner out, but failed when she found that following her own vision—and aligning herself with likeminded rulebreakers—was more important than meeting the standards of brittle Brahmins. And whose name do we all remember now? Extra points for reading this on your way to visit Gardner's namesake palazzo.

The Lost Americans

The Lost Americans

T&C contributor Christopher Bollen is no stranger to the allure of far-off lands—he's written for us extensively about Italy—and in his latest novel, he tells the story of an American who dies mysteriously in Egypt and whose sister makes a dangerous trip there to uncover what really happened. Bollen's novels are always stylish and smart, with twists of international intrigue and a sharp eye for social commentary, and The Lost Americans is certainly no exception.

Pineapple Street

Pineapple Street

This debut novel from Jenny Jackson is a charming, funny, and keenly observed story about New York City's one percent—and what it means to find yourself among them, whether by birth or marriage. Of course, Brooklyn Heights isn't quite Park Avenue (or so its residents would gladly have you believe) but the blue-blooded Stockton family is as formidable as any other old-money clan, and as a new generation of Stockton women attempt to find their place in the family and the world, it becomes clear that no matter where you live, nothing is ever as simple as it may seem.

Paris: The Memoir

Paris: The Memoir

Paris Hilton's memoir, Paris , is a revealing look at the life of the billionaire heiress. But it's no typical celebrity memoir: Hilton is unfiltered, talking about her ADHD, her trauma in the "troubled teen industry," her relationship with the media, and more. You can hear her in every page. Authenticity? That's hot!

The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery

The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery

Adam Gopnik could be considered a master of a few trades, but painting, boxing, driving, and dancing were never among them—until perhaps now. In his latest book, Gopnik explores what it truly requires to become a master of a craft, and studies himself with leaders in those fields and others to not only gain skill and experience, but to discern whether the same set of rules can apply to conquering any pursuit and unlocking what could be our unlimited potential.

The Art of the Straight Line: My Tai Chi

The Art of the Straight Line: My Tai Chi

Lou Reed might have been best known for his music and writing, but the late Velvet Underground frontman had another passion as well: Tai Chi. Here, Reed's writing on the subject, as well as conversations about it with friends like Julian Schnabel and Iggy Pop, are collected (and edited by his wife, Laurie Anderson) to showcase a vast knowledge of martial arts and make a case for the importance of the discipline in the lives of readers.

Claim Your Confidence

Claim Your Confidence

What does it take to be an auctioneer? To stand in front of an intimidating crowd of collectors and snobby art advisers? If you can crack that, you can face any room. Lydia Fenet, one of the most recognizable faces on the charity auction circuit offers some pro tips and well-earned wisdom in her second book.

Hang the Moon

Hang the Moon

Jeanette Walls, the influential journalist and author of The Glass Castle , will be back on bookshelves this spring with a sharp, enthralling new novel about a young girl born in 1900s Virginia and the singular way she manages to navigate a truly complicated life. Sallie Kincaid hasn't ever had it easy—her father's a bully, her mother's dead, and her efforts to build a relationship with her half-brother end in tragedy—but Walls traces her willful attempts to keep herself above water, telling an inspiring, exciting, and unforgettable story about family secrets, breaking the law, and making your own way in the world.

Romantic Comedy

Romantic Comedy

As a writer on a late-night comedy show, Sally Milz is no stranger to meeting the celebrities who serve as guest hosts each week. But when pop star Noah Brewster spends a week with the staff of the series, something feels different—or does it? Sure, plenty of the men on staff have found themselves dating famous women who seem entirely out of their league, but does it work the opposite way as well? In this funny, sly, and endlessly entertaining novel about modern love and its pitfalls, Curtis Sittenfeld turns a pop culture trope on its head and finds the humanity behind what just might remind readers of real-life tabloid fodder.

A Living Remedy

A Living Remedy

Nicole Chung's memoir, All You Can Ever Know , was a powerful look at transracial adoption, and what it means to loose one's roots. Her second memoir, A Living Remedy , is a continuation of her story, and focuses on her search to understand the lives of her adoptive parents after her father dies at age 67 and her mother is diagnosed with cancer a year later. "This book holds so much that I haven’t written about before," she tweeted . "I’ve never worked harder on anything. It is my whole heart." There's no doubt you can feel her whole heart as you read.

True West: Sam Shepard's Life, Work, and Times

True West: Sam Shepard's Life, Work, and Times

Before he died in 2017, Sam Shepard did about everything he could to make a mark on American culture. He was an actor, a director, a playwright, and an author whose work was often profoundly moving. But who was the man behind all that? In this definitive new biography, Robert Greenfield explores Shepard's ups and his downs, his successes and failures, and paints a portrait of a complicated man who found a way to use his own troubles to make millions of fans feel less alone.

Old Flame

The latest from the author of Tuesday Nights in 1980 , follows Emily, an underemployed writer whose life isn't exactly what she'd expected. Things go from meh to worse when her best friend is laid off and her so-so relationship takes an unexpected and life-altering twist. It's an insightful, witty look at the choices we make and those that are thrust upon us, and the various ways in which a life is formed.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful

You Could Make This Place Beautiful

Maggie Smith might be best known as a poet, but in this beautifully written memoir—which touches on the end of her marriage, her dedication to motherhood, and the ways in which she begins to reclaim her own power—makes the case strongly that she should be just as celebrated for her prose.

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

When a British ship on a secret mission wrecked in the 1740s, it seemed like a miracle that a group of survivors washed up in Brazil. At least until a second group of survivors also appeared and told a very different story about what had happened aboard the Wager—one that would lead to life-and-death stakes for one group, if only it could be discerned who was telling the truth. David Grann ( Killers of the Flower Moon , The Lost City of Z ) specializes in telling true stories that are stranger than fiction, and this latest addition to his oeuvre won't disappoint.

