It’s getting chilly out—perfect weather for curling up with a good romance novel or five. The past year has been an amazing one for romance—and no one knows that better than Barnes & Noble’s team of experienced booksellers, who each day make it their mission to connect every reader with just the right book. We wanted to know what romance novels to put on our year-end must-read lists, so we asked them. These are our booksellers’ favorites of the year—and, we wager, they’ll soon be yours too. (Explore all of our booksellers’ 2019 favorites.)
The Wedding Party, by Jasmine Guillory
Alexa Monroe from The Wedding Date is getting married, and her best friends Maddie and Theo are both going to be involved in the big day. This would be all fine and dandy if Maddie and Theo didn’t hate each other so much after their one-night stand. (To be fair, Maddie and Theo, you both made—er, un-made?—that bed…) Anyhoo, Theo and Maddie need to work together in order to help make Alexa’s wedding day dreams come true. How long will it take for each of them to realize they are perfect for each other? Will they find a private moment during the wedding reception to unabashedly make out? And where the heck are all of OUR wedding invitations?!
Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston
Alex Claremont-Diaz, the President of the United States’ son, and Prince Henry, heir to the British throne, really, really can’t stand each other. Like, they really don’t like each other. At all. (Gentlemen, don’t you understand that you’re both WAY too hot to be fighting?!) Things take a turn, though, after the tabloids catch the two of them fighting. This prompts a major public relations campaign in order to preserve the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain. Alex and Henry have to embark on a bit of a fake friendship in order to stave off any pesky rumors, and it doesn’t take either of them long to realize that there was some crazy delicious sexual tension brewing between them. (Now THIS is the kind of special relationship we all want to read about!) Alex and Henry will need to come to terms with the fact that they wouldn’t mind jumping into bed together. (Like, every day.) Here’s hoping they realize they are perfect for each other, that British and American relations remain intact, and that the next royal wedding gets exceptionally thorough and extensive media coverage!
Window on the Bay, by Debbie Macomber
Intensive care nurse Jenna Boltz has been doing the single mom thing for the past 20 years, and now she’s facing an empty nest thanks to her kids going to college. (Jenna, you clearly did an awesome job with your kids! Oh, and we’re all coming over with pizza and wine and planning tons of fun times!) She doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. One thing is for sure: Jenna is not ready to navigate the dating world. (That’s okay, Jenna. No one ever really is!) Then she meets Dr. Rowan Lancaster, a silver fox of a man who helps Jenna’s elderly mom when she breaks her hip. (Rowan, we are all SO bringing our relatives to you—from babies to grannies!) Rowan certainly has that whole Stiff and Silent Man act down pat, but beneath that stony exterior beats a heart that soon becomes wholly devoted to Jenna. Oh, Rowan, Jenna’s about to go through a really tough time, so please put on your best face (as in, you know, smile) and use your envy-worthy body to give our gal a helping hand!
Under Currents, by Nora Roberts
On the surface, Zane Bigelow’s childhood looked idyllic—successful parents and a big, fancy house and all that jazz—but said childhood was actually filled with all kinds of abuse. (Zane, you’ll need to run exceptionally fast in order to escape…our hugs!) Fast forward many years and Zane is now a successful—and smokingly gorgeous—lawyer. He decides to return to his hometown and be with his loved ones. There he meets Darby, a landscape artist who’s new to the area and has her own haunted past. (Darby, what is the name of your business? We all want to give it the positive Yelp reviews it deserves!) Darby and Zane may each have their own issues to grapple with – not to mention dark pasts they can’t seem to shake—but that doesn’t stop either of them from realizing they’d like to do the nekkid dance on a regular basis. Will they be able to dodge their demons and start a new chapter of their lives together?
The Mister, by E.L. James
In her first novel since the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, E.L. James introduces readers to Maxim Trevelyan, a wealthy playboy with a history of eschewing responsibility or commitment. That all changes when Alessia Demachi, a young Albanian woman on the run from human traffickers, becomes the new “daily” (daily housekeeper) at the estate Maxim has recently inherited and doesn’t know what to do with. Alessia seems immune to Maxim’s model good looks (he moonlights as one), but her exquisite talent at playing piano and her mysterious, haunted ways have Maxim changing his behavior from rogue to protector in a bid to earn her trust and her heart.
These are the romance novels Barnes & Noble booksellers loved in 2019. What would you add?