The most recommended romance books

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,233 experts.

2,233 authors created a book list connected to romance, and here are their favorite romance books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of romance book?


Book cover of Atomic Love

Kitty Zeldis Author Of The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights

From my list on historical novels that feature bad-ass women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a girl growing up in the 1960s, I loved books that were set in the past—Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn were among my favorites. But those books weren’t historical fiction because they were written back then. So discovering that I could set my own books in the past was a thrill. I love evoking the sights, sounds, and smells of the past. And I especially love describing what my characters wear. Vintage clothes are my passion and being able to incorporate that love into my work is an ongoing delight.

Kitty's book list on historical novels that feature bad-ass women

Kitty Zeldis Why did Kitty love this book?

A novel about a young woman who worked on the atomic bomb and fell in love with one of the other scientists on the project who breaks her heart into a million pieces so she abandons her career and takes up as a shop-girl? Add in an FBI agent who is on the tail of the cad and wants her help in finding him? Count me in!

Fields is terrific at creating mood and the 1950s milieu. And the unexpected romance between Rosalind, the one-time scientist, and Charlie, the FBI agent, is both moving and immensely satisfying—these are two wounded souls who manage to find each other and by the end, you’re out of your chair and cheering.

By Jennie Fields,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, deepest desires and the power of forgiveness

'A highly-charged love story' DELIA OWENS, bestselling author of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING

'This story has everything. Just thinking about it makes me feel that lovely feeling where your heart seems to skip a beat' 5***** Reader Review

Chicago, 1950: Rosalind Porter is unfulfilled, heartbroken and angry.

Five years ago her career as a scientist was sabotaged by the man who also broke her heart: former Manhattan Project colleague Thomas Weaver.

Now, out of the blue, Thomas gets back in touch: he urgently needs to…

Book cover of The Alexandria Quartet

Peter Guttridge Author Of City of Dreadful Night

From my list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by long stories where things aren’t exactly as they seem. Most crime fiction is secrets and lies and their eventual uncovering but most ‘literary’ fiction is too. For what it’s worth, I was a book reviewer for all the posh UK papers for about 15 years, including crime fiction critic for The Observer for twelve (so I’ve read far more crime novels than is healthy for anyone!). I’m a voracious reader and writer and I love making things more complicated for myself (and the reader) by coming up with stuff that I’ve then somehow got to fit together.  

Peter's book list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators

Peter Guttridge Why did Peter love this book?

Not crime although there are crimes in it. The narrative structure of the quartet was a major influence on structuring my trilogy. The first three present different versions of the same events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt before and during the Second World War. In Book 1, a self-absorbed, pretentious narrator, Darley, presents an account of an intense love affair. In book 2, Balthazar shows how ignorant he was about what was really going on about him. Mountolive widens the political context and shows both earlier narrators were looking through the wrong end of a telescope. Book 4 manages to tease out yet more solutions to mysteries thought resolved.

By Lawrence Durrell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Alexandria Quartet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rediscover one of the twentieth century's greatest romances in Lawrence Durrell's seductive tale of four tangled lovers in wartime Egypt that is 'stunning' (Andre Aciman) and 'wonderful' (Elif Shafak)

'A masterpiece.' Guardian

'A formidable, glittering achievement.' TLS

'One of the great works of English fiction.' Times

'Dazzlingly exuberant ... Superb.' Observer

'Brave and brazen ... Lush and grandiose.' Independent

'Legendary ... Casts a spell ... Reader, watch out!' Guardian

'Lushly beautiful ... One of the most important works of our time.' NYTBR

Alexandria, Egypt. Trams, palm trees and watermelon stalls lie honey-bathed in sunlight; in darkened bedrooms, sweaty lovers unfurl.…

Book cover of Saving Shadow: A Regency Spy Romance

Rebecca Lange Author Of Healing the Orphaned Heart

From my list on swoon-worthy Christian historical romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember I had a special love for western romance books. My mom has written several books set in 1800s America and that probably stirred me in that direction as well since I love her books (they're in German, which is why I couldn’t recommend them). Regency has become my second historical fiction genre, which is probably why I write and read both time periods. I'm a German-born US-Indie author and total romance fanatic. I write Christian Romance set mostly in the above time periods. I'm a massive Harry Potter fan, have been married to my husband for nearly 18 years and we have two teenage sons. 

Rebecca's book list on swoon-worthy Christian historical romance

Rebecca Lange Why did Rebecca love this book?