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49 Best Fiction Books of 2022

Leandra Beabout

No matter what you love to read—gritty suspense novels, lighthearted rom-coms or thoughtful literary fiction—you'll find a favorite among the best fiction books of 2022

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Must-read fiction books from 2022

After two years of living through a global pandemic, we all crave a little relaxation. And what better way to chill out than with one of the best fiction books of 2022? Novels help us escape no matter where we’re curled up reading: a cozy armchair, the beach or on the train or bus during a busy morning commute. Even if you have a soft spot for classic novels , there’s a special joy that comes from anticipating a new release from your favorite author—or even a debut author whose book blurb piqued your interest.

That’s why we narrowed down a list of the best fiction books from 2022. These titles span several genres and are handpicked based on book recommendations from Reader’s Digest editors. Along with new novels from previous award-winning authors, we’ve also added a few debut novels that have generated positive buzz from advanced readers.

With everything from romance novels , mystery books , fantasy  and fantasy romance books , beach reads  and feminist books  to future best books of all time (or at least the best books of 2022!), there’s sure to be one you’ll want to crack open soon.

Join the free Reader’s Digest Book Club for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.

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1. The Maid by Nita Prose

Release date: Jan. 4, 2022

Nita Prose’s debut novel has the perfect Clue -like beginning: A grand hotel. A motley cast of personality-rich characters. And, of course, a murder. The story’s protagonist is a hotel maid named Molly Gray who quickly becomes a suspect in the case. Molly sees things a little differently. She notices details that others might miss, but she also struggles to follow social rules that others find natural. Fans of cozy mysteries , locked-room investigations, books for women and Agatha Christie fiction will fall head over heels for T he Maid.

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2. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

Another much-anticipated debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming is the perfect new fiction book for fans of witty rom-coms that aren’t afraid to ask complex questions or tackle tricky topics beneath the veneer of sparkling humor. Set in New York and anchored in time by Puerto Rico’s devastating hurricane Maria, the story follows Olga, a Latinx wedding planner, as she grapples with her own less-than- fairy-tale love story and the return of a long-lost mother. Author Xochitl Gonzalez gives readers a modern romance complete with themes of race, identity, political corruption and the American dream. This one seems destined to be a top pick for online book clubs and book subscription boxes .

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3. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

Release date: Jan. 11, 2022

To Paradise takes place in an alternate New York reality that can be seen as utopian or dystopian, depending on the person’s position in society. Readers will meet characters in 1893, 1993 and 2093. From these disparate times and versions of America, characters survive crises like the AIDS epidemic and totalitarian rule as well as personal, intimate tragedies. Despite the varying plot lines, a common thread pulls every scene together: the question of what makes us human and what makes us love.

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4. Violeta by Isabel Allende

Release date: Jan. 25, 2022

If you prefer sweeping historical fiction to page-turning beach reads, you’ll want to leave a space for Violeta on the nightstand. It’s one in a long line of beautiful novels from acclaimed Hispanic author Isabel Allende, who wrote The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna . One of the best fiction books of 2022, Violeta is told in the form of a letter to someone deeply loved. Violeta’s life is marked by a series of cataclysmic, far-reaching events: the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cuban Revolution and even the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, Violeta survives with passion and determination.

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5. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis’s latest historical fiction mystery whisks readers away to the Frick mansion, a palace of political power, secret trysts and tangled family histories. Told in dual timelines, the book follows art model Lillian Carter in the 1920s and mod model Veronica Weber in the 1970s as the two become embroiled in the dramas of the Frick residence. The Magnolia Palace is the full package: mystery, history, rich characters and lavish details about art, money and high society in days gone by.

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6. The Fields by Erin Young

A body. A newly appointed investigator. A second body. Ghosts of a dark past. The story of Sergeant Riley Fisher, a new crime investigator in a small farming town, simmers with tension and the niggling fear that there’s something dangerous just around the corner. If you love cracking open crime procedurals or page-turning thriller books , Erin Young’s debut crime novel will have you clamoring for more from the author. The best part? The Fields is set to be the first in a series, so get ready for the next installment!

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7. The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Release date: Feb. 1, 2022

Here’s another crime-fueled page-turner for you! But Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy is far from a formulaic mystery. It’s the story of Ray, a Black violinist whose love of music finally blossoms after discovering that his great-great-grandfather’s old fiddle is a world-renowned violin. But when the priceless heirloom is stolen from him just before a major performance, the musician must race to trace a random note and recover his life’s work. One of the best fiction books of 2022, The Violin Conspiracy is set to take its genre to the next level. It’s a literary thriller rife with themes of art, history, racism and overcoming adversity.

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8. Our American Friend by Anna Pitoniak

Release date: Feb. 15, 2022

Shake up political drama, international espionage and potentially tyrannous female friendship. What do you get? Anna Pitoniak’s latest novel. In Our American Friend , you’ll meet USSR-born First Lady Lara Caine and jaded journalist Sofie Morse. When Lara inquires after Sofie to write her biography, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But what is Lara’s motive? And what does it mean for Sofie to be caught in a strategic political game of international proportions? Whether you love mystery, interpersonal drama or friendship books , this is a new release you won’t be able to put down.

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9. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Release date: Mar. 1, 2022

Alex Finlay’s twisty new thriller follows the intersecting lives of two victims of murder attempts. One narrowly escaped a tragic night shift at a Blockbuster on the eve of Y2K. The other lives through a harrowing night shift at an ice cream parlor in the same town 15 years later. Are the attempted slayings connected? What are the police missing? And is reliving the traumatic stories worth it to find out? Encompassing the genres of thriller, mystery and horror , The Night Shift is a novel that will stick with you.

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10. Girl in Ice by Erica Ferencik

Though not a vampire book , Erica Ferencik’s Girl in Ice bears echoes of the undead. In the chill of the Arctic Circle, a researcher discovers a young girl frozen in ice. When the ice thaws, she begins to speak. Thus, protagonist Valerie “Val” Chesterfield, a linguist specializing in dead Nordic languages, is summoned. But though Val is willing to help, returning to arctic waters unleashes memories of her twin brother’s mysterious death by exposure to the elements.

