20 Best Authors Like Mary Kay Andrews (Top Romance Books)

Mary Kay Andrews’ novels are well-regarded for their witty, relatable characters, Southern charm, and cozy small-town feel. If you’re a fan of Andrews who has read all her books but still crave more, you’ve come to the right place! Stay tuned to find out which similar authors have written novels that will keep you enamored for hours at a time!

20 Best Authors Like Mary Kay Andrews (Top Romance Books)

About the Mary Kay Andrews 

Predominantly writing in the women’s fiction, romance, and mystery genres, Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels. 

She earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia and spent fourteen years working as a reporter at newspapers like The Savannah Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving journalism behind to focus on writing fiction in 1991.

Andrews is known for her lighthearted and easy-to-read novels, humorous writing style, and strong, independent heroines. Often set in small, Southern towns, her books make for cozy and entertaining reads that keep readers hooked from start to finish.

Her books often include second-chance romance and enemies-to-lovers as well as strong themes of friendship, family, and the importance of learning to stand up for one’s self. 

Whether it’s the mysteries, the romance, the small towns, or the wit found in Andrews’ novels that you love the most, in this article, you’ll find authors whose writing styles, plots, and tropes are similar to Mary Kay’s!

The 20 Best Romance Authors Like Mary Kay Andrews 

Anne George

Murder on a Girls Night Out A Southern Sisters Mystery by George, Anne [Avon,2001] (Mass Market Paperback)

Starting off with one of the most prolific authors on this list, Anne George was famous for writing detective, suspense, thriller, and mystery novels with small-town settings and plenty of light-hearted humor! 

Murder on a Girls’ Night Out–The first book in her most popular series, Southern Sisters–was honored with the prestigious Agatha award in 1996.

The book follows Patricia Anne, who attends a murder mystery party not expecting an actual murder to take place. She and her sister, Mary Alice, try to solve the case and clear an innocent man’s name while chaos ensues all around them.

You can find Murder on a Girls’ Night Out here.

Marian Keyes


Similarly to Mary Kay’s novels, Marian Keyes’ works often feature plenty of humor, strong-willed female protagonists, and strong themes of family. She’s known for writing in the women’s fiction genre and is considered to be one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time!

If it’s Mary Kay’s women’s fiction that you like, Keyes’ first novel, Watermelon, will be a great read for you! The day she gives birth to their baby, Claire Walsh’s husband decides to leave her to be with the woman he’s been having an affair with. 

Not knowing what else to do, she goes back home to Dublin to heal from her heartbreak. When James comes slithering back into her life a while later, she has to decide whether to accept him again or let him go forever.

You can find Watermelon here.

Carolyn Haines


An Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductee and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama Library Association, Carolyn Haines is an accomplished author who is best known for her mystery series, Sarah Booth Delaney

The humorous, cozy mystery series has plenty of Southern charm and quick-witted characters for you to laugh out loud at!

In the book, Greedy Bones, the Southern Belle, private investigator, and talented actress, Sarah, must drop everything and leave her new home in Hollywood to return to Mississippi when she hears about the vicious illness that has the whole town in crisis. 

Will she be able to figure out the cause of the sudden illness and put a stop to it?

You can find Greedy Bones here.

Katherine Center

How to Walk Away: A Novel

Known for her heartwarming novels and relatably flawed characters, Katherine Center is a nine-time New York Times bestselling author whose chick lit and humorous fiction are sure to warm your heart in the way that Andrews’ does!

Center’s books often explore themes of love and loss, and her infamous novel, How to Walk Away, is no different. 

On what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of her life, Margaret Jacobsen’s whole world is turned upside down when a trip with her irresponsible fiancé results in a life-changing spinal cord injury. 

She must relearn how to walk while trying to forgive him, deal with a sister that she hasn’t seen in three years, and work with a brutal physical therapist who refuses to show her any pity–and who might just be the love of her life.

You can find How to Walk Away here.

Maggie Barbieri

Murder 101 (Alison Bergeron Mystery Series)

A freelance editor and mystery novelist, Maggie Barbieri is best known for her Murder 101 series which takes place in a college setting and features plenty of comedic characters. 

The self-titled first book of the series follows Alison, who is on a mission to clear her name after the body of one of her students is found inside her trunk. Dealing with the victim’s heartbroken parents, her currently imprisoned ex, and her pesky other students doesn’t make the job easy, but she’s nothing if not determined.

You can find Murder 101 here.

Joan Hess

Strangled Prose (Claire Malloy Mysteries, No. 1)

Former president of the American Crime Writers League and five-time Agatha award nominee,  Joan Hess was best known for her Claire Malloy series. Another series with a strong Southern flair, its first book, Strangled Prose, follows single mother Claire as she tries to find her friend’s killer.

But it isn’t going to be easy because Mildred’s made enemies out of just about everyone that she’s worked with.

You can find Strangled Prose here.

Elin Hilderbrand

Summer of '69

Drama, dysfunctional familial relationships, romance, and humor are the main ingredients for Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. Usually set on Nantucket Island, Hilderbrand’s books are littered with conflict, past traumas, and themes of forgiveness and self-discovery. 

If it’s the strong sense of community that you enjoy in Andrews’ novels, you’ll love Hilderbrand’s! One of the most popular titles in her Nantucket series is Summer of ’69 which sees the Levin family having the most tumultuous summer of their lives.

The oldest sister, Blair, is pregnant with twins. Middle sister, Kirby, is determined to be independent and takes a job at a vineyard. The only son, Tiger, has recently been deployed to Vietnam. 

Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, and it doesn’t help that her mother and grandmother are hiding a major secret. Once her favorite season, it’s starting to seem as if Summer will never end, but when the time finally comes, will she still want it to?

You can find Summer of ‘69 here.

Jill Shalvis

Simply Irresistible: Lucky Harbor 1

The best-selling American author of over 50 contemporary romance novels, Jill Shalvis is another author whose heartwarming yet humorous stories take place in small towns and tight-knit communities.

Her Lucky Harbor series starts with the Simply Irresistible book, which follows protagonist Maddie Moore. After losing her boyfriend and her job, Maddie moves from LA to a small town in Washington called Lucky Harbor. 

She moves into an inn that she inherited from her mother, but it needs plenty of work if she’s gonna be able to call it home. Maddie has her hands full trying to convince her two half-sisters to join her and struggling to remember how she swore off all men when the dreamy contractor that she’s hired shows up.

You can find Simply Irresistible here.

Sherryl Woods

The Inn at Eagle Point

Author of over 110 romance and mystery novels, Sherryl Woods is best known for her Chesapeake Shores series which has been adapted into a TV series on the Hallmark Channel!

A fan-favorite book from the series, The Inn at Eagle Point, follows Abby O’Brien Winters. Abby returns to Chesapeake Shores for the first time in years after getting a phone call from her panicking youngest sister.

There, she must attempt to save her family’s inn from foreclosure while facing the man she left ten years ago and her dysfunctional family.

You can find The Inn at Eagle Point here.

Fannie Flagg

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel

Fannie Flagg is a comedian, Actress, and author who is best known for being a panelist on the 1973–1982 versions of the game show, Match Game, and for her novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe which was adapted to film in 1991.

Set in Alabama and going back and forth between past and present, Ninny Threadgoode–an elderly woman living in a nursing home–forms a friendship with middle-aged housewife, Evelyn Couch, as she relives her past through storytelling.

You can find Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe here.

Cleo Coyle

[(On What Grounds)] [By (author) Cleo Coyle] published on (February, 2007)

Cleo Coyle–the pen name of the husband-wife duo, Marc and Alice–is best known for their quirky characters and cozy mysteries. Their Coffeehouse Mystery series follows Clare Cosi, a coffeehouse manager who solves mysteries in New York City. 

The first book of the bestselling series, On What Grounds, is an engaging read that follows Clare after she’s discovered her assistant manager dead in the back of the Village Blend coffeehouse. 

A detective declares that this was an accidental death with no foul play involved, but Clare isn’t convinced in the slightest.

You can find On What Grounds here.

Katherine Hall Page

The Body in the Belfry: A Mystery (Faith Fairchild Series Book 1)

The first person in the history of Malice Domestic to win all three Agatha Awards and a two-time nominee for the Edgar Awards, Katherine Hall Page is best known for her Faith Fairchild series. Much like Mary Kay Andrews and Cleo Coyle’s books, Page’s books have a strong focus on food and community.

Book #1 of her beloved series, titled The Body in the Belfry, sees Faith Fairchild find the body of a pretty yet heavily disliked Cindy Shepherd in the belfry of her church. There are plenty of possible suspects, but the police are unfairly focused on Cindy’s fiance. 

Faith sets out on a mission to uncover the truth herself, but too much digging may put her own life at risk.

You can find The Body in the Belfry here.

Mary Alice Monroe

The Beach House: A Novel (The Beach House, 1)

Much like Mary Kay’s stories, Mary Alice’s novels are family-centered and filled with three-dimensional characters that experience plenty of personal growth. Mary Alice’s stories also deal with the topic of environmental issues.

Her Beach House series follows the lives of the Rutledge family, who live in the coastal town of Isle of Palms, South Carolina. In the first book of the series, simply titled The Beach House, Caretta Rutledge heads back to the Isle and reconnects with her mother.

While repairing the family beach house, she learns what it means to forgive and forget, and what kind of sacrifices true love must take.

You can find The Beach House here.

Jeanne Ray

Julie and Romeo: A Novel

Writing her very first novel at the age of sixty and having only five titles to her name, Jeanne Ray’s character-driven stories are regarded for their warmth, humor, and exploration of complex relationships. 

Her infamous novel, Julie and Romeo, is a prime example of a heartfelt yet hilarious tale of love, growth, and the importance of family. The steamy novel reimagines the relationship of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliette.

In this reimagining, Romeo and Julie are two rival florists whose families have hated each other for as long as they can remember–and they don’t even remember why. Naturally, the two’s attraction to one another leads to a blooming romance that neither family is particularly fond of.

You can find  Julie and Romeo here.

Kristan Higgins

[The Best Man (Blue Heron)] [Author: Higgins, Kristan] [February, 2013]

Known for her contemporary romance novels, Kristan Higgins is a three-time winner of the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and a five-time nominee for the Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction. The acclaimed author is best known for her Blue Heron series.

In book #1, The Best Man, Faith Holland returns to her family’s vineyard, Blue Heron Winery, after leaving to clear her head after being left at the altar by her fiance. Amidst an abundance of family drama, she tries to decide if she’s willing to stay in the town where she first got her heart broken. 

The local police chief and her ex-fiance’s best friend, Levi Cooper, might just be the deciding factor.

You can find The Best Man here.

Debbie Macomber

16 Lighthouse Road (A Cedar Cove Novel, 1)

With six of her novels having been turned into TV movies and her Cedar Cove series of novels having been turned into a television series, it’s safe to say that Debbie Macomber is a well-known and very talented author. Her books are esteemed for their portrayals of strong communities and feel-good stories.

In book #1 of the Cedar Cove series, 16 Lighthouse Road, the latest gossip of the town is everchanging as Judge Olivia Lockhart’s life is filled with one chaotic event after another.

She refuses to grant Cecilia and Ian a divorce after the loss of their child, which makes headlines in the local newspaper–and leads to the newspaper’s editor, Jack Griffin, becoming infatuated with Cecilia. 

On top of that, Olivia’s best friend’s husband has disappeared, and her daughter is hellbent on marrying an older man whom Olivia is sure is wrong for her. 

You can find 16 Lighthouse Road here.

Robyn Carr

Virgin River (A Virgin River Novel, 1)

The author of over fifty books and the executive producer of the television adaptation of her novel, Virgin River, Robynn Carr’s flawed characters and mid-life, second-chance romance novels are known for pulling at the heartstrings!

In Virgin River, recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees an ad for a nurse/midwife needed in a six-hundred-person town called Virgin River. 

She decides that moving out of California and into a small town is just what she needs–but when she gets there, she realizes that her housing is horrid and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her.

She has her heart set on leaving, but an abandoned baby on a doorstep and a handsome former marine keep her right where she is. At least, for the moment.

You can find Virgin River here.

Stephanie Bond

Body Movers

If rom-coms, suspense, and modern love stories are your thing, you’ll love Stephanie Bond’s books! Her novel, Body Movers, is a sexy mystery–and the summary speaks for itself.

“So Carlotta Wren’s life hasn’t turned out as she’d planned. 

She didn’t plan for her parents to skip bail for a white-collar crime, leaving her to raise her brother. She didn’t plan on having the silver spoon ripped from her mouth and forgoing college to work retail. 

She didn’t plan on her blue-blood fiancé dumping her. And she didn’t plan on still being single ten years later, working at Neiman Marcus, with no idea where her fugitive parents are. But she’s coping. Until—

—her lovable brother is arrested, and the hunky cop decides to reopen her parents’ case.

—her brother becomes a body mover for the morgue, and his sexy boss gets Carlotta involved.

—her former fiancé’s wife (a good customer) is murdered, fingering Carlotta.

With three men in her life, Carlotta has added motivation to help bag a murderer to keep her own well-dressed body from being next on the list!”

You can find Body Movers here.

Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind: A Novel

If you’re in the mood for a comedic cozy mystery, Ann B. Ross’ series of New York Times bestsellers, the Miss Julia series is the one for you. 

In Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, recently widowed and newly wealthy Miss Julia’s whole life is turned upside down–again and in such a short timeframe–when a nine-year-old child shows up on her doorstep.

Suddenly, the longtime church member is thrown into the midst of a scandal when talk of her dead husband’s apparent lovechild spreads throughout the small, Southern town like wildfire. 

On top of a robbery and a kidnapping caused by her husband’s death, Miss Julia now has her hands full with her husband’s child. How is she ever going to cope?!

You can find Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind here.

Nancy Thayer

Summer House: A Novel

The author of thirty-five novels and frequent New York Times Bestseller, Nancy Thayer is known for writing independent and strong-willed heroines in women’s fiction. 

Her popular Nantucket series novel, Summer House, follows three generations of formidable women. Thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright who’s managed to start a business but is having a difficult time forming relationships with people–particularly, her handsome neighbor, Coop.

Charlotte’s mother, Helen, is reeling from a betrayal that disrupts her sense of self. 

And Charlotte’s ambitious grandmother, Nona, who happened to assist in helping Charlotte start her business on the Island.

You can find Summer House here.

Final Thoughts

Mary Kay Andrews has a unique writing style that her readers have fallen in love with. If you’re an adamant reader of Andrews’ work and are on the hunt for similar authors and novels, then I hope this article has helped you find your next favorite read!


Do Mary Kay Andrews’ books need to be read in order?

No, there is no reading order for them.

Where is Mary Kay Andrews from?

St. Petersburg, Florida

What is the other name for Mary Kay Andrews?

Kathy Hogan Trocheck.

What genre is Mary Kay Andrews?

Contemporary romance, romantic suspense, humorous fiction, women’s fiction, holiday fiction, and thriller are the genres that most of Mary Kay Andrews’ books fall in.

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Tia Trammell