For England's top spy, love is not an option. Well, that’s at least what the main character thinks, but Eliza quickly discovers that the partner she is paired up with makes falling in love suddenly a very possible option. It is a very interesting and captivating story with a twist because Lady Eliza happens to be the daughter of a duke, yet a secret spy for the crown. Her code name: Shadow. It is an action-packed story that keeps you on the edge of your seat while falling in love with the characters and swooning along the way. A must-read for regency lovers with the hint-feel of a thriller.

By Laura Beers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saving Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For England's top spy, love is not an option

Born with a perfect memory, Lady Elizabeth Beckett has become one of the world’s most notorious spies, despite being the daughter of a duke. She is shielded only by her code name: Shadow. When young ladies of High Society begin disappearing from London, Eliza has no doubt who is orchestrating these crimes; a heinous man she has been investigating for years. Vowing to save them before they are sold to the highest bidder, she must risk everything to stop him.

Lord Sinclair was perfectly content being the second son of a…

Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

Book cover of Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

Patrick G. Cox Author Of Ned Farrier Master Mariner: Call of the Cape

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

On the expertise I claim only a deep interest in history, leadership, and social history. After some thirty-six years in the fire and emergency services I can, I think, claim to have seen the best and the worst of human behaviour and condition. History, particularly naval history, has always been one of my interests and the Battle of Jutland is a truly fascinating study in the importance of communication between the leader and every level between him/her and the people performing whatever task is required.  In my own career, on a very much smaller scale, this is a lesson every officer learns very quickly.

Patrick's book list on the Battle of Jutland

What is my book about?

Captain Heron finds himself embroiled in a conflict that threatens to bring down the world order he is sworn to defend when a secretive Consortium seeks to undermine the World Treaty Organisation and the democracies it represents as he oversees the building and commissioning of a new starship.

When the Consortium employs an assassin from the Pantheon, it becomes personal.

Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

What is this book about?

The year is 2202, and the recently widowed Captain James Heron is appointed to stand by his next command, the starship NECS Vanguard, while she is being built. He and his team soon discover that they are battling the Consortium, a shadowy corporate group that seeks to steal the specs for the ship’s new super weapon. The Consortium hires the Pantheon, a mysterious espionage agency, to do their dirty work as they lay plans to take down the Fleet and gain supreme power on an intergalactic scale. When Pantheon Agent Bast and her team kidnap Felicity Rowanberg, a Fleet agent…

Book cover of Throwback

Nancy McCabe Author Of Vaulting Through Time

From my list on contemporary young adult on time traveling teens.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been obsessed with time travel, which transcends science fiction and offers ways to experience and reinterpret history, explore philosophical ideas, comment on the past, and imagine the future. I love the possibilities for humor and character development and plot twists across every genre and audience. One feature of all of the books I’ve chosen for this list is that they’re about contemporary young people and grounded in real lives, and time travel happens in all sorts of ways: through magical, mysterious forces, an app, tap shoes, a diary, a rideshare vehicle. I’m less interested in imaginary worlds and more fascinated by the way time travel can shed light on our own times.

Nancy's book list on contemporary young adult on time traveling teens

Nancy McCabe Why did Nancy love this book?

This book was released a couple of days before my list was due, but I was captivated by the description of it as “Back to the Future meets Joy Luck Club.And Throwback engaged me immediately.

I sped through the story of Samantha Kang who, unable to connect to her mom and worried about her grandmother’s health, finds herself thrown back from 2025 to 1995. There, she gets to know her teenage mom and her grandmother in a whole new way.

The contrasts between the post-pandemic gender-fluid TikTok generation and the regressive attitudes of the analog 1990s are brilliantly highlighted, Sam’s social-media savvy voice pitch-perfect, her observations about race, class, gender, pop culture, and being the child and grandchild of immigrants incisive and provocative, humorous and relatable.

I was glad I waited for this novel before I completed my list!

By Maurene Goo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Throwback as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

"No one can blend family, humor, satire, and love into a single perfect story like Maurene Goo can . . ." - Marie Lu, No.1 New York Times bestselling author

Samantha Kang has always butted heads with her mom, Priscilla, who is a first-generation Korean American, a former high school cheerleader and expects Sam to want the same all-American nightmare. Meanwhile, Sam is a girl of the times who has no energy for cliched high school aspirations. After a huge fight, Sam is desperate to get away from Priscilla, but instead, finds herself thrown back. Way back.