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11. Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton

Release date: Mar. 7, 2022

You read that right. One of the most anticipated fiction books of the year was co-authored by the country music queen herself, Dolly Parton. The powerhouse writing duo’s tale of a young singer-songwriter escaping to Nashville will appeal to young readers as much as longtime bibliophiles and Dolly fans. It’s as much the story of AnnieLee Keyes leaving an abusive past behind as it is a hard-knocks tale of relying on grit and creativity to achieve a dream. Fun fact: While this is the songstress’s first novel, it’s not her first book. In the ’90s, her autobiography hit the bestseller list.

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12. Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Release date: Mar. 8, 2022

Sharp, smart and heartbreaking is the story of reality TV star Desiree Pierce. The morning after her 25th birthday, she’s found dead by an apparent overdose. But Desiree never visited that part of town. And besides that, the police were too quick to declare the Black woman’s death a closed case when several loose ends remain. Like a Sister follows Desiree’s half-sister, Lena, as she hunts for the truth about what happened. But will the pursuit of justice—and the discovery of dark, buried family secrets—be the death of her too? Next, discover more riveting fiction books from Black authors you should know.

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13. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Part domestic psychological drama, part cat-and-mouse page turner, The Golden Couple is one of those fiction books from 2022 you might expect to devour in a weekend. Readers will get to know three main characters: posh married couple Marissa and Matthew Bishop and their unlicensed therapist, Avery. When the Bishops’ picture-perfect life starts to crumble, who will take the fall? The twisty tale of lies, lies and more lies is perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

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14. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Release date: Mar. 15, 2022

Peng Shepherd does it again. While The Book of M gave readers a dark, futuristic, speculative thriller, The Cartographers delves into the mysteries of the past. The story (also available as an audiobook ) follows Nell Young, a cartographer with a complicated relationship with her father. When he is found dead, she uses a map found in his desk to seek answers. The plot unfolds fast and furiously, covering academic drama, science and art, a dark family secret and a bit of magic.

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15. Remember Me Gone by Stacy Stokes

Release date: Mar. 22, 2022

Imagine being able to forget your worst, most embarrassing moments. Would you? In Remember Me Gone , Stacy Stokes’s young adult fiction debut, Lucy’s father has the power to take away memories. That’s why folks swarm their little Texas town: They want help forgetting something or other. But when Lucy becomes old enough to learn his skill, she witnesses one of her dad’s memories—one she wasn’t meant to see. This fast-paced paranormal thriller blends science fiction, fantasy and a touch of adolescent romance. But what makes it stand apart are the deep, thought-provoking questions woven into the story. What would you choose to forget? And what secrets are worth remembering?

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16. What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline

Release date: Mar. 29, 2022

Yet another much-anticipated suspense novel, What Happened to the Bennetts presents readers with a classic conundrum: What if you had to choose between following the law and finding true justice? In this fast-paced book, a carjacking changes the lives of the Bennetts forever. They’re shuttled into witness protection, where they begin to crumble under psychological stress, chronic uncertainty and complete lack of control over their own paths. But when the father gets wind of what really precipitated that one random act of violence, he decides to take matters into his own hands.

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17. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Release date: Apr. 5, 2022

In a flood of new book releases, Emily St. John Mandel’s work always stands out. Whether you loved the sci-fi book Station Eleven or fell for Vincent in The Glass Hotel , you’ll be swept away by the author’s mind yet again in Sea of Tranquility . This time, she takes us from the wilds of North American forests to future cities to the stark artificiality of a moon colony. It’s a novel about human grit through literal space and time—a multidimensional, multi-timeline story for readers who like to sink their teeth into a good book.

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18. Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

The author of Shuggie Bain returns with an LGBTQ book centered on romance in religious communities where such relationships are hidden or damned. Young Mungo takes place in working-class Glasgow, Scotland, where Protestant Mungo and Catholic James forge a friendship that deepens to something more. When Mungo is forced away by his parents, he experiences a frightening encounter with two strange men—one that makes him realize he and James need to find their way back to each other and to safety.

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19. Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen

Release date: Apr. 19, 2022

Welcome to Garnett, Texas, where locals gather for gossip and drinks at the honky-tonks and investigator Annie McIntyre cuts her teeth on a missing-person mystery. In Pay Dirt Road , author Samantha Jayne Allen paints a detailed picture of small-town Texas life and invites readers along on a crime-solving adventure full of deepening family relationships and life lessons.

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20. Trust by Hernan Diaz

Release date: May 3, 2022

Straddling the line between literary and historical fiction, Trust invites readers into New York City in the 1920s. Meet Benjamin and Helen Raks, a Wall Street suit and aristocratic darling. Of course, everything is not as it seems, but when has it ever been? Enter a world of power, money and glittering facades to find out just how they’ve made their fortune and what it means for the people they’ve invited into their fold. Next, check out these stellar Kindle Unlimited books and read for free.

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21. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Did you love A Man Called Ove ? What about the 2020 Netflix original My Octopus Teacher ? Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures ripples with similarities to the two acclaimed works while staying wholly original. This debut novel follows a lost widow who takes a night shift job at the local aquarium. It’s a way to stay busy. It’s a way to pass the time. But soon her nights are brightened by an unlikely friend: Marcellus, the aquarium’s giant octopus. The warm, quirky, feel-good book , which includes perspectives from Marcellus himself, is sure to reel in rave reader reviews.

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22. Book of Night by Holly Black

This dark, deeply imaginative adult urban fantasy novel from veteran young adult author Holly Black follows con artist Charlie Hall’s foray into the underground world of trading with shadow selves—the separated shadows that harbor everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets. It’s a story steeped in secret societies, magic thieves and plain human trauma. In other words, it’s poised to be one of the next great adult fantasy hits. When you’re done, you’ll want to gobble up Black’s teen book series for more intricate world-building.

