Asking a passionate reader of romance novels to name their all-time favorite book is unlikely to yield a direct response. Every year, thousands of unique books in many subgenres are published, including well-known genres like historical fiction, the paranormal, erotica, and contemporary fiction. There are countless escapist love stories—and gratifying happily-ever-afters—to select from, and more reads are now easily accessible via e-readers and apps. You can see how this makes it tough to pick just one.
Pride & Prejudice
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, arguably the greatest romance novel of all time, follows the opinionated Elizabeth Bennet as she regularly finds herself at odds with her beau, the stiff Mr. Darcy. Keira Knightley received an Oscar nomination in 2006 for her performance as Bennet in the motion picture.
When it was published in the 19th century, Jane Eyre was a breakthrough book because it tackled subjects like classism, religion, and sexuality. Readers still find it difficult to put down Bront’s tale of the title character, Jane, and her developing emotions and love for her moody boss, Mr. Rochester, which is still hailed as one of the genre’s earliest books.
The Wolf and the Dove, a classic bodice ripper, was written in the 1970s, and it shows. With almost 600 pages, readers today might find it a bit lengthy. Additionally, at the time, the principles of consent that are now taken for granted in the 21st century were not as prominent. Having said that, Woodiwiss’ work is a historical romance classic and paved the way for many of today’s most popular books. The movie Shanna follows the movie’s titular heiress as she flees to a Caribbean island after being engaged to Ruark Beauchamp, a passionate felon.
On the eve of World War II, small-town Whitney, Georgia is the setting for Spencer’s timeless heartbreaker. Will Parker is attempting to avoid the unfavorable circumstances that come with his terrible reputation. So it appears that Will has found a solution to his problems when he spots a “Wanted” post in the newspaper written by a young widowed mother of two (who is also expecting her third kid) looking for a husband.
Lord of scoundrels
infamous sinner The Marquess of Dain, Sebastian Ballister, takes great pleasure in his status as an unrepentant scoundrel. And he’s happy to continue living this way—until he meets Jessica Trent. She is intelligent and independent, and she is determined to save her troubled brother from disaster, even if it means going against Sebastian.
Hester is a free lady residing in Michigan and playing a crucial role in the Underground Railroad years after escaping enslavement as a youngster. One night, Galen Vachon, popularly known as “Black Daniel,” one of the railroad’s most valuable conductors, is injured and she is tasked with caring for him. Their time together turns out to be the start of an amazing romance as Hester heals the attractive and haughty guy. One of Jenkins’s first books, Indigo, catalyzed a string of engrossing historical romances that propelled her to literary Icon.
The Viscount Who Loved Me
While the bestselling eight-book series The Viscount Who Loved Me was launched by Daphne and Simon from The Duke and I, and later gave rise to the Bridgerton Netflix frenzy, it is The Viscount Who Loved Me that consistently makes us drool. In the book, sleazy rake Anthony Bridgerton has decided that it is finally time to find a wife. Edwina is the ideal candidate for him, but her elder half-sister Kate proves to be too alluring.
Delaney’s Desert Sheikh
Following her medical school graduation, Delaney departs for a getaway to her cousin’s opulent, remote cabin. However, it soon becomes clear that she isn’t the only one staying there since Jamal, a lovely stranger who also seems to be a sheik seeking to woo Delaney, also calls the place home. The first of Jackson’s 30 “The Westmorelands” books is Delaney’s, Desert Sheikh.
Black Dagger Brotherhood, the first book in J.R. Ward’s ongoing 19-book series, follows purebred vampire leader Wrath as he unexpectedly falls in love with half-breed Beth and introduces her to a fascinating paranormal world.