by Samantha Totman
You may have noticed that there’s been an increase in a certain type of book on the Library’s New Fiction shelves. Paperbacks with illustrated covers and bright backgrounds, clocking in around 350 pages, have been taking over. What might those be, you ask? We’re here to answer!
Romance novels have exploded in publication over the past few years. Romance has always been a strong, bestselling subcategory of fiction, but throughout the pandemic, even more readers have flocked to the genre. And no wonder. Romance novels follow a consistent format that ends with a couple finding love. That format, though it sounds predictable, leaves authors and readers free to explore all sorts of possibilities in setting, characters, and storylines, including how the two main characters find each other and what obstacles they face throughout the story. Romance novel settings run the gamut of interest and hobbies–there are books set on cooking competition shows, books featuring royals, stories set in magical towns populated by witches, and more. Authors from all backgrounds are writing stories about main characters of color, of all sexual orientations and genders, and with physical and mental disabilities. And finally, though romance novels have varying degrees of explicit content, this new generation addresses consent head-on.
There’s never been a better time to explore the genre. If you’re a veteran reader, you’re spoiled for choice, and if you are brand new to romance, there’s absolutely something out there for you!
Romance is a huge genre, so this book list can only scratch the surface. Visit the Library or call us to get recommendations from the thousands of other romance titles out there–and make sure you let us know which ones were your favorites.
Featuring Characters of Color
The Mismatch by Sara Jafari
The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale
Featuring Characters with Disabilities
The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins
Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese
A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams
Featuring LGBTQ+ Characters
Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey
Featuring Unique Setups
Have We Met? by Camille Baker
The Seat Filler by Sariah Wilson