The best contemporary romance books set in Manhattan

Jacqueline Friedland Author Of That's Not a Thing
By Jacqueline Friedland

Who am I?

As someone who’s been born and raised in and around the suburbs of Manhattan, I have a love-hate relationship with the city. I crave the excitement it offers but then gets frustrated by its drawbacks- the crowds, the dirt, the noise, the expense, the pressure. But then you crack open the pages of a romance story, and the allure of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs is undeniable. Anything is possible in New York City.

I wrote...

That's Not a Thing

By Jacqueline Friedland,

Book cover of That's Not a Thing

What is my book about?

Meredith Altman’s engagement to Wesley Latner ended in spectacular disaster—one that shattered her completely. Years have passed since then, and now she’s about to marry Aaron Rapp, a former Ivy League football player and baby-saving doctor. As they celebrate their engagement at a new TriBeCa hotspot, Meredith is stunned to find the restaurant owner is none other than Wesley, the man she is still secretly trying to forget.

When Meredith learns that Wesley has been diagnosed with ALS, her feelings about their past become all the more confusing. As she spends more time with Wesley and is pulled further under his spell, she discovers what kind of man her new fiancé really is—and what kind of woman she wants to be.

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The books I picked & why

One Day in December

By Josie Silver,

Book cover of One Day in December

Why did I love this book?

I live a very busy life with four children, two dogs, an awesome husband, and a career of my own. If a book doesn’t pull me in right from the start, I tend to give up on it fairly quickly. This book sucks you in right away and keeps you turning the pages with fervor. It’s a complicated story about friendship, romance, and a young woman who thinks she has everything figured out, until she doesn’t, but then she does, and then she doesn’t. You get the gist.

By Josie Silver,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One Day in December as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Get ready to be swept up in a whirlwind romance. It absolutely charmed me.”—Reese Witherspoon (A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick)

“The perfect book to get lost in . . . Josie Silver’s characters sneak their way into your heart and stay.”—Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost

Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their…

In Five Years

By Rebecca Serle,

Book cover of In Five Years

Why did I love this book?

This book absolutely shattered me. Imagine going to sleep one night and waking up in the morning to a whole new existence. That’s what happens to the protagonist in this book. It’s five years later, and she’s living with the wrong man, having no clue how she ended up where she is. With NYC as a fabulous background to this captivating story, she has to figure out how to make sense of her whole new world. The only thing grounding her in reality is the city she’s always known. 

By Rebecca Serle,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked In Five Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Full of twists and turns, this is a heart-breaking yet uplifting story about love and friendship, and is one of this year's must-reads' Heat magazine *****

Dannie Kohan has held true to her meticulously crafted 5-year plan since she understood the concept. On the day that she nails the most important interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she's well on her way to fulfilling her life goals.

But that night Dannie falls asleep and dreams of a night five years in the future where…

The Lies That Bind

By Emily Giffin,

Book cover of The Lies That Bind

Why did I love this book?

The night before September 11, 2001, I was in New York City, and my now-husband proposed to me. We woke up the next morning to a whole new world. Any book set in Manhattan that relates to September 11th instantly speaks to me. This romance story is one you will never see coming, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

By Emily Giffin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lies That Bind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this irresistible novel from the author of All We Ever Wanted and Something Borrowed, a young woman falls hard for an impossibly perfect man before he disappears without a trace. . . . 

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with…

The Rosie Effect

By Graeme Simsion,

Book cover of The Rosie Effect

Why did I love this book?

You’ve probably read The Rosie Project, but have you read the prequel? I’ve always been a sucker for back story and what happened before the moment a movie or novel starts. Well, that’s what you get in The Rosie Effect. And even better, its setting in the vibrant and thrilling New York City only adds to the romance and excitement in this beautiful romantic comedy.

By Graeme Simsion,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rosie Effect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sink into the joyously weird and wonderful next chapter of Don and Rosie, in Graeme Simsion's unmissable sequel to the bestselling The Rosie Project!

'Touching and entertaining' Mail on Sunday

Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.

Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardised meals and embrace unscheduled sex.

But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life - at the same…

Book cover of The Spanish Love Deception

Why did I love this book?

As someone who spent a number of years working in a big office in New York City (and kinda hating it), the “big city office atmosphere” in this story really spoke to me. Luckily, there is at least a brief vacation where the characters escape the grind. Best of all, when they return to the city, they can appreciate what’s romantic about it in so many new and wonderful ways.

By Elena Armas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spanish Love Deception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A wedding in Spain. The most infuriating man. Three days to convince your family you're actually in love. . .

Catalina Martin desperately needs a date to her sister's wedding. Especially when her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiralled out of control. Now everyone she knows - including her ex-boyfriend and his fiancee - will be there.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic for her and aid in her deception. NYC to…

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