The modern romance should feature two main characters who fall in love with each other – but that alone doesn’t make a story, does it? We need a little tension: a main character who doubts the true intention of their beloved. Add an old flame maybe, to stir the pot, a major misundersanding to keep us turning the pages – and then (in most cases) – Happily Ever After.
I haven’t read a ton of romance novels, so I am providing links to author and pubisher pages as well as a couple of other websites as a starting point for anyone looking for a new romance author to read. I’ll add more suggestions as I learn about them.
Sometimes romance is just downright funny – especially if you are reading a book by Sophie Kinsella, author of the famed and very funny Shopaholic romances Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones is also a hoot. Learn more about Bridget and other Fielding heroines on her Penguin site.
Harlequin Romances were around when I first started reading romances in the 1970s, and it appears they’re still going strong. They do have series, but those series are better called sub-genres. Take a look at their site and scroll to the bottom of the home page for free online reads. Harlequins range from tame to quite racy.
Romances with Black main characters, written by Black authors, have been an active romance focus for years; see this link to Oprah’s magazine for some of the most popular. (One cover that shows up has the title Real Men Knit. I’ll be checking into that title for sure!)
Debbie Macomber is a prolific romance author with multiple series. Check out what I have to say about Ms. Macomber on the Vacation/Beach Reads page. You can find what appears to be a comprehensive series list on Bookseries.org. She started in 1983 and she’s still growing strong! Her books are calm, sedate, and not graphic at all. I’m not sure any of her main characters have ever had sex.
Visit Latinx Publishing for the top five Latinx romance novels to test the waters. The link will take you to a great intro and some solid favorites.
Danielle Steel is the queen of romance. I haven’t read one of her books since the 70s, mainly because of her habit. Of creating sentence fragments. Still – she reigns. She writes mainly standalone books; see a list of her titles on Book Series in Order – but scroll slowly to avoid getting dizzy. It looks like she’s also written some children’s books.
Read about the evolution of romance novels featuring Asian protagonists in this NBC News article. Then, check out this Goodreads list. Frankly, the titles on the first page of the list do not bode well for the type of change the author of the NBC news article is promoting.
And last but by no means least, check out this Buzzfeed list, published during Pride Month this year, of promising and fairly current LGBT romance novels. I love these bookcovers!