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23. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Emily Henry’s newest romance thrums with enemies-to-lovers vibes. Heroine Nora Stephen is a literary agent who agrees to go on a trip with her sister to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s meant to be a blissful girls getaway. Instead, she runs into a rival literary acquaintance, who is also taking time away from the city. It’s the perfect setup for a spring romance novel or summer beach read.

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24. The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

Release date: May 10, 2022

When two Hollywood stars arrive in Tanzania for their honeymoon, they expect wildlife sightings with a side of wine and charcuterie. Instead, they’re in for a deadly kidnapping and life-changing ordeal in unfamiliar territory. The Lioness is a sweeping story with a full cast of characters, endless suspense and themes of race, fame and love.

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25. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

Release date: May 17, 2022

In This Time Tomorrow , prolific author Emma Straub plays with time travel like these time travel books . On the eve of her 40th birthday, protagonist Alice reflects on life—then suddenly wakes up on the morning of her Sweet 16. The book explores memories, longing and some of life’s big questions, like what you might do differently if you could go back.

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26. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Release date: May 24, 2022

Our list of much-anticipated 2022 reads wouldn’t be complete without this lush novel from Akwaeke Emezi. Our hero, Feyi Adekola, is still healing from the tragic death of her partner. She’s ready to ease into the dating scene again but is plunged, all at once, into the deep end. A rooftop party leads to a summer fling, which leads to a potential long-term relationship. But if she’s so happy, why does she feel so attracted to the one person she’s not allowed to love?

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27. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Release date: June 7, 2022

Meet Nora Hamilton, the brains behind the latest romance channel hits and the protagonist of Nora Goes Off Script . After a heart-shattering breakup, she comes up with her most brilliant plot yet: a romantic movie that spotlights her ex’s selfishness. But life goes off-script when her little screenplay gets picked up as a big-screen blockbuster. Suddenly, Nora must learn to navigate Hollywood—and the sexy celebrities she encounters along the way.

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28. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

This story within a story within a story (intrigued yet?) takes place in the reading room of the Boston Public Library. The typically peaceful retreat turns to chaos at the sound of a woman’s ear-piercing shriek. Security instructs four strangers in the library to stay put until authorities have secured the area. As time passes, friendships blossom, secrets come to light and a murderer is eventually revealed.

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29. Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

Release date: June 21, 2022

Ottessa Moshfegh’s Lapvona has a captivating premise: In a medieval village, an abused motherless boy finds solace in the company of the local midwife, whose mystical gifts scare some of the other neighbors. But when an incident with the town priest and prevailing feudal lord occurs, the boy becomes part of a violent clash of forces—new and old, natural and spiritual, and the very natures of life and death. Find more great fiction on this list of banned books that everyone needs to read.

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30. The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark

Julie Clark’s latest thriller follows two women whose lives intertwine for the second time. First, there’s Kat Roberts, the whip-smart journalist hell bent on unmasking the con woman who has eluded her for 10 years. Then there’s the slippery pro herself: alternately known as Meg Williams, Maggie Littleton and Melody Wilde. When the two strike up a friendship—driven by their ulterior motives—who will come out on top? And how many lies will they tell before the truth comes out?

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31. Gilt by Jamie Brenner

From the author of The Forever Summer and Blush comes a glittering gem so escapist that it also landed on our summer reading list . Jamie Brenner’s Gilt invites readers to spy on a family of wealthy jewelers. When prodigal daughter Gemma Maybrook returns to visit one sizzling summer, a veritable Pandora’s box of secrets opens. Follow the lush drama from high society New York to sunny Cape Cod.

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32. The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Release date: June 28, 2022

A spicy, supernatural romantic comedy for anyone tired of plain ol’ vanilla rom-coms, The Dead Romantics delivers with wit, quirks and, yes, a ghost story. Meet Florence Day, a New York City ghostwriter whose latest breakup has convinced her that romance is dead for good. But then a couple of very real deaths occur, landing Florence back in her hometown to face the ghosts of her past—along with a decidedly sexy spirit standing on the doorstep of the local funeral parlor. Alternating between poignant themes of death and grief and laugh-out-loud humor, this romance will have you flipping pages into the wee hours of the night.

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33. The Hidden One by Linda Castillo

Release date: July 5, 2022

The Hidden Ones protagonist Kate Hurholder is not Amish. But as the police chief in an Amish community, she has grown familiar with the community’s intricacies and norms. But when she’s summoned to solve a cold murder case in Pennsylvania’s Kishacoquillas Valley, she realizes that Amish culture can vary wildly from place to place. So can she chalk up Bishop Stolzfus’s evasive actions to cultural differences—or does the man know more than he’s letting on? The plot only thickens when Kate runs into her first love in Pennsylvania. By the time you turn the final page, you may be inspired to pick up a nonfiction book about the Amish.

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34. Florida Woman by Deb Rogers

Deb Rogers’s darkly comic thriller opens when Jamie, a lifelong Florida woman, is caught on film during one of the most embarrassing moments of her life. Relieved to get community service rather than jail time for her crime, Jamie heads off to Atlas, a monkey sanctuary. But all is not as it seems. She is soon consumed by the sinister world of Atlas, complete with sacrifices and cult-like adoration for the organization’s leaders. This is a suspenseful novel for readers seeking a good LGBTQ+ contemporary mystery.

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35. The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci

Release date: July 12, 2022

Travis Devine, the main character of The 6:20 Man , is a man of routine. Every morning, he puts on a cheap suit, picks up his cheap briefcase and heads out on the 6:20 train to Manhattan. Every day, he peers out the train window and dreams about living large like one of the elite financial investors he sees in passing. Then one day, everything changes. He’s blackmailed into participating in an investigation into those very investors. As he infiltrates their lavish lives and learns more about their shady schemes, he finds himself in the crosshairs of a murderer.

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36. The Floating Girls by Lo Patrick

Did you love Where the Crawdads Sing or the movie adaptation of the book ? Then you’ll fall head over heels for this evocative coming-of-age drama told from the perspective of 12-year-old Kay. In the summer heat of Bledsoe, Georgia, Kay experiences the loss of a sister, a blossoming friendship with a boy and the trouble and heartbreak of family secrets. Don’t forget to check out these hit books that are becoming movies this year.

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37. The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Release date: July 19, 2022

Whether you’re already a fan of Things You Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away or utterly new to Katherine Center’s writing, her latest summer sizzler will satisfy any craving for lighthearted romance. Hannah Brooks looks cute and unassuming—the opposite of her life as a bodyguard. When she’s hired to protect sexy celebrity Jack Stapleton from a stalker, the two pretend they’re dating during Jack’s visit home. Fans of The Wedding Date and T he Proposal , you know where this is going!

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38. The Other Guest by Helen Cooper

Release date: July 26, 2022

Helen Cooper’s latest page-turner slams together two unrelated women’s lives in the aftermath of a tragedy at an Italian resort. Leah knows deep down that her niece’s death was not an accidental drowning. And far away in England, a woman named Joanna knows deep down that her sexy new beau might be too good to be true. The truth is that Leah and Joanna’s lives are already intertwined and on the brink of another potentially devastating collision. Not sure what to read after you binge The Other Guest ? Try picking your next book based on your zodiac sign .

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39. Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Release date: Aug. 9, 2022

What would you do if you woke up with no memory of the last two years, no phone and “stay awake” written in black ink all over your hands and arms? This is how Liv Reese finds herself in the opening pages of Stay Awake . The breathtaking thriller unfolds as Liv runs from a crime she doesn’t remember committing. She does everything in her power to discover why her memories have disappeared into thin air—and who is responsible for the erasure.

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40. Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst

Release date: Aug. 16, 2022

Love Under the Tuscan Sun ? You’ll feel right at home following Lucy Checks In ‘s 49-year-old protagonist to the French countryside, where she moves to fix up and manage the storied Hotel Paradis. Of course, renovating a rickety inn can be a monumental task, so Lucy experiences more than her fair share of funny misfortunes along the way. This heartwarming women’s fiction story about new beginnings brims with fresh friendships, blossoming romance and mouthwatering descriptions of French food.

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41. T he Housekeeper by Joy Fielding

New York Times bestselling author Joy Fielding reels us in again with this riveting domestic drama . Thriving real estate agent Jodi Bishop knows her aging parents could use a helping hand at home, so she hires a housekeeper. Vibrant and warm, Elyse Woodley seems perfect for the job. But when Jodi’s parents seem to deteriorate rapidly while clinging to Elyse’s care more than their own daughter’s, Jodi has to wonder: Is the housekeeper really there to help her family? Or is something sinister afoot?

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42. Fox Creek by William Kent Krueger

Release date: Aug. 23, 2022

William Kent Krueger’s latest nail-biting thriller plops readers into the Boundary Waters, where hunters have swarmed in search of a woman named Dolores Morriseau. She herself seeks a haven with a local Ojibwe healer. Told from multiple perspectives, the book weaves together drama, mystery and masterful Native American storytelling .

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43. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Release date: Aug. 30, 2022

Here’s one for the sports fans, the athletes and anyone who knows what it’s like to put everything on the line for ambition. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s beloved tennis hero Carrie Soto is back. This time, she’s decided to leave her early retirement and take a stab at one more win. But of course, the world of sports moves quickly. At the age of 37, can Carrie pull off another triumph? With themes of ambition, sacrifice and self-doubt, plus a sizzle of romance, this book deserves a spot on your 2022 must-read list.

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44. Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

Other Birds invites readers to dip their toes into magical realism with the story of the Dellawisp, a building inhabited by quirky people haunted by personal secrets and longings—and ghosts. There’s Zoey, who’s trying to connect with her late mother in the apartment she once owned. There’s the isolated chef. A famed writer. A mystery girl who’s running from something—or someone. Here, Sarah Addison Allen offers a beautiful, lyrical story about love, friendship and found family—an ideal book club book that’ll give you plenty of things to discuss with the group.

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45. The Make-Up Test by Jenny L. Howe

Release date: Sept. 13, 2022

Enemies to lovers. Second chances. Bookish characters. All find a place on the pages of Jenny L. Howe’s The Make-Up Test , a deliciously swoony story of academic rivals. When a family emergency forces Allison Avery and Colin Benjamin on a weekend road trip together, they realize just how much chemistry their brains and bodies have together. But with hearts and a coveted job position on the line, is choosing love worth the risk? Don’t miss the steamy Scrabble scene as you read to find out.

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46. Before I Do by Sophie Cousens

Release date: Oct. 11, 2022

One of the year’s most anticipated new books to read , Sophie Cousens’s latest romance tackles an age-old question: How do you know if someone is “the one”? It’s the night before Audrey’s wedding. Her relationship with Josh has been solid and steady, but a tiny bit of her wonders if she might be settling. So when Fred, a one-time fling, appears at the rehearsal dinner, Audrey’s alarm bells sound at full volume. Should she go for stability or sparks? Is she about to make the biggest mistake of her life—or is this simply one last test of a love that’s meant to last forever?

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47. No Plan B by Lee Child and Andrew Child

Release date: Oct. 25, 2022

Jack Reacher is back! The 27th book of the highly acclaimed thriller series opens with Reacher discovering a purported suicide that he suspects is a murder. As with all books in this series, the plot thickens with additions of global conspiracies, complicated intrigue and supervillains reminiscent of James Bond. If you’re only familiar with the Jack Reacher played on screen by Tom Cruise, this book offers a great starting point for reading the whole series.

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48. Racing the Light by Robert Crais

Release date: Nov. 1, 2022

Fancy a romp through crime noir? Then add Racing the Light to your preorder list. This devilishly delightful story follows private eyes Elvis Cole and Joe Pike into the underworld of Los Angeles, where porn stars, secret agents and shady politicians punctuate their path to solving the case of a missing man. True crime connoisseurs and comedy buffs alike will want to snag a copy of this rollicking page-turner.

