When it comes to relaxing with a good book, we choose romance novels time and time again. Perhaps it’s because whether the characters are rich, poor, time travelers, high school sweethearts, or fighting to be together, the stories celebrate love, something we all long for.
These well-crafted novels to read with the expectation of romance and at least a few happy endings will satisfy your hunger for interesting characters. And you will celebrate the lofty highs and commiserate the dark lows that love and life inevitably bring.
1. The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
In this highly unusual love story, Henry and Clare seem like a normal couple until the reader realizes that Henry is unable to avoid moving back and forth through time. Sometimes when Henry disappears, the results are amusing. At other times, they are distressing. You’ll feel the depth of the characters’ passion and pain in this beautifully-written novel.
2. See Me
by Nicholas Sparks
Desperately trying to leave bad decisions he’s made in life behind, Colin Hancock meets beautiful Maria Sanchez, who has pulled herself up by the bootstraps to make a good life. He has no intention of getting into a romantic relationship, but the realization that she too has a traumatic past, and that they need each other to survive threatening incidents rooted in the past, may change his mind.
3. The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
The story of two teenage cancer survivors who meet in a cancer-support group will grip your heart and cause you to ponder the deeper questions we face in life. Hazel has survived cancer for three years, but is terminally ill and depressed when she meets Augustus who helps her understand the meaning of love. Your heart will swell with the tender emotion this story evokes and you’ll remember these characters for a long time.
by Pamela Clare
Intensely emotional, and filled with suspense, this romantic thriller will have your heart racing for more reasons than one. Sophie Alton is a journalist who is investigating a woman’s disappearance. She is led to the victim’s brother Marc, who is a convicted killer, and he’s also the man with whom Sophie shared a romantic encounter 12 years earlier. Part of the I-Team Series, this is one of those novels to read way past bedtime.
5. Me Before You: A Novel
by Jojo Moyes
In this intimate love story, we meet Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who was accustomed to thrill-seeking and pleasure before his accident, and Lou Clark, his inexperienced caretaker. Though Will is gruff and irritable, Lou’s awkwardness and way of saying what’s on her mind eventually endear her to him, and love follows. Upon learning that Will plans to commit suicide, Lou designs adventures she hopes will give him reason to live, while he points out the potential in her own life.
6. Purple Orchids (A Mitchell Sisters Novel)
by Samantha Christy
Baylor and Gavin meet in college and fall in love. Fast forward eight years to when they meet again. Each claims the other wrote a letter to end the relationship. Is one of them lying? Can they start again where they left off? Or are eight years of hate too much to overcome? This is one of those romance novels that will bring out every emotion as you root for this couple.
7. Wind Chime Café
by Sophie Moss
Wind Chime Café will touch your heart. Set in a small island town, this story pits the plans of single mother Annie Malone, dreaming of opening a restaurant, against those of a developer rumored to be opening a five-star resort on sleepy Heron Island. Enter Navy SEAL Will Dozier who has been away for ten years. Determined not to sell his grandparents’ property to a developer, he and Annie have a fling that leads to love and complications.
8. Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
This young adult novel about Madeline, a girl who has never left her home due to an autoimmune disease, is both heart-wrenching and beautiful. Maddy’s whole world consists of her mother and her nurse until a curious boy named Olly moves in next door. Thus begins an adorable relationship of friendship and first love that will leave you breathless.
9. Bridget Jones’s Diary
by Helen Fielding
This hilarious novel about the obsessions Bridget Jones shares in her diary including her wildly fluctuating weight, her quest for Mr. Right, and her desire to find inner peace, will have you laughing out loud. With soap opera-like drama and satiric wit, Bridget reveals her self-doubt and obsessive behavior in a way you’ll relate to.
10. The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang
Stella Lane, math whiz and number cruncher, creates algorithms to forecast customer purchases, and this has made her a wealthy woman. Trouble is, she has Asperger’s which has kept her from developing skills in the romance department, which is why she hires escort Michael Phan to give her lessons in love. Pretty soon their practice sessions turn into something real, and you’ll have to read this book to find out how deep their love will go.
11. The Chocolate Garden
by Ava Miles
Tammy Hollins, avid gardener, is starting over after her marriage ended. The first customer in her new landscaping business, John Parker McGuiness, hires her as his landscaper. When she realizes he’s a chocoholic, she designs a “chocolate garden” for him. Love grows, followed by tragedy and secrets. Read this romantic tale to find out if love and the magic of the garden is enough to overcome the past.
12. In the Mix
by Jacquelyn Ayres
When CiCi O’Brien walks into Kyle Cooper’s office, their encounter ignites sparks in more ways than one. Kyle is ready for a romantic relationship, but CiCi is her own worst enemy, fighting her feelings. If you enjoy romantic comedy, the funny and touching moments in this novel will leave you wanting more, which is perfect since it is part of the GEG Series.
13. Beauty and the Mustache
by Penny Reid
When Ashley Winston returns home to rural Tennessee after escaping her six brothers and repulsive father in the big city, she can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous, a swoon-worthy local with lots of opinions and outdoor skills. But he also writes poetry, shows her support, and isn’t bad to look at. Read this novel to find out if Ashley will escape again or decide she likes the country life.
14. The Counterfeit Bride
by Liberty Blake
With the makings of a fairy tale, this story will keep you intrigued with every twist and turn. Cassidy Flynn realizes she must keep a stranger from getting married using her identity. But the groom is Greek tycoon Theron Christofides who needs to marry his wealthy bride in order to save the little island he loves. Can all the complications, including family betrayal, be resolved?
15. Love in the Afternoon
by Lisa Kleypas
This historical romance novel will keep you turning pages. Beatrix Hathaway has never had a serious relationship. She finds herself corresponding with Captain Christopher Phelan, a handsome soldier with plans to marry Beatrix’s friend. But when Christopher changes his mind about the marriage, Beatrix writes pretending to be her friend to help her regain his love. It works, but will he marry the right woman?
16. Sweet Seduction
by Maya Banks
Julie Stanford owns the salon which gorgeous Nathan Tucker has begun to frequent. Giving him massages has convinced her that she wants him. But she doesn’t come right out and tell him, and he isn’t showing signs of mutual interest, so she leaves to live her fantasy life. Will he pursue her? Was he just too shy to say anything? You’ll have to read this erotic novel to find out.