STARRED REVIEW
January 20, 2021

2021 preview: Most anticipated romance

All the love stories we can’t wait to read—from beloved icons and rising stars alike.

STARRED REVIEW
January 20, 2021

2021 preview: Most anticipated romance

All the love stories we can’t wait to read—from beloved icons and rising stars alike.

January 20, 2021

2021 preview: Most anticipated romance

All the love stories we can’t wait to read—from beloved icons and rising stars alike.

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This year will see releases from some of Romancelandia’s most beloved icons and most exciting rising stars. If you’re reading this because you just discovered the joy of the genre by binge-watching “Bridgerton,” welcome! Consider this list to be a snapshot of all the other wonderful stories that romance has to offer.


The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Berkley | January 26

NPR lovers, this one’s for you. YA writer Solomon makes her adult debut with a very charming romance between a producer and a reporter at a Seattle public radio station.


Big Bad Wolf by Suleikha Snyder
Sourcebooks Casablanca | January 26

Indie favorite Snyder’s first release with a traditional publisher is a big swing: a paranormal alternate reality that’s very clearly inspired by post-2016 America. Her multifaceted and ambitious take on the shifter romance will undoubtedly win her legions of new fans.


Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins
Avon | February 9

The Slayer of Words will be blessing us with not only the second installment of her Women Who Dare series but also the love story of fan favorite character Spring Lee. A gruff, wildly competent Wyoming rancher, Spring will find her proud singlehood challenged by reporter Garrett McCray.


First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
Avon 
| February 16

Rai will be wrapping up her series of rom-coms exploring the complexities of modern dating with this romance between a makeup influencer and a Bollywood movie star. (Please, please let said Bollywood movie star’s enormous family be the subject of Rai’s next series!)


Love at First by Kate Clayborn
Kensington 
| February 23

Clayborn’s beautifully written print debut, Love Lettering, was one of last year’s best romances. Her elegant, precise prose and enchanting characters should be on full display in this contemporary romance between two neighbors in the same quirky apartment building.


Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren
Sourcebooks Casablanca 
| March 2

There haven’t been many romance series more ambitious or potentially disastrous than Loren’s The Ones Who Got Away series, which followed the survivors of a school shooting as they dealt with their lingering trauma as adults. But Loren’s sensitive, nuanced take on such a challenging subject matter won her rave reviews. Her next book will be a standalone following a writer trying to tackle her anxiety with the help of an aspiring actor, all in the criminally underused setting of New Orleans.


Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Avon 
| March 9

Both of Hibbert’s last two books were among our favorite romances of their respective year. Will the love story of silly, dreamy and eminently delightful youngest Brown sister, Eve, join her sisters? We shall see.


Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez
Forever | April 6​​

A hot lawyer! Surprise custody of an adorable baby! Jimenez’s next romantic comedy looks like it’ll be another example of her perfect blend of tropey fun and grounded, emotional storytelling.


To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
Atria | April 6

Waters’ debut was a perfect little whipped-cream confection of a historical romance, but her sophomore novel might be even better, especially if you’re a fan of enemies-to-lovers, house parties and wagers gone wrong.


Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
William Morrow | March 31

The author of the beloved romance The Hating Game is back with an adorable love story between the manager of a retirement home and the gorgeous man that the community’s most eccentric residents hire to be their assistant.


People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Berkley | May 11

Henry’s Beach Read was everywhere last summer, and her second novel sounds like another perfect poolside read. Travel writer Poppy used to take a weeklong vacation every year with Alex, her best friend since childhood. But when their friendship falls apart, Poppy has one last vacation to make things right.


The Hellion’s Waltz by Olivia Waite
Avon Impulse | May 11

The heroines of Waite’s Feminine Pursuits series have all had fascinating occupations, from the astronomer and embroiderer of The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics to the beekeeper and printer of The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows. Waite’s next foray into the lesser explored corners of the Regency will reportedly feature a piano tuner and a silk weaver, and probably many jaw-droppingly gorgeous metaphors derived from both jobs.


The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Gallery | May 18

A dating service based on genetics sounds . . . ethically dubious at best. And single mom Jess Davis has even more reason to doubt GeneticAlly’s ability to find her a match when the company’s test pairs her with Dr. River Peña, whom she finds rude and obnoxious. But because this is Christina Lauren, they’re surely going to find out that they’re absolutely perfect for each other in very funny and squee-inducing ways.


How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole
Avon | May 25

All you need to know about this book is that it’s by Alyssa Cole, and it’s a lesbian retelling of Anastasia. Prepare yourself accordingly.


One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
St. Martin’s Griffin | June 1

Will the romance corners of the internet survive June 2021? It’s a serious question given that Casey McQuiston, of the adored and mega-popular Red, White & Royal Blue, will finally release her sophomore novel. One Last Stop sent the internet into a tizzy when it was announced, and given that the main characters are a sweet newcomer to NYC and a 1970s lesbian who’s somehow gotten stuck in time on the subway, it’s not hard to see why.


The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian
Avon 
| June 8

Huzzah! Another author has left the well-trodden garden paths of the Regency for the (far sexier, in this writer’s opinion) Georgian era. And because Cat Sebastian knows exactly what she’s doing, Kit Webb is about an aristocrat and a former highwayman who now owns a coffee house. That’s right, it’s the beloved fan fiction trope of a coffee shop, but with robbery lessons and in the 1700s. Be still, our hearts.


Someone to Cherish by Mary Balogh
Berkley 
June 29

One writer who will probably never be leaving the Regency is Mary Balogh, but given that her voice and characters so completely embody the period, why would we ever want her to? Balogh continues the saga of the Westcotts with the story of Harry Westcott, the man who was once heir to the family title before his father’s bigamy and thus the discovery of his own illegitimate status. Now a haunted ex-soldier recovering from his experiences in the Napoleonic Wars, Harry finds solace in the company of a lovely and lonely widow.


Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev
William Morrow 
July 6

Dev continues to make Austen fangirls’ wildest dreams come true by gifting them with another installment in her Rajes series, which transplants the iconic author’s characters and stories to modern-day San Francisco. This time, Sense and Sensibility will serve as inspiration for a second-chance romance between an aspiring politician and a stress management coach. (Of course a modern version of Elinor Dashwood would become a stress management coach. It’s too perfect!)


Isn’t It Bromantic? by Lyssa Kay Adams
Berkley | July 20

The Russian, a comic highlight in Adams’ previous four novels about a romance book club composed entirely of men, will finally get a love story of his own! Turns out, the blunt romance superfan (whose name is actually Vlad) married his childhood best friend to get her American citizenship after her life was in danger in their native country. Vlad joined the Bromance Book Club to try and learn how to properly romance his wife, but now it looks like their marriage-of-convenience is in danger of falling apart.


Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas
Avon | July 27

Fans generally freak out whenever there’s something new from Kleypas, one of the reigning queens of historical romance. But excitement is particularly high for her next book in the Ravenels series, all because of that title. For the uninitiated, Kleypas’ Devil in Winter (2006) is routinely cited as one of the best romance novels ever written. Kleypas surprised and delighted longtime readers by introducing them to the children of Devil in Winter’s iconic couple, Evie and Sebastian, in two previous Ravenel books, Devil in Spring and Devil’s Daughter. Apparently, there’s one more we’ve yet to meet, and the current consensus is that Devil in Disguise’s hero, Keir MacRae, is Sebastian’s illegitimate child. (He used to be quite a rake, you see.)


The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Berkley | August 17

Originally slated for last summer, Hoang delayed the release of this hotly anticipated romance starring fan-favorite character Quan Diep. Readers have been clamoring for the charismatic, good-hearted Quan to get a love story of his own ever since Hoang’s debut, The Kiss Quotient. This August, we’ll finally get to meet the woman who will win his heart.


Battle Royale by Lucy Parker
Avon | August 17

Parker gained more fans with every installment of her London Celebrities series, so it’s no surprise that she will be making the jump from digital-first to print! Expect more of Parker’s keen wit and canny examination of love in the public eye as she blends baking shows and royal weddings into one delicious confection.

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