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49. The Circus Train by Amita Parikh

Release date: Dec. 6, 2022

“Magic, love, destiny and illusion combine with the glitter of 20th-century circus life and the heartbreak of war,” writes Kristen Harmel, author of The Book of Lost Names. In Amita Parikh’s The Circus Train , mid-20th-century Europe serves as the backdrop for a traveling circus aboard an elite luxury train. As the tragedy of the Holocaust unfolds around the train, disabled illusionist Lena Papadopoulos must dig deep to find her true calling, discover the magic of the real world and learn that love prevails over all. Next, check out these book recommendations based on fan favorite TV shows .

Leandra Beabout

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Hot Stuff: This fall's seven best romance novels are welcome emotional detours

Author Maureen Lee Lenker

As the leaves fall and the temperature dips, there's nothing we love more than cuddling up with a good book.

If you want to get cozy with a romance novel this season, here's seven of our favorite new releases — from warm-hearted, feel-good reads to deeply emotional, swoony tales.

Fall Romance

Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match by Sally Thorne

Sally Thorne makes spooky season a year-round proposition with a quirky romance that is, in essence, Frankenstein fan-fiction. Angelika Frankenstein, the sister of the more famous Victor, has labored right alongside her brother in his scientific experiments. Lonely and viewed as an odd spinster by the entire town for her predilection for speaking her mind, Angelika decides to make her perfect match — literally. Selecting body parts from the morgue, she stitches together and reanimates her ideal man. Only he's not so sure he wants any part of this. What has always made Thorne's books such an outright delight is the vein of something strange and unusual running through them just below the surface. Here, she brings that out to play, while also exploring themes of loneliness, grief, and loss in profoundly moving fashion. The book does contain a central issue of consent, and it might be difficult for some readers to move past the fact that Angelika's hero has no agency in being brought to life and selected as her match. But anyone who's read Frankenstein knows that part of the storytelling is a purposeful interest in probing the limits and morality of science. That's no less the case here. Angelika yearns for Will, as he calls himself, but she ultimately leaves the choice to woo her in his hands. Meanwhile, Will feels that he must uncover the truth of his life before his first death before he can make peace with his attraction to Angelika. As Thorne's first historical, the book offers up her usual sense of humor, given even more free rein in the particulars of her fictional 19th-century town. There is an inherent mystery in Will's background, which the book seeds in satisfying ways. But its true magic lies in the way it probes the mysteries of the heart, how grief can twist and cripple us, and the joy of learning to take life and love as it comes. As for Thorne's writing, there is one truism that makes it leap off the page: it's alive, it's alive!

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Fall Romance

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan

Kennedy Ryan's latest is a fairly untraditional romance, the story of two wounded humans, Josiah and Yasmen, whose brutal miscarriage and stillbirth tore them apart. When an accident sent Yasmen spiraling into a deep and dark depression, it drove a rift between her and Josiah, until she asked for a divorce. Now, nearly two years later, Yasmen has found her way back to joy, and she and Josiah have found a natural rhythm to their co-parenting and shared business endeavors. But as Josiah starts to put his toes in the dating pool, Yasmen realizes she might have made a mistake — and her chemistry with Josiah remains undeniable. Soon, an impulsive kiss flames into something more. Ryan has an extraordinary gift for probing the fractures of a broken heart and the painstaking, beautiful work it takes to put it back together. Before I Let Go is a searing, thoughtful look at loss and depression, and a vital reminder that mental illness is a liar. It's also a whole-hearted endorsement for therapy, championing its role in repairing Yasmen and Josiah's love. The book is not a light read by any means, but somehow, Ryan always manages to ring her heavy stories with an aura of hope and a propulsive narrative that makes them impossible to put down. Reading her books, this one is particular, is like pressing a bruise — they hurt so good. Because, of course, they're also rife with Ryan's gift for writing toe-curling sex scenes. I never thought it possible to enjoy having my heart clawed out of my chest so much, but Ryan makes the painful downright poetic — and reminds us that love, and second chances, are within our grasp if we give ourselves over to the whispers of our inner souls. 

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Fall Romance

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner

I very much wanted to love Meryl Wilsner's sophomore novel. The premise — a college senior accidentally hooks up with her best friend's mom during parents' weekend — sounded absolutely delicious. Wilsner so deftly handled the power dynamics of a boss-employee relationship in their first novel, Something To Talk About, that it seemed the perfect space for them to venture next. Mistakes Were Made begins with a promising hook, the aforementioned one-night stand between student Cassie and mom Erin, saucy and hot in all the right ways. But the pacing, particularly in the second half of the novel, lags, jawing too much between the forbidden romance between Erin and Cassie and Cassie's own sense of betrayal of her friends. Wilsner, who wrote a delectably slow burn in their first novel, opts for a far more explicit tact here — but the sex scenes do eventually become a bit rote. Perhaps that's because Erin and Cassie repeatedly make eyebrow-raising decisions, including getting hot and heavy while said best friend sleeps down the hall in her childhood bedroom. Kinks and taboos in fiction are meant to break barriers, to tantalize us with our fantasies that would probably be wildly inappropriate in real life. The challenge here is that Wilsner is such a relatable writer, one who writes with a breezily contemporary sensibility, that it feels hard to separate the boundaries of reality with the steamy fantasies of fiction. As a result, Cassie and Erin's relationship can feel more belabored than sexy. It's not their age difference or even the MILFiness of it all, so much as it is the choices they both make that continually betray the trust of the people they claim to love most in the world. I'm never here to yuck anyone's yum, but this simply didn't work for me as much as I longed for it to. The book still carries Wilsner's signature wry sense of humor, and they write erotic yearning in a class all their own. But Mistakes Were Made can't escape the overriding sensation that somewhere along the way a mistake was, in fact, made.

