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In Search of a Prince by
A New Yorker discovers she's the heir to a West African island throne in this charming Christian romance.
Something Fabulous by
A runaway heiress's brother and fiancé fall for each other in this queer Regency send-up of Dude, Where's My Car?
Lists of Romances in the BPL Online Catalog
Romancing the Rainbow
What's better than one list of color-themed romance? How about eight! Browse these collections of popular romantic reads, organized by color, and check one out today.
Fat heroes and heroines are beautiful and lovable! Check out one of these romances for teens and adults and cheer for them to find their happy endings.
Romance in Color
Diversify your digital bookshelf with one of these swoon-worthy reads by authors of color! (Note: This list will take you directly to Overdrive.)
Romance Series Starters
Looking for a new romance series to read? Make sure you start with book one! (Note: This list will take you directly to Overdrive.)
Top Ten Romance Novels of the 2010s
The librarians at the BPL pick their top ten romance novels of the past decade!
What Is Romance?
Romance fiction can cover nearly any setting or genre. There are romance novels with contemporary dialog, historical settings, mystery plots, paranormal elements, and any number of other themes.
Two basic elements are in every romance novel:
A book that lacks either of these elements may still contain a romance story, but it is not a romance novel -- a distinction that can prove confusing to those unfamiliar with the genre. The authors Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel, for instance, are often referred to as writing romances, but their work does not meet the generic requirements for romance novels.
Popular Romance Tropes
The Boston Public Library subscribes to a resource called Novelist Plus which can help you search for new books to read in a variety of ways. You can search for your favorite book or author and find readalikes, or you can combine a variety of different "appeal factors" such as pace, tone, and writing style to find a book that's just right for you. One other helpful approach that you can take in Novelist is going into the Advanced Search tab and searching by genre-specific "themes" or tropes. You can see a list of themes that the Novelist staff uses to categorize romance novels below.
- Best friend’s sibling: Though the characters in these stories are attracted to each other, they feel they shouldn't act on their impulses due to pre-existing loyalties to friends or family. (Adults, Teens)
- Captive hearts: The hero holds the heroine captive for his own gain, but along the way, they fall in love. (Adults)
- Childhood sweethearts: Young love blossoms into adult romance in these stories of childhood sweethearts maturing into a realistic partnership. (Adults)
- Enemies to lovers: There is a thin line between love and hate in these stories where the characters start out as adversaries but end up romantically attached. (Adults) Note: On the teen side, the heading is called “Hating to Dating."
- Fake relationship: Whether to make someone jealous or out of necessity, these characters pretend to fall in love, only to find it feels so real. (Adults, Teens)
- Falling for a friend: Though their relationship begins platonically, the characters in these stories find themselves developing an attraction which deepens into love. (Teens) Note: On the adult side, the heading is called “Friends to lovers.”
- Famous flings: The glare of the limelight is no match for the sparks that fly when a famous figure falls in love with an ordinary person. (Adults, Teens)
- For richer, for poorer: Despite coming from very different social classes, nothing can keep us apart. (Adults)
- Friends to lovers: Though their relationship begins platonically, the characters in these stories find themselves developing an attraction which deepens into love. (Adults) Note: On the teen side, the heading is called “Falling for a friend.”
- Getting together for the kids: An unplanned pregnancy leads to marriage. (Adults)
- Hating to Dating: There is a thin line between love and hate in these stories where the characters start out as adversaries but end up romantically attached. (Teens) Note: On the adult side, the heading is called “Enemies to lovers."
- Home again: Take me back to the place where I belong. (Adults)
- Love abroad: A travel adventure leads to everlasting love. (Adults, Teens)
- Love in a small town: Fall in love in a small town where everyone knows your name. (Adults)
- Love in disguise: Can love blossom even though one or both of these characters is not who they seem? (Adults, Teens)
- Marriage of convenience: Saying "I do" is mutually beneficial for the couples in these stories, but then the unexpected happens: they fall in love! (Adults)
- New in town: Moving to a new town leads to new love. (Adults)
- Once upon a time: The fairy tale couple lived happily ever after, right? (Adults, Teens)
- One night to forever: What's supposed to be a brief fling turns into a lasting relationship for the characters in these romances. (Adults)
- Opposites attract: The couple in these novels seems an unlikely match in all ways (except for how they feel about each other). (Adults, Teens)
- Second chance at romance: Tis better to have loved and lost and loved again. (Adults)
- Secret baby: The revelation of a secret love child helps these couples reunite and give love another chance. (Adults)
- Snowbound & stranded: Things heat up in close quarters. (Adults)
- Sudden baby: Unexpectedly becoming the guardian of a child (or children!), leads to an unexpected romance. (Adults)
- Together again: Reunited and it feels so good! Former lovers reunite and reconcile in these romantic stories. (Adults)
- Unforgettable love: Characters suffer through memory loss get another chance for love as they slowly remember their past. (Adults)
- Workplace romance: Mixing business with pleasure? Smitten colleagues defy HR regulations in these love stories. (Adults)
Would you like the BPL's romance suggestions emailed directly to your inbox, every other month? Sign up for our bimonthly Now Read This! newsletter for Romance. In each issue, you will find a featured book of the month, a special event worth checking out, a curated selection of newly-acquired and upcoming romance titles, and booklists for further reading. Whether you prefer unconventional love stories or traditional bodice-rippers, your friendly BPL Reader Services Librarians have recommendations for every reader.
Useful Blogs and Websites
RWA: Romance Writers of America
Home of the Vivian Awards (formerly the RITAs, and still the most prominent award in the romance industry, intended to "promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas") as well as useful information about the romance genre as a whole, including readership statistics.
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
One of the most popular and well-known blogs focused on reading and reviewing romance novels. Also home to a podcast on romance!
Under the Covers Book Blog
A website dedicated to romance novels which offers an upcoming release calendar, reviews and recommended reads, and a variety of other features.
Aestas Book Blog
Features book reviews, announcements of new and upcoming releases, and themed lists.
All About Romance
A romance review blog that also features a number of "Special Title Listings" aimed at helping readers find books on particular topics.
Review blog with multiple reviewers looking at a multitude of sub-genres.
Love in Panels
A review blog originally covering graphic novels and comics with romantic themes, Love in Panels has since expanded to include traditional romance novels as well.
Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view.
Romance at Goodreads
Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Note that categories on Goodreads are crowd-sourced so they may not all be accurate.
Journal of Popular Romance Studies
A double-blind peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal exploring popular romance fiction and the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture.