Home Health 24 Best Romance Novels and Most Romantic Stories to Read in 2022

24 Best Romance Novels and Most Romantic Stories to Read in 2022

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Light some candles, grab your favorite sweet treat, slip into something comfy and get ready to turn up the heat with some of our favorite romance novels of all time. With both can’t miss classics (If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice , what are you waiting for?) and brand-new reads (here’s looking at you, Isaac Fellman), there’s a little something for everyone on our list.

Whether you salivate over historical romance that takes you back to fluttering hearts of yesteryear, paranormal romance that proves you don’t need flesh and blood to get frisky, rom-coms that pair hilarious misadventure with the steamy stuff or sexy stories that are too spicy for public transit, we’ve got a romance book to fit the bill.

Many of these great reads are romance-plus-other, so they’re perfect for people who think they aren’t into the genre. The romance realm has a lot to offer beyond the bodice-rippers you may have seen hiding in your mom’s bedside table or waiting for impulse buyers at the grocery store checkout counter. Alongside the love stories that categorize the form, many of our favorite romances also feature exciting plot lines, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ love stories and lyrical language that keep us breathless right through the final page. Add these to your TBR pile, and don’t forget to check out the Good Housekeeping book club once you’re done, for even more fantastic stories.

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1

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018)

You really can’t go wrong with any of Jasmine Guillory’s fun, romantic romps, but this sporty love story is especially great. Freelance writer Nik’s boyfriend proposes at a Dodger’s game, and the dude can’t even spell her name right. She says no (obviously), and the video goes viral. Handsome doctor Carlos sweeps her away from the frenzy, but he can’t possibly be the real deal. Or can he?

RELATED: The 50 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time to Watch With Your Friends

2

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (2016)

If you’ve ever carried a torch for a colleague (the scandal!) this novel will feel familiar. Coworkers Lucy Hutton and her sworn nemesis Joshua Templeman have a rivalry as bitter as they come, especially as they compete for the same promotion. At least, it starts out that way.

3

Vision In White by Nora Roberts (2012)

The prolific Nora Roberts has penned more than 200 romance novels, but this one earned top marks from her fans as the first installment in The Bride Quartet. Wedding photographer Mackensie “Mac” Elliot operates a wedding planning company with three friends. When a day on the job introduces her to sweet and stable English teacher Carter Maguire, their casual fling might lead to her own happy ending.

RELATED: The 25 Best Romantic Movies on Netflix to Put You in the Mood for Love

4

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (2018)

More nerdy storylines, please! In this novel from Helen Hoang, Stella Lane is the genius mathematician who puts herself in remedial romance — by hiring escort Michael Phan to teach her the ins and outs of sex. We consider it the perfect equation for a great read.

5

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (2022)

Chloe Green has spent her whole tenure at Willowgrove Christian Academy competing for valedictorian with the principal’s perfect daughter, Shara Wheeler. But when Shara kisses Chloe and then disappears on prom night, she leaves only a string of cryptic clues. Chloe forms an unlikely alliance with Rory, Shara’s misfit neighbor, and Smith, her quarterback boyfriend, to suss out where Shara has gone, ending with a dramatic finish no one will see coming.

6

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (2014)

If you like your romance in multiple installments, try the Crossfire series. Big city newbie Eva Tramell literally falls at the feet of billionaire tycoon Gideon Cross, kickstarting a steamy affair that reveals secrets from both their dark pasts. Sound familiar? There’s a reason one Amazon reviewer called it the “soap opera version of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

7

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (1977)

If you’ve never read Anaïs Nin and call yourself a romance fan, fix that right now. This vintage short story collection’s erotic vibes still hold up. But don’t take our word for it — turn off the lights, slip into something slinky and try it for yourself.

8

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

This classic is so old, it’s free if you have a Kindle! And you should definitely take advantage of that – it’s basically the O.G. romance novel. If you’re already a Jane Austen fan, check out Curtis Sittenfeld’s reinterpretation Eligible, which sets Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in modern-day Cincinnati.

9

Love at First Like: A Novel by Hannah Orenstein (2019)

Eliza co-owns a jewelry shop with her sister, and accidentally posts an Instagram of herself wearing a diamond ring on you-know-which finger. The photo blows up, and she realizes even a fake engagement is good for the ol’ bottom line. But then she meets Blake. He’s great, except for one thing: Blake doesn’t know about her ruse, and Eliza doesn’t know how much longer she can keep it all up.

