The Best Romance Books You Must Read: Updated 2020

book on desk
by CJ McDaniel // May 7  

Ah, love. Just about every genre tells its tales of love and romance. But some books…they’re just extra special. Some of the most well-known tales throughout history have contained a bit of romance. But sometimes people need a little bit more of a roar to their flame. Maybe their marriage is tired or they’ve been single for too long.

Romance novels have been known to create a spark in one’s imagination. They inflame passions like nothing else. Often full of gritty, raunchy detail, romance novels can be surprisingly interesting. 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:

Table of Contents
• Best Romance Books
• Best Romance Movies
• Best Romance Books in Audio

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.

Movie Reviews: 

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.

Movie Reviews: 


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?

Book Reviews: 

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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.

Book Reviews: 

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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.

Book Reviews: 

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


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.
Book Reviews: 

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.

Book Reviews: 

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

Book Reviews: 

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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!