Just as couples advance from crushes to anniversaries, the romance genre itself inspires multiple levels of commitment. Here are five go-to titles that will please a range of readers, from those celebrating another year in a long reading relationship to those just flirting with the genre.
- Crush: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (S. & S.).
A socially inept geneticist’s quest for love makes for charming reading in this delightful debut. Funny, quirky, smartly paced, and great fun, Simsion’s book is a perfect choice for those new to the wide variety to be found in the romance genre.
- Friends with benefits: The Iron Duke (Iron Seas, Bk. 1) by Meljean Brook (Berkley).
Steampunk and romance have yet to deepen into much more than a flirtation. The tender yet steamy love affair between a police inspector and a conquering hero, detailed as it is with fantastical Victorian technology, will make readers wonder why—even as they delight in Brook’s vivid world-building and strong characterization.
- Happily married: Up From the Grave (Night Huntress, Bk. 7) by Jeaniene Frost (Avon).
Paranormal and urban fantasy, on the other hand, is in a deeply committed and serious relationship with romance as is made clear by Frost’s seven-book long “Night Huntress” series featuring half-vampire Cat Crawfield and uber-vampire husband, Bones. The series just concluded so readers new to Frost should start with Halfway to the Grave. Each title shares the same fast pace, intensity, and rich world-building.
- Midlife crisis: River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam).
The allure of romantic suspense has dimmed a bit in the face of the serious attractions of the paranormal. But as all committed couples know, troubles can be worked through. Krentz proves the point in this winning romance between two very appealing characters, who first met when they were teens. Their new courtship is played out against the backdrop of small towns, hidden secrets, and dangerous foes.
- Golden Anniversary: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (St. Martin’s).
There are many titles to choose from when considering the careers of the queens of contemporary romance—namely Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. However, the charming, sweet, and delightful tale of Minerva Dobbs and Calvin Morrisey is hard to top. Min thinks Cal has made a bet that he can seduce her into bed. She sets out to punish the presumption. What unfolds is a wooing of such tenderness and fun it sets a high watermark for the genre.