21 Romance Novels That Are Actually Worth Reading

Grab the wine ... and maybe even the tissues.

romance novels

From heart-wrenching love stories that might bring a tear to your eye to a romance with a more sinful side to it, these books are perfect to cozy up with and enjoy tonight.

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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman


André Aciman's novel Call Me By Your Name, is about Elio Perlman, who's spending the summer at his parents' house, and the romance that blossoms between him and his family's houseguest. The story will stay with you long after you finish.

Related: The Most Romantic Movies for a Perfect Night In

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Diana Gabaldon's story of Claire Randall, who's caught between two different men in two different centuries has readers raving. Outlander also inspired the hit TV series on Starz, but let's be honest — the book's always better.

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Looking For Alaska by John Green


For those young-and-in-love readers, you'll want to check out Looking For Alaska. Written by the same author that gave us The Fault In Our Stars, John Green tells a story about Miles Halter, who's heading off to boarding school to experience something new. It isn't soon after he arrives that he falls in love with Alaska Young.

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett


Bailey Rydell has spent half the year crushing on "Alex," a film nerd she only knows over the internet. Unsure of what "Alex" is like in real life, she doesn't tell him that she moved to his hometown or got a job at the local museum. At the new job, Porter Roth, the hot museum security guard, heckles her daily. Bailey at first finds Porter to be irritable, but is surprised to find that she develops feelings for him. She must make the tough decision between her online fantasy and Porter. But things get even more complicated because Porter is hiding his own secret — he's "Alex."

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novel women romance book 
Silk Scarf Publishing
Novel Women by Between Friends Book Club


Bri, a founder of a book club deals with a beautiful woman who won't stop trying to seduce her husband, while Staci bounces back after a divorce and falls in love. Meanwhile, Tess (a widow) falls for her handyman (like actually, though) and Charlotte has sworn off romance all together after a brutal divorce. Ava is in denial about her husband's lies, but hangs onto him and her career, and Hanna starts to fall for her daughter's soccer coach after 16 long years of being married to a workaholic. Aside from the incredible sex, these women have one thing in common: they're in a book club together.

The coolest part? This book was written by an actual book club. Authors Kim Sullivan Harwanko, Patty Vrana, Fran Furtado, Denise Panyik-Dale, and Jeanne Ann are all members of Between Friends Book Club.

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Honesty by Seth King


Seth King's love story is about two closeted college students who want nothing more than the ability to be themselves with the lights on. Honesty is a beautiful depiction of the hardships that some people face when it comes to who they love due to society's norms.

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The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo


When Lucy and Gabe met in their senior year of college at Columbia, they never realized what lay ahead. Different career paths that put them worlds apart are just the beginning. You'll see their journey through 13 years of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, of course, love.

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Darker by E L James


Tap into the mind of Christian Grey in this book. In Darker, E L James writes Fifty Shades Darker from his point of view instead. Fans of the series will love the insight into Christian's life before Ana.

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The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur


Divided into five chapters — wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming — Kaur's new collection is nothing but a celebration of love. Be sure to check out her first collection of poetry, Milk and Honey.

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen


Working her summer job helping brides plan their big day, Louna believes her chances of finding the one are over when her first love didn't end so well. That is, until Ambrose comes along. Charming chick magnet Ambrose is determined to get what he wants, and what he wants is Louna. Will she realize her second chance at love is right in front of her?

Related: The 50 Most Romantic Movies for a Perfect Night In

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Swear On This Life by Renée Carlino


As Emiline begins to read the book everyone is talking about, a novel by the unknown J. Colby, she becomes drawn to its story about two young lovers who fall for each other and dream of a better life. Noticing too similar a resemblance to her own childhood, she realizes it's about her. J. Colby is Jase Colby, her best friend and first lover. Furious that he co-opted her past, she must confront him and learn the truth behind his best-selling debut novel.

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See Me by Nicholas Sparks


By now you should know that you need a box of tissues when it comes to Nicholas Sparks' books. In See Me, Colin and Maria meet by chance and fall hard for one another. As they imagine what their future could look like together, events from Maria's past threaten to resurface.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


A New York Times best-seller and adored by many, Eleanor & Park reminds us of what a first love is like and how hard you get pulled under as they face the odds, knowing that it never usually lasts.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


This New York Times best-seller is a heartbreaking romance novel that has sold over five million copies. The story of Louisa Clark, an ordinary girl who takes a job taking care of paraplegic Will Traynor, is one that'll leave you in tears. Be sure to check out the sequel, After You.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne


Two executive assistants, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, who hate each other, are fighting for the same promotion. You'll be laughing out loud all the way till the end as they discover they might not actually hate each other as much as they thought.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover


Lily, who believes she has moved on from her first love, Atlas, meets a gorgeous neurosurgeon, Ryle, who she hits it off with right away. When everything seems to be going smoothly, Atlas reappears, reminding her of the life she left behind. Filled with honest truths about relationships, once you finish this emotional rollercoaster, you'll want to pass it along to everyone you know.

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Just Friends by Billy Taylor


From the age of seven, August and Ethan have been best friends. Even after 12 years, they still continue to grow in their friendship. They have been there for each other through everything: fame, fortune, even a life-threatening car wreck that makes August realize she might want to be more than just friends.

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George


Nina George writes the journey of Monsieur Perdu, an owner of a floating bookstore who prescribes the perfect love story for broken hearts who come to visit him. The only heart he can't mend is his own. Left with only a letter from his love who disappeared, he sets off on a journey to the south of France to find peace within himself.

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Fifty Shades Darker by EL James


You'll want to read the final book before the movie hits theaters (February 2018). Or, to refresh your memory on all the dirty details of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey's undenied obsession for one another, read the first two installments, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks


This one was goes without saying. Even though you've probably seen the movie a thousand times, the book is still worth a read. The story of Noah and Allie and their love that withstands years apart could be read over and over again.

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The Mistress by Danielle Steel


Currently the best-selling author alive with over 800 million copies of her books sold, Danielle Steel knows romance. Her latest book, The Mistress, is about Natasha Leonov's desire to run away and fall in love with Theo Luca, a brilliant painter. Under the protection of the ruthless billionaire, Vladimir Stanislas — who brought her in from the streets to be his mistress — she's anything but free to leave. She'll have to face the choice to stay or risk her safety for the man she loves.

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