Welcome to Round 2 of our New Romance Novels List! Eagle-eyed readers will notice we're using the same intro as last week. Your loyal listmaker has been attending the virtual American Library Association conference this week, so their brain has turned to mush. You'll get more fresh content next week!
It's hot and steamy outside, so pick up a book to match. New contemporary and historical romance novels just hit the shelves and feature nuanced, diverse characters, page-turning plotlines, and, yes, plenty of spice (if you know what we mean.) You won't find any damsels in distress here, but lots of smart, sexy, self-aware fun.
Not sure where to start? We recommend Casey McQuiston's Red, White, and Royal Blue for a contemporary romance novel and Sherry Thomas's The Luckiest Lady in London for a historical one. Find all of these titles on the display shelves on the historic side of the library and keep an eye out for round 2 next week!
Special thanks to the patron who recommended these titles to beef(cake) up our collection of romance novels!
While we read...a LOT, we can't read everything. Are you an expert (amateur or otherwise) about a genre or subject that is un or underrepresented in our collection? We'd love your advice about what titles would improve the library! Get in touch with Zach Row-Heyveld to start the conversation! firstname.lastname@example.org
When a Duchess Says I Do
When a Duchess Says I Do - Grace Burrowes
Duncan Wentworth once tried his hand at rescuing a damsel in distress long ago, and he’s vowed he’ll never make that mistake again. Yet when he comes across a stranger in the poacher-infested woods of his estate, decency compels him to offer the lady aid. Matilda is whip-smart, she can read Duncan’s horrible penmanship, and when she wears his reading glasses all Duncan can think about is naughty Latin poetry.
Widowed duchess Matilda Wakefield can’t entrust her secrets to Duncan without embroiling him in the problems that sent her fleeing from London, but neither can she ignore a man who’s honorable, a brilliant chess player, and maddeningly kissable. She needs to stay one step ahead of the enemies pursuing her, and falling into Duncan’s arms is a distraction she can’t afford-or they’ll both pay the price.
The Luckiest Lady In London
The Luckiest Lady in London - Sherry Thomas
Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.
Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when he is the only man to propose at the end of the London season, she reluctantly accepts.
Louisa does not understand her husband’s mysterious purposes, but she cannot deny the pleasure her body takes in his touch. Nor can she deny the pull this magnetic man exerts upon her. But does she dare to fall in love with a man so full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her, if she were to get any closer?
The Duke Who Didn't
The Duke Who Didn't - Courtney Milan
Miss Chloe Fong has plans for her life, lists for her days, and absolutely no time for nonsense. Three years ago, she told her childhood sweetheart that he could talk to her once he planned to be serious. He disappeared that very night.Except now he’s back. Jeremy Wentworth, the Duke of Lansing, has returned to the tiny village he once visited with the hope of wooing Chloe. In his defense, it took him years of attempting to be serious to realize that the endeavor was incompatible with his personality.All he has to do is convince Chloe to make room for a mischievous trickster in her life, then disclose that in all the years they’ve known each other, he’s failed to mention his real name, his title… and the minor fact that he owns her entire village. Only one thing can go wrong: Everything.
Red, White, and Royal Blue
Red, White, and Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.
Not Quite a Husband
Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas
Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?
Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?
Brazen and the Beast
Brazen and the Beast - Sarah MacLean
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly...until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him--especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires...for a price.
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything, including their hearts.
An Unconditional Freedom
An Unconditional Freedom - Alyssa Cole
Daniel Cumberland, born free in Massachusetts, studied law with dreams of helping his people—dreams that died the night he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Daniel is rescued, but he’s a changed man. When he’s offered entry into the Loyal League, the covert organization of Black spies who helped free him, he seizes the opportunity for vengeance against the Confederacy and those who support it.
When the Union Army occupies the Florida home of Cuban Janeta Sanchez, daughter of an enslaved woman and the plantation owner who married her, her family’s wealth does not protect her father from being imprisoned. Under duress and blaming herself for the arrest, Janeta agrees to infiltrate a group called the Loyal League as a double agent—and finds a cause truly worth the sacrifice.
Daniel is aggravated by the headstrong and much too observant new detective he’s paired with, and Janeta is intrigued by the broken but honorable man she is tasked with betraying. As they embark on a mission to intercept Jefferson Davis and thwart European meddling, their dual hidden agendas are threatened by the ghosts of their pasts and a growing affection that could strengthen both the Union and their souls—or lead to their downfall.
A Week to be Wicked
A Week to be Wicked - Tessa Dare
When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin, time is not on their side. Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be anywhere but Spindle Cove.
These unlikely partners have one week:
to fake an elopement
to convince family and friends they’re “in love”
to outrun armed robbers
to survive their worst nightmares
to travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.
What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls. Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe, just maybe, everlasting love.