The Best Romance Books You Must Read This Year

book on desk
by CJ McDaniel // May 7  

Ah, love. Every genre weaves its stories of love and romance. But there are some books… they’re just a cut above. Some of the most renowned tales in history have had a touch of romance. Yet, there are times when we crave a deeper emotional connection. Perhaps our relationships have lost their spark, or we’ve been yearning for companionship for too long. During those times, you’ve probably reached out to a romance book.

If you’ve ever found yourself lost in a world drawn by words, created by an author’s imagination, and lit by the spark of a lover’s first kiss, you know the magic the best romance books can hold. These works offer an escape, a thrill ride through star-crossed love or heart-melting tenderness, and their tales touch our hearts, leaving marks that can last a lifetime. Told by the right authors, this genre will exist until the last beating heart beats its final song.

What Did These Romance Books Do To Qualify For This List

Any time you are ranking the best of something the results are usually somewhat subjective but we have did our best to come up with a list the readers of the romance genre will truly like. To come up with this list we took into account:

– quantity and quality of user reviews
– sales data
– public perception
– opinions of readers of this genres
– commercial success
– and of course personal opinion

Take a look at the best Romance Books you can read right now:

Best Romance Books 

Here’s a great list of the top romance books ever written!

1) A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: There was a time when the world was sweeter….when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats…. Every April, when the wind smells of both the sea and lilacs, Landon Carter remembers 1958, his last year at Beaufort High. Landon had dated a girl or two, and even once sworn that he’d been in love. Certainly the last person he thought he’d fall for was Jamie, the shy, almost ethereal daughter of the town’s Baptist minister….Jamie, who was destined to show him the depths of the human heart-and the joy and pain of living. The inspiration for this romance novel came from Nicholas Sparks’s sister: her life and her courage. From the internationally bestselling author Nicholas Sparks, comes his most moving best romance book yet….

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2) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: The beloved, mega bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger, “a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time” (Chicago Tribune). A MOST UNTRADITIONAL LOVE STORY, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

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3) The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: One of the most beloved novels of all time, The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough’s sweeping family saga of dreams, titanic struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback, returns to enthrall a new generation.

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4) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (Author)

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that it becomes more than a story-it becomes an experience to remember forever. The Notebook is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again…

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5) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Author)

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

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6) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. One of the best romance books available in the market.

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7) Forever… by Judy Blume

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Katherine and Michael are in love, and Katherine knows it’s forever—especially after she loses her virginity to him. But when they’re separated for the summer, she begins to have feelings for another boy. What does this say about her love for Michael? And what does “forever” mean, anyway? Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?

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8) This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In a New Jersey laundry room, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness–and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses.

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9) The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning. Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

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10) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Pauline Nestor, Lucasta Miller

Best Romance BooksBook Summary: Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before. What unfolds is the tale of the intense love between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

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Best Romance Movies

If you enjoyed the best romance books, why stop there? Take a look at our list of best romance movies and witness these marvelous films from the big screen.

After the Rain

910YkoxgdYL._AC_UL436_Starring: Daniel Bonjour, Catherine Hicks, and Jelly Howie
Directed by: Daniel Bonjour

Movie Summary: Based on a true romance story, “After the Rain” is a provocative film centered on a struggling romance between a terminal young man running out of time, and a woman desperate to breathe life into his final days. As his mother and best friend are faced with accepting the unacceptable, important issues are raised that will change their lives forever. One of the best romance movies of all time.

Movie Reviews:



91FAw37GqeL._AC_UL436_Starring: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Ed Speleers, and Tom Hollander
Directed by: Andy Serkis

Movie Summary: Breathe brings to life the inspiring true love story between Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of devastating odds.

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Runaway Romance

718il8H-J5L._AC_UL436_Starring: Danielle C. Ryan, Trevor Donovan, Galadriel Stineman, et al.
Directed by: Brian Herzlinger

Movie Summary: A reality TV star leaves Hollywood and finds herself in Amish country where she must decide between staying in her newfound reality or returning to her old one.

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91S62lF1vzL._AC_UL436_Starring: Joel Smallbone, Bianca Santos, Amber Midthunder, et al.
Directed by: Ben Smallbone

Movie Summary: A desperate man making a shady cross-country delivery is compelled to save two frightened sisters in this powerful story of romance, strength and redemption.

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Falling Overnight

81PH0m7RxIL._AC_UL436_Starring: Parker Croft, Emilia Zoryan, Barak Hardley, et al.
Directed by: Conrad Jackson

Movie Summary: On the night before Elliot Carson has risky surgery that could end his life, falling in love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Chloe Webb, a young photographer who invites him to her art show. Elliot welcomes the distraction and as the night descends, Chloe takes him on an intimate and exhilarating journey through the city.

Movie Reviews:


Best Romance Books in Audio

Now that you’ve seen our list of the best romance books and movies, I’m sure you’ll be interested in trying out more of the best romance books in audio!

Wooing the Farmer by Jenny Frame


Book Summary: Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart, highly successful clean-eating food vlogger and owner of the website Penny’s Kitchen, is looking for a new direction for her brand. At least that’s what she tells herself when she retreats to Axedale to record a new web series and write a cookbook. That sounds so much better than damage control after her only live, on-screen interview ends in an oh-so-public epileptic seizure. Farmer Sam McQuade is immediately attracted to Penelope, but the ultra femme and high maintenance city girl seems way out of her league. When Penelope struggles to get her health on track, Quade insists on being her knight in shining armor, much to Penelope’s displeasure. Quade is annoyingly good-looking, not to mention kindhearted, and falling for her would be so easy. If only it didn’t force Penelope to face the secrets she’s hidden from everyone. Can love alone bring a complex city girl and a simple rural farmer together?

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Bitter Rivals: An Enemies to Lovers Romance by J. Sterling, Erin Mallon, et al.41tyIF5J2wL._SX342_

Book Summary: James Russo is enemy number one. Hating him is in my blood. Our families have been at war for generations; a bitter rivalry with no end in sight. All I’ve ever wanted to do was make wine, but one night with James will cost me everything. I shouldn’t be attracted to him…but I am. I definitely shouldn’t want to sleep with him…but I do. Is following my heart worth the risk of losing my vineyard and my legacy? Because in my family, there could be no greater betrayal than sleeping with the enemy.

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LOL: Laugh out Loud: An After Oscar Novel by Lucy Lennox, Molly Maddox, et al.


Book Summary: When a gorgeous cop comes racing out of a building on Fifth Avenue, hops in your horse-drawn carriage, and screams, “Go!” – you go. You don’t stop and ask for paperwork. Or a badge. Or an explanation of who you’re chasing. You simply follow his shouted orders and try not to kill anyone in the process. At least, that’s what I did when it happened to me. But then it turns out that the “cop” is none other than Roman Burke, Hollywood’s hottest star, and our little joyride gets me fired. Now I’m broke, my horse has been evicted from her barn, and I’ve got nowhere to turn.

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Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg, et al.

71YpnFWjRLL._AC_UL436_Book Summary: For years Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the audiobook, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita.

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Elizabeth and the Call of Dragons: A Paranormal Romance by Ava Mason


Book Summary: Elizabeth is finally safe, tucked away in the lair of her four dragon protectors. Now, she must learn to cope with the grief of losing her parents, her home, and the Southeastern White Tooth Pack, including a wolf her heart still yearns for.

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Filthy Riches by Lauren Landish , Valorie Clifton, et al.


Book Summary: A pretend relationship.
A deadly game.
One misstep, and it could mean both of our lives. I’m just a girl, with dreams too big and hopes verging on hopeless.
I never planned to become his.
Nathan Stone. Fiercely handsome. Powerful.
The pull between us borders on primal.
I need to be careful. He’s a dangerous man with even more dangerous enemies.
He took a big gamble, lying to protect me.
Now his future is on the line as much as mine, and we have to keep up this charade.
Make it look conv

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Why Romance Books Are Good?

The allure of romance books lies in their power to stir deep emotions within readers. From heart-wrenching love stories to sizzling romantic encounters, these books can make readers laugh, cry, and swoon. The best romance books are a testament to masterful storytelling, drawing readers in with well-developed characters and engaging plots that hold their attention from start to finish. If you’re a devoted fan of romance books, you’ve likely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, from laughter to tears and anger to hope, all because of this genre! 

One of the most significant charms of romance books is their ability to offer readers a respite from the chaos and uncertainty of the real world. In a world where everything seems unpredictable, immersing oneself in a romantic story can provide a much-needed break. The best romance books transport readers to enchanting settings and thrilling adventures, allowing them to experience the joy of falling in love without stepping out of their comfort zones. Other times, you’ll even fall in love with the character!

For those who enjoy a good love story, the best romance books offer diverse sub-genres to explore. Whether you prefer contemporary romances set in bustling cities, historical romances filled with intrigue and passion, or paranormal romances featuring otherworldly creatures, there is a romantic book for everyone. From sweet and light-hearted tales to steamy and sensual narratives, the best romance books cater to various tastes and preferences.

In addition to providing entertainment and escapism, romance books also offer valuable insights into the complexities of human relationships and emotions. Through the lens of romance, readers can explore themes of love, forgiveness, trust, and personal growth, gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to connect with another person truly.

Romance novels go beyond tales of love and desire; they are compelling narratives that can deeply resonate with our emotions and spirits. Whether you are a devoted fan of romance literature or simply curious about the genre, top romance books consistently provide something unique and distinctive for readers.

What key elements make a romance book stand out and become a bestseller?

Let’s delve into the key elements that make a romance book stand out and become a beloved bestseller.

1. Compelling Characters: The heart of any romance novel lies in its characters. Engaging protagonists with depth, flaws, and relatable qualities can instantly draw readers into a story. Best romance books often feature multidimensional characters that readers care about, root for, and emotionally invest in.

2. Sizzling Chemistry: A successful romance book thrives on the palpable chemistry between the main characters. The mounting tension leads to sparks flying, and the undeniable chemistry between the characters creates a feeling of suspense that compels readers to keep reading to discover how their relationship will develop.

3. Emotional depth: While romance books are known for their feel-good vibes, the best ones often tap into various emotions. From heart-wrenching moments that bring tears to joyous scenes that warm the heart, a well-rounded emotional journey resonates with readers and creates a lasting impact.

4. Captivating Plot: Beyond the central love story, a compelling plot that keeps readers engaged is vital for a romance book to stand out. Twists, obstacles, and surprises along the way add depth and intrigue, preventing the narrative from becoming predictable and cliché.

5. Authentic Settings: Transporting readers to a vividly depicted setting can enhance the reading experience. Whether it’s a charming small town, a bustling city, or a picturesque countryside, the story’s backdrop should feel natural and immersive, adding another layer of richness to the narrative.

6. Skillful Writing: Exceptional prose, evocative descriptions, and well-crafted dialogue elevate a romance book from good to great. Skillful writing effectively conveys the emotions and dynamics between characters and showcases the author’s storytelling prowess.

7. Memorable Moments: Memorable scenes and moments that stay with readers beyond the last page are essential for a book’s triumph. Whether it’s a romantic gesture, a heart-pounding confession, or a poignant resolution, these standout moments contribute to the book’s lasting impact and popularity.

The best romance books combine these elements to create an irresistible blend of love, passion, and storytelling prowess that resonates with readers. By mastering the art of crafting compelling characters, sizzling chemistry, emotional depth, captivating plots, authentic settings, skillful writing, and memorable moments, authors can elevate their romance novels to bestseller status and capture the hearts of readers worldwide.

How do romance books differ across various sub-genres?

