What is the perfect recipe for a cute romance book? A confident leading lady, a handsome hero, and a dash of misunderstanding and tension that ends up resolving in a “happily ever after.” This is the basic framework, but romance authors keep infusing creativity into the genre.
These novels offer new takes on old tropes, characters we can relate to, hijinks that make us laugh out loud, and plenty of swoon worthy cuteness.
Without further ado, prepare to fall in love with 20 of the Best Cute Romance Books.
The Best Cute Romance Books
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
As an editor, Savannah Cade knows how to keep her writers on track to meet deadlines. As an aspiring romance writer, she’s floundering to meet a deadline of her own. The golden opportunity to submit a romance manuscript to the editor-in-chief of the most successful romance imprint in the country has fallen into her lap, and she’s drawing a blank.
When she’s almost caught working on her manuscript during work hours, she hides it away in a secret spot. When she returns, she finds the margins of her manuscript full of suggestions. Critical, obnoxious…insightful suggestions. As Savannah swallows her pride and takes the advice of her new red-pen wielding friend, she finds his words growing in importance to her. Is she falling for her mystery editor?
Meet Me in the Margins puts out major Hallmark-vibes, with just the right amount of mystery, misunderstanding, and feel-good romance.
The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson
In 1962, Frank met a girl on the number 88 bus and fell in love. Frank scribbled down her phone number on his bus ticket, and they made plans to meet at the National Gallery art museum. But he lost the ticket. Thus, Libby Nicholls meets Frank riding the bus as he has for the past sixty years, trying to find the red-headed girl who stole his heart.
Libby, freshly heartbroken and new to London, befriends Frank and makes it her mission to help him find his missing girl. Along the way, she meets a whole cast of characters, including Frank’s very protective caretaker, Dylan. Dylan’s punk exterior, complete with a dyed black Mohawk, turns Libby off at first, but their mutual love for Frank keeps bringing them together.
Will they find the mystery woman from the number 88 bus? What else might they find as they log the hours together searching for her? The Lost Ticket is a cute, charming British novel populated by likable characters who start out as strangers and up as friends…or even more.
Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never seen? Emily Houghton explores this question in her novel, Before I Saw You.
After experiencing terrible accidents, Alice Gunnersely and Alfie Mack end up as patients in a long-term hospital ward with beds right next to each other. Alfie spends his days befriending everyone on the ward. He’s used to winning people over with his charming smile.
When Alice arrives and won’t come out from behind her curtain, Alfie makes it his mission to make her laugh. Their bond grows, and both of them find themselves more honest with each other than anyone else. Yet, as their hospital stays draw to a close, they each begin to contemplate whether or not their relationship can last out in the real world. After all, they’ve never even looked into each other’s eyes.
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center features one of my favorite romance tropes: the fake relationship that stirs up big feelings.
Hannah Brooks is, if you can believe it, superstar actor Jack Stapleton’s bodyguard. Even though he dropped out of the public eye a few years before, he has a stalker (a middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker), and it’s Hannah’s job to keep him safe.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he wants to go home to Texas and be a help, not a burden. His family can’t find out about his stalker. Thus, he concocts a plan. Hannah will accompany him as his girlfriend.
The more time she spends with Jack, the more Hannah begins to fall for him. It has always been her job to protect him. That’s what she signed onto as his bodyguard. But what about protecting her own heart?
The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos
Sometimes you get a second chance at love.
Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has lost a lot: her first love from high school, her relationship with her father, and the opportunity to know her stepsister, Willow. Out of the blue, her father Wilson invites her for an extended stay to take Willow under her wing and help him write his memoir. Begrudging but curious, she comes home and begins to fall back in love with the things she lost. Wilson is still infuriating, Willow needs more help than she could have imagined, and Ben–her first love–is still Ben.
The Precious One is a powerful story of redemption, second chances, and unexpected connections.
Just My Type by Falon Ballard
As the dating and relationships columnist for one of LA’s trendiest websites, Lana Parker knows her way around the dating scene. Ever since a disastrous breakup with her high school sweetheart, Lana has always been part of a long-term relationship. Now, though, she’s single and ready to take a break.
Enter Seth Carson, her high school ex. Seth is back in town after traveling the world as a freelance journalist.
Their chemistry is equal parts electric and combative, and everyone notices it, including Lana’s boss. She issues a writing challenge and life experiment. Lana will embrace being single, and Seth must learn to become a steady boyfriend–and they’ll both write about it. Whoever’s series gets more engagement will win a coveted promotion.
In Just My Type, Lana has to decide what she’s willing to risk and what she really wants: the guy or the job?
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Siobhan, Miranda, and Jane think they have one thing in common: they’ve all been stood up on Valentine’s Day. But it turns out, they’ve all been stood up by the same guy.
How have they each been so wrong about this man they thought they loved? Who is he, really? Where was he on Valentine’s Day? Are they all bound to get their hearts broken?
The premise of The No-Show opens up so many questions, and you’ll just have to read to find out the answers.
Dream On by Angie Hockman
When Cass Walker wakes up from a car accident, her head is full of memories of a man named Devin. The only problem is that no one around her knows who Devin is. Her family, friends, and doctors chalk it up to a hallucination from her coma.
But Cass can’t get Devin out of her head.
One year later, in a flower shop, Cass comes face to face with Devin. The only thing crazier than meeting him is starting a real life romance with him. Is this the same man she thought she knew? Unexpected and full of cute moments, Dream On is a must-read.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora Stephens left the city to go on a sisters’ trip with her precious little sister Libby. Spending August in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina opens up the possibility of meeting a country cutie or hometown hunk. She certainly doesn’t plan to keep running into Charlie Lastra, a work colleague she’d rather avoid.
Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance (2022), Emily Henry’s Book Lovers is a bookish tale of a cutthroat literary agent and a brooding editor bumping into each other on vacation and finding there just might be more to their story than they expected.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Alexis Montgomery is caught between two worlds. There is the world she had always planned, carrying on her family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, and the new world she’s just discovered with Daniel Grant. Small town, handsome carpenter Daniel Grant. He is making her rethink what’s important and redefine joy.
The problem is, Daniel doesn’t fit into Alexis’s world.
Will she leave behind what she’s always known and the opportunity to help thousands of people, or will she take a step toward a future with Daniel? Read Part of Your World to find out which world Alexis chooses.
Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
Who doesn’t love a good mix up to kickstart a cute romance?
Laura gets to her hotel room after a harried day at the airport and finds out she has the wrong bag. This would be a major bummer, except the suitcase’s contents draw her in. Who packed her favorite book, piano sheet music, and a sweater that only a Ryan Gosling look alike could rock?
Laura is sure the owner of this suitcase must be her dream man, but better yet, their mutual destination is the remote island where her parents met and fell in love. Is Laura coming to the same place all these years later to find her own soulmate? Read Just Haven’t Met You Yet to find out.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Catalina Martin thought telling everyone she had a long-distance boyfriend in America was harmless. Now, it’s almost time for her sister’s wedding, and everyone is eager to finally meet Catalina’s boyfriend.
Is four weeks long enough to find someone willing to fly to Spain, pose as her boyfriend, and endure her rowdy family?
Surprisingly, her insufferable coworker Aaron Blackford offers to help. Catalina can’t imagine spending that much time with Aaron, but she’s desperate. As they begin to spend more time together outside of the office, she finds he’s not as bad as she thought. For a cute enemies to lovers story, check out The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas.
Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
Kareena Mann just wants to find a soul mate in four months who her meddling aunties will approve of. Is that so much to ask?
Dr. Prem Verma, host of the Dr. Dil Show, deals with broken hearts every day as a cardiologist, but he isn’t much for romantic love. However, when he and Kareena’s on-air debate about love goes viral, his reputation starts to crumble and donors begin to back out. The only solution he can think of is dating Kareena.
As they begin to spend more time together, Prem starts to fall in love, but is he the guy she’s been looking for? Dating Dr. Dil is full of laughs, tension, and plenty of cuteness.
Set on You by Amy Lea
Crystal Chen is known for breaking gym stereotypes and embracing both fitness and her curvy frame. She finds solace in the gym after a painful breakup and has no patience for firefighter Scott Ritchie, who keeps stealing her favorite squat rack.
Little do Crystal and Scott know, they are about to spend a lot more time together because their grandparents are getting married. After bumping into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party, the pair start bonding over community, exercise, and cheesy pick-up lines. Pick up Set on You for a banter-filled, feel-good romance.
A Brush with Love by Mazey Eddings
Harper likes to be in control. She plans to attend a top oral surgery residency program, and she has no room in her study schedule for love.
First-year dental student Dan shares every bit of Harper’s passion for dentistry and starts falling for her, but Harper has a firm “just friends” rule. Dan is willing to play by Harper’s rules, but it becomes evident that both of them have serious feelings for each other.
Is Harper willing to let go of control and let Dan get close? You’ll have to read A Brush with Love to find out.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
Featuring another fake boyfriend plot, The Love Hypothesis features Olive Smith who decides to quiet her best friend’s concerns about her love life by kissing the first man she sees.
Unfortunately, that man is Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and jerk. When Adam actually agrees to be Olive’s fake boyfriend, she’s shocked. When it’s him she looks to after a particularly embarrassing career upset, she’s even more shocked.
As these two scientists start to experience major chemistry, Olive doesn’t know what to do. She thought she didn’t believe in love, but she’s starting to change her mind.
Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson
Nora Hughes moved to the city with a big dream of working in publishing, but five years later, it hasn’t turned out at all like she planned. She’s relegated to taking lunch orders, pleasing picky authors, and barely making ends meet. When her salary is cut because Parsons Press is floundering, Nora doesn’t know what to do.
Her last chance at making any of this work is to impress bestselling author, Andrew Santos. The question is, should she secure him for Parsons or draw him over to her unauthorized second job at a rival publisher? In Must Love Books, Nora must figure out what risks to take, what truths to tell, and what to do with her growing feelings for Andrew.
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen hit the bestseller list with their co-written romance novel, but that was three years ago. They don’t talk anymore. According to the contract they signed, though, they have to write one more book together.
As they reunite in the small Florida town where they wrote their first book, Katrina and Nathan start writing a new draft and rethinking the past. Perhaps the pair could salvage their story after all and see it end with a “happily ever after.”
Written by real life coauthors, The Roughest Draft is a must-read cute romance.
When in Rome by Sarah Adams
Rome, Kentucky isn’t exactly an Italian getaway, but Amelia Rose desperately needs a change of scenery.
Known to her fans as pop sensation Rae Rose, Amelia wants a few quiet days in a small town. Noah Walker is always reminding his neighbor’s to mind their own business, so he isn’t pleased when Amelia’s car breaks down on his front lawn.
Reluctantly, Noah lets Amelia stay in his guest room while she gets her car fixed, and he’s surprised by how much he enjoys spending time with her. He glimpses a side of Rae Rose her fans never see–a goofy, kind hearted, and lonely girl.
Noah finds himself falling for a popstar while Amelia finds herself falling for a small town and her gruff host, but she can only get away from her “real life” for so long. See how Amelia and Noah’s story ends in When in Rome.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Romance screenwriter Nora doesn’t expect the best script of her life to be based on her actual life, but that’s the case when her husband leaves her and their two kids. Suddenly, the Leo Vance is cast as her husband and a camera crew is setting up to film on location at her home.
Surprisingly, when shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Leo…doesn’t leave. He comes to Nora with a proposition and pleading eyes: he’ll pay seven thousand dollars to stay for seven more days. Nora could certainly use the cash, so she agrees.
Their story certainly isn’t without complications, but perhaps one week could change everything as Nora Goes Off Script.
How popular is the romance genre?
Very popular! Romance is reported to be the highest-earning genre of fiction and second highest-selling fiction category. The genre generates over $1.44 billion each year and accounts for around 18% of total adult fiction sales.
Who is reading romance novels?
Traditionally, the biggest readers of romance novels fell in the 35 to 54 age bracket, but within the past few years, the genre has gained popularity among readers ages 18 to 34. One reason for this might be the rise in popularity of BookTube and BookTok, or the slice of YouTube and Tiktok where readers discuss, rate, and recommend books.
What are the key features found in a cute romance novel?
You can count on a cute romance novel to feature a central love story with a happy, optimistic ending. The middle may include any number of misunderstandings, faked identities, or relational conflicts, but you can expect your leading lady and her man to end up together by the end.
What is a “meet-cute”?
A lot of romantic comedy (rom-com) novels start with a meet-cute. Believe it or not, the term has become so popular that Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary now includes an entry, defining a meet-cute as, “a cute, charming, or amusing first encounter between romantic partners (as in a movie).”
What is a romance trope?
A romance trope is a plot device used in many romantic movies and books that audiences easily recognize. Some people get tired of seeing the same tropes over and over again, but many people don’t mind the repetition. A certain amount of predictability allows romance readers to escape and relax. As the genre grows, I love seeing how different authors give new life to old tropes.
What are the common tropes found in romance novels?
Examples of common romance tropes include the love triangle, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers/opposites attract, the fake boyfriend/fiance turned true love, forbidden love, best friend’s sibling, and second chance romance.
These are just a few of the hundreds of common tropes! Here are some popular romance novel tropes explained in more detail:
Enemies-to-lovers: Characters who initially dislike each other but eventually fall in love.
Friends-to-lovers: Characters who are friends before realizing their romantic feelings for each other.
Second chance romance: Former lovers reunite and rekindle their romance.
Fake relationship: Characters pretend to be in a romantic relationship for various reasons, ultimately falling in love for real.
Opposites attract: Characters with contrasting personalities or backgrounds fall in love.
Love triangle: One character is torn between two potential romantic interests.
Forbidden love: Characters face societal, familial, or other external obstacles to their relationship.
Soulmates: Characters are destined to be together, often having an instant and deep connection.
Slow burn: Characters gradually develop romantic feelings for each other over an extended period of time.
Secret identity: One character has a hidden identity, which may cause conflict when revealed.
Office romance: Characters who work together fall in love.
Billionaire romance: A character falls in love with a wealthy, powerful, and often enigmatic individual.
Marriage of convenience: Characters marry for practical reasons but eventually fall in love.
Royalty and commoner: A royal character falls in love with a non-royal, often causing conflict.
Amnesia: One character loses their memory, impacting their relationship with their romantic partner.
Small-town romance: Characters find love in a close-knit community or rural setting.
Sports romance: Characters are involved in a sports setting, either as athletes, coaches, or fans, and fall in love.
Celebrity and ordinary person: A famous character falls in love with a non-famous individual, navigating the challenges of their different lifestyles.
Childhood sweethearts: Characters who were romantically involved or had a strong connection during their youth reunite and fall in love as adults.
Age gap: Characters with a significant age difference navigate their feelings and the challenges that may arise due to their age difference.
What are the most popular cute romance books?
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery
“Emma” by Jane Austen
“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion
“Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne
“The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary
“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman
“Tweet Cute” by Emma Lord
“You Deserve Each Other” by Sarah Hogle
“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang
“The Selection” by Kiera Cass
“A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks
“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell
“From Lukov with Love” by Mariana Zapata
“Beach Read” by Emily Henry
“Well Met” by Jen DeLuca
“The Convenient Marriage” by Georgette Heyer