LJ Best Books 2017

It's time again for LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry and literature, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles.   SEE WHO MADE THE LIST

Best Books 2012: Romance

By Kristin Ramsdell

See Librarian’s Best Books of 2012: Ebook Romance

There’s nothing like a heroine with a challenging past to pull readers in and keep them engaged. Many of this year’s top romances have heroines (and sometimes heroes, as well) whose pasts are anything but average or easy, and readers will be rewarded to see the various ways in which they achieve their goals—which, of course, they do.

Burrowes, Grace. Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight. Sourcebooks Casablanca. (Windham Siblings, Bk. 6). ISBN 9781402268632. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL
A supersmart heroine and an irresistible hero are thrown together in this intriguing, holiday-laced story that boasts an abundance of children, a dash of danger, a well-crafted plot, and an engaging pair of protagonists perfect for each other but who think they have secrets the other won’t forgive. (Xpress Reviews, 10/12/12)

Callihan, Kristen. Firelight. Forever: Grand Central. (Darkest London, Bk. 1). ISBN 9781455508594. pap. $5.99; eISBN 9781455510009. HISTORICAL PARANORMAL
A titian-haired heroine with fiery hidden talents and a masked hero with devastating secrets of his own turn their marriage of convenience into one of passion as they deal with a killer, a cruel affliction, and an ancient, deadly curse. This mesmerizing Gothic paranormal subtly blends elements of Beauty and the Beast with Phantom of the Opera and puts a new, darkly magical spin on proper Victorian London. (LJ 2/15/12)

Chase, Loretta. Scandal Wears Satin. Avon. (Dressmakers, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780062100313. pap. $7.99; eISBN 9780062098245. HISTORICAL
A clever, unstoppable beauty engineers a deliciously wicked deception in order to avert scandal, keep the family’s secrets, and save her and her sisters’ dressmaking business—as well as exact a bit of revenge—in a neatly plotted, witty Regency romp that brims with memorable characters and is as funny as it is heartwarming. (LJ 6/15/12)

Dare, Tessa. A Week To Be Wicked. Avon. (Spindle Cove, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780062049872. pap. $7.99; eISBN 9780062049865. HISTORICAL
A fake elopement takes an unlikely—but totally engaging—pair on a wild journey to Scotland in a sexy, nonstop adventure that is witty, offbeat, and often hilarious. (LJ 4/15/12)

Grant, Cecelia. A Gentleman Undone. Bantam. (Blackshear Family, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780553593846. pap. $7.99; eISBN 9780345534477. HISTORICAL
A guilt-ridden lieutenant determined to help the family of one of his fallen men and a card-counting courtesan in search of independence become allies at the gaming tables—and beyond—in an exquisitely written and insightful tale of acceptance, forgiveness, and love. (LJ 6/15/12)

Jeffries, Sabrina. ’Twas the Night After Christmas. Gallery: S. & S. ISBN 9781451642469. $19.99; eISBN 9781451642506. HISTORICAL
A caring widow’s impulsive letter brings an embittered nobleman to visit his estranged mother just before the holidays, with wonderfully romantic results. This touching, perceptive novel has a lot to say about understanding and forgiveness. (LJ 10/15/12)

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. The Great Escape. Morrow. ISBN 978006216063. $25.99; eISBN 9780062106100. CONTEMPORARY
A woman raised in the spotlight rebels in spades when she bolts from her wedding and takes off with a mysterious biker. This sassy, sexy, incredibly sharp romance picks up where Phillips’s Call Me Irresistible leaves off, addressing serious issues with over-the-top humor, spot-on dialog, and touching tenderness. (LJ 6/15/12)

Roberts, Nora. The Witness. Putnam. Apr. 2012. 488p. ISBN 9780399159121. $27.95; eISBN 9781101580363. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
A wary, reclusive young woman attracts the attention of the local police chief in the small Ozark town where she has been successfully hiding from the law and the Russian mafia in this riveting thriller that keeps the tension building—and the readers guessing—until the very end. (LJ 4/15/12)

Thomas, Sherry. Tempting the Bride. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). (Fitzhugh Trilogy, Bk. 3). ISBN 9780425251027. pap. $7.99; eISBN 9781101611487. HISTORICAL
A vicious plot gone wrong, a sham marriage, and a carriage accident lay the groundwork for this stunningly erotic, lushly written romance between a pair of old childhood enemies that puts a new spin on the classic amnesia plot. (LJ 10/15/12)

Warner, Kaki. Bride of the High Country. Berkley Sensation: Penguin Group (USA). (Runaway Brides, Bk. 3). ISBN 9780425247501. pap. $15; eISBN 9781101588611. HISTORICAL
Fleeing New York and her impending engagement to a dangerous man who is not at all what he seems, an orphaned Irish woman changes her name, heads west, and carves out a new life for herself in a small Colorado mining town—until her past comes to call. Warner’s intensely realistic, hard-hitting story features a heroine who craves security and is determined to survive at all costs and a hero who intends to see that she does. (LJ 6/15/12)

See Librarian’s Best Books of 2012: Ebook Romance

About Kristin Ramsdell

Kristin Ramsdell is Librarian Emerita, California State University, East Bay. She is the author of the romance section of What Do I Read Next? A Reader's Guide to Current Genre Fiction (Gale, annual) and Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (Libraries Unlimited)


  1. Joneser says:

    A WEEK TO BE WICKED is #2 Spindle Cove, not #3 (which is A LADY BY MIDNIGHT, pub. August 2012).

    • Bette-Lee Fox Bette-Lee Fox says:

      Thank you for keeping us on track with librarian Dare’s fantastic series. Much appreciated

  2. Thanks, Kristin! I’m so honored to have my book chosen!

    • Kristin Ramsdell says:

      It was such a wonderful, memorable story, Sabrina. The characters still wander through my mind.