Heat: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Fall Romance

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese

Chloe Liese makes her traditional publishing debut with this lush, swoony contemporary take on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. When fastidious Jamie Westenberg and gloriously chaotic Bea Wilmot are tricked into going on a date by their friends and family, they decide to get revenge by pretending to be a perfect match and then breaking up in a spectacular fashion. The only trouble is that once they start pretending, they can't help but actually fall for each other. Liese is an uncommonly lyrical writer, painting images of her characters and their dates with the vibrancy of artist Bea's own brush strokes. Bea, like Liese herself, is neurodivergent, and her past trauma in an abusive relationship has made her believe she should turn her back on love. Similarly, Jamie's own familial history and anxiety has prevented him from opening up to a partner. But the two find a soft place to land in the other, their idiosyncrasies perfectly aligned, rather than catastrophically ill-suited as they initially assume. The things that have earned them criticism from others in their lives are allowed to flourish in each other's presence. It doesn't follow Much Ado About Nothing to the letter (for one, Jean Claude, the dupe for Claudio, is an outright jerk from the word go) — but Liese weaves in aspects of Benedick and Beatrice's love story (and famous dialogue exchanges) in winking, witty ways. For those of us who have had passages like "I love nothing in the world so much as you, is not that strange?" and "I love you…no more than reason" tattooed on our hearts, it's the perfect acknowledgement of this endlessly intoxicating, sparring, enemies-to-lovers couple. Jamie and Bea are spiky and vulnerable in all the right ways, though squishier and less self-assured than Shakespeare's famous lovers. But that only makes them all the more easy to love with so much of our hearts that none is left to protest.

Fall Romance

The Gentleman's Book of Vices by Jess Everlee

Happily-ever-afters for LGBTQ+ storytelling are still shockingly few and far between in pop culture, but the romance genre is working hard to fill that gap. Jess Everlee turns that notion of "Bury Your Gays" and tragic romance on its head with her new historical romance. Charlie Price, a resolute drunken reprobate, has resolved to marry a woman with the aim of paying off his debts and staying in his family's good graces. But before he does so, he plans to have one last hurrah, securing the autograph of his favorite author to add to his explicit novel collection. When Charlie shows up at Miles Montague's bookshop and knows his secret identity as smut writer Reginald Cox, he's furious, until a series of events sets off a blistering affair between them. In the past (and in Miles' own stories), Miles and Charlie's love story would've ended in tragedy. But instead, Everlee crafts a scorching affair between the two damnably decent men and delivers a delicious deus ex machina that allows them the happiness they crave and deserve. Miles, in his gruffer, introverted ways, is a delectable foil to Charlie's extroverted amiability, but their romance is a combustible one. Everlee, however, tells a touching tale of their ability to contain that explosive spark and nurture it into a well-tended fire. All it takes is a healthy degree of eroticism, a loving family, even better friends, and a desire to risk it all for the one you love.

Fall Romance

Duke Most Wicked by Lenora Bell

I await the release of a new Lenora Bell novel the way some people (also me) wait for Christmas. Her historical romances are always engrossing, lush, and downright moving. Her latest, Duke Most Wicked, does not disappoint. Haunted by his father's cruelty and a terrible secret, Brandan Delamar, Duke of Westbury, has made it his sole mission in life to be a ruined rake. But when Viola Beaton, his sisters' affectionate and bright-eyed music teacher, points out that his sisters need him to reform his ways to have any chance on the marriage market, an attraction flares. Viola is the loveliest of heroines, warm, cheerful, and stubbornly optimistic, even while nursing a healthy degree of pragmatism. West is cut from the finest of rakish Duke cloths, a dissolute drunk, gambler, and brawler, until the love of a good woman brings him to his knees. Viola is also a talented musician and composer in her own right, struggling with supporting her famous composer father over letting her own talents shine. West sees her skill and not only celebrates it, but finds ways to champion and forward it. Bell always stacks her novels with memorable supporting characters, but this might be her best group yet. There's the women of the Boudicea Club, Viola's friends who we've met in previous novels. But the most charming of all are West's distinctive set of sisters — a hopeless romantic, a bluestocking, a fashion maven, a tomboy, and a perfect lady. Bell never falls into the trap of painting her side characters with a broad brush, letting each one breathe, fully formed, even if they're only on the page for brief moments. More and more these days, I just want a cozy romance to lose myself in — a perfectly pitched blend of longing, romance, sexy sequences, and heart. Bell offers that up in spades and proves why she keeps earning a spot on my keeper shelf.

Fall Romance

Kiss Me, Catalina by Priscilla Oliveras

Priscilla Oliveras continues her Queens of Mariachi series with this modern take on The Taming of the Shrew/Kiss Me Kate. When ambitious singer Catalina "Cat" Capuleta gets a shot at her dreams joining fellow mariachi and superstar Patricio Galan on tour, she is determined to go toe-to-toe with him. But Cat can't help getting under Patricio's skin and his smoldering good looks hide a surprising vulnerability that might be enough to push her to question her "no dating mariachi" rule that stems from a childhood wound. The more time they spend together, the more their music flows out of them — but can either trust the other long enough to forge a true connection? Oliveras writes lyrically of the mariachi culture and Cat and Patricio's love for songwriting and singing; her words themselves are like a song. She writes characters who are inherently decent, which can sometimes make for slightly blander protagonists, but here Cat and Patricio are stubborn, fiery, and passionate — their loyalties to their careers and the people they love their guiding lights. That leads to zippy banter, the insults and loving jabs flying fast and loose. Beneath that all is the respect and admiration for musicians and storytellers that makes the passages where they are performing or writing songs truly sing. Oliveras has a knack for writing stories of family — the ways love can be woven into the threads of those bonds and make it all the stronger. Her novels are full of people that feel both strikingly real and kind to a fault (even with their foibles or shortcomings, they are never cruel). It's nice to spend some time in her world, where music, romance, and la familia are all you'll ever need.

Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

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The 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards have three rounds of voting open to all registered Goodreads members. Winners will be announced December 08, 2020.

