This fall’s romance listings have appeal for adventurers and risk-takers, but shy spirits needn’t worry—there’s also plenty of cozy comfort reading. It turns out there are as many definitions of “home” as there are couples looking to build new lives together.
Some bold authors are heading into uncharted historical waters, looking for new settings and new ideas. Miranda Neville’s The Importance of Being Wicked abandons the elegant Regency and staid Victorian eras for the raucous Georgian years. It begins a series about reckless art collectors and the lengths they’ll go for the prizes they want. Lydia Dare’s Wolfishly Yours continues her audacious Regency series with a twist: her protagonists are werewolves, who must be tamed to society’s rules before they eat the wrong person. Mary Wine, well known for Regency and Highlands romances, dips a delicate toe in Victoriana with her first steampunk novel, A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, in which a bluestocking sneaks into a secret society’s meetings and learns that she has special powers to control the mystical crystals they use. And Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown jumps ahead to the days just before WWI, exploring class divisions and political tensions in a story clearly geared toward Downton Abbey fans.
In the Americas, the wild west retains its appeal—including for the English! In Tallie’s Hero by Sara Luck, an English lady who comes to the States for a New York wedding ventures further west and is startled to become enamored of a Wyoming cowboy. Romantic suspense author Linda Howard and paranormal romance author Linda Jones, fresh from a collaboration on vampire-centric Blood Born, change gears with Running Wild, a steamy contemporary western in which a woman running from her past finds unexpected safety and love on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere—but just as she starts to put down roots, her past catches up with her and she must defend the second chance she never thought she’d get. Victoria Dahl, popular for humorous contemporaries, begins a new series set in Jackson, Wyo., with Close Enough to Touch, the story of a makeup artist who flees L.A. and winds up in the arms of a rancher who has his own unhappy past in Hollywood.
Does that all sound like just too much adventure to handle? Then return to contemporary small towns, which are surging in popularity (as we recently noted in our June 4 romance feature). Debbie Macomber, the queen of cozy contemporary romance, opens a new Pacific Northwest series with The Inn at Rose Harbor, which houses a great many warmhearted characters determined to help one another find happiness. Brenda Novak explores California gold rush country with When Lightning Strikes, in which a PR agent brings a washed-up movie star to the little town of Whiskey Creek to help him get an image makeover. And on the East Coast, Donna Hill takes a branch of her Louisiana-based Lawson family up to Sag Harbor, N.Y. They find peace, quiet, and romance in a series beginning with Touch Me Now, in which a massage therapist is drawn to a client who desperately needs healing. For every pair of hearts, these authors will build the perfect home.
PW's Top 10: Romance
The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville. Avon, Nov.
Wolfishly Yours by Lydia Dare. Sourcebooks Casablanca, Nov.
A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine. Sourcebooks Casablanca, Aug.
Summerset Abbey by T. J. Brown. Gallery, Jan.
Tallie’s Hero by Sara Luck. Pocket, Aug.
Running Wild by Linda Howard and Linda Jones. Ballantine, Nov.
Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl. HQN, Aug.
The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine, Aug.
When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak. Mira, Aug.
Touch Me Now by Donna Hill. Kimani, Oct.
Read and sort all our picks from this fall's romance titles in the spreadsheet below: