Romantic novels have always occupied an important place among the preferences of readers. You may even know that romantic novels are one of the best-selling genres. These novels have millions of followers all over the world that eagerly wait for every new release. Normally, romantic novels are stories based on love, although there are a few famous books that border with eroticism.

In the literature world of today, romantic novels are no longer only written to entertain female readers. In fact, many books also involve homosexual relations, both between men and women, as part of their narrative. If you think that romantic books are only about love, then you are mistaken. These novels cover a multitude of subgenres, such as fantasy, adventure or history.

Key Facts

  • Romantic novels are one of the highest-selling literary genres today. Most romantic novel authors are women, as are close to 90% of its readers. However, lately, more and more books are being released that are tailored towards male readers and the LGTB community.
  • Romantic novels have a very recognizable style and structure that is very different from erotic novels. Although some literary critics consider romance novels to be an insignificant genre, some romantic works are of great literary quality. Many romantic novels have inspired great films and box-office sagas, such as the vampire saga “Twilight”.
  • If you do not read romantic books regularly, you should ask yourself a few questions before you buy one. Questions such as your emotional state, your favorite literary genres and whether or not you’ll feel embarrassed by reading a book of this type in public. Once you’ve done this, there is a huge range of novels available to you.

Ranking: The best romantic novels on the U.S. market

In the following section, we are going to provide you with a list of the 5 best romantic novels sold in 2019. Out of these five titles, we are absolutely sure that you will find a book that takes your fancy. Do you dare to give a romantic novel a chance? Are you feeling in the mood for something a little bit risky? Let’s get started below.

No. 1: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

This Amazon Best Seller is a romantic novel about office worker Eleanor, who adheres to a strict routine that has insulated her from the memories of her traumatic childhood but has not shielded her from loneliness. However, after she meets Raymond, she attempts to rediscover her memories and in the process learns how relationships (including those with friends, lovers, and colleagues) operate and that other people can be a source of joy rather than destruction.

NPR.org says that “Eleanor Oliphant is a quirky loner and a model of efficiency with her routine of frozen pizza, vodka and weekly phone calls with Mummy. [She’s] a woman beginning to heal from unimaginable tragedy, with a voice that is deadpan, heartbreaking and humorous all at once.” For an intriguing novel that will keep you captivated, take a closer look at this great romantic novel.

No. 2: Matchmaking for Beginners: A Novel

Matchmaking for Beginners is a Best Selling novel from Connecticut resident Maddie Dawson. This romantic novel tells the story of Marnie MacGraw, a woman who wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.

The Associated Press reviewed this novel by saying “[Matchmaking for Beginners] is a delightful, light-as-air romance that successfully straddles the line between sweet and smart without ever being silly…The novel is simply captivating from beginning to end.”

No. 3: Crazy Little Thing

Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan is a light-hearted and enjoyable romantic novel that would be a great holiday read. Crazy Little Thing is a novel about the life of Sadie Turner, an organized, independent woman who has everything in order. However, when Sadie finds her “perfect” life in disarray, she hopes a summer vacation at her aunt’s lake house will help her piece it back together. She wants to relax, reboot, and heal the wounds left by her cheating ex-husband. And that requires time away from men. All men.

Sadie’s summer vacation turns into something more interesting that may lead to a new love interest. RT Book Reviews gave this book 4 stars and said, “Witty one-liners and hilarious characters elevate this familiar story…Readers will love the heat between the leads and by the end, they’ll be clamoring for more.”

No. 4: That Month in Tuscany

Virginia author Inglath Cooper is a RITA Award winner for best long contemporary romance novel chosen each year by Romance Writers of America. She writes books that aim to give her readers a mini-vacation. The story of That Month in Tuscany is about Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper, two people who live completely different lives. He’s a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with. She’s a regular person whose husband stood her up for a long-planned anniversary trip. A certain plane trip leads to a chance meeting, and the rest, as they say, is history.

One reader on Amazon wrote, “I enjoyed this book so much, that I didn’t want to stop reading and go to sleep. Inglath Cooper knows how to pull you in, and keep you in, all the way through.” For an interesting novel about travel and romance, take a look at That Month in Tuscany.

No. 5: See Me

From the world-famous author of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, comes this suspenseful, romantic thriller that will keep you constantly engaged. The author Nicholas Sparks is a master at playing with the emotions of his readers and providing countless twists and turns that leaves the reader wanting more.