10

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

They say you never forget your first love. Test that theory by taking a trip down memory lane with Eleanor and Park, two lovestruck misfit teens in 1986. They’re smart enough to know young love never lasts, but brave enough to try.

11

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)

Before it became an epic costume drama on Starz, this time-traveling romance novel introduced the world to Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, and her Scottish warrior love interest … who’s living in 1743. This one’s got it all: time travel, danger, intrigue and of course, plenty of love.

12

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1979)

This sweeping multigenerational tale of life on a sheep station in the Outback often gets described as “an Australian Gone With the Wind,” so if you love the Civil War version, try this one on for size. The romance primarily focuses on an illicit affair between Maggie, a resident on the remote ranch, and a handsome priest.

13

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman (2017)

You may have already seen the film starring Timothee Chalamet, but this steamy love story between two young men in the Italian Riviera is worth a read either way. Pro tip: Grab a juicy peach before you crack the spine. Just trust us.

14

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney (2021)

This quiet love story centers around Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon — four people trying to find their way in the world. Romantic entanglement ensues (this is a Rooney novel, after all) and you’ll find your own allegiances shifting and changing as you read.

15

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2014)

What happens when you fall in love with someone who lives on a totally different timeline? That’s the story for Henry DeTamble, a librarian who gets unstuck in time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life progresses the conventional way. This romantic tale is as unique as it is beautiful.

RELATED: 102 Best Love Quotes That Will Make Anyone Believe in True Love

16

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (1996)

Say it ain’t so, but we first watched *that* rain scene 15 years ago. Revisit Noah and Allie in the book about a South Carolina socialite separated from her summer love before their letters (and later notebooks) bring them back together.

17

A Lot Like Adiós: A Novel by Alexis Daria (2021)

From the superstar author of You Had Me at Hola comes another luxurious romance about a Puerto Rican career-focused woman with a nonexistent love life who gets a second chance with Gabrielle, the only man who ever made her heart race. Will they? Won’t they? We’ll never tell.

18

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams (2021)

Twenty years ago, Eva and Shane fell in love over a whirlwind of a week. When they happen to reconnect in Brooklyn, Eva (now an erotica writer) and Shane (now a bestselling author) have a chance at closure, or rekindling the spark that brought them together in the first place. It’s sexy, sultry and deliciously steamy.

19

Violeta by Isabel Allende (2022)

Allende is one of the best romance writers of our time, and her latest doesn’t disappoint. This epic story of a woman who perseveres two pandemics, war, the Great Depression and the battle for equal rights is not only a passionate love story but a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

20

Dead Collections: A Novel by Isaac Fellman (2022)

In this wildly original LBGTQ+ romance, an archivist named Sol falls for a widow when she comes to donate her late wife’s work. Sol suffers from vampirism, and has been sleeping in his office to avoid the punishing sun, and his nocturnal lifestyle makes dating a real challenge. As they fall for each other, they have to navigate grief, transphobia and the struggles that come with living two very different lives.

21

A Certain Appeal by Vanessa King (2021)

In this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Liz Bennett works as a stage kitten for a burlesque troupe that’s become more family than workplace. When she meets Will Darcy, sparks fly immediately. But just like in the original, the two are oil and water and can’t seem to connect (or get rid of each other). It’s sexy, spicy and totally unputdownable.

22

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (2022)

Mysterious, atmospheric and richly painted, this mystical love story follows Darwin, a rastafarian man who becomes a gravedigger to support himself and gets mixed up in some nefarious dealings, and Yejide, a woman with a power that’s both a blessing and a curse. When the two cross paths, they get a chance to rescue each other and change their lives forever.

23

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)

This 1847 classic tells the tale of courageous governess and heroine Jane Eyre and her brooding employer with a terrible secret, Mr. Rochester. Groundbreaking for its time, the first-person narrative set a new standard for what romance could be — no wonder readers still love it more than 170 years later.

24

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (2021)

It’s not like Grace to get married to a woman whose name she doesn’t even know, but that’s exactly what happens one drunken night in Vegas. When she moves to New York to spend the summer with her new wife and ignore her responsibilities for awhile, she eventually has to confront the reality she’s been running from.

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