Best Romance of 2023

Flying pirate ships, a family finding its way, and a delightful rendition of the fake-marriage trope are just a few highlights of the best romance books of 2023.


Adler, Sarah. Mrs. Nash’s Ashes. Berkley. ISBN 9780593547793.

Millicent promised her elderly friend, Mrs. Nash, that she would help her reunite with the love of her life, Elsie. Mrs. Nash dies first, but Millicent is still determined to get some of Mrs. Nash’s ashes to Elsie. When she hitches a ride with past acquaintance Hollis, they end up on a memorable road trip full of mishaps. This delightfully quirky grumpy/sunshine romance has two touching love stories interspersed with lots of laugh-out-loud moments.

Alexander, TJ. Chef’s Choice. Atria/Emily Bestler. ISBN 9781982189105.

Alexander’s charming queer romance features trans woman Luna and trans man Jean-Pierre. Luna has just lost her job and has NYC rent to pay, while Jean-Pierre needs a girlfriend and cooking partner to prove he’s a worthy heir to his grandfather’s culinary empire. The two agree to fake-date, but eventually start to develop real feelings for each other. Full of wit and a supportive cast of found family, this is a delicious, sparkling story.

Charles, KJ. The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen. Sourcebooks Casablanca. ISBN 9781728255859.

This resonant Regency romance is full of adventurous suspense and a hard-won love story, as a smuggler and the next in line to a baronetcy fall for each other. When Gareth inherits, he finds himself a neighbor to his former lover, the smuggler Joss. Soon, threatening events cause the pair to become entangled in each other’s lives again, reigniting feelings they both thought they had put behind them. The Romney Marsh setting is just as enchanting as the romance.

Clayborn, Kate. Georgie, All Along. Kensington. ISBN 9781496737298.

After losing her job in Los Angeles, Georgie returns home to house-sit for her parents, but she finds bad boy Levi, whom she knew vaguely in high school, staying at the house too. Levi agrees to help with her bucket list, bringing them together in even more unexpected ways. They manage to move beyond their individual past mistakes and embrace who they are—together—with a little help from friends, family, and Hank, the anxious rescue dog, in this emotional, sexy read.

De la Rosa, Liana. Ana María and the Fox. Berkley. ISBN 9780593440889.

De la Rosa effectively weaves history into this Victorian romance, as Mexican heiress Ana María Luna Valdés and her sisters flee to London during the French occupation of Mexico. In London, Ana María meets Gideon Fox, a member of Parliament who is trying to get the international slave trade abolished, and they realize that marrying each other could be convenient. A strong heroine and social justice themes, along with a heart-melting romance, make this stand out.

Holton, India. The Secret Service of Tea and Treason. Berkley. ISBN 9780593547267.

Witty, deeply clever, and read-it-like-you-just-robbed-some-pirates fast, Holton’s book delivers a delicious treat with its Victorian-set fantasy/thriller/romance blend. Alice Dearlove is a prim, proper, top-notch operative. Daniel Bixby is a staring-down-villains (and stewards) master spy. When they infiltrate a pirate country-house party, on the hunt for a rogue secret weapon, they find themselves with more to talk about than operational plans. Madcap, tender, and endlessly delightful, the entire “Dangerous Damsels” series is not to be missed.

Langston, Erin. Forever Your Rogue. self-published. ISBN 9798218087463.

Wonderfully constructed, with high notes of grace and humor and an ending worthy of a desert-island pick, Langston’s debut is a gem. Cora, Lady Dane, must rely on ne’er-do-well Nathaniel Travers to help her save her family. Agreeing to a fake engagement, Nate casually plays along—that is, until he realizes that Cora and her kids need him as much as he has grown to need them. Langston weaves an emotional, heartening web that enmeshes a wide circle of love in its embrace.

Lim, Dominic. All the Right Notes. Forever. ISBN 9781538725382.

Quito Cruz was a musical prodigy who moved to NYC to chase his dreams, but instead of composing Broadway hits, he’s playing in a piano bar. When his dad ropes him into returning home to organize a fundraiser, Quito is reunited with his childhood crush, Emmett Aoki, now a famous actor, but they’ll have to work through their past to forge a future together. Incorporating a rich musical backdrop and Filipino culture, Lim’s lyrical writing evocatively conveys a tender friends-to-lovers romance.

Long, Julie Anne. How To Tame a Wild Rogue. Avon. ISBN 9780063280915.

When privateer Lorcan St. Leger sees Lady Daphne Worth dangling out of a window, he offers aid, and the two find themselves pretending to be married and sharing rooms in the Grand Palace on the Thames, where they navigate relations with old foes, new friends, and each other. Long has crafted a delightful plot and filled her story with deep emotional connections, both romantic and companionable. Deftly managed and highlighted with dialogue that sparkles, this is a treasure.

Winstead, Ashley. The Boyfriend Candidate. Graydon House. ISBN 9781525804960.

School librarian Alexis decides to be far more adventurous than usual and searches for a one-night stand at a hotel bar, where she meets handsome Logan, a Texas gubernatorial candidate. After they’re caught together, Alexis pretends to be his girlfriend in order to save their reputations. Alexis’s fight against book bans and Logan’s drive to enact change give this sexy story additional depth, and readers will be thoroughly invested in their happily-ever-after.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing