Although I think that one never needs an excuse for wanting a good happily-ever-after, I’m happy to take any chance I get to recommend some great romance books. Personally, I find it comforting to know that however uncertain the real world might be, It is guaranteed that if I pick up a romance book I can count on a happy ending. So in saying that, here is a list of some of my favorite romance books of all time. Note that this is but a tiny sampling - I am a veritable font of all things romance and there just isn't enough space on the page to list everything...
Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
This one’s a classic and possibly the novel that made me the die-hard romance fan that I am today. When the brilliant Duke of Jervaulx is sent to the madhouse, Quaker Maddy Timms is the only one who thinks that his "madness" can be cured.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Jessica Trent is resolved to save her idiot brother from the bad influence of the Marquis of Dain, and she’ll do anything to achieve her goal. This is the quintessential "enemies to lovers" plot and nobody does it better than Loretta Chase.
Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan
Seriously, just pick up anything by Milan – she can do no wrong. I can’t even narrow down my favorite book by her. Just pick a book at the beginning of one of her series and go from there.
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
The Marquess of Bourne will do anything to reclaim his lost inheritance, including marrying Lady Penelope. But while he is intent on keeping her from the underworld that he has fallen into, she wants nothing more than to experience something new… Like Milan, MacLean is on my must-read list for anything she writes!
Non-stop Till Tokyo by K.J. Charles
If you like fast-paced gangster thrillers AND romance AND Japan, you’ll love this book which features a Samoan-American ex-sumo wrestler and a Tokyo bar hostess / linguistics prodigy who’s been framed for the murder of a yakuza boss.
Broken by Megan Hart
One of the first erotic novels I read that had an amazing plot and characters I cared about. Sadie meets Joe once a month and he tells her about his latest one-night stand. He doesn’t know the part he plays in Sadie’s world and fantasies. This is a novel about the unpredictability of life and having to grow in unexpected ways.
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Not a traditional romance the way we think of them now, but this 1950 novel, set in Malaya and Australia during and after WWII, has a beautiful romance at the heart of it. Although there are some troubling Australian racial characterizations common to the time it is set, the story of Jean and Joe is radiant.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Crusie writes some hilarious romances. If you want a satisfying story AND something guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, pick up her early works (Agnes and the Hitman and earlier). Bet Me is probably my favorite – Min’s just been dumped and has no more use for men in her life and Cal’s just been bet that he can’t get her into bed within a month. Then the fun begins!
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex. If you’ve only ever seen the movie, do yourself a favor and read the book it was based on.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Clare Randall falls through time from 1945 to 1743. In order to survive, she ends up marrying Jamie Fraser and has to build a life for herself on the eve of the Scottish Uprising. This is the one romance book in my life that seems to be loved by men and women equally – come for the time travel romance, stay for the incredible attention to history and amazing battle scenes.
Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love
If you just want to dip your toe into the world of paranormal romance, this collection is a fantastic starting point. Although aimed at older teens, the appeal of these stories is ageless.
Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins
When itinerant glassmaker Eddie witnesses a hit and run, grouchy store owner Grayson takes him in so he can stick around as a witness. The slow-burn of watching these two broken people tentatively find each other is a joy.
Think of England by K.J. Charles
As an elegant country house party devolves into blackmail, treachery, and murder, as an injured army officer and a mysterious fellow guest find themselves drawn together. Like Courtney Milan, anything K.J. Charles writes is golden.