See Me is the love story that starts from a chance encounter between a successful lawyer (Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants) and a rebellious bad boy (Colin Hancock). Deep in emotion and fueled with suspense, See Me reminds readers that love is often forged in the most unlikely of places. For a dramatic and intense love thriller, choose Nicholas Sparks’s new release.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about romantic novels

Just like other genres, such as children’s and self-help books, romantic novels cover countless subgenres. In fact, there are many books that utilize a love story as an excuse to tell other less romantic plots, such as historical events or adventure voyages. Adding a romantic element to a novel adds a bit of spice to the plot that makes it more exciting and enjoyable to read. In the following section, we will clarify a number of questions that most people ask about when it comes to romance novels.

The romantic genre can keep you entertained and engaged for hours. 
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What are romantic novels?

Classifying romantic novels by certain characteristics can often be complicated. As there is a great variety of romantic novels that exist, the features of a romantic novel often overlap with other genres. However, most romantic novels share the common theme of a happy ending or that the main characters overcome a large number of adversities until they reach happiness.

Another common characteristic of romantic novels is the strong will of the main characters to fight for their love above all else, often in the face of danger or against the wishes of others. Romantic novels are stories in which perseverance and hard-word are usually rewarded, while the evil is punished. There are of course romantic novels that skip these ideals and focus solely on the love between two people.

Romantic novels quite often describe in detail the feelings and personalities of their main characters. They go in-depth about how a character feels in every situation and what they are thinking as events unfold. Often a single small event or an enticing glance from a forbidden love can lead to pages upon pages of emotional descriptions that the main character is feeling. For many people, becoming lost in the personality of the main character is one of the joys of romantic novels.

Tragedy is also a common component of these novels. Often the main characters must choose between sacrificing their own life in order for their great love to continue living. Often romantic books can be heart-wrenching and difficult to read for those who are immersed in the world of the book.

What are the most famous romantic books?

The romantic genre is as old as literature gets, so there are many famous titles within this genre. An example is Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights” from 1847, which is always present in any ranking of the most famous romance novels. Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is also an example of a classic romantic novel.

Another great romantic novel is titled “Doctor Zhivago”, by Boris Pasternak who was the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958. In this great novel, the author tells the intense love story between Yuri and Lara, with the Russian revolution and the First World War as a backdrop. This great love story was eventually turned into a fantastic film by director David Lean.

“I have crossed oceans of time to find you” is a romantic quote that is almost impossible to beat. This quote is pronounced by Count Dracula to his long love, Mina Murray, in Bram Stoker’s glorious novel. Often classified as a horror novel, the Irish author’s work is actually one of the greatest exponents of tragic and forbidden love.

Are there differences between erotic and romantic books?

There is actually no academic difference between romantic and erotic novels, however, the two types are very different novels. It should be noted that the two genres sometimes mix, taking one or two elements from the other. However, there are important characteristics that seem to be specific to each genre, such as the description of romantic feelings in romantic novels and sexual love or fantasies in erotic novels.

In erotic novels, the author usually describes intimate scenes to a certain point, whilst leaving the remainder to make the reader to finish the scene in their imagination. Hardcore descriptions of physical love are generally avoided, despite the fact that the plots are focused mainly on the sexual encounters of the main characters. An erotic novel, is, therefore, a half-way step between romance and pornography.

There is no academic classification of the difference between romantic and erotic novels.
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Are there romantic books for men?

Romantic novels are not written exclusively for women. Traditionally, these novels were always thought of as a female consumer genre. However, this notion has in fact turned out to be false, as there are many books that satisfy readers of both sexes. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is only necessary to open your mind so that you can be seduced by the work of romantic novels.

For those men who want to start in the romantic genre, a good recommendation is “The Reader”, by Bernhard Schlink. This novel was turned into a movie with Kate Winslet playing the lead character. This fantastic romantic novel tells the story of a teenager who falls in love with a woman much older than him. This is a classic case of forbidden love, a common theme among romantic novels, where love almost always triumphs. This novel is ideal for men who want to discover how romance novels can provide enjoyable and engaging experiences.

Are there romantic books about homosexual love?

Novels about love stories between people of the same sex are growing in quantity and fast becoming best-sellers within the romance genre. A novel of this type that we recommend is titled “Days Without End”, by Sebastian Barry. This is a novel that tells the story of a secret love between two soldiers in the American Civil War. This is a fantastic book to read that will keep you engaged throughout the novel.

What romantic books have been turned into movies?

We have already mentioned a few books that have been made into movies, such as “Doctor Zhivago” and “Twighlight”, although there are many other movies that are based on romatic novels. A notable and excellent book that was turned into a movie is the book titled “The English Patient”, by Michael Ondaatje. This is a movie based on the novel and it won no less than nine Oscars.

The film “Never Abandon Me” (2010) was inspired by author Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same title. Straddling the genres of romance and science fiction, the work of this British writer of Japanese origin tells a story with a cruel alternative reality in which the young characters are completely unaware of their horrible destiny.

The state of mind in which you find yourself is important when purchasing a romantic novel.
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Another incredible romance novel taken to the big screen is “The Lover”, by author Marguerite Duras. Premiered in 1992, the film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (“In Search of Fire”), created huge controversy because of the explicit love scenes between its main character, a French teenager and a rich Chinese businessman.

Are there romantic humor books?

One of the most common preconceptions that many readers have is that romantic novels always revolve around tragedy and sadness. However, there are authors of romance novels who stay well away from this theme and include humor to their stories. Authors such as Sarah MacLean and her novel “9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake”, use humor to create a fantastic romance novel with which you will not stop laughing.

Are there romantic books about vampires?

The “Twilight” saga is by far the most well-known example of romantic vampire literature, however, you may be surprised to learn that there are a few more. One excellent book series is called “Midnight Breed” by Lara Adrian, with the first installment of a saga titled “A Kiss of Midnight”. If you like to read books with handsome vampires, constant action, and unexpected twists, this is the novel series for you.

The vampire saga titled “Black Dagger Brotherhood”, by J.R. Ward is a series of books (there are already 18 books published) that has an excellent plot that enters into romance and eroticism. The book “Dark Lover” is the first novel in the series, in which we learn about the existence of a secret war between vampires and their exterminators.

Are there romantic books that mix mystery and love?

Romantic thrillers are a book genre that has always enjoyed a great level of popularity in the United States. Linda Howard’s “The Perfect Man” is a love and suspense novel that will hook even those readers who never thought they would enjoy a romantic novel.

“Sanctuary”, by the famous American writer Nora Roberts, is another romantic novel that has many elements of a crime novel. Roberts is one of the most popular authors in the United States, and one of the most productive, having written more than 180 novels. Amazingly, Roberts has managed to place 42 of her books in the number one best-seller spot of The New York Times!

From fantasy to science fiction, through to historical novels. All genres are contained in romantic books.
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Shopping Criteria

Romantic novels are often characterized as fast-paced reads. However, knowing what to look for in a romantic novel will enable you to find a real gem. To help you with the selection process, we are going to provide you with a series of aspects and questions to assess prior to purchasing a romantic novel. The answers to these questions will help to narrow down your search and choose a romantic novel that is perfect for you.

  • Mood
  • Favorite literary genre
  • Feminist books
  • Reader reviews
  • Reading anywhere

Mood

The state of mind in which you are in when it comes time to selecting and reading any book, let alone a romantic novel, is very important. If you have recently gone through a breakup, a love story with a positive outcome will be a much better idea, so that you don’t feel even worse. On the other hand, if you are in a happy relationship or simply enjoying a sweet time in your life, you would probably enjoy a humorous romantic novel.

Nicholas SparksParagraph from The Notebook

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

Favorite literary genre

From vampires to adventure through to historical novels, practically all genres contain aspects of romance. The shelves of bookstores and online stores such as Amazon are full of romance novels with a number of themes or other genres intertwined. Think about which are your favorite genres and look for a romantic novel that also features one of your favorite genres within the story.

Feminist books

Some romantic novels of the past have created an unfavorable representation of the relationship between men and women. However, some of the main characters of today’s romance novels are strong, independent and self-confident women. This is far different from some of the old love novels that focused on the strength and importance of the man. Being a feminist is not, there are many romantic novels that feature lead characters that are both male and female.

Reader reviews

If you’re a regular romantic novel reader, then you probably have plenty of advice and recommendations to offer. However, if you are simply an occasional reader of this type of literature or you are new to this genre, we advise you to follow the reviews on literary websites or comments on online bookstores. Reading these reviews of others will give you a very good indication if it is the type of book that you are looking for.

Reading anywhere

Times have changed and romance books have adapted to modern times. In the past, almost all romance novels displayed erotic cover illustrations or sexy images that were very embarrassing for the self-conscious reader. As a result, many readers of this genre were forced to read in secrecy under the covers of their bed or only in private at home. Nowadays, romantic genres tend to choose tasteful covers that are subtle, to avoid this embarrassment of its readers. Keep this in mind when choosing a romantic novel as it could well make the difference to how easily you can read.

Summary

By writing this guide, we have tried to bring you a little closer to the world of romantic books, which is one of the most popular book genres in the world. From fantastic love stories during war-torn times to forbidden love between vampires, all types of stories take place in these wonderful books. We also hope that we have answered some questions you may have had about this genre.

In the final section, we asked you a series of questions in order to find out what kind of romantic novel reader you are and what type of novel will be a successful purchase for you. We hope that this guide has helped you to select a quality romantic novel that you can’t put down.

Don’t forget to share our article on your social networks or leave your opinion in the comments section below.

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