Savanna, Associate Editor

Best HistRoms 2022
STARRED REVIEW

October 12, 2022

Get swept away

Calling all lords, ladies and gentlefolk: The year’s standout historical romances eagerly await your presence.

Share this Article:
Feature by

So, you made your way through not only “Bridgerton” but every other historical miniseries you could get your hands on, and now you’re faced with the daunting task of picking out a Regency romance novel from approximately one million titles. Don’t worry—we’re here to help. There are tons of terrific books out there, and because the subgenre has more variety than you might expect, we’ve added a complementary television series to each recommendation below to help you scope out the vibe.

A Duchess by Midnight

Miss Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne is determined to make a name for herself as a guide for young debutantes embarking on their London season in A Duchess by Midnight by Charis Michaels. When her newly royal stepsister, Cynde, uses her connections to secure Drew’s first paying client, Drew has her work cut out for her. How can she teach the Duke of Lachlan’s troubled nieces proper deportment and etiquette when she can’t seem to stop herself from breaking all the rules with the irresistible, scandal-ridden duke?

Read if you loved “The Baby-Sitters Club”

Yes, we’re really comparing a Regency romance to a TV show based on a series of chapter books, and here’s why. Both A Duchess by Midnight and the recent Netflix adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s popular series, which launched in 1986, take a story that had grown a bit stagnant in our imaginations and make it feel fresh without losing the magic of the original. Drewsmina is a Regency version of the stepsisters from Disney’s Cinderella, and through her, Michaels breathes new life into a slightly dusty fairy tale. Far from being a two-dimensional figure, Drewsmina becomes the fully realized heroine of her own story by being willing to grow and change. Her less-than-perfect past makes her the ideal person to reach the lonely, isolated duke and his two wary girls in this charming twist on an age-old story.

Nobody’s Princess

Kunigunde “Kuni” de Heusch is determined to become the first Royal Guardswoman of Balcovia. She can’t get distracted by anyone or anything—not even Graham Wynchester. But when Graham interferes with her mission at the beginning of Erica Ridley’s Nobody’s Princess, Kuni ends up falling in with the astonishing Wynchester clan—going on adventures, learning acrobatic skills and discovering a brand of heroism and service that is like nothing she’s ever known. Her time in England is limited, and the future of her dreams is waiting for her in Balcovia. She’ll soon have everything she ever wanted . . . except for a certain remarkable man.

Read if you loved “The Umbrella Academy”

Unlike the characters in the comic book-inspired Netflix series, the Wynchesters don’t have supernatural powers, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to make the world a better place. These adopted siblings use their fortune to right wrongs and protect the innocent. They bicker with and tease and aggravate one another, while still coming together when there’s an enemy to face. It’s lovely to see Kuni fall for not only the eminently lovable Graham but also his entire family and their appreciation of and support for one another. Ridley’s take on the Regency period is quirkier and broader than the norm, but that just makes Nobody’s Princess all the more compelling and fun.

The Rake’s Daughter

In Anne Gracie’s The Rake’s Daughter half sisters Clarissa and Isobel Studley have no one but each other—and if their father had had his way, they wouldn’t even have that. Isobel is the illegitimate daughter whom the unscrupulous baronet had no interest in raising, and only Clarissa’s stubborn loyalty kept the girls together through childhood. They cling to each other even tighter when their father dies and they are sent to London to live with their new guardian, Leo Thorne, the Earl of Salcott. Because his opinion of Isobel stems from her father’s viciously cruel descriptions, Leo is appalled by his instantaneous and fierce attraction to her. As they both try to shepherd Clarissa through her first season, the fiery Isobel challenges Leo to see past his preconceptions.

Read if you loved “The Good Place”

Gracie takes a warmer, sweeter view of Regency high society; there are still challenges and prejudices, but there are also examples of extraordinary kindness, devotion and compassion. Like Eleanor and Michael in the afterlife-set TV show, the characters in The Rake’s Daughter have vibrant, rich personalities that make it easy to root for them. Leo has a particularly impressive character arc, starting off almost as an antagonist before becoming the hero he always had the potential to be. And it’s not just the lead characters who will steal your heart: Loyal, kind, insightful but insecure Clarissa is reminiscent of Chidi from “The Good Place,” and one can only hope she gets her own book soon.

★ A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting

Kitty Talbot, the heroine of Sophie Irwin’s A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting, is left with four sisters to care for and an ocean of debt after her father dies and her fiancé jilts her. The only thing left of value is herself, so it’s off to London and the marriage mart to find a rich match. Luck seems to be on her side when she’s able to catch the eye of sweet, easily manipulated Archie de Lacy, but her hopes are punctured when his disapproving older brother, Lord Radcliffe, comes to break up the match. Desperate to the point of recklessness, Kitty manages to convince Radcliffe to make a trade: She’ll leave his brother alone if he helps her find another match. But what starts out as a grudging alliance blooms into something more, something built on growing respect, admiration, attraction—and maybe even love.

Read if you loved “Inventing Anna”

If you loved the high-wire tension of the miniseries featuring Anna Delvey’s con artist exploits, then this is the Regency romance for you. But unlike Anna, Kitty is a heroine you can genuinely like, even as you marvel at her audacity. She’s clever and cunning, but she’s also wry, funny and refreshingly honest, with admirable reasons for her manipulative fortune-hunting. From the start, her sharp mind and ruthless practicality make the story relentlessly readable, charging scenes with terrific tension and biting wordplay. Crucially, however, there’s so much more to Kitty than her diamond-hard facade. She’s not a cipher but a vivid and relatable character. The more Radcliffe understands her, the more he loves her—as will readers.

Overwhelmed by the amount of Regency romances out there? Let us be your guide to this season's best reads.
Review by

In Remember Love, Mary Balogh kicks off a new Regency-era series that will center on Ravenswood Hall, an ancestral estate.

Caleb Ware, the handsome Earl of Stratton, lives at Ravenswood with his wife, Clarissa, and their five children. By all accounts, the tightknit family is happy and prosperous. Gwyneth Rhys, whose family lives next door, has been in love for years with the earl’s oldest son, smart and serious Devlin Ware, who is fresh out of Oxford.

During a party at Ravenswood, Gwyn discovers that Devlin has been pining after her in turn. For one dreamy night,they dance and stroll in the moonlight and everything is perfect. But then Devlin’s discovery of Caleb’s philandering changes the trajectory of their lives. He calls out his father for his ungentlemanly behavior and is subsequently cast out of the family.

Balogh tells the story in two parts: The first section takes place before Devlin learns of his father’s infidelities; the second is set six years later, after Caleb has died and as Devlin returns home to take his place as earl after serving in the military. Having his idealized vision of his family shattered changes Devlin, and Balogh’s structure firmly underlines this. Young, hopeful and naive in the first section, Devlin is ruled by his sense of responsibility in the second, to the point that he’s confident there’s no room in his life for the frivolity of love. But Gwyneth, drawing on their lifelong friendship, can see right through Devlin, and fans of second-chance romances will be delighted as she slowly draws him out, reminding him of all the love he was once able to give.

Balogh doesn’t add in any superfluous conflict, allowing readers to luxuriate in her lush descriptions of the Regency era and sigh as Devlin and Gwyneth overcome the troubles of the past to find their way back to each other.

Mary Balogh's Remember Love is a lush and heart-tugging Regency romance that illustrates the poignancy of second chances.
Feature by

The Bride Goes Rogue

Joanna Shupe sets the pages on fire in the passionate Gilded Age romance The Bride Goes Rogue, the third entry in her Fifth Avenue Rebels series. Romantically minded Katherine Delafield has always looked forward to marriage, even though her own union has been arranged by her father. Her intended, New York City tycoon Preston Clarke, is a man she’s only seen from afar, and she’s stunned and humiliated when she learns that Preston has no intention of honoring his agreement with her father. Intent on making up for lost time, Katherine attends a scandalous masquerade ball and enjoys an exciting dalliance with a masked man—who turns out to be none other than her ex-betrothed. Despite their shock at discovering each other’s identity, neither truly regrets that steamy encounter . . . and all the other ones that follow. The ruthless Preston proves to have a heart after all, and despite being a naive ingenue, Katherine surprises him with her ardent desires. Shupe skillfully brings the opulent setting to life, and Katherine and Preston’s love story will leave readers with racing hearts and satisfied smiles.

From Bad to Cursed

The peace of the magical town of Thistle Grove is threatened in From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper. Four supernaturally gifted families live side by side in relative harmony in this Illinois community. The paranormal citizens make a living providing exciting, supposedly fake experiences to tourists, aka “normies”—at an occult superstore, for instance, or a haunted house. But during one of the town’s celebrations to mark the festival of Beltane, a mysterious curse nearly strips young witch Holly Thorn of her powers. Holly’s upstanding cousin Rowan Thorn and town wild child Isidora Avramov are ordered to investigate. Rowan and Issa have been enemies for years, but as they hunt down the person who cast the curse, their antagonism morphs into a surprisingly strong mutual attraction. From Bad to Cursed is an all-senses escape into a vivid and inventive world. Written from Issa’s snarky first-person perspective, this paranormal rom-com is sure to delight.