Romance books are a beloved literary genre that appeals to readers of diverse tastes and preferences. One reason for their enduring popularity is the variety of sub-genres they encompass. From historical romances to paranormal romances, each sub-genre offers a unique experience for readers seeking tales of love and passion.

Historical Romance:
Historical romance novels typically occur in historical settings and portray intricate details of a particular era, such as Regency England or the American Civil War. These books transport readers to a bygone era with intricate societal norms and customs. The romance in historical novels is typically slow-burning, allowing for rich character development and elaborate plot twists.

Contemporary Romance:
Modern romance novels take place in current times and emphasize the love lives of contemporary individuals. These books often tackle timely issues and explore the complexities of love in the digital age. Contemporary romances can range from lighthearted romantic comedies to emotionally intense dramas, offering something for every reader.

Paranormal Romance:
Paranormal romance novels combine elements of romance with supernatural or fantastical elements. From vampires and werewolves to witches and shapeshifters, paranormal romances explore love in extraordinary settings. These books often feature protagonists with otherworldly abilities and intense, forbidden romances that defy societal norms.

Erotic Romance:
Erotic romance novels push the boundaries of traditional romance by featuring explicit scenes of intimacy and passion. These books delve into the physical and emotional connections between characters, exploring the depths of desire and sensuality. Erotic romances can vary in heat level, from mild to sizzling, catering to readers with diverse preferences.

Romantic Suspense:
Romantic suspense novels blend elements of romance with elements of mystery and suspense. Love blossoms amidst danger and intrigue in these books, creating a tension-filled narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Romantic suspense novels often feature strong, resourceful protagonists navigating treacherous situations to find love and happiness.

Romance books span various sub-genres, each offering a unique take on the age-old theme of love. Whether you prefer the elegance of historical romances, the excitement of paranormal romances, or the steamy passion of erotic romances, there is a sub-genre of romance novels to suit every reader’s tastes. So, next time you’re in the mood for a heartwarming love story, consider exploring the diverse world of romance sub-genres for a truly unforgettable reading experience!

What are the best romance book tropes?

Enemies to Lovers: This trope revolves around characters initially having negative feelings towards each other but eventually developing romantic feelings. The tension and banter between the two characters create an exciting and passionate romance that readers love to root for.

Second Chance Romance: In this trope, characters who have a history are given a second chance at love. Whether rekindling an old flame or repairing a past betrayal, the emotional depth of second-chance romances resonates with readers looking for redemption and forgiveness.

Fake Relationship: A timeless favorite, the fake relationship trope involves characters pretending to be in a relationship for various reasons. From fake dating to fake engagements, the dynamic between the characters as they navigate their fake relationship often leads to real feelings developing.

Opposites Attract: This trope pairs characters who are seemingly incompatible but find a deep connection despite their differences. The clash of personalities creates sparks that ignite a passionate romance filled with emotional growth and understanding.

Friends to Lovers: Starting as friends, the characters in this trope slowly realize their feelings have deepened into something more. The strong foundation of friendship provides a solid base for a romantic relationship to blossom, making this trope a reader favorite for its authenticity and emotional depth.

Forbidden Love: Characters in this trope face obstacles such as family feuds, societal expectations, or professional boundaries that prevent them from being together. The tension and sacrifices made in the name of love make forbidden love stories captivating and emotional.

Small-Town Romance: This trope transports you to the idyllic charm of small towns. It brings together characters who find love in close-knit communities, where the cozy setting, quirky townsfolk, and slower pace of life add warmth and comfort to the romance—no wonder it’s famous for readers seeking a feel-good love story.

When it comes to romance books, these tropes are beloved for the comfort, excitement, and emotional depth they bring to the storytelling. Whether you’re a fan of enemies-to-lovers drama or swoon over friends-to-lovers slow burns, the best romance books often incorporate these timeless tropes to create unforgettable love stories that keep readers coming back for more.


What do you think about our list of best romance books? If you have another genre that you prefer to read we have probably compiled a list of our favorites for that genre too. So if you are looking for something other than the best romance books you can find other genres here.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!