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 2013: Romance

See also Best Books 2013: Ebook Romances

Strong heroines are a must in most of today’s romances, and, with few exceptions, brave, goal-oriented, resourceful heroines are the norm for this year’s Best Romances of 2013. Although they display different strengths and use them in a variety of ways, these women have one thing in common: they achieve their goals and find love at the same time. Naturally!

Balogh, Mary. The Arrangement. Dell. (Survivors’ Club, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780345545870. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780345545887. HISTORICAL
A war-blinded nobleman, frustrated by his family’s coddling, escapes to the country village where he grew up and is rescued from a disastrous marriage trap by a resourceful young woman with whom he ultimately strikes a life-changing bargain. Funny, heartwarming, and beautifully written. (LJ 8/13)

Brockway, Connie. No Place for a Dame. Montlake Romance. ISBN 9781477808580. pap. $12.95; ebk. ISBN 9781477858585. HISTORICAL
A brilliant female astronomer, desperate to see that the discovery of her comet is recognized by the male-dominated Royal Astrological Society, enlists the aid of the scandal-ridden son of her late mentor. An outrageously funny, totally satisfying romp. (LJ 10/15/13)

Carr, Robyn. The Wanderer. Mira: Harlequin. (Thunder Point, Bk. 1). ISBN 9780778314479. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460309674. CONTEMPORARY
A footloose former helicopter pilot inherits an old army buddy’s property on the Oregon Coast and struggles to reconcile his responsibility to his late friend and his growing feelings for the townsfolk, including a lovely search-and-rescue helicopter pilot and her son, with his aversion to settling down. This beautifully set story focuses on real problems and features a dash of mystery, as well. (LJ 4/15/13)

Dare, Tessa. Any Duchess Will Do. Avon. (Spindle Cove, Bk. 4). ISBN 9780062240125. pap. $5.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062240132. HISTORICAL
In an attempt to thwart his mother’s mission to force him to choose a bride, a duke takes the overbearing dowager up on her challenge that she can turn any girl into a duchess and selects a country barmaid who just wants to own her own bookstore. A funny, delightfully unexpected tale. (LJ 6/15/13)

Gracie, Anne. The Autumn Bride. Berkley Sensation. (Chance Sisters, Bk.1). ISBN 9780425259252. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101618295. HISTORICAL
An intrepid governess, determined to save her sister and friends from a life on the streets, is taken in by the neglected noblewoman she discovers during a late-night burglary attempt and falls victim to the suspicions—and the charms—of her benefactor’s dashing nephew. (LJ 2/15/13)

Higgins, Kristan. The Best Man: A Blue Heron Novel. HQN: Harlequin. 432p. ISBN 9780373777921. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460306451. CONTEMPORARY
After being spectacularly jilted at the altar and fleeing to San Francisco, a landscape architect heeds a family distress call and returns to her rural New York home only to be unexpectedly attracted to the local police chief, her former fiancé’s best man—and the person she still blames for the wedding debacle—in a sassy, upbeat romance rife with both humor and heart. (LJ 2/15/13)

MacLean, Sarah. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover. Avon. (Rules of Scoundrels, Bk. 2). ISBN 9780062068538. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062065391. HISTORICAL
A brainy bluestocking engaged to a sweet but rather dim earl needs to learn all she can about the physical side of marriage before the big day. She chooses her brother-in-law’s seductively charming business partner at the Fallen Angel to be her research assistant, and they both learn more than they expect in this witty, offbeat story that sparkles despite its dark undercurrents. (LJ 2/15/13)

McMaster, Bec. Heart of Iron. Sourcebooks Casablanca. (London Steampunk, Bk. 2). ISBN 9781402270307. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460312711. PARANORMAL
A brave debutante, who is both a spy and a secret clockwork toy maker, agrees to help a socially and politically unpolished verwulfen diplomat perfect his skills in a taut romance steeped in the danger, violence, and political intrigue of McMaster’s beautifully executed steampunk world. (LJ 5/15/13)

Novak, Brenda. Take Me Home for Christmas. Mira: Harlequin. (Whiskey Creek, Bk. 5). ISBN 9780778315469. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460320822. CONTEMPORARY
A young widow whom the townsfolk have every reason to hate struggles to make amends after her abusive, flamboyant husband dies attempting to escape after perpetrating an investment scam. Reluctant help comes from an unexpected source in this soul-warming yet sometimes painful novel that highlights the power of love and forgiveness and nails the Gold Country small-town ambiance. (LJ 10/15/13)

Thomas, Sherry. The Luckiest Lady in London. Berkley Sensation. ISBN 9780425268889. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101631119. HISTORICAL
Emotionally scarred by the toxic environment in which he was raised, a love-averse nobleman is caught off guard by an uncommon woman who puzzles and fascinates him and changes his life in this deeply insightful and exquisitely crafted tale. Unforgettable. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 10/4/13)

Kristin Ramsdell is Librarian Emerita, California State University, East Bay

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"


  1. RAnn says:

    Interesting list; I’ve read The Wanderer and Take Me Home for Christmas. Both were good reads

  2. Silvia says:

    Great list! I read them all this week it was awesome :)