Something Wilder

Readers are invited along on an exciting adventure in author-duo Christina Lauren’s Something Wilder. Lily Wilder leads tourists on fake treasure hunts through the beautiful desert landscapes of Utah. It’s a career path made possible by Lily’s infamous treasure hunter father, Duke Wilder—and made necessary by her late father’s lack of financial planning. To her unpleasant surprise, Lily’s latest group of clients includes Leo Grady, the man who got away (or, more specifically, left her) 10 years ago. Even as they grapple with their past and what drove them apart, unforeseen danger requires Leo and Lily to combine their reserves of courage and cleverness to survive. The authors clearly hold the red rocks and canyons of Utah dear and describe them in loving detail throughout. Something Wilder is laden with suspense, intrigue and fun as its main couple faces down danger and learns to love again.

These three romances by Joanna Shupe, Lana Harper and Christina Lauren are perfect seasonal reads.
Review by

Cat Sebastian returns to the Georgian-era setting of 2021’s The Queer Principles of Kit Webb with The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes, a charming story about two chaotic bisexuals who cross each other’s paths while pursuing their criminal endeavors.

It’s hard to be sanctimonious when you have to rely on the man blackmailing you. That’s exactly the situation Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, finds herself in after shooting her husband. The only person she can think to turn to for a quick exit strategy is Rob Brooks, the cheerful highwayman and con artist who’s blackmailing her. If she could reach her own rear end, she’d kick it. And thus starts another highly enjoyable romance from Sebastian.

Sebastian’s prose is playful, and she sets a fast, jaunty pace as Marian and Rob ramble around the countryside, trying to figure out their next moves. She has a knack for making her characters relatable to modern audiences while still ensuring that they feel like people who live in 1751 and thus have to grapple with a rigid class system. Rob is an impulsive, reckless career criminal with an enviable resume of robbery, counterfeiting and horse theft. His secret is that he’s recently become the heir to a dukedom that he doesn’t want, seeing as he is firmly opposed to the aristocracy on a philosophical level. Meanwhile, the quick-witted and courageous Marian married a duke in order to ensure her family would be taken care of, but she soon learned that the price of the title was too high to pay. Unlike many historical romances, wealth never gets the characters of The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes anywhere: It never makes them happy, and it never truly changes the circumstances of their lives.

The couple’s mutual (and initially grudging, on Marian’s part) fondness morphs into a sweet romance moored by their shared practicality and humor, and by the quiet wounds of loneliness that echo in each of their hearts. Rob loves Marian almost from the beginning, and even though she struggles to open her heart in return, she always treats his love as the precious treasure that it is.

If you’re not already a fan of historical romance, you will be when you’re done reading this one.

If you're not already a fan of historical romance, you will be when you're done reading The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes.
Review by

Following the Battle of Waterloo, Viola Carroll abandoned her previous identity, as well as her aristocratic title, to finally embrace life as a trans woman. Allowing the world to believe she had been killed in action, Viola took on the role of companion to her sister-in-law, Lady Louise Marleigh.

But Viola’s dearest friend, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood, is not coping so well. He drowns himself in alcohol and opium to cope with his despair over Viola’s death, the lingering pain of a war injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Louise determines that she and Viola must intervene, and so they travel to Gracewood’s ancestral home, Castle Morgencald.

The term “slow burn” doesn’t begin to capture the agonized pining of this romance, which is absolutely suffused with yearning. Hall poignantly depicts Viola’s tangled mix of relief and sadness upon being reunited with Gracewood. Viola has nurtured a quiet hope that their connection to each other would be undeniable—that Gracewood would know and accept her without a second’s thought. But if he doesn’t, she agonizes over telling him that she’s the friend he’s long thought dead, knowing that revealing her identity could ruin the new life she’s built for herself. Some of the most emotionally fraught scenes in the novel are when Hall focuses on Gracewood’s inner turmoil, empathetically portraying a once powerful, nearly untouchable man who is overwhelmed by trauma.

How Alexis Hall is seizing his moment.

Hall adds some levity with flirtatious banter between his main couple, moments when readers can see the dark cloud hovering over Gracewood become a little lighter. There’s also a robust and interesting cast of side characters, which could mean (fingers crossed) A Lady for a Duke is but the first book in a series.

Hall first hit the bestseller list in 2020 with Boyfriend Material, a contemporary rom-com, and his fanbase has been growing ever since. Now that the British writer has hit it out of the park with this emotionally resonant, character-driven Regency romance, readers’ biggest question (besides “Is there anything Alexis Hall can’t do?”) will be “What will Alexis Hall think of next?” No matter what it is, it’ll be nuanced, swoony and a stellar example of what romance can do—just like A Lady for a Duke.

Alexis Hall takes on the Regency with his angsty new historical romance, A Lady for a Duke.
Feature by

★ Never a Duke

In Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes, a determined lady teams up with an almost-gentleman to search for women who have gone missing in Regency London. Ned Wentworth, who was adopted into a wealthy ducal family as a child, is intrigued to receive a note asking for aid from Lady Rosalind Kinwood, known for her dedication to charitable causes. Instinct urges him to demur, but Rosalind’s beauty and her fear for her missing lady’s maid calls to him. As Ned and Rosalind meet to discuss his investigation, a slow-burn romance full of understated yet heart-aching yearning begins. Burrowes’ writing style evokes classic Regency romance with its witty repartee and loving attention to clothing. Tortured-yet-tender Ned is an unforgettable hero who learns to value himself as much as those around him do. This is the seventh entry in Burrowes’ Rogues to Riches series, and fans will revel in glimpses of past couples and feel delighted that the worthy Ned has found love at last.

Mad for a Mate

MaryJanice Davidson pens a furiously paced, full-of-fun shifter romance in Mad for a Mate. Magnus Berne, a brown werebear of Scottish extraction, is surprised when Verity Lane washes up on the beach of his private island. He’s fascinated by her presence, then even more fascinated to learn she’s a squib—a werecreature that cannot shift—and is part of a club that takes dangerous dares to prove their worth to the world. When fellow club members begin dying, Magnus worries about the lovely Verity, and though usually reclusive, he opens himself up to her world and heart. Nimble-minded readers will delight in Davidson’s almost stream-of-consciousness style and occasional authorial interjections. She never spoon-feeds readers the rules of her paranormal world, which keeps the pace brisk and suits Mad for a Mate’s all-around quirkiness.

When She Dreams

Amanda Quick returns to the glamorous 1930s resort town of Burning Cove, California, in When She Dreams. Intrepid Maggie Lodge resolves to discover who is trying to blackmail her employer, a popular advice columnist. As part of her investigation, she travels to a conference in Burning Cove along with her newly hired (and newly minted) PI, Sam Sage. The conference’s subject intersects with one of Maggie’s personal interests: lucid dreaming, a state in which dreams can act as a conduit to psychic abilities. After a conference attendee’s suspicious death and an encounter with a scientist who is obsessed with Maggie’s abilities as a lucid dreamer, the pair realize this might be much more than a case of simple blackmail. Maggie’s can-do attitude finds a perfect complement in ex-cop Sam’s world-weariness. Falling in love is an unexpected delight for both of them, but longtime fans will not be surprised by Quick’s imagination and mastery of storytelling, which never fail to entertain.

Tired of gloomy vampires and brooding werewolves? Two lighthearted, fizzily fun paranormals, plus a truly unforgettable Regency hero, await you in this month’s romance column.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!

 

Recent Features

Calling all lords, ladies and gentlefolk: The year's best historical romances eagerly await your presence.

Colleen Hoover writes romances that are emotional roller coasters and thrillers that keep readers up into the wee hours of the night, and they’ve made her one of BookTok’s biggest success stories. Her novels (Verity, It Ends with Us and many more) are among the app’s most recommended reads, racing up the bestseller list years after their initial releases. It Starts With Us, the eagerly awaited sequel to It Ends With Us, arrives October 18, and to mark its release, we asked Hoover a few questions about her bookstore bucket list and most cherished library memories.

What are your bookstore rituals? For example, where do you go first in a store? Where do you go last before checking out?
I always check out the new releases first to see what I might not have. Then I check sections that might contain my own books so I can secretly sign them. I browse for a while and then love looking at all the nonbook-related stuff near checkout. I’m a sucker for journals and pens. 

Tell us about your favorite library from when you were a child.
My school library was my favorite. We were only allowed to go as a class once a week, but I’d have my books read hours after visiting. I’m pretty sure I read every book in that library multiple times. 

While writing your books, has there ever been a librarian or bookseller who was especially helpful?
When I first started writing, I’d write in the coffee shop of our local Hastings. The staff there were always so encouraging when I would come in to work. Unfortunately they closed a few years ago, but I did a lot of my early writing in that store and remember it so fondly. 

Do you have a favorite library from literature?
The Midnight Library! 😉

Do you have a “bucket list” of bookstores and libraries you’d love to visit but haven’t yet?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit or sign at my dream stores on tour. The Strand in NYC was a big bucket list place to sign, so when it finally happened, it felt very surreal. 

How is your own personal library organized?
It used to be organized alphabetically, but now it’s by color. 

What’s the last thing you bought at your local bookstore?
I actually founded our local bookstore, The Bookworm Box, which is a charity bookstore where all the books are donated and signed by the author, and all the proceeds go to charity (usually a different one every month). The last thing I bought was a set of my books for a girl who came by after hours when I happened to be there. 

Bookstore cats or bookstore dogs?
Cats!

What is your ideal bookstore-browsing snack?
You don’t eat food while touching new books! That’s a no-no.

Picture of Colleen Hoover © Chad Griffith.

The reigning queen of BookTok reflects on her life among the stacks.
paranormal romances 2022
STARRED REVIEW

October 2022

Sweet, sexy but never scary

These paranormal romances pair perfectly with pumpkin spice and chilly nights.

Share this Article:
Review by

Readers who loved the spunky, charming witches of St. Claire, introduced in Ann Aguirre’s previous Fix-It Witches romances, Witch Please and Boss Witch, will be thrilled to have a chance to dive back into her madcap world of magic and romance with Extra Witchy

Having had two marriages end in divorce, Leanne Vanderpol may be twice burned, but she’s not remotely shy. When she meets Trevor Montgomery, she asks him if he’s interested in being her third husband. It’s a teasing pickup line at first, but it soon becomes a serious question—and a careful plan. After working in public relations for the slimy mayor, Leanne’s ready to emerge from behind the scenes and make a difference by running for city council. But she knows single women struggle to get elected, especially ones with divorces in their past. A sweet, charming, supportive husband could provide just the bump she needs to win over voters.

Trevor is certainly sweet and charming, but he’s also a little lost. He was popular in high school but never quite managed to find his footing afterward, and now he lives in his parents’ basement, working odd jobs and spending a lot of time getting high. A devastating breakup years earlier damaged his confidence, and his harshly critical family discourages him from seeking treatment for his depression. At first, he’s stunned that a beautiful, successful woman like Leanne would have any interest in him, but she’s equally surprised to find a kind man who has her back, supports her and values her for her mind as much as for her lovely face.

An accomplished woman and a more relaxed guy is always an appealing couple dynamic, and Extra Witchy is a perfect example of why. Trevor’s magnificently endearing without seeming unrealistic, and Leanne is a fantastic heroine: smart, strong, refreshingly frank and far more relatable than you’d expect, with carefully hidden vulnerabilities. They’re both immediately likable individuals who make a truly adorable couple. Fans of the series will be delighted to see more of the community set up in the previous books, from Leanne’s wonderful coven of witches to Trevor’s friends. The story does cover lots of ground, and as a result, some plot threads feel a bit rushed: The campaign starts the plot spinning, but then it’s over and done in what feels like just a flash. However, that’s just another sign of how engrossing Extra Witchy is. Even when I reached the end, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these characters.

Ann Aguirre's latest paranormal romance is magnificently endearing, with two likable main characters who make a truly adorable couple.
Review by

Think life is full of bureaucracy? Try death! According to Therese Beharrie’s A Ghost in Shining Armor, there’s a whole system at work once someone dies to help their soul move on to whatever comes next. For some, this means lingering as ghosts, visible only to rare humans like Gemma Daniels who help them resolve unfinished business. For others, death comes with an opportunity to take on an assignment . . . and maybe change their fate. This is what happens to Levi Walker: If he succeeds as a guardian angel, he”ll come back to life. And the person he’s been assigned to help just happens to be Gemma. 

Gemma’s not freaked out at being approached by a ghost, given all the spirits she’s helped since she saw her first ghost at age 18. But unfortunately, her and Levi’s first meeting goes a little off the rails. If Gemma doesn’t acknowledge ghosts, they stay insubstantial and invisible to everyone but her. But if she acknowledges the spirit—touches them, talks to them or points them out to someone else, they become corporeal and visible to everyone. And because she accidentally acknowledges Levi, not realizing he’s a ghost, he now appears alive, leading to great confusion from her friends and family about the new man in her life. That scrutiny is the last thing she wants as she grapples with new information about her past: She has a twin sister (the heroine of Beharrie’s previous romance, And They Lived Happily Ever After). Levi was sent to help Gemma process the discovery that her twin was left in foster care while Gemma was adopted. 

If this premise sounds a little zany, that’s because it is. There are plenty of hijinks, starting with Gemma and Levi’s impulsive meet cute kiss and continuing through fake dates, awkward cohabitation moments and all the banter and snark you’d expect from a rom-com. But Beharrie includes deeper character insights that balance the fluff. A Ghost in Shining Armor is as richly imagined as it is deeply moving, while being quite a lot of fun, as well. The tone can be a bit uneven in spots as Beharrie balances the humor and the pathos, but her characters are endearing enough to carry readers through.

A Ghost in Shining Armor is as richly imagined as it is deeply moving—and quite a lot of fun, as well.
Review by

Erin Sterling’s witchy new rom-com, The Kiss Curse, is the much anticipated sequel to last year’s equally charming The Ex Hex

When Vivi Jones broke the hex she put on her now-husband, Rhys Penhallow, she affected his family’s ancestral power—power that just happens to infuse her hometown of Graves Glen, Georgia. Ever since, things have been out of whack, and Vivi’s cousin, Gwyn, has noticed her own powers are waning. Rhys’ brother Wells has spent years diligently bearing the enormous responsibility of being part of their illustrious family. When he learns of the weakening magic in Graves Glen, he steps up to solve the problem.

As one of the top witches in town, Gwyn takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on. Wells and Gwyn are opposites in culture and personality—Wells puts duty above all else, whereas Gwyn thinks of rules as suggestions for other people—so when they share a surprising kiss early on in the novel, they insist it must have something to do with the town’s fluctuating magic. These witches should know better. 

The Kiss Curse is sexy and fun, fast paced and joyful. In Sterling’s supernatural realm, down-to-earth magic is as common as grand feats of wizardry. She peppers in smart, clever world building details, and every sentence is packed with substantive description and imagination. This kiss is definitely worth the curse, a sexy rom-com with just the right amount of sorcery.

Erin Sterling's much anticipated sequel to The Ex Hex is a sexy rom-com with just the right amount of sorcery.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!

 

Recent Features

These paranormal romances pair perfectly with chilly nights and pumpkin spice.

Fantasy romance has gone fully mainstream, some of the brightest new voices are taking surprising new directions and vampires might be back? This fall’s science fiction and fantasy offerings are practically too good to be true.

Babel by R.F. Kuang
Harper Voyager | August 23

R.F. Kuang’s standalone historical fantasy novel might be her most ambitious work yet—which is really saying something, since Kuang’s acclaimed Poppy War trilogy was inspired by the life of Mao Zedong. Babel is set in an alternate version of Victorian-era Oxford and follows Robin Swift, a Chinese orphan training to become one of the translators who power the British Empire. Words that have been translated from one language to another often lose something along the way, and in Kuang’s world, this dropped element can be manifested into magical silver bars. Both a celebration and interrogation of the dark academia aesthetic, Babel might be the most thinkpiece-friendly fantasy of the year.

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez
Del Rey | August 30

The Vanished Birds, Simon Jimenez’s marvelous and ambitious debut, fully embraced all the storytelling capabilities of science fiction. With his sophomore novel, he’ll be providing his own spin on epic fantasy in a tale of imprisoned gods and wicked emperors filtered through Jimenez’ metatextual approach to storytelling. 

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
Tordotcom | August 30

Alexandra Rowland’s Conspiracy of Truths duology are the type of books that could become cult classics: funny, ambitious fantasy novels with a lot more on their minds than a simple good versus evil battle. For their third novel, Rowland will turn to fantasy romance, the uber-popular subgenre of the moment, while still diving into the type of government conspiracy plot that made their previous duology so unputdownable. All that and a lush, complex world inspired by the Ottoman Empire? We can’t wait to get swept away.  

Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
Saga | September 13

Nostalgia cycles are faster than ever: We have just come to terms with Y2K trends being back in fashion (low-rise jeans, the horror!), but there are already rumblings of a 2010s reappraisal. In fantasy, that could very well mean that the vampire novel rises from the dead. Rin Chupeco’s delightfully pulpy tale of a vampire hunter and the vampires who make him question everything he’s been brought up to believe could be but the first in many a tale of the undead.

