The best books about finding true love with the least likely person at the strangest time or place

Patience Bloom Author Of Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
By Patience Bloom

Who am I?

I am an editor and writer in New York. Over twenty-five years, I have edited novels for Harlequin Books. Ironically, the more romance I edited, the stronger my belief that I would remain single—and that was just fine. I am still shocked at how wrong I was and that you can still be surprised. I gravitate toward these kinds of stories, where characters wander into unexpected territory. My surprise came in the form of Sam Bloom, the class clown from high school, a boy I’d never thought I’d see again, much less date. We now share a last name, a remote, and an adorable blue-grey cat named Yossi. 

I wrote...

Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last

By Patience Bloom,

Book cover of Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last

What is my book about?

Why isn’t real-life romance more like fiction?

Patience Bloom asked herself this question, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like their heroines: That shy guy she had a crush on would sweep her off her feet and turn out to be a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Patience kept hoping. Years later she found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin itself. Every day, her fantasies came true—on the page. Her dating life, however, remained uninspired. She nearly gave up hope. Then one day Patience got a real-life chance at romance, but Sam lived thousands of miles away. Was it worth the risk? Could love conquer all?

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Red, White & Royal Blue

By Casey McQuiston,

Book cover of Red, White & Royal Blue

Why this book?

This playful romcom reminded me of the pillars of romance: juicy conflict, lovable characters, and pacing that never quits. You can’t go wrong when the son of Madame President falls in love with England’s dishy prince. This is how diplomacy should always work! Red, White & Royal Blue is high concept fun and ruined my weekend plans to work.

The Idea of You

By Robinne Lee,

Book cover of The Idea of You

Why this book?

I thought I was too jaded to read about a single mom embarking on a torrid love affair with a global—younger—boyband heartthrob. This is a romance I’ve written in my mind since age 14 and who could outdo my own vision of marrying a member of Duran Duran? Turns out Robinne Lee does in this gripping, sensual, and soul-stirring romance that is set in a real place. Years after reading this, I’m still thinking of the relationship and its many layers.

Wow, No Thank You.: Essays

By Samantha Irby,

Book cover of Wow, No Thank You.: Essays

Why this book?

A writer with a hyperactive inner world makes a life with her partner whose existence seems wildly different from her own. It is easy to fall in love with Irby and her rollicking humor. Someone whose brilliance, independence, and talent sets her apart enters into marriage, stepmotherhood, and full small-town regalia. How does that work? Very well, in fact.

The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Woman's Adventures in the Oldest City on Earth

By Jennifer Steil,

Book cover of The Woman Who Fell from the Sky: An American Woman's Adventures in the Oldest City on Earth

Why this book?

Disclaimer: I went to school with this talented storyteller so I am liable to gush over her prose. Once again, point proven that when you go somewhere and think your life won’t change, you are always wrong. In fact, teaching journalists how to write in Yemen over three weeks might actually be the perfect place for you to discover your purpose—and find the perfect partner. What I love about Jennifer Steil’s writing is her attention to detail, which makes for a gorgeous reading experience.

Wish You Were Here

By Jodi Picoult,

Book cover of Wish You Were Here

Why this book?

The pandemic hasn’t been ideal for the experience of wonder—and certainly not deep, intimate relationships with new people who could bring about your demise due to the virus. Picoult masterfully details a woman’s trek through this challenging early COVID terrain, which often appears as a dead end (absolutely no pun intended). But what she does with her circumstances unexpectedly leads her to magical places.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, rock music, and quality of life?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, rock music, and quality of life.

Gay Men Explore 43 books about gay men
Rock Music Explore 129 books about rock music
Quality Of Life Explore 11 books about quality of life

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like They Both Die at the End, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and The Midnight Library if you like this list.