Witchy and paranormal contemporary romances are having a moment. Erin Starling’s October release The Ex Hex (“filled with delightful witchiness and humor,” per PW’s review), for instance, sold 21,000 print copies in its first month on sale, according to NPD BookScan. But such books aren’t just for the spooky season, authors say.
“People want to detach from our world and picture one where magic is possible,” says Ann Aguirre, author of Boss Witch (Sourcebooks Casablanca, Apr. 2022). “Witchy and paranormal books feed the spirit. These books offer a sort of balm for loneliness.”
For Boss Witch, Aguirre drew inspiration from reruns of Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. “I wanted to capture that fun feel, where witches weren’t all dark and brooding,” she says. “I wanted cupcakes-and-pastels witches with an emphasis on found family and sisterhood. I wanted to write about the coven as being equally important as a romantic partnership.”
April Asher, author of Not the Witch You Wed (Griffin, Feb. 2022), typically writes romantic suspense under the name April Hunt. She’s also a nurse, and Covid-19 hit her family hard. To distract herself, she started writing a paranormal romance. “One night, after working a 12-hour shift, I needed something not based in reality,” she says. “The book has a magic-less witch from a prominent witch family, a wolf shifter who doesn’t like violence, a virgin sex demon, and a guardian angel who’s afraid of heights. I knew if I needed that break from everything that was happening, then everybody else was going to need that too.”
Aguirre and Asher are two of the authors whose forthcoming books aim to enchant readers with the magic of romance.
Therese Beharrie. Zebra, Dec.
In Beharrie’s latest, Gaia Anders is a bestselling romance author and witch who grew up in foster care. When workaholic Jacob Scott, her best friend’s brother, begins to share her dreams—literally—the pair deepen their connection. PW called the duology starter an “ambitious story of magic, romance, and healing from past trauma” in its review.
Ann Aguirre. Sourcebooks Casablanca, Apr. 2022
Clementine Waterhouse, a tech-savvy witch who rarely takes risks in relationships, pairs with Gavin Rhys, a dedicated witch-hunter, for an enemies-to-lovers tale. It’s the second in the author’s Fix-It Witches series; PW said of the first, Witch Please, “Aguirre tugs on the heartstrings, tackling familial pressure, the struggle to overcome heartbreak, and the strength it takes to choose the uncertainty of love over the stability of loneliness.”
The Date from Hell
Gwenda Bond. Griffin, Apr. 2022
Callie and Luke, who thwarted the apocalypse in 2021’s Not Your Average Hot Guy, attempt to go on a date in this sequel. Unfortunately, Lucifer has other plans. He tasks the pair with chasing a wayward soul around the world; if the soul can be redeemed, Lucifer will allow Callie and Luke to make changes to Hell. “Luke and Callie’s romance is more sweet than sultry, leaving plenty of room for crossover appeal to Bond’s YA fans,” PW said of Not Your Average Hot Guy.
Ursula Klein. Bold Strokes, Feb. 2022
A witch and a professor studying the Salem witch trials are the unlikely pair at the center of this debut. Hazel, who hides her magic, falls for Dr. Elizabeth Cowrie, who is avowedly anti-witch. Hazel’s choice: reveal her secret and risk losing Elizabeth, or cast off magic forever and hold on to her love.
From Bad to Cursed
Lana Harper. Berkley, May 2022
In this enemies-to-lovers romp, aspiring fashion designer Isidora Avramov strikes up an unexpected partnership with Rowan Thorn, of a rival witch family, to get to the bottom of a streak of dark, dangerous magic. Harper, who’s written four YA novels about modern-day witches under the name Lana Popovic´, is also the author of a book set in the same universe as From Bad to Cursed, the recently released Payback’s a Witch. PW’s starred review said of the latter, “Combining John Tucker Must Die with a helping of an adult Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and a dash of Charmed, this addictive concoction begs for adaptation.”
Go Hex Yourself
Jessica Clare. Berkley, Apr. 2022
This series starter introduces Reggie Johnson, an apprentice to a powerful witch, and Ben Magnus, her employer’s nephew. It’s hate at first sight, but the pair eventually join forces—and magic—to break a deadly curse.
Lead Me Astray
Sondi Warner. Wattpad, Mar. 2022
Overlay City, New Orleans, the setting for this debut, is a liminal place where the paranormal and the real world mingle. Aurie, now a ghost, was killed in a hit-and-run. Convinced her death is more complicated than she remembers, she enlists the help of Mys, a psychic empath, and Zyr, a werewolf detective; in their quest, the three develop an undeniable attraction to one another.
Elizabeth Bass. Kensington, Feb. 2022
In this madcap rom-com, Gwen Engle and her coven of cousins are forbidden to do magic lest they run afoul of the Watchers, who report illegal spellcasting to the Grand Council of Witches. A departing spell cast by Gwen’s troublesome adopted sister has her distrusting her scientist boyfriend, while a stack of accidentally bewitched cupcakes convinces her she’s falling for a Watcher. PW’s review said Bass “achieves sitcom-level humor that will have readers cackling.”
Not the Witch You Wed
April Asher. Griffin, Feb. 2022
Asher puts a paranormal twist on the fake dating trope in this rom-com, the first in the Supernatural Singles series. When supernatural law forces magicless witch Violet Maxwell and wolf shifter Lincoln Thorne to find mates, the former teenage sweