THE WASHINGTON POST – You can read them on the beach. You can listen to them while walking your dog. You can download them on your phone and sneak in a few paragraphs at work because you got to a scene that’s so good, you can’t put it down, even though you’re due at your boss’s office for your yearly performance review. It doesn’t matter how, or where, or when you consume your romance novels; the result is always a guaranteed happy ending. Therefore, without further ado, here are the recommended romance books.
THE BEACH TRAP by Ali Brady
Two estranged sisters team up to fix a dilapidated beach house. There is a special place in my heart for media in which the real love story is about sisters finding each other (see: Fleabag), and that’s what The Beach Trap delivers: the tale of two women who decide to put each other first. But in the process, they also find romance with two different – but equally swoony – guys.
BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry
Henry’s beautiful, lyrical writing style needs no introduction, so let me just ask: What if the villain of a Hallmark movie got to be the main character of her own story? And, what if there were good reasons that she acts the way she does? And and, what if she were a cutthroat literary agent finding love with a grumpy editor? If you’re a book lover, this is the perfect read for you.
A CARIBBEAN HEIRESS IN PARIS by Adriana Herrera
We’re in Paris, at the end of the 19th Century. Luz is a Caribbean businesswoman who just wants to have fun and live her best life. Enter James, a Scottish earl. He and Luz have what can only be defined as a Meet Explosive, and later embark on a marriage of convenience that quickly becomes much more. This book is a must-read whether you’re in the mood for banter, kilts or heroes who fall hard and fast.
LUCIE YI IS NOT A ROMANTIC by Lauren Ho
Lucie Yi wants a baby, but she’s done with men. So she enters a platonic co-parenting agreement with Collin. What could go wrong? Everything. Lauren Ho’s writing is voicy and funny, her commentary on-point and her stories a wild ride. Pick up this book for the opposites-attract relationship, and stay for the friendships, the Singapore setting and the journey to motherhood.
THE ROMANTIC AGENDA by Claire Kann
Characters who fake-date! And fall in love! And navigate complicated relationships! Sometimes I think that Kann wrote Joy, the lead of The Romantic Agenda, just for me – that’s how deeply I fell for her. This book is complex and layered. Joy is in love with her best friend, who’s ready to propose to someone else. This kicks off a love quadrangle of sorts that explores the nuances of friendship and the ace spectrum in a romance novel unlike any other, with characters that feel so real and lines that sound like poetry.
SOMETHING WILDER by Christina Lauren
Imagine Indiana Jones, but the female lead is a wilderness guide, and the male lead is a math genius who helps on a high-stakes treasure hunt. And, of course, they happen to have a past. This book has twists and turns like no other. One of them? There is only one sleeping bag. And our lovely couple makes excellent use of it. This is equal parts romance, adventure and mystery, sprinkled with fun banter and that delicious second-chance romance angst.
SET ON YOU by Amy Lea
A curvy Chinese American fitness influencer. Her hot firefighter nemesis. An argument that ends with them falling in love in the gym locker room. Need I say more? I don’t think so.
THE SIZZLE PARADOX by Lily Menon
Lyric is a Columbia PhD student who researches attraction but is too awkward to date. Kian, her roommate and fellow PhD student, offers to tutor her. We all know what’s going to happen. Nevertheless, the journey is an unputdownable flurry of friends-to-lovers and fake-dating. It’s academic romance perfection.
ON ROTATION by Shirlene Obuobi
I’m a sucker for medical settings, and for women navigating STEM academia, and for strong female friendships, and for coming-of-age stories. Basically, I’m a sucker for this book. Angie, a med student and daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, finds her happily ever after with the guy she least expected. But above all she finds herself and her place in the world, with humour and sweetness.
THE DEAD ROMANTICS by Ashley Poston
A romance ghostwriter who no longer believes in love ends up falling in love… with the ghost of her late editor. Best hook ever, right? But there’s more, because after a death in the family, the ghost helps her set things right. This one, amid the whimsical setting and laugh-out-loud humour, is a tear-jerker with an emotional happy ending.
WICKED BEAUTY by Katee Robert
Disclosure: I have not read this book. Because I don’t have a copy. But I have read all the other books in the series, and boy, I’ve been eagerly awaiting No 3.
No one mixes fantasy and romance as well as Robert, and if you are a fan of original Greek myth retellings you are contractually bound to pick up her work. Wicked Beauty is about Achilles, Patroclus and Helen.
DATING DR DIL by Nisha Sharma
This book was my Book of the Month Club pick for April, and I regret not devouring it the second it was delivered. If you like Shakespeare retellings (The Taming of the Shrew) Dating Dr Dil is for you. A lawyer and physician have a televised fight over whether true love exists, and to save face in their community they’re forced to get fake-engaged. Except that, oh no, they’re really attracted to each other. This book is rom-com gold: hilarious fun with tons of swoony, emotional scenes.
THE AIRPORT NOVELLAS by Denise Williams
Not quite a book, but a collection of three related novellas – The Missed Connection, The Love Connection and The Sweetest Connection – that take place in an airport. The setting is charming and unique, just like Williams’ writing. Friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, strangers to lovers… the tropes are all here.