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Voting opens to 15 official nominees, and write-in votes can be placed for any eligible book (see eligibility below).

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Books published in the United States in English, including works in translation and other significant rereleases, between November 16, 2019, and November 17, 2020, are eligible for the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards. Books published between November 18, 2020, and November 17, 2021, will be eligible for the 2021 awards.

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Best Romance Books of 2023

The 35 best new romance novels that'll make you swoon.

best new books romance

There's never been a better time to fall in love than in 2023, and your list of new romance books to read is here to prove it. Whether you're searching for an enemies-to-lovers story, a there's-only-one-bed-here mixup moment , or a summer fling turned relationship , 2023's offering of romance books has got you covered.

Young love shines in new books from authors such as KJ Charles, Talia Hibbert, and Emma Lord. Romance heavyweights Tessa Bailey and Alexis Daria also throw new steamy stories into the mix. Emily Henry's fourth romance novel following "Beach Read," "People We Meet on Vacation," and "Book Lovers" is hotly anticipated for its rom-com energy and hijinks.

So open your heart and prepare to fall in love with these romance books coming out in March.

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The Best Books of 2023 (So Far)

best new books romance

When the glories of spring are still on the far-off horizon and the doldrums of late winter take hold, there’s an escape within your grasp no matter your travel budget: a great new book . While the conversation in early 2023 was dominated by a certain prince turned memoirist , readers who looked beyond the big displays could be rewarded with an exciting debut novel, a memoir from a celebrated late journalist, and an exhilarating romance told in verse. We still have many books to look forward to this year, but for now, here are the best, picked by our critics.

All titles are listed by U.S. publishing date with the newest releases up top.

Couplets: A Love Story , by Maggie Millner

best new books romance

Maggie Millner’s Couplets: A Love Story is so many things: a love triangle, a novel in verse, a coming-out story, a meditation on our obsession with coupledom. Most importantly, though, it grapples confidently and tenderly with the uneasy parts of being alive and in love. In Couplets , a young woman for whom “love / has been, above all things, the engine of / self-knowledge in my life” leaves a stable relationship with a man to begin her first relationship with a woman. What follows is a reflective and thrilling portrait of a person coming to terms with her queerness. Millner’s book wanders through the wreckage and exhilaration, the guilt and self-discovery, of lost partnership and doomed love affairs. Who do we become in pursuit of defining relationships? And who might we need to abandon? — Isle McElroy

What Napoleon Could Not Do , by DK Nnuro

best new books romance

DK Nnuro’s debut begins with an ending: a failed arranged marriage between Jacob and the wife he’s never met in person, Patricia. It’s a tense scene, and it sets the stage for the rest of the book’s course. It is yet another way that Jacob has fallen short. He hasn’t been able to make it to America like his sister, Belinda, and he has had trouble finding a suitable wife in his hometown like his brother. He’s drifting in a family that prizes achievement. On the surface, it seems he has all the pieces to be successful (he’s tall, handsome, and intelligent), but for some reason, things aren’t working out. Jacob spends much of the book trying to reach his potential and attain his father’s approval while resenting Belinda, who seems to do all these things (and more) with ease. She was able to move to America, go to college, and marry rich. The book is divided into three points of view: Jacob, Belinda, and her American husband, Wilder, who deals with post–World War II trauma. It’s both a gripping story about a family and their expectations and an interrogation of the American Dream — who gets to live it and whether it’s everything it’s cracked up to be. — Tembe Denton-Hurst

Maame, by Jessica George

best new books romance

Maddie wants to be someone new. She’s spent much of her early adulthood caring for her father, who has Parkinson’s, forced to grow up fast and live up to her nickname, Maame, which means “woman” in Twi, while her brother chases his dreams and her mother is mostly in Ghana. When her mother returns from her latest stint overseas and urges Maddie to move out, she’s determined to make the most of it and be the kind of person she’s always hoped to be. She wants to go out more and date and let loose, but tragedy strikes while she’s on this quest of self-discovery, and she’s forced to navigate a world that’s totally unlike the one she imagined. Maame is a quick, satisfying read with characters you’ll want to spend a few hundred pages with and a page-turning plot that leaves you rooting for Maddie. — T.D.H

Black Women Writers At Work , by Claudia Tate

best new books romance

This compilation of interviews with literary legends like Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde is a crucial resource for any person trying to be creative in our current moment of political and economic chaos. Originally published in 1983, the book feels surprisingly timely: Each woman’s discussions of struggles to balance their craft, families, friends, and political visions mirrors the commonly discussed difficulties of work-life balance today. That the innermost thoughts of these literary giants have been collected in one place already makes this book a critical cultural artifact. But perhaps its most striking quality is the way each woman defined and redefined the idea of work itself. As anti-work sentiments and “quiet quitting” discourse rises across the country, these interviews are a useful guidebook for separating work as labor under capitalism and work as a dedication to your craft, a commitment to representing your community through art, and a desire to share your political visions with the world. — Mary Retta

Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory , by Janet Malcolm

best new books romance

When the journalist and critic Janet Malcolm died in 2021, she had published about a dozen books of nonfiction, none of them autobiographical. In fact, she was opposed to the idea of “life writing,” which she thought of as hopelessly self-forgiving and, presumably, unsuited to the clear-eyed approach she took toward her subjects. So it’s not surprising that Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory , structured around snapshots of Malcolm, her family, and other figures in her life, builds that hesitation in. “I would rather flunk a writing test than expose the pathetic secrets of my heart,” she says at the end of a chapter about an affair she had with a married man who would become her husband. In writing about her childhood and her Czech émigré family, too, she admits every lapse of memory — though she remembers a lot, about her “grotesque” after-school teacher and her faux -suave high-school boyfriend and her touchingly middle-brow parents, who had narrowly escaped the Holocaust. The result is something lucid and honest, as much about the nature of memory as her own life. “The past is a country that issues no visas,” she writes. “We can only enter it illegally.” —Emma Alpern

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