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Tordotcom | September 13

It’s hard to talk about The Locked Tomb series without 1) sounding completely ludicrous or 2) spoiling all the surprises of Tamsyn Muir’s formally ambitious gothic space opera. Suffice it to say, readers of the third installment, Nona the Ninth, will be a bit confused, then intrigued, then thrilled.

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
Del Rey | September 27

Naomi Novik’s bestselling trilogy comes to an end with The Golden Enclaves, which finds El and her classmates finally free of the Scholomance, a magical school so deadly that its infamous graduation ceremony has a body count. But of course, nothing comes easy in a Novik novel, so they soon find themselves facing evil once again . . . and having to return to the school they thought they had escaped forever.

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson
Ace | September 27

The Year of the Witching, Alexis Henderson’s debut novel, mixed folk horror and religious extremism to marvelous effect, crafting a story that was in conversation with Robert Eggers’ The Witch (2015) but also Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In her sophomore novel, Henderson turns to vampire mythology and the increasingly industrial world that spawned classics like Dracula to craft an alternate Europe ruled over by vampiric aristocrats.

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor | October 11

The Thin Man in space? Yes, please. Mary Robinette Kowal, author of the beloved and acclaimed Lady Astronaut series, will give a sci-fi update to the iconic mystery film, which bestowed upon audiences the gift of Nick and Nora Charles, a fabulous, wealthy and besotted married couple who party their way through solving crimes. Genius heiress Tesla Crane, Kowal’s Nora Charles avatar, is hoping to enjoy her honeymoon on a luxury space liner. But when Tesla’s new husband is accused of murder, she’ll have to clear his name to enjoy their vacation.

Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston
Tordotcom | October 11

Andrea Hairston continues the magical family saga she began earlier this year in Redwood and Wildfire with the story of Cinnamon Jones, the granddaughter of the protagonists of the first novel in the series. Many have tried but few have succeeded at balancing fantasy, sci-fi and history the way that Hairston can. We can’t wait to see what marvels she has in store.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake
Tor | October 25

Olivie Blake’s Atlas series is one of BookTok’s ultimate homegrown success stories. Blake originally self-published the books, which became so successful that Tor snapped them up and are now releasing them for a general audience. The Atlas Paradox continues the story begun in The Atlas Six, where six magicians compete for a chance to join a secret, world-shaping society. 

The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin
Orbit | November 1

After becoming the only author in history to win the Hugo Award for best novel for every book in a trilogy (the masterful Broken Earth series), N.K. Jemisin shifted away from epic fantasy with The City We Became, a contemporary fantasy in which the great cities of the world have human avatars. It’s the perfect arena for Jemisin, whose work blends social commentary and high concept to spectacular effect. The story continues in The World We Make, as New York City’s six avatars (one for each borough) become involved in a mayoral campaign that’s a proxy battle for the soul of the city itself.

Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell
Tor | November 1

Ocean’s Echo is set in the same world as Everina Maxwell’s critically acclaimed debut, Winter’s Orbit, where she perfectly balanced a love story and fascinating space opera world building. This sequel will introduce two fascinating new elements: readers, who are people with telepathic abilities, and architects, who can control the minds of others. Powerful reader Tennalhin Halkana has been conscripted into the military and paired with architect Surit Yeni, who has been ordered to break the law by merging his mind with Tennal’s, which will place him under permanent control. 

A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
Tordotcom | November 1

Marske’s delightful debut, A Marvellous Light, was a gay romance set in a world that was basically “Downton Abbey” with magic. Her sophomore novel will incorporate more tropes beloved by period drama devotees, chiefly a luxurious ocean liner and a mysterious murder! When the woman Maud Blyth was serving as a companion for is killed, she teams up with scandalous, sexy Violet Debenham to solve the case, which is connected to a far-reaching magical conspiracy.

Wayward by Chuck Wendig
Del Rey | November 15

Chuck Wendig’s hotly anticipated conclusion to the duology he began with 2019’s Wanderers will finally hit shelves this November. Here’s hoping Wendig can stick the landing and show readers the new world that’ll be born out of the ashes of the world that fell apart during Wanderers

Discover all our most anticipated books of fall 2022.

14 brave new worlds to discover this autumn.

Some of our most beloved, stalwart series return and a handful of promising sleuths make their debuts in the mysteries and thrillers we’re most excited to read this autumn.

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Berkley | September 6

The author of the Veronica Speedwell series, which are easily some of the best historical mysteries around, is taking a quick break from Victorian England to grace us with this contemporary story of four assassins on the verge of retirement. In Killers of a Certain Age, instantly lovable Mary Alice, Natalie, Billie and Helen go on an all-expenses-paid farewell vacation after 40 years spent working for a network of killers known as the Museum. It quickly becomes clear that the trip is a trap, and the company is attempting to tie up loose ends.

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
Pamela Dorman | September 20

If you like your cozy mysteries with more than a dash of snippy, quirky British humor, chances are you’re already obsessed with the Thursday Murder Club series. In author Richard Osman’s third outing, his charming group of retirees obsessed with cold cases and whodunits must solve a mystery while also facing ghosts from a member’s secretive pasts.

We Spread by Iain Reid
Scout | September 27

Is there anyone better than Iain Reid at writing thrillers that aren’t just scary, but also viscerally, existentially unsettling? The writer behind haunting novels such as I’m Thinking of Ending Things returns this fall with We Spread. A suspenseful tale that explores the horrors of aging, memory and time, We Spread follows Penny, an artist who’s recently moved into a long-term care residence that might be too good to be true. 

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking by Raquel V. Reyes
Crooked Lane | October 11

Reyes’ Mango, Mambo, and Murder was an all-time great cozy mystery debut. It was impossible not to fall in love with cooking show star Miriam Quiñones-Smith as readers rooted for her to not just solve her first case but also embrace her new life in a Miami suburb. Reyes ups the ante in her sophomore novel, as a slew of murders take place right before the most cozy-appropriate holiday of all: Halloween.

Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen
Forge | October 18

Set in 1952 San Francisco, Lev AC Rosen’s historical mystery has all the pulpy turns of phrase and foggy atmosphere of a midcentury noir, with a twist: The Lamontaines, the fabulously wealthy, very mysterious family at the heart of the case, are all queer and live a safe but secluded life thanks to their fortune. PI Evander Mills, who was recently fired from the local police force after getting caught at a gay bar during a raid, has been hired to uncover who killed the Lamontaine matriarch. He’ll have to resist the lure of the family’s glamour and relative freedom to figure out which of them is the murderer. 

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
William Morrow | October 25

Wanda M. Morris burst onto the scene last year with her cunning and addicting debut thriller, All Her Little Secrets. For her sophomore novel, Morris will take on a dual-narrative structure that follows two Black sisters in 1964 as they flee their Southern hometown after one of them kills a white man.

No Strangers Here by Carlene O’Connor
Kensington | October 25

The author of two absolutely delightful cozy series set in Ireland, Carlene O’Connor will transition to something much darker and more serious with No Strangers Here. Billed as a mashup of Louise Penny and Tana French, this moody small-town mystery starts with the death of Jimmy O’Reilly, whose body is discovered leaning against a boulder, facing toward the sea.

Sign Here by Claudia Lux
Berkely | October 25

Peyote Trip (yes, that is actually his name) is on the cusp of a huge promotion—he just needs to get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sign their soul away. Peyote, you see, is a bureaucrat on the fifth floor of Hell, which is basically the world’s absolute worst corporate office. His fiendish plot goes awry in Claudia Lux’s entertaining, sneakily poignant debut thriller.

The Devil’s Blaze by Robert Harris
Pegasus | November 1

There are a lot of Sherlock Holmes series out there, but Robert J. Harris’ has the best twist on the format. His Sherlock is inspired by the beloved films starring Basil Rathbone as the Great Detective, most of which were set in World War II-era Britain. To foil a mysterious string of assassinations thought to be the work of the Nazis, Holmes must team up with his ultimate enemy, Professor James Moriarty. Seeing Harris’ midcentury take on one of literature’s most iconic villains is just one of the many reasons to be excited about The Devil’s Blaze.  

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger
Park Row | November 8

Lisa Unger’s intelligent, character-driven thrillers feel zeitgeisty without ever tipping into exploitative territory.In her latest novel, she turns to an experience many have had during this era of socially distant travel: the isolated cabin vacation. Of course, spotty Wi-Fi and awkward conversations are the least of what Unger’s protagonist, Hannah, has to worry about. For one thing, her tech mogul brother has sprung for a luxury cabin, complete with a private chef. For another, all the tensions and secrets between Hannah, her family and her friends seem to be on the verge of boiling over. And then there’s the matter of the vacation home’s bloody history . . .

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths
Mariner | November 15

Griffiths pingpongs back and forth between her Ruth Galloway, Brighton and Harbinder Kaur series at the incredible rate of several books a year and shows no signs of slowing down. Her latest Harbinder Kaur mystery follows Cassie Fitzgerald, who killed someone with her group of friends when they were all still in school and now works as a police officer. When one of those friends is killed at their school reunion, Cassie tries to steer the investigation away from her past from the inside, while inwardly suspecting that one of her old chums is responsible for the murder.

The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz
Harper | November 15

The Hawthorne and Horowitz mysteries are the meta take on the genre that all other meta mysteries aspire to be. In typical fashion, Anthony Horowitz isn’t content to rest on his laurels and has decided to up the ante in his latest whodunit starring brilliant former detective Daniel Hawthorne and a fictionalized version of the author. This time, Horowitz isn’t just the narrator—he’s also the main suspect.

A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
Minotaur | November 29

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache isn’t just a great sleuth, he’s a character that readers have grown to love over the past 17 installments in Louise Penny’s bestselling series. Fans will be thrilled and anxious then, to learn of Gamache’s latest case, which concerns a young man and woman who return to the idyllic town of Three Pines, Quebec. Their mother was murdered there years ago, and that killing was the very first case that Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his protégé-turned-son-in-law, worked together. The mystery of why the victim’s children would return to Three Pines all these years later brings back haunting memories for both Gamache and Beauvoir. Add in the discovery of a creepy room that’s been sealed off for 150 years, and it seems like all of Three Pines’ darkest stories are about to crawl into the light.

The Widowmaker by Hannah Morrissey
Minotaur | December 6

Hello, Transcriber, Hannah Morrissey’s bleak and impressive debut mystery, marked her as a writer to watch. In The Widowmaker, she returns to Transcriber’s setting of Black Harbor, Wisconsin, but switches the point of view from police transcriber Hazel Greenlee to photographer Megan Mori and investigator Ryan Hudson.  

Discover all our most anticipated books of fall 2022.

Welcome the chill with 14 shiver-inducing whodunits.

Fantasy and paranormal romance are booming, the rom-com revival shows no signs of stopping and a new wave of angsty love stories is about to hit. This autumn will boast an absolute bounty of love stories. 

Aphrodite and the Duke by J.J. McAvoy
Dell | August 23

And lo, the “Bridgerton”-inspired romance novels have arrived. J.J. McAvoy’s novel, which we dearly hope is the start of a new series, takes place in a world much like the Netflix phenomenon, a Regency England that includes lords and ladies of color. 

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews
Avon | August 23

The second (and hopefully not final?) arc in one of the best paranormal series around comes to a close with Ruby Fever, in which Catalina Baylor and her assassin fiancé, Alessandro Sagredo, will hopefully untangle and defeat the conspiracy against them and ride off into the sunset together.

Court of the Vampire Queen by Katee Robert
Sourcebooks Casablanca | September 6

Long beloved by romance fans for her originality, extremely steamy love scenes and go-for-broke attitude, Katee Robert gained a whole new fan base when her Dark Olympus series went viral on BookTok. Much of Robert’s backlist could fall under the oh-so-trendy category of “dark romance” (meaning romance that explores controversial themes or kinks, often with morally dubious characters), and Court of a Vampire Queen, which follows a half-vampire, half-human woman’s rise from unwilling consort to undead ruler, will fit right in.  

Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake by Mazey Eddings
Griffin | September 6

Mazey Eddings won acclaim with her marvelous debut, A Brush With Love, thanks to her winning voice and clear-eyed look at life with anxiety. Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake is another sexy rom-com that acknowledges the more serious sides of life, which in this case are the heroine’s unexpected pregnancy and her journey toward accepting her attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
Berkley | September 20

After six bestselling novels all set in the same universe as her debut, The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory is starting afresh with Drunk on Love, a workplace romance set in a Napa Valley winery. It’s a perfect setting for Guillory, one of the genre’s preeminent foodies, and since the winery is family-owned, we wouldn’t be surprised if Drunk on Love is the start of a whole new series.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling
Avon | September 20

One benefit of the rom-com wave is that it has revived the paranormal subgenre, resulting in a steady stream of adorably witchy love stories. Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex was one of the best of the bunch, and she’s returning to Graves Glen, Georgia, for an enemies-to-lovers romance between rival witchcraft shop owners.

A Ghost in Shining Armor by Therese Beharrie
Zebra | September 27

Speaking of paranormal romances, Therese Beharrie will complete the duology she began with And They Lived Happily Ever After with this novel starring Gemma, a woman who can see ghosts, and Levi, the spirit assigned to help Gemma reunite with her long-lost sister.

A Curse of Queens by Amanda Bouchet
Sourcebooks Casablanca | October 4

Amanda Bouchet was writing fantasy romance before it was a glimmer in BookTok’s eye, and she’s taking a break from her sci-fi Endeavor series to gift readers with another installment in the critically acclaimed Kingmaker Chronicles. Bouchet’s return to the realm of Thalyria, which is inspired by Greek mythology, will follow Jocasta and Flynn, childhood friends who fall in love during a quest to find an antidote to the poison that threatens the life of their queen.

Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall
Forever | October 18

In the pantheon of foodie romances, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, a perfectly balanced confection of unexpected love and inner growth, is very near the top. So it’s delightful to know that Alexis Hall, who’s currently writing two other series and any number of standalone titles, will be returning for another season of “Bake Expectations,” a fictional baking reality show that’s basically “The Great British Bake Off.” This season, Hall will follow Paris Daillencourt, a mild-mannered amateur baker who’s riddled with anxiety despite his prodigious skill in the kitchen.

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun
Atria | November 1

Alison Cochrun made a sterling impression with her debut, The Charm Offensive, one of the best romances set in the world of reality TV. But for her sophomore novel, she’s switching gears: Kiss Her Once for Me is a festive rom-com that follows Elle, who agrees to a marriage of convenience with Andrew, only to discover that his sister, Jack, is the woman Elle had a whirlwind Christmas Eve romance with the year before. 

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Forever | November 15

Kennedy Ryan is one of romance’s most acclaimed self-published authors. Her last traditionally published title was released in 2016, but she’s making a grand return to traditional publishing by releasing the first book she ever wrote. Unpublished until now, Before I Let Go is a second-chance romance between divorced couple Yasmen and Josiah Wade. Not only will it introduce new readers to Ryan’s talents, it may also signal a shift away from rom-coms’ dominance of the genre. Where Ryan leads, others will follow.

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade
Avon | November 15

It takes a certain artistry to lay the groundwork for future pairings in a romance series without diversity attention from an individual book’s main couple. Olivia Dade’s Spoiler Alert books have been an absolute master class on this technique. As actors on the “Game of Thrones”-esque TV show at the center of Dade’s series, Maria Ivarsson and Peter Reedton have hovered in the background of Spoiler Alert and All the Feels. So readers were thrilled when Dade revealed that Peter and Maria, who seemed to just be friendly co-stars, had a one-night stand before filming started. Now that the show is finally over, they no longer need to worry about endangering their working relationship or careers, but is the passion between them enough to sustain something long term? 

Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
Berkley | November 22

One of the best side characters in Ashley Herring Blake’s adult debut, Delilah Green Doesn’t Care, was the titular character’s stepsister, Astrid. An icy perfectionist, Astrid may be the queen bee of her small town, but she’s been desperate for a distraction ever since breaking off her engagement during the events of Delilah Green. When Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail starts, she thinks she’s found the perfect task: renovating the Everwood Inn and appearing on the home improvement show “Innside America.” The only problem is Jordan Everwood, the owner’s granddaughter and the lead carpenter for the renovation, who disagrees with every design change Astrid tries to make. 

Discover all our most anticipated books of fall 2022.

13 happily ever afters we can’t wait to read!

Author Alexis Hall is adored by fans and critics alike for his signature blend of witty repartee, endearing characters and warmhearted love stories. He’s already proven himself to be one of the best writers of contemporary rom-coms with books like Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, and in 2022, he’s making the jump to historical romance. January saw the release of the Regency-era romp Something Fabulous, and this summer fans will finally get their hands on A Lady for a Duke, one of the most the hotly anticipated romances of the year.

Read the official summary from Hall’s publisher, Forever, and you’ll immediately understand why:

When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo, she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

You can get A Lady for a Duke at your local bookstore or library on May 24, 2022. But in the meantime, you can sigh at the absolutely gorgeous cover below.



Cover art by Judy York. Cover design by Daniela Medina. Cover photography © David Wagner Photography; Shutterstock Images.

Read our reviews of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall.

We’re delighted to reveal the cover of Alexis Hall’s new historical romance, A Lady for a Duke.

New voices are rising to the forefront in sci-fi, fantasy continues to flower in new and surprising ways, and a YA icon is about to make her long-awaited adult debut. 

Goliath jacket

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi
Tordotcom | January 25

Riot Baby, Onyebuchi’s 2020 novella, was one heck of a calling card, and he’s letting his prodigious imagination and piercing social critique run rampant in his first adult novel. Set in the 2050s, Goliath follows a large cast of characters as they roam a crumbling Earth that has been largely abandoned by the upper classes, who have decamped to space colonies.

Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik
Harper Voyager | February 1

If you’ve already been introduced to Mihalik’s sci-fi romances, chances are you’re already obsessed with her. Equal parts pulpy fun and steamy love stories, Mihalik’s books are for everyone who’s watched the scene of Han Solo and Princess Leia’s first kiss more times than they’d like to admit. This start to a new series introduces a bounty hunter with a heart of gold, her alien nemesis-turned-employer and an outrageously cute alien that’s like a cross between a cat and fox—and can communicate telepathically.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Tor | March 1

Dark academia will never go out of style if I have anything to say about it. And it looks like a sizable portion of BookTok agrees with me, as Blake’s self-published series took the platform by storm in 2021. The first novel of the series, which follows six talented, ambitious magicians as they compete to win a place in an elite secret society, has been revised and expanded for its release by a traditional publisher.

The Ravenous Dead jacket

The Ravenous Dead by Darcy Coates 
Poisoned Pen | March 15

The Whispering Dead was one of last year’s little wonders, a horror novel with a surprising amount of humor and heart among all its terrors. This sequel continues Keira’s quest to uncover her lost memories and bring peace to the spirits of the dead, but gives her a new enemy in the form of a ferocious ghost that refuses to go gently into that good night.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
Tor | March 15

National treasure John Scalzi recently finished a complex sci-fi series, so it makes sense that his first book after that accomplishment is a standalone adventure that sounds like an absolute blast. (It also is the only book that takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic that I’d actually be willing to read.) A delivery app driver desperate for a better job, Jamie jumps at the chance to work for an “animal rights organization.” But Jamie soon learns that the job actually means traveling to a different universe to take care of kaiju! Kaiju are Godzilla-type beasties, but in Scalzi’s version they are not automatically aggressive; they’re more like huge, dangerous pandas. If this book is half as good as the book in my head, it will be a masterpiece.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller
Tor | March 22

Even if it didn’t have that absolutely magnificent cover, I would be anxiously awaiting this fantasy debut, which follows Charm, an emperor’s mistress who is also a necromantic witch. When the emperor is poisoned, he tasks Charm with not only solving his murder but also deciding which of his three terrible (large, adult) sons should ascend to the throne. 

Wild & Wicked Things jacket

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May
Redhook | March 29

Set on a resort island off the English coast, this book basically sounds like a mashup between Practical Magic and “Downton Abbey.” It’s set right after World War I but in an England where magic has been banned, due to its horrific applications during the war.

Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus
Tor | March 29

There can never be enough ambitious, sweeping space operas in the world, and Broaddus’ start to a new series sounds truly epic. In his vision of the future, humanity has colonized the solar system. Our heroes hail from the Muungano Empire, a collection of city-states established by African space pioneers that is in danger of being destroyed by other human civilizations.

In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
Del Rey | April 5

It’s kind of wild that ancient Greece isn’t a more common inspiration for fantasy worlds, so kudos to YA author Rory Power for using it as a backdrop for her adult debut. This series starter introduces two twins with unnaturally long lives and supernatural powers who help their father rule over their small country. But their father is getting unpredictable and his abilities are fading, while at the same time an independence movement is growing, so the twins have to work together to keep the kingdom under control. All I’m saying is that this kind of sounds like fantasy “Succession.” “Succession” with magical powers? Yes, please.

God of Neverland jacket

God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez
Harper Voyager | April 12

I am someone who loved, and I mean truly, deeply loved, the first season or so of “Once Upon a Time.” So here’s hoping that this fantasy about a grown-up Michael Darling returning to Neverland to find a missing Peter Pan (here characterized as a god of chaos and childhood) will fill the Storybrooke-size hole in my heart.  

The Fervor by Alma Katsu
Putnam | April 26

After writing a rather excellent espionage thriller (last year’s Red Widow), Katsu is returning to her idiosyncratic brand of horror: awful events in world history made even worse through supernatural frights. This tale of a demon terrorizing the inhabitants of a World War II-era internment camp will be one of her most personal works yet, as she’ll be drawing from her own family history and heritage as a Japanese American.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Tor | April 26

Through what I’m sure is some form of black magic, Kingfisher’s books are both totally hilarious and deeply scary. That particular combination is why her latest book, a subversive take on fairy tales, is so very exciting. Nettle & Bone will follow a princess on a quest to save her sister—by murdering her sister’s awful husband. 

Book of Night jacket

Book of Night by Holly Black
Tor | May 3

It seems impossible, but YA fantasy icon Black has never written a novel for adults. Until now. Book of Night centers on Charlie Hall, who lives in a world where it’s possible to magically manipulate shadows. Doing so can alter another person’s memories and perceptions, but the cost is time lost from your own life. Charlie is a bartender and con artist, but she has ties to the shadow trade that prove difficult to sever.  

Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller
Tachyon | May 10

The author of acclaimed speculative novels Blackfish City and The Blade Between will release his first collection of short fiction, which is sure to please fans of cli-fi, weird sea creatures, queer SFF and pretty much everyone who wants to read something brilliant, strange and new. 

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
Tor | May 10

After The Chosen and the Beautiful, her luminous, dreamy take on The Great Gatsby, Vo is heading to the West Coast wonderland of Pre-Code Hollywood. Of course, in her version of the film industry, wannabe movie stars like protagonist Luli Wei must sign magical pacts, selling their entire selves to companies ready to exploit them. 

All the Seas of the World jacket

All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay
Berkley | May 17

There’s almost nothing I can tell you about the plot of this book, but it doesn’t really matter because Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the best writers of historical fantasy of all time. This book will return to the Renaissance Italy-inspired world first introduced in the superb A Brightness Long Ago, and I will be ready for him to take me wherever he wants to go. 

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
Tordotcom | June 21

Rowland’s Conspiracy of Truths duology seems destined to become a cult classic; the blisteringly smart fantasy novels flew a bit under the radar but won the hearts of all who read them. I would not be surprised if A Taste of Gold and Iron makes Rowland the next big thing in fantasy. This queer romance set in a world inspired by the Ottoman Empire sounds like a blockbuster hit and a perfect use of Rowland’s talents for world building, intrigue and complex relationships. 

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Tor | July 19

The genre-hopping Gailey seems to be settling down (at least for now) in a delightfully specific niche: female-led thrillers with a supernatural twist. If last year’s The Echo Wife could be described as Alfred Hitchcock meets “Orphan Black,” this tale of the daughter of a serial killer sounds like “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” mixed with Shirley Jackson, aka the dark cocktail of my dreams.

A Half-Built Garden jacket

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
Tordotcom | July 26

Cli-fi’s been around long enough that authors are starting to find innovative twists on what was, originally, a pretty bleak sort of formula. (Humans destroy Earth! Here’s the depressing society that’s arisen afterward!) Acclaimed fantasy author Emrys offers her rather brilliant twist on the subgenre. In 2083, the Earth has just begun to heal from the ravages of the climate crisis. But then aliens show up, intent on saving humanity by taking them off the planet—whether they want to or not. 

The Spear Cuts Through the Water by Simon Jimenez
Del Rey | August 30

It’s almost impossible to overhype The Vanished Birds, Jimenez’s debut novel (the first chapter alone was award-worthy). Not one to rest on his laurels, Jimenez is immediately switching from sci-fi to fantasy: His sophomore novel will follow a warrior who teams up with a goddess to overthrow a tyrannical emperor.


Correction, January 18, 2022: This article previously misstated the gender of Jamie in The Kaiju Preservation Society. Jamie is not gendered in the novel.

Check out our most anticipated titles of 2022 in every genre!

There’s never been a better time to be an SFF fan than right now.

The cozy renaissance is upon us, gothic thrillers are about to be everywhere and historical mystery lovers are going to have a truly fantastic year.

The Goodbye Coat jacket

The Goodbye Coast by Joe Ide
Mulholland | February 1

Modern master of mystery Ide will be updating one of the most iconic detectives of all time: Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. It’s a perfect pairing—a figure that couldn’t exist anywhere but Los Angeles, brought to the present day by one of the city’s most acclaimed writers. 

A Game of Fear by Charles Todd
William Morrow | February 1

The Inspector Rutledge series represents the best of what historical mystery has to offer, and A Game of Fear, Rutledge’s 24th case, has a particularly intriguing hook: Lady Benton claims she witnessed a murder, carried out by Captain Nelson. But there’s no body, no blood and Captain Nelson has been dead for several years. Charles Todd is a mother-son writing duo, and the death of Caroline Todd last year gives this mystery an extra poignancy.

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow
Dutton | February 8

Morrow—who has shown so much range as a writer, from her bestselling contemporary YA fantasy with sirens (A Song Below Water) to her reimagining of Little Women (So Many Beginnings)—makes her adult debut with this slow-burning tale of power and manipulation, following a Black girl who ingratiates herself to her Black best friend’s adopted white family. 

Our American Friend jacket

Our American Friend by Anna Pitoniak
Simon & Schuster | February 15

After writing a novel (The Futures) and a thriller (Necessary People), Pitoniak is splitting the difference with her third book, a decades-spanning espionage thriller that follows glamorous, mysterious Lara Caine, a Russian model who eventually becomes the first lady of the United States (Remind you of anyone?).  

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
William Morrow | February 22

Foley’s big breakout, The Guest List, was absolutely everywhere in 2020. The Paris Apartment is another glamorous mystery with a sprawling, secretive cast—namely, the inhabitants of the titular apartment complex.

This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wroebel
Berkley | February 22

I will never, ever get tired of complicated sister relationships or cults, and lucky for me, the Darling Rose Gold author’s sophomore thriller goes all in on both. Natalie Collins’ sister, Kit, has been sucked into Wisewood, a cult operating on a private island off the coast of Maine. When Natalie receives a threatening email from someone in the cult, she sets out to save Kit. 

Tripping Arcadia jacket

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist
Dutton | February 22

All I have ever wanted is a revival of the romantic, gothic thriller, and thanks to the incredible success of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, I may have finally gotten my wish. 2022 is replete with creepy tales of degenerate families in crumbling manors, and Mayquist’s is one of the most promising of the lot. In this modern take on the subgenre, med school dropout Lena takes a job as an assistant to the rich and powerful Verdeau family. But when she learns that they are the ones ultimately responsible for her family’s poverty, she decides to get revenge.

The Verifiers by Jane Pek
Vintage | February 22

A particularly pleasing recent development is that publishers seem to have finally realized the allure of the cozy, or cozy-adjacent, mystery. Could the cozy be due for a critical reevaluation a la the romance novel? (Please say yes!) All this to say, we expect more books like Pek’s hilarious, utterly winning debut in the near future. Claudia Lin has stumbled into what she believes is her perfect job: working at an online-dating detective agency. She’s content with her duties of ferreting out catfishers and tracking down ghosters, but when a client disappears, the mystery novel-obsessed Claudia jumps at the opportunity to solve a real case.

The Club by Ellery Lloyd
Harper | March 1

There are a lot of thrillers out there that incorporate social media and try to have Something to Say about our current digital reality. But very few of them were as smart or nuanced as Lloyd’s 2021 debut, People Like Her. For their next trick, the husband-and-wife writing duo tackles the world of exclusive celebrity clubs. Set on a private island off the English coast, this is the thriller for you if you’re anxiously awaiting the next season of “The White Lotus.”  

Give Unto Others jacket

Give Unto Others by Donna Leon
Atlantic Monthly | March 15

Commissario Guido Brunetti is one of those urbane, witty sleuths that people want to be as much as they love to read about. See also: Martin Walker’s Bruno and Louise Penny’s Gamache. A new case with Leon’s clever Venetian sleuth is always cause for celebration, but this one is especially intriguing as it purports to contain new and startling information about Brunetti’s past.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian
Minotaur | March 15

Is it too early to hand out the award for most creative cozy premise? Because I highly doubt anyone’s going to come close to Pandian’s new Secret Staircase mysteries. When Tempest Raj returns home to San Francisco after losing her job, she ends up working for the family business, Secret Staircase Construction, which makes hidden passageways, incredible treehouses and any other whimsical creation a client’s heart desires. And then, of course, someone is found dead in a supposedly sealed passageway. 

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson
William Morrow | March 15

Swanson has a gift for not only crafting a killer premise, but also creating characters that are just as intriguing. In his latest mystery, nine people receive a list of names, and one of those names is their own. And then those nine people start getting picked off, one by one. 

Secret Identity jacket

Secret Identity by Alex Segura
Flatiron | March 15

A mystery set in the comic book industry in 1975? Say no more! Billed as a mash-up between The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and the novels of Patricia Highsmith, this book sounds like the coolest, nerdiest neo-noir you’ll ever read.   

Shadow in the Glass by M.E. Hilliard
Crooked Lane | April 5

Hilliard’s Greer Hogan series started with a bang last year; The Unkindness of Ravens was “moody and tense, literary and urbane, and an edgy delight to read,” according to our cozy column. This time around, librarian Greer faces that most iconic of cozy scenarios—a wedding disrupted by murder, with an entire guest list’s worth of suspects. 

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
William Morrow | April 12

You may have heard of Pinborough due to a little book (and later Netflix miniseries) entitled Behind Her Eyes, which boasts one of the most go-for-broke, completely wild final twists of, honestly, maybe all time? So who even knows what’s going on in her next thriller, which follows Emma, a woman whose mother committed a horrible act when she turned 40. Now on the cusp of her own 40th birthday, Emma is consumed with fear that the same fate awaits her. 

Blood Sugar jacket

Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild
Putnam | April 19

Something about me that I am very comfortable admitting is that I love a charismatic murderer. You want to tell me how you got away with it and why they had it coming for an entire novel? I’m all ears! So I’m especially excited for Rothchild’s debut, which introduces readers to Ruby, who is being accused of her husband’s death. She didn’t do it (and she’s not a sociopath, okay?), but she has killed three other people before. 

The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale
Berkley | April 26

An acclaimed romance author, critic and advocate for the genre, Rodale is one of several authors who recently made the Gilded Age one of historical romance’s hottest and most interesting settings. She’s bringing all that expert knowledge to bear in her mystery debut, the launch of a series that follows trailblazing female journalist Nellie Bly. Rodale’s first mystery starring Nellie will depict one of her most famous real-life stunts: going undercover at an insane asylum.

Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia
Berkley | May 3

The Harlem Renaissance-set Dead Dead Girls was one of last year’s best mysteries, and it looks like amateur sleuth Louise Lloyd’s next case will not only delve into the secrets of her own past, but also jeopardize her future with her girlfriend, Rosa Maria. 

The Hacienda jacket

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
Berkley | May 10

This historical gothic thriller has a priest who is also a witch, and I don’t really think there’s anything else to be said. But, if you insist: Cañas’ debut is set right after the Mexican War of Independence and boasts a creepy house, a handsome but mysterious man and what just might be the ghost of his first wife.  

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan
William Morrow | May 10

The acclaimed author of the Cormac Reilly mystery series is releasing her first standalone novel, which follows a young law student who seems like a passionate anti-death row advocate, but is really out to get one of the supposedly innocent men her organization is defending.

Renovated to Death by Frank Anthony Polito
Kensington | May 31

HGTV shows leave me completely cold, but even I think this book sounds like the coziest thing imaginable. Peter Penwell is a bestselling mystery author and his husband, JP, is an actor who used to star on a cop show. The couple recently became reality TV stars while chronicling the renovation of their home, but their second season gets off to a murderous start when they find one of the owners of their new project dead at the foot of a staircase. 

A Rip Through Time jacket

A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong
Minotaur | May 31

Armstrong is the acclaimed writer behind the gritty, addicting, yet still somehow heartwarming Rockton series, which is set in an off-the-grid town in the Canadian wilderness. She’s one of the last authors you’d expect to write an Outlander-style timeslip mystery. Which only makes her new series, where a modern-day homicide detective wakes up in the body of a Victorian maid, all the more intriguing.   

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman
Minotaur | June 7

The author of the Regency-era Lily Adler mysteries jumps forward to the (very hot right now) 1920s, and will hopefully bring her previous series’ perfectly balanced blend of escapism and social commentary to this tale of a working-class woman who stumbles upon a dead body at her favorite speakeasy.

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark
Sourcebooks Landmark | June 21

Clark’s second novel, the runaway bestseller The Last Flight, was exactly what you want in a summer thriller: snappy but smart, fast-paced but with characters that felt like real people. So my expectations were high even before I learned that Clark will be taking on one of my very favorite crime novel archetypes—the con artist. Meg Williams ruined Kat Roberts’ life, and Kat’s been bent on revenge ever since. But when she finally catches up to Meg 10 years later, she begins to doubt everything, including whether Meg really should be the target of her ire. 

The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley
Bloomsbury | June 28

In my humble opinion, one of the most underrated historical settings for a mystery or thriller is Soviet Russia. It’s bleak, it’s cold and almost everyone has a reason to lie or a secret to keep. So I was delighted to learn that acclaimed, idiosyncratic historical fantasy author Pulley’s first thriller would be set in 1963 Siberia. The Half LIfe of Valery K will follow a former nuclear specialist who is freed from a gulag, only to be taken to a mysterious town that seems to be absolutely suffused with dangerous radiation.

The Ruins jacket

The Ruins by Phoebe Wynn
St. Martin’s | July 5

The last gothic on our list, Wynn’s sophomore novel takes its cues from Patricia Highsmith as much as it does from Daphne du Maurier. You’ve got wealthy, messed up people, the disgustingly gorgeous backdrop of the Mediterranean coast and a creeping suspicion that something is about to go terribly wrong. But in an intriguing little twist, The Ruins seems to wed those Ripley influences with the more modern template of a feminist coming-of-age tale. 

Omega Canyon by Dan Simmons
Little, Brown | November 1

It’s been seven years since the acclaimed author of The Terror released a novel, and this new historical thriller sounds heartbreaking and addicting in equal measure. Paul Haber fled Nazi Germany and has devoted his scientific abilities to the American quest for the atomic bomb. But when a German spy tells him that his wife and child, whom he thought died in a concentration camp, are actually still alive, he’s faced with the terrible choice of whether to save his family or betray his newly-adopted country to fascism.

Check out our most anticipated titles of 2022 in every genre!

Grab your magnifying glasses and notepads, and get ready for 2022.

Foodie-friendly rom-coms, literary love stories and some very hot takes on Greek myths—all these things and more await romance fans in 2022. 

The Roughest Draft jacket

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Berkley | January 25

The powerhouse YA romance duo (and real-life married couple!) will make their adult debut in a very meta fashion. Two writers who found great success with a co-written novel owe one more book to their publisher. The only problem? They now hate each other, and haven’t spoken in three years. 

Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles
Wattpad Books | February 1

And lo, the romances inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic hath begun. This kaleidoscopic romance by the author of The Kissing Booth follows various couples in the same London apartment building during a seven-day lockdown.

Out of the Blue by Alison Bliss
Forever | February 1

The wonderful Bliss was writing rom-coms before they were cool—check out her underrated A Perfect Fit series. She now returns after a few years away (an eternity for a romance writer) with this rom-com about a woman who falls for her personal trainer.

Ramón and Julieta jacket

Ramón and Julieta by Alana Quintana Albertson
Berkley | February 1

A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in San Diego, California, Ramón and Julieta will swap out Renaissance aristocratic families for contemporary fast-food and taqueria dynasties. 

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher
Griffin | February 8

The witchy rom-coms that were everywhere last fall are back in 2022! Asher’s stands out from the pack with its urban setting (New York City) and by including other supernatural beings—chiefly a wolf shifter as a love interest.   

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Berkley | February 22

Anticipation is high for Blake’s opposites-attract love story, which is a sapphic spin on the small-town romance.

Kamila Knows Best by Farah Heron
Forever | March 8

Heron’s Accidentally Engaged was an utterly adorable treat (with truly scrumptious descriptions of food), and she’s upping the ante with this follow-up by adding another favorite romance trope: a Jane Austen adaptation. Kamila Knows Best will be a modern take on Emma (the cool kid’s choice for best Austen novel to adapt? Discuss.).    

How to Be a Wallflower by Eloisa James
Avon | March 29

James is heading back to the Regency period after wrapping up her Georgian-era Wildes of Lindow Castle series. In this start to a new series, a British heiress and an American businessman go to war over a London clothing emporium. 

Going Public by Hudson Lin
Carina Adores | March 29

Romances set in various high-stakes businesses were all the rage a few years ago, and Lin’s 2021 release Hard Sell was both a throwback and a breath of fresh air. All the corporate complications and power dynamics were present, but Lin’s diverse characters and soulful, deeply felt love story updated the subgenre while also bringing it down to earth. So readers will be in good hands for her next book in the Jade Harbour Capital series, which will venture into the tricky territory of a relationship between a devoted assistant and his boss.

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
Avon | April 5

Another frothy, wedding-centered treat from the author of The Worst Best Man, Sosa’s new rom-com pairs a diehard romantic with a cynical man in search of a modern-day marriage of convenience.  

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Forever | April 19

This romance between a sophisticated, city-dwelling ER doctor and a small-town carpenter seemingly has rom-com written all over it. But given that this is Jimenez we’re talking about, it’ll probably also be sneakingly profound and tear-inducing in both happy and sad ways. 

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Berkley | April 26

The author of The Flatshare and The Road Trip returns with another satisfyingly messy, refreshingly human rom-com. Her third novel sounds a bit like a less vengeful version of John Tucker Must Die: Three women get stood up by the same man, but then they all forgive him and are all still in danger of falling in love with him. (Who is this paragon to inspire such devotion??? We’ll find out this spring.) 

Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper
Carina Adores | April 26

After wrapping up zir wonderful Love Study series last year, Ripper returns with another brainy but heartfelt contemporary romance. One of many recent romances that star either authors or people who work in publishing, this book will follow Preston Kingsley, an editorial assistant who’s in love with his best friend and expresses his love via a thinly veiled fictional version of himself.

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
Hyperion Avenue | May 3

YA superstar Julie Murphy kicked off the Disney Princess-inspired Meant to Be series last year with If the Shoe Fits, her reality TV-set, rom-com spin on Cinderella. This year, the baton passes to Guillory, who will take her cues from Beauty and the Beast in the series’ second installment.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Berkley | May 3

Beach Read author Henry returns to the world of publishing for her third novel, an enemies-to-lovers romance between a literary agent and a book editor.

From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper
Berkley | May 17

From Bad to Cursed brings fans back to the cozy, perfectly spooky town of Thistle Grove, the extremely enviable setting of Harper’s first romance, Payback’s a Witch. In this sequel, thrill-seeking sorceress Isidora Avramov has to team up with her buttoned-up archnemesis to clear her family’s name after someone starts sabotaging the town’s Beltane festival.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Atria | May 24

It’ll be a huge year for National Book Award finalist and bestselling author Emezi, who in February publishes Bitter, a sequel to their YA novel Pet, and then in late May releases their first romance novel, You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty, about a woman’s healing after loss and her second chance at love. Upon announcing the book deal, Emezi tweeted that they started writing the novel in 2019, “one of the worst years of [their] life,” and attributed the title’s inspiration to Florence + The Machine’s song “Hunger.” Each of Emezi’s books has been more powerful and groundbreaking than the last, with some of the essays in their 2021 memoir, Dear Senthuran, providing a closer look into their experiences and processes as such a wide-ranging storyteller.

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
Forever | May 24

After carving out a niche for himself as the Richard Curtis of contemporary romance, Hall is finally bringing his signature wit and lovable, idiosyncratic characters to the world of historical romance! A friends-to-lovers tale set in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, A Lady for a Duke follows Violet Carroll, a trans woman who is reunited with her oldest friend after making a new life for herself after being presumed dead at Waterloo.  

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert
Sourcebooks Casablanca | June 7

We truly do not deserve Robert. Not only is she giving us two Dark Olympus romances in 2022, but the second (after January’s Electric Idol) will be her own delicious spin on the figure of Helen of Troy. In Robert’s version, Helen is gunning for the title of Ares, placing her in direct competition with Achilles and his partner, Patroclus. But all three soon realize they might be better together than on opposite sides—both professionally and personally. 

Husband Material by Alexis Hall
Sourcebooks Casablanca | August 2

If you read the entry for A Lady for a Duke and wondered wistfully when Hall would gift us with another contemporary rom-com, do not fear! Not only will Hall be releasing a modern-day romance in 2022, it will be a sequel to Boyfriend Material! Luc and Oliver are happily together, but everyone around them is getting married . . . are wedding bells in their future?

Check out our most anticipated titles of 2022 in every genre!

Here's to another year of tropes galore and Happily Ever Afters for all!

We were enormous fans of Project Duchess by romance mainstay Sabrina Jeffries, which introduced an entire family of complicated, dangerously attractive dukes. Our expectations were already high for Jeffries’ follow-up and then skyrocketed even further when we saw this glorious cover!

The Bachelor will tell the love story of Lady Gwyn Drake, the only daughter of thrice-married matriarch Lydia. When flirtatious and independent Gwyn is blackmailed, her twin brother hires their gamekeeper, Joshua Wolfe, to keep her safe. A former war hero struggling to adjust to civilian life, Joshua struggles to accept his attraction to Gwyn. But with danger stalking the woman he can’t help but love, Joshua will have to risk opening his heart before it’s too late.

 

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Sabrina Jeffries about Project Duchess.

Get your first look at the stunning cover of Sabrina Jeffries’ The Bachelor!

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Trending Features

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!