Sinking your teeth into a good romance novel can be quite addicting, which may help explain why romance novels generated a staggering $47 million in 2021, according to Fortune. Hey, there are worse hobbies, right? As popular as the genre is, we wanted to know the consensus best romance books on the shelves, according to the so-called experts.
Reading romance books can be a fun way to kick back and relax. It’s good for you, too. A recent study found that reading fiction books for fun improves language skills. If you’re a parent, modeling reading behavior could help encourage your kids to read (although you may want them to read something outside the romance genre). Another recent study found most parents agree reading is a key to raising a creative child.
Maybe you’re looking for a good romance novel to kick back on a cold winter day. Or maybe, as one recent survey found, you’re one of the 56 percent of Americans who admit they read books during summer to appear smarter. (Whatever gets you reading more is a win in our books.)
Whatever brings you here, we’ve got the perfect reading list for you to start with. We visited 11 reviewers to find out which romance books were most recommended across their sites. Here are the five best romance books, according to genre experts.
Best Romance Books, According to Experts
1. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
It may be most famous as a movie, but The Notebook as a novel is pretty dang good, too.
“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,” says GoodHouseKeeping.
Wow, that was 15 years ago, wasn’t it?
“I love how the story is told in different timelines and has the most touching ending. This is the story to read if you want to believe in the strength of love. I actually loved the movie just as much as the book,” says She Reads Romance Books.
2. Seven Days In June by Tia Williams
“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,” writes GoodHouseKeeping.
Romance with a backstory. Sounds like something you can burn through a weekend with, doesn’t it? Just wait for the twist, says ProWritingAid.
“Sure, they pretend that everything is fine in the here-and-now, but they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since,”
A word to readers, though: it could bring up some past traumas. So do research before you crack into this book.
“The book’s writing is so deep and beautiful. Be aware, there are moments of self harm, child abuse, and drug and alcohol use depicted in the story. But these characters’ painful pasts is part of what makes them so perfect for each other,” writes BookRiot.
3. A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
“After being presumed to be dead, Viola decides to live her life as she’s always wanted to. But as she reconnects with an old friend, memories and desires flare up again in unexpected ways,” writes Cosmopolitan.
This one’s another history/romance combination that’ll open you up to an entirely new world you didn’t know you could love so much.
“A Lady for a Duke is a clarion, heartrending declaration that LGBTQ people have always existed — and the enormous risk and courage it requires to claim the love and joy they deserve,” says EW.com.
4. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Looking for a romance book with a unique voice? Look no further.
“Stella Lane’s life has always revolved around math. It’s brought her incredible career success but left her lacking in the dating-experience department. Always a problem-solver, Stella hires escort Michael Phan to help her navigate a world of firsts. But what will she do when their partnership starts making too much sense?” writes ProWritingAid.
“This unexpected love story between a 30-year-old woman with Asperger’s syndrome and a hired male escort became a sensation in 2018 and for good reason: Hoang charms readers with a complex protagonist and inspired critics to reconsider what makes a modern romance novel. Both sweet and steamy, you won’t be disappointed by the sex scenes,” says Cosmopolitan.
5. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Rounding out our list is a romance novel with an interesting social element to it.
“After finding out that his wife has been lying to him about their sex life, a baseball player turns to a super-secret romance book club to try to find out how to save his marriage before it’s too late,” Cosmopolitan
Unlike many romance novels, this isn’t the tale of one person: there’s a whole group of people involved in the outcome.
“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,” says Insider.
- NY Times
- Good Housekeeping
- She Reads Romance Books
- Entertainment Weekly
- Washington Post
- Business Insider
- Pro Writing Aid
You might also be interested in:
- Best Fantasy Books
- Best Rom-Coms On Netflix
- Best Vacation Spots For Couples
- Best Colleen Hoover Books
- Best Psychology Books
- Best Leadership Books
- Best Investing Books
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and received no compensation for making these recommendations.
The Notebook is NOT a romance. And thanks for the insult “there are worse hobbies “