To her shock,…

Book cover of Crave

Vicki-Ann Bush Author Of Alex McKenna and the Geranium Deaths

From my list on paranormal books for talking with the dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was very young, I’ve had experiences with the paranormal. Whether it be a soft graze along my cheek or a spirit standing in front of me, I’ve always been drawn to things behind the veil. Joining the world of the living with the dead comes natural for me, and reading the genres of paranormal and fantasy is like a cup of hot tea on a chilly winter afternoon.

Vicki-Ann's book list on paranormal books for talking with the dead

Vicki-Ann Bush Why did Vicki-Ann love this book?

This book because it drew me in immediately and took hold. I had a love/hate relationship with reading the ending though. I enjoyed it immensely and although I wanted more and I wanted to know the ending, I was bummed when it was finished because I didn’t want to let go of the characters.

At the time I was struggling with the death of my mom and for a while, it took me away and brought me into another world. This book will always hold a special place in my heart.

By Tracy Wolff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place. Or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods.or monsters. I still can't decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

And then there's Jaxon Vega. A prince. A vampire. An annoyingly kissable boy who hasn't felt a thing in over a hundred years. But there's a darkness to him. A secret craving that threatens to consume him whole.…

Book cover of Wicked and the Wallflower

Susan Corso Author Of Ascending Apparition

From my list on chosen family romances.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wondering why I’m such a fan of chosen families? I have a family of origin, but when I think of true family, it’s not my siblings. It’s the people of my heart. My husband, my longtime editor, who I finally got smart enough to marry. A spiritual daughter in Boston; another in Kenya. A favorite ex-husband in Santa Fe. Another man who should've been my brother, and his beloved husband in Manhattan. For me, a real friend is someone who’d raze the State Department if I were stuck in a prison in Lima, Peru. Any one of these mentioned would. I always wanted a pseudonym so I write Boots & Boas under Vivienne Hartt Quinn.

Susan's book list on chosen family romances

Susan Corso Why did Susan love this book?

Sarah MacLean went to Smith. So did I. Besides, I am famous for saying about myself at parties, “I’m not just a wallflower—I’m the wallpaper.” How could I possibly give a miss to a Smithie and wallflowers? I couldn’t. Three half-siblings hold a dastardly secret amongst themselves about their inheritance and the person to whom it really belongs. Ruling royalty of the darker side of Covent Garden, two of them live by their own code of loyalty, along with their beloved sister. I totally loved the research and detail that had to go into these books. Covent Garden was never so lascivious, and wallflowers never so appealing. The women show their moral backbones right alongside the Bastards and the sparks are illuminating. Go, wallflowers!

By Sarah MacLean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wicked and the Wallflower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Wicked Comes Calling . . .

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees-on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . .

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn…

Book cover of Linger

Michael Griffo Author Of Moonglow

From my list on changelings and their friends.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer I like to explore many genres, and one of my favorites is young adult supernatural.  I think I was destined to write in this world because the first book I took out of the library was Where the Wild Things Are. My favorite books as a teenager all dealt with supernatural themes – Summer of Fear, Carrie, and Audrey Rose. Writing about changelings allows me to explore the tenuous connection between what lies inside of us – our psyche, our minds, our souls – and what might exist on the other side of our known world.  It’s the search for that missing link that keeps me writing.  

Michael's book list on changelings and their friends

Michael Griffo Why did Michael love this book?

I love when fantasy meets reality and that’s just what happens in Linger. A virus turns people into werewolves and the transformations are controlled by the temperature. A worldwide virus and an unpredictable climate? Talk about a dose of reality. Grace Brisbane is an anomaly – she was bitten by werewolves when she was young, but somehow has never shifted and as a result she’s dying. The book follows Grace as she and her friends try to save her life. It’s a fantastical story, but grounded in real human emotions. The perfect blend of truth and fiction.

By Maggie Stiefvater,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Linger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The LongingOnce Grace and Sam
have found each other they know they must fight to stay together. For
Sam this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace it means
facing a future that is less and less certain.The LossInto
their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and
danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a
wolf while denying the ties of being human. The LingerFor
Grace, Sam and Cole life is a constant struggle between two forces -
wolf and human - with love baring its…

Book cover of The Search

Tammy L. Grace Author Of Cold Killer

From my list on mysteries with dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved mysteries and puzzles and have been an avid mystery reader since devouring all the Nancy Drew books at our library. There’s such satisfaction that comes from solving a mystery. When I started writing, my faithful golden retriever was always resting at my feet. She was the inspiration and the reason I chose to include dogs in all my books. Having a dog alongside my character allows me to show more depth in the humans in my stories and reveal weaknesses and vulnerabilities they may not be able to show others. I hope you enjoy my top picks as much as I have.

