July 30, 2020

The best romance novels of 2020 (so far!)

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July 30, 2020

The best romance novels of 2020 (so far!)

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July 30, 2020

The best romance novels of 2020 (so far!)

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It’s now more than halfway through the year, and I think I speak for us all when I say that romance novels have been a godsend. It was exceedingly difficult to narrow things down, but I looked deep within my heart (and read and reread the amazing work of BookPage’s romance reviewers) to select the 10 best romances of 2020 so far.


Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

I am fully aware that this book was released on December 31, 2019, but 1) that technically falls into January coverage here at BookPage, and 2) I literally could not look myself in the face if I didn’t include this book. Clayborn’s heart-stoppingly beautiful love letter to words, calligraphy and NYC took my breath away page after page.


The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe

Yes, this is another late December release, and I will refer you to points one and two above. Shupe’s second Uptown Girls is a sterling example of a pairing type that I think romance could stand to do a bit more of: alpha-meets-alpha. Society girl Florence Greene is just as ambitious, just as uncompromising as casino owner Clayton Madden, and their love affair is as ferocious as you would expect.


Headliners by Lucy Parker

I can’t say it any better than BookPage reviewer Amanda Diehl, so I’ll turn it over to her. Parker’s fifth London Celebrities romance is “a smart, kind, witty romance that is a balm to the soul.”


A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Vane’s grimdark-and-then-some world is a bit of a throwback in terms of modern fantasy romance (and may be too brutal for some), but the author adds just the right amount of progressive touches to make it compelling rather than depressing. The barbarians are sex-positive and often sexually fluid, sexual assault is seen as the worst of crimes and our heroine is a relentless and ruthless princess who dreams of becoming a warrior queen.


The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Why isn’t there a cottage industry of Christina Lauren film adaptations? I ask this question nearly every time I pick up a new romance by the beloved author duo, but never more so than when reading The Honey-Don’t List. Their 25th (!!) romance is an absolutely charming rom-com with a down-to-earth emphasis on growing together as a couple, rather than forcing a love interest to conform to an out-of-reach ideal.


A Duke by Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes

Burrowes seems chronically uninterested in writing characters who aren’t grown-ass adults, and thank god for that. Althea Wentworth and Nathaniel Rothmere are both outcasts from high society, and have gone through terrible things in the past. But that doesn’t mean they can’t treat each other with kindness and respect, and place a rightfully high value on flirty banter and very good sandwiches. For comfort reads that engage your mind as much your heart, there’s no one better than Burrowes.


The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

A gothic, angsty romance about a Mary Wollstonecraft-esque figure? Yes, please. Peckham’s print debut met and exceeded expectations, commenting on the pressures unfairly placed on women in the public eye while also reveling in the glorious, seawater-drenched high drama of its premise. Oh, and also breaking the structural conventions of romance for a surprising, yet utterly satisfying, happy ending.


Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Dev’s extended Austen universe (I will never not be overjoyed to type that phrase) continues to astonish, using the beloved second-chance romance Persuasion as a scaffolding for a complex, modern romance that celebrates courage, love and growth.


Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Hibbert called this her “sunshine book” on Twitter, and that is truly what it is. A magnificent display of Hibbert’s perfectly pitched humor and razor-sharp wit, Take a Hint, Dani Brown is the perfect blend of sexy and smart, a meta commentary on the romance genre that still provides all the heat and heart fans want.


Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

BookPage reviewer Carole Bell hit the nail right on the head when describing Hall’s romance as “a literary, millennial version of a 1930s screwball comedy,” with a hint of screenwriter Richard Curtis’ incredible run of chatty, lived-in rom-coms like Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral in the 1990s.

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