Best Romance 2019

Dukes, spies, and dating apps. The best romance published in 2019.

See all of our 2019 Best Books lists.

Burrowes, Grace. When a Duchess Says I Do. Forever: Grand Central. ISBN 9781538728987.
A gun-toting woman arrives just in time to help ward off poachers on the estate of a scholar. Agreeing to assist him with some translations, she knows her past could be perilous to them both. Another gem from Burrowes, with exquisitely matched protagonists and a skillfully rendered plot that unfolds with passion and grace.
 
Dunmore, Evie. Bringing Down the Duke. Berkley Jove. ISBN 9781984805690.
Awarded a scholarship from a women’s suffrage group to attend a school in Oxford, our young heroine sets out to gain the support of a formidable duke intent on keeping in the good graces of Queen Victoria in order to reclaim his family’s ancestral home. Their ambitions collide in this decidedly modern take on the subgenre from a talented newcomer.
 
Hoang, Helen. The Bride Test. Berkley Jove. ISBN 9780451490827.
A genius with numbers but relationship-challenged, Khai Diep is horrified when his mother brings a young woman from Vietnam for him to consider as a bride. A tender, laughter-laced pairing blooms. Hoang brings her characters to life with care, humor, and sensitivity in this emotionally hard-hitting romance.
 
Jalaluddin, Uzma. Ayesha at Last. Berkley. ISBN 9781984802798.
Ayesha wants to explore the possibilities of life before settling down. Then she meets Khalid. She finds him judgmental and too traditional, but their paths continue to cross as Ayesha, posing as her flighty cousin, collaborates with Khalid on a conference. Few Pride and Prejudice retellings are as thoughtful and creative as this stellar #ownvoices debut.
 
Long, Julie Anne. Lady Derring Takes a Lover. Avon. ISBN 9780062867469.
In a story written so lyrically it reads like poetry, a countess left penniless by her debt-ridden husband’s death inherits a dilapidated building on the London docks and with the help of his mistress opens a proper boarding house. The arrival of a sea captain suspicious of her every move threatens to upend her independence.
 
McQuiston, Casey. Red, White, and Royal Blue. Griffin: St. Martin’s. ISBN 9781250316776.
After Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the U.S. President, and Prince Henry of Wales have a very public confrontation, the two are forced to pretend to be longtime best friends. They tentatively forge a genuine friendship, which grows into more. McQuiston’s debut is an irresistible and sexy romantic comedy that considers real questions about personal and public responsibility.
 
Moore, Kate. A Spy’s Guide to Seduction. Lyrical: Kensington. ISBN 9781516101788.
An unconventional heroine decides to “get the whole marriage thing out of the way” and accepts a proposal from a government spy in need of immediate access to society. Detecting his schemes isn’t difficult, but falling for him in the process may prove a fatal error. A flawlessly written, impeccably detailed Regency.
 
Putney, Mary Jo. Once a Spy. Zebra: Kensington. ISBN 9781420148107.
A former British intelligence officer returns to England following Napoleon’s abdication and seeks out his cousin’s widow, herself a survivor of a lengthy internment in a Turkish harem. The two begin to build a new life together, then Napoleon escapes and the country once again braces for war. A tender love story from a master.
 
Rai, Alisha. The Right Swipe. Avon. ISBN 9780062878090.
Rhi Hunter, the creator of popular dating app Crush, was ghosted while using her own app. Her date, retired pro football player Samson Lima, is now representing one of her competitors, Matchmaker. When the two meet again, Rhi’s trust issues keep Samson at arm’s length. Rai taps into the modern dating scene with hilarious, horrifying, and relatable results.
 
Waite, Olivia. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Avon Impulse. ISBN 9780062931788.
A mathematical genius seeks an apprenticeship with a widowed countess hoping to continue her late husband’s scientific legacy in this sweet lesbian Regency that deftly explores the rigid societal strictures imposed on women personally and professionally.
 

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