Tammy's book list on mysteries with dogs

Tammy L. Grace Why did Tammy love this book?

I loved this book that’s a bit of women’s fiction and a mystery in one, woven together by one of my favorites, Nora Roberts. This one is set in the Pacific Northwest and Fiona, the main character, lives on a small island off the coast of Washington. I also write women’s fiction and my first series is set in the San Juan Islands of Washington, so this book appealed to me for the setting, along with the aspect of the canine search and rescue work the main character does. 

A puppy named Jaws brings a new human into Fiona’s life and sets up the emotional elements of the story. I can’t resist a story where a dog introduces two of the main characters! 

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A canine Search and Rescue volunteer fights danger and finds love in the Pacific Northwest wilderness in this riveting #1 New York Times bestseller from Nora Roberts.

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school and a challenging volunteer job performing Canine Search and Rescue. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare: an encounter with the Red Scarf Killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fiance and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona has found the peace and solitude necessary to…

Book cover of The Persuasion of Miss Kate

Regina Scott Author Of Never Doubt a Duke

From my list on historical romances sure to make your smile.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the author of more than 50 works of warm, witty historical romance, I love seeking out stories that will make me smile. I’m a firm believer in happy endings, in the books I write, and the books I read. I’m also a bit obsessed with history, having driven a carriage four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research.

Regina's book list on historical romances sure to make your smile

Regina Scott Why did Regina love this book?

The stories in Kathleen Baldwin’s My Notorious Aunt series are full of quirky heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and delightful situations, but this one is one of her best. A messy breakup, in public, sets the hero and heroine on the rocky road to reconciliation, with plenty of complications along the way. You’ll be rooting for their happily-ever-after.

By Kathleen Baldwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Miss Kate Linnet yearns for independence above all else, but Lord Colter is determined to persuade her to marry.

Kate adores her younger sisters, but taking care of them ever since her mother died has her longing for freedom. Or so she thinks.

Marriage is most assuredly not the answer. After all, with marriage comes more responsibility and inevitably more children. Despite knowing that, two years ago, she agreed to marry Lord Colter. Devil take his boyish charm! And those roguish dark eyes of his. She never should have said yes. The more he pushed for a wedding date, the…

Book cover of Where the Truth Lies

Steven Jankowski Author Of Below the Line

From my list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a screenwriter I’ve always enjoyed noir stories, whether books or movies. Stories where the characters are not your squeaky-clean “good guys.” I like to see “ordinary” people; people who are flawed (like all of us), or maybe with a shady past, who are swayed or manipulated by dire circumstances into doing something they would not ordinarily do. I enjoy stories with unique, interesting characters that are not your run-of-the-mill private eyes, and whose moral compass might be a bit off. I particularly like stories where characters are forced to become investigators because of a situation they are thrust into, whether by accident or by their own dubious actions. 

Steven's book list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives

Steven Jankowski Why did Steven love this book?

Set in the seventies, a sexy female celebrity journalist sets out to find the reason for the break-up of a singing/comedy duo alá Lewis and Martin and uncovers a gruesome murder. Full of sex, drugs, and behind-the-scenes entertainment business debauchery, this story is told in a masterful way that is funny, frightful, suspenseful, and disturbing. A truly unique noir tale where no one comes away clean. Just how I like it. And written by my good friend and former employer, Rupert Holmes. The same guy that gave us “Escape, The Pina Colada Song” and the Broadway hit The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

By Rupert Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where the Truth Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


O’Connor, a vivacious, free-spirited young journalist known for her penetrating celebrity interviews, is bent on unearthing secrets long ago buried by the handsome showbiz team of singer Vince Collins and comic Lanny Morris. These two highly desirable men, once inseparable (and insatiable, where women were concerned), were driven apart by a bizarre and unexplained death in which one of them may have played the part of murderer. As the tart-tongued, eye-catching O’Connor ventures deeper into this unsolved mystery, she finds herself compromisingly coiled around both men, knowing more about them than they realize and less…