Savanna, Associate Editor

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron

Soho Crime | September 12

Mick Herron’s marvelous Slough House espionage novels acquired a whole new fan base when the Apple TV+ adaptation premiered to critical raves. In a very canny move by Herron, his latest book, The Secret Hours, will function as both an entry point for newcomers and a treat for longtime readers. A standalone prequel to the Slough House series, The Secret Hours tracks a seemingly stalled inquiry into misconduct in the British intelligence service, an investigation that gets a shot of rocket fuel when a mysterious file resurrects a Cold War-era operation gone horribly wrong. Apparently, somewhere in all the mayhem that unfolds, Herron will reveal the backstory of a key Slough House player . . .

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

Minotaur | September 19

The author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother revealing that she’s penned a hard-boiled mystery certainly wasn’t on our 2023 bingo card! Amy Chua’s fiction debut is a 1940s-set mystery in the Raymond Chandler mode, following a lone-wolf detective through the shadowy, underground world of San Francisco’s rich and powerful as he hunts a murderer in their midst.

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

Pamela Dorman | September 19

Richard Osman’s blockbuster cozy mystery series (what a wonderful world, in which such a phrase can be written) returns, and while plot details are scarce, the Coopers Chase gang’s fourth case seems to involve a smuggling scheme gone wrong, ruining Boxing Day—the day after Christmas, which the British typically celebrate with TV marathons and leftovers galore—for everyone.

The Bell in the Fog by Lev AC Rosen

Forge | October 10

Lev AC Rosen’s first Andy Mills mystery, Lavender House, was one of the best mysteries of 2022, and we can’t wait to see where Rosen takes his cop-turned-PI next. The Bell in the Fog will further explore the gay underground of 1950s San Francisco as Andy hunts down a blackmailer targeting one of his old flames from the Navy.

Bluebeard’s Castle by Anna Biller

Verso | October 10

In 2016, Anna Biller made the instant cult classic film The Love Witch, but “made” doesn’t really encapsulate the totality of her accomplishment. Biller (deep breath) not only directed, wrote, produced and edited the movie, she also oversaw the music and designed the entire look of the film, from the sets to the iconic costumes. Apparently, there’s nothing Biller can’t do, because she’s bringing her gothic-meets-midcentury-camp aesthetic to the page with Bluebeard’s Castle, a retelling of the famous fairy tale that also seems to be in conversation with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

The Exchange by John Grisham

Doubleday | October 17

Once upon a time, a lawyer and lawmaker named John Grisham released his second novel, The Firm, and the rest is publishing history. Forty-eight bestselling novels later, Grisham is finally returning to the world of the one that started it all with The Exchange, which catches up with The Firm’s Mitch and Abby 15 years later. Now a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, Mitch becomes embroiled in another powerful conspiracy, but this time with a global reach.

Viviana Valentine and the Ticking Clock by Emily J. Edwards

Crooked Lane | November 7

The His Girl Friday mysteries couldn’t be more aptly named: Emily J. Edwards’ midcentury mystery series has all the snappy brio and Rosie the Riveter feminism of the classic rom-com starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. In her third outing, the titular sleuth’s Times Square-set New Year’s Eve celebration is ruined when she witnesses a murder en route. 

Murder in Williamstown by Kerry Greenwood

Poisoned Pen | November 7

With a TV series, movie, spinoff TV series and spinoff book series inspired by said spinoff TV series, the Miss Fisher universe only continues to expand—and we couldn’t be happier. Phryne Fisher returns in Kerry Greenwood’s 22nd mystery starring the glamorous detective, who will be investigating a murder that seems to be connected to her lover Lin Chung’s family.

The Fourth Rule by Jeff Lindsay

Dutton | December 5

Do you love the Mission: Impossible movies? Do you wish that they starred characters with . . . more flexible senses of morality? Then hie thee to Jeff Lindsay’s Riley Wolfe series. The thrillers starring the dashing thief (Just Watch Me, Fool Me Twice and Three-Edged Sword) are delightful globe-trotting adventures that provide plenty of escapist fun while never talking down to their audience, just like Tom Cruise’s joyously go-for-broke action blockbusters.

Discover all of BookPage’s most anticipated books of fall 2023.

This autumn, we’re excited to reunite with some of our favorite sleuths (The Thursday Murder Club! Slough House!) and read intriguing mystery debuts from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother author Amy Chua and The Love Witch director Anna Biller.

A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by KJ Charles

Sourcebooks Casablanca | September 19

KJ Charles will conclude her Doomsday Books duology with A Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel, which takes place 13 years after The Secret Lives of Country Gentleman. Nobleman’s Guide will follow Luke Doomsday, all grown up after the traumatic events of Secret Lives, as he becomes the secretary to Major Rufus d’Aumesty, the new Earl of Oxney. Luke has an ulterior motive for working at the earl’s seat at Stone Manor, a motive that makes his growing feelings for Rufus highly inconvenient . . .

The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary

Berkley | September 26

And now the holiday portion of this list begins, as a whole host of romance’s biggest stars are taking a swing at the seasonal rom-com this year. First up, The Flatshare and The No-Show author Beth O’Leary, whose latest novel will follow dueling receptionists as they try to stop their hotel from shutting down.

Three Holidays and a Wedding by Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley

Putnam | September 26 

Uzma Jalaluddin and Marissa Stapley’s first collaboration may be the most ambitious undertaking on this list. The duo will be attempting the always tricky “two love stories in one romance” plot in a book that will also depict three beloved winter celebrations: Christmas, Hanukkah and Eid. It’s all set in an adorable Canadian town where a movie is being filmed and a bridal party has been snowed in for the holidays, so if you’re looking to play holiday romance bingo, this will be the book for you! 

Wreck the Halls by Tessa Bailey

Avon | October 3

Tessa Bailey, one of BookTok’s favorite authors, will be giving a gift to fans of musician and celebrity romances this holiday season. Wreck the Halls follows Melody and Beat, the adult children of two legendary rock stars who team up to convince their estranged mothers to perform a concert together on Christmas Eve. 

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver

Dell | October 3

Josie Silver’s One Day in December has been a perennial favorite on holiday reading lists ever since its release in 2018, and fans of her emotional romances will be thrilled to know that she’s returning with another wintry love story. As will people who defiantly eat frozen treats in colder months, as this story follows a chef who discovers that her secret family gelato recipe is, somehow, exactly the same as the one used by an adorable New York City gelateria. 

A Holly Jolly Ever After by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

Avon | October 10

Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone’s A Merry Little Meet Cute was a delightfully bawdy entry in the holiday rom-com canon, so we’re thrilled they’re returning with a new book in the Christmas Notch series. Kallum Lieberman, who was once “the funny one” in popular boy band INK (the same group to which a Merry Little’s Nolan once belonged), finds himself falling for former child star turned squeaky-clean actor Winnie Baker on the set of their new movie, which the book’s marketing copy describes as “a sexy Santa biopic.” We have so many questions, and we cannot wait to have them answered.

Stars in Your Eyes by Kacen Callender

Forever | October 10

Kacen Callender seems to be on a mission to prove that there is no genre or category they can’t conquer. From YA fiction and romance to adult fantasy, their work is consistently thoughtful and idiosyncratic. Now, Callender will bring their unique voice to the world of adult romance for the first time with Stars in Your Eyes, a celebrity romance between two actors who embark on a fake-dating scheme to change the publicity narrative surrounding their film after one of them says the other has no talent.  

10 Things That Never Happened by Alexis Hall

Sourcebooks Casablanca | October 17

With his London Calling and Winner Bakes All series, Alexis Hall has established himself as the romance connoisseur’s go-to pick for witty, sexy rom-coms. 10 Things That Never Happened will thrill fans of Hall’s London Calling novels, as it’s set in the same universe, while also presenting an intriguing challenge for the talented author: Can he make a character who lies about having amnesia sympathetic?

Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake

Berkley | October 24

The titular character of Ashley Herring Blake’s Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date has been a scene-stealing supporting character in the two previous Bright Falls romances, so it’s high time that Iris gets a happily ever after of her very own! She meets her match in Stevie, a subpar one-night stand who is cast alongside Iris in a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert

Berkley | November 7

Katee Robert, of Greek myth reimaginings and monster romance fame, has turned her attention to a once wildly popular but now sadly neglected corner of the genre: the pirate romance. Never afraid of bucking tradition, Robert has added a fantasy spin by sparking romance between a witch on the run and a telekinetic pirate captain.

Silver Lady by Mary Jo Putney

Kensington | November 28

Mary Jo Putney is one of historical romance’s most acclaimed and beloved authors, and her new duology will take place at what seems to be the subgenre’s current hot location: Cornwall. (Thank you, “Poldark”!) The first book, Silver Lady, will follow dutiful Bran Tremayne, who reluctantly travels to the region to survey his new inheritance. But once he’s there, he feels bound to protect Merryn, a mysterious woman with amnesia who seems to be at the center of a web of political intrigue.

Housebroke by Jaci Burton

Berkley | December 12

Jaci Burton is the latest author to make the switch from series to standalone rom-coms, and the summary for her new novel, Housebroke, sounds like trope heaven. A secret millionaire! House-flipping! Rescue dogs! Forced proximity! Burton may make herself a whole host of new fans with the tale of Hazel Bristow, who’s staying in her friend’s home after getting dumped, only to find that her friend has just sold the house to millionaire Linc Kennedy. When Linc arrives at his new property, he’s shocked to find Hazel and her crew of rescue dogs already present, but he lets her stay while he renovates the place.

Discover all of BookPage’s most anticipated books of fall 2023.

This fall, we’ll be cozying up to Katee Robert’s pirate romance, Alexis Hall’s most ambitious love story yet and an entire sleigh’s worth of holiday rom-coms.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

Tor | September 19

John Scalzi returns with another sci-fi romp after last year’s The Kaiju Preservation Society, and the plot sounds like a Tumblr thread come to life—which we mean as the highest of compliments. When Charlie unexpectedly inherits his uncle Jake’s supervillain business (complete with “unionized dolphins” and “hyper-intelligent talking spy cats”), he also inherits his uncle’s feud with a group of even more terrifying bad guys: ruthless corporate overlords.

The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab

Tor | September 26

There are many wonderful entry points to the work of V. E. Schwab, and fantasy fans swear by her Shades of Magic trilogy, which travels between four alternate versions of Regency London. Schwab completed the trilogy in 2017 and ventured to other genres and categories, writing the popular Cassidy Blake middle grade horror series, a young adult fantasy and a little book called The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. But now, Schwab will check back in with the heroes of the Shades of Magic trilogy in The Fragile Threads of Power, which takes place seven years later as new threats rise in two of the four Londons they call home.

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig

Del Rey | September 26

The vibe of Chuck Wendig’s latest horror novel sounds like cottagecore, but make it terrifying, and we are very much here for that. The picturesque small town of Harrow is forever changed when its inhabitants become obsessed with some mysterious, beautiful and powerful apples that transform them into better versions of themselves. But as harvest draws closer, the true nature of the apples and the town’s bloody history will be revealed. 

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

Tor | October 3

Alix E. Harrow’s third novel appears to be a dark echo of her debut, The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Opal is another young woman in a mysterious house, but she’s not trying to escape like January Scaller. Rather, Opal is determined to make a home in Starling House, no matter what dark and terrifying forces lurk within it.

The Dead Take the A Train by Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey

Tor Nightfire | October 3

Cassandra Khaw made a name for themself with the ambitious and creative horror novellas Nothing But Blackened Teeth and The Salt Grows Heavy. Next, they’ll be teaming up with urban fantasy writer Richard Kadrey for a duology following a burnt-out New York City magician who accidentally puts the world in jeopardy while trying to save her best friend.

Throne of the Fallen by Kerri Maniscalco

Little, Brown | October 3

YA powerhouse Kerri Maniscalco’s adult debut, Throne of the Fallen, follows a prince of hell who falls in love with a painter. In a canny move, the novel is set in the same world as Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Wicked series, which will thrill the books’ many adult fans who have been hoping for more mature content.  

The Night House by Jo Nesbo jacket

The Night House by Jo Nesbø, translated by Neil Smith

Knopf | October 3

There are complicated setups and then there are hooks like the one iconic Norwegian mystery writer Jo Nesbø employs in his first horror novel: What if you saw somebody die by getting sucked into a phone? That’s what happens to 14-year-old Richard in Nesbø’s The Night House and since no one believes him, Richard embarks on a quest to try and figure out why dark forces are targeting his small-town home.

Sword Catcher by Cassandra Clare

Del Rey | October 10

With the end of her iconic, megabestselling and wildly popular Shadowhunter Chronicles in sight (one more trilogy, then it’s curtains!), Cassandra Clare is making the leap to adult fiction after 16 years as one of the reigning queens of YA. Sword Catcher will follow Kel, a nobleman’s body double, and Lin, a physician with magical abilities, as they uncover a conspiracy at the very heart of the powerful city-state of Castellane.

The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

Saga | October 31

Iconic speculative fiction author Tananarive Due returns with The Reformatory, which is based on the same horrifying real school as Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys—a school to which Due has a family connection. It’s 1950, and 12-year-old Robbie Stephens Jr. has just been sentenced to six months at the Gracetown School for Boys. But since Robbie can see ghosts, he begins to realize that something terrible is happening to the boys of Gracetown.

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

Tor | November 7

Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes was a major hit last year, delighting readers in search of low-stakes cozy fantasies. His next book will move from a coffee shop setting to one just as soothing: a bookshop in a seaside town. As it turns out, Legends & Lattes’ Viv once spent a summer recovering from a wound in the tiny beach town of Murk—and what happened to her there set her on the path to becoming the aspiring coffee shop owner with whom readers fell in love.

A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

Tordotcom | November 7

Freya Marske’s beloved Edwardian historical fantasy series comes to an end with A Power Unbound, which tells the love story of privileged Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, and cynical writer and thief Alan Ross. The two men have the sort of enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract dynamic that thrills romance fans, and if Markse’s previous novels are any indication, A Power Unbound will be another perfect combination of love story and grand fantasy adventure. 

System Collapse by Martha Wells

Tordotcom | November 14

Martha Wells’ beloved Murderbot is back for another smart and hilarious adventure in System Collapse, only this time, there’s something wrong with our stalwart hero’s programming! Murderbot will have to fix its internal bugs and figure out what exactly is going wrong inside itself before it can save the day.

Inheritance by Nora Roberts

St. Martin’s | November 21

The legendary Nora Roberts begins a new fantasy romance series with Inheritance, which will explore the haunted history of the Poole family. Sonya McTavish didn’t know her father had a brother until her uncle died and left her a beautiful Victorian house on the coast of Maine. She has to live in the house for three years to claim it, but once she’s there, she realizes the house may be haunted by the spirit of Astrid, a woman who was murdered after marrying into the Poole family in 1806. 

The Kingdom of Sweets by Erika Johansen

Dutton | November 28

The Kingdom of Sweets is YA author Erika Johansen’s first novel for adults and her first novel outside of the bestselling Queen of the Tearling fantasy series. A new take on The Nutcracker, The Kingdom of Sweets follows Natasha, a young girl who enters the Land of the Sweets and strikes a dangerous bargain with the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Discover all of BookPage’s most anticipated books of fall 2023.

This season, we can’t wait to read the adult debuts of iconic YA authors like Cassandra Clare and see what new delights rising stars like Freya Marske have cooked up. All that, and a new Murderbot novel too!
August 7, 2023

Four impossibly fun celebrity romance novels

Calling all pop culture aficionados—these delightful love stories are ripped straight from the tabloid headlines.
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Calling all pop culture aficionados—these delightful love stories are ripped straight from the tabloid headlines.
August 7, 2023

Five excellent midcentury mysteries

The period between the end of World War II and the close of the ’60s has always been a fruitful setting for mysteries. There’s something irresistible about seeing the seamy side of an era that was oh-so put-together—on the surface, that is.
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Recent Features

The period between the end of World War II and the close of the ’60s has always been a fruitful setting for mysteries. There’s something irresistible about seeing the seamy side of an era that was oh-so put-together—on the surface, that is.
August 21, 2023

Eight great books to read if you’re new to science fiction

Not sure where to start on your journey into the sci-fi universe? These entertaining and engaging adventures are the perfect launch pads.
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Drunk on All Your Strange New Words

In Eddie Robson‘s sci-fi mystery, aliens and humans can communicate‘but translating telepathic thought into speech makes a human translator rip-roaring drunk.

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Station Eternity

This space station-set mystery stands out thanks to its endearing characters, both human and alien.

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Book jacket image for The Blighted Stars by Megan E. O'Keefe

The Blighted Stars

Megan E. O’Keefe’s The Blighted Stars has one of the most fascinating sci-fi premises of the year: People upload their consciousnesses into 3D-printed bodies.

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Not sure where to start on your journey into the sci-fi universe? These entertaining and engaging adventures are the perfect launch pads.
Older sleuths cozy mysteries image

September 19, 2023

3 delightful mysteries with older sleuths (that aren't 'The Thursday Murder Club')

Everyone loves Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, which stars a quirky and lovable group of retirees. But if you’ve already read all of Osman’s cozy mysteries, there are some other detectives we’d like to introduce you to.

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Leonie Swann’s darkly humorous cozy mystery The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp, translated from the German by Amy Bojang, features a quirky cast of older characters who live together in Sunset Hall on the outskirts of a British village called Duck End.

The residents also share space with a free-range tortoise named Hettie who, in the book’s attention-grabbing first chapter, discovers the body of housemate Lilith in the garden shed—a death the group has not yet reported to the authorities.

Understandably, it’s a huge relief when the police come knocking and it’s not Lilith they’re concerned with, but rather their neighbor Mildred, found dead on her terrace from a gunshot. The group decides their neighbor’s murder presents an opportunity: They’ll simply figure out who killed her and attribute Lilith’s death to the murderer as well. They’ve got the qualifications, as several of them have done sleuthing work in the past, and they’ve got the time. Easy peasy! 

Carrying out their plan is more difficult than anticipated, not least because Agnes, a cranky force of nature who often leads the group, has been feeling and acting off lately. Her memories are jumbled, her perceptions a bit askew and she’s been fainting quite often, making it difficult to inspire confidence while withstanding police questioning. There’s plenty of wariness among the other residents, too; after all, they don’t know each other that well, and why does the house gun keep going missing, anyway?

As tensions mount and the police grow increasingly suspicious of Sunset Hall, Swann conveys with wit and empathy the push-pull of wanting to achieve things but feeling hobbled by age, infirmity or self-doubt. As in her first novel, 2007’s Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story, Swann assembles an unusual group of intrepid detectives and manages to find the fun among the fear in an engaging and offbeat tale of murder and occasional mayhem.

Leonie Swann gives the “quirky older sleuths” trope a jolt of black comedy in The Sunset Years of Agnes Sharp.
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The women of the Marlow Murder Club are back in business in Death Comes to Marlow, the delightful second installment of Robert Thorogood’s cozy mystery series.

Life is returning to normal for Judith Potts. She became something of a local celebrity after she and her friends Becks and Suzie helped solve a series of murders in their quiet town of Marlow, England. But now the 78-year-old woman is back to her usual routine: setting crossword puzzles for the local paper, swimming nude in the nearby Thames during the day and enjoying a glass of scotch (or two) at night. When Sir Peter Bailey, a wealthy Marlow resident, offers Judith a last-minute invitation to his pre-wedding festivities, something about the gesture makes Judith uneasy. Convinced something foul will occur, she attends the party but is still shocked when Sir Peter himself is killed. Local police believe his death was an accident—after all, Sir Peter was alone in a locked room when a heavy piece of furniture fell on him. When Judith, Suzie and Becks launch their own investigation, however, they find that just about everyone close to the aristocrat may have had a motive to kill him. But how did the perpetrator pull off such a seemingly impossible murder?

Judith is a charming protagonist; she’s witty, warm and bulldozes her way into a police investigation with ease. Becks, the vicar’s rule-following wife, and Suzie, a free-spirited dog walker turned local radio personality, may be unlikely companions for Judith, but their friendships are rooted in respect. The ways the trio challenge and complement one another are not only highlights of the book but also the things that help them successfully solve the mystery.

In Death Comes to Marlow, Thorogood expertly crafts a locked-room mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s well-plotted stories. Readers will enjoy piecing together this engaging puzzle alongside members of the Marlow Murder Club.

This engaging cozy mystery is an homage to Agatha Christie with a trio of warmhearted friendships at its core.
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Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto is a delightful cozy mystery that brims with humor and heart while introducing an unforgettable lead character.

The titular Vera leads a quiet life. She runs a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown that rarely sees customers and spends her days cyberstalking her son, who often ignores her calls. Vera’s routine is disrupted when she discovers a corpse in her store. She springs into action—outlining the body with a Sharpie, just like she’s seen on TV; tidying up her shop and making tea to impress the police; and most notably, swiping a flash drive from the dead man, Marshall Chen. She’s not sure the police will take his death (which is clearly a murder, to her “CSI”-trained eyes) seriously. So Vera uses the information on the flash drive to identify four suspects: Oliver, Marshall’s brother; Julia, Marshall’s widow; and Sana and Riki, who claim to be journalists investigating the suspicious death. All four have something to hide, but as Vera investigates, the group comes together in unexpected and surprising ways. Is a killer truly among this newly found family of hers?

Vera is a tour-de-force creation. She’s feisty and meddlesome, with a big imagination and bigger heart. She’s riotously funny, often without trying to be. She spends a great deal of time dispensing tough love and sage advice, and is almost always correct, much to the annoyance of her new friends. Sutanto also delivers well-drawn, memorable secondary characters, particularly Julia and her daughter, Emma. As Vera worms her way into her suspects’ lives and hearts, so, too, will the characters of Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers endear themselves to readers.

The mystery itself is intriguing, with well-placed clues and foreshadowing. Marshall left behind a trail of lies and enemies, but Vera proves herself up to the task of solving his murder. And along the way, she even helps many of his friends and family heal and become better versions of themselves. Sutanto hits all the right notes in this cozy mystery, perfectly blending meddling, murder and found family.

Jesse Q. Sutanto hits all the right notes in Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, a cozy mystery worth reading for its hilariously meddlesome titular character alone.

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Recent Features

Everyone loves Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club series, which stars a quirky and lovable group of retirees. But if you've already read all of Osman's cozy mysteries, there are some other detectives we'd like to introduce you to.
Best HistRoms 2022

October 12, 2022

Get swept away

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

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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.

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.
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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.

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.
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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.
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★ 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.

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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?

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

October 2022

Sweet, sexy but never scary

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

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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.
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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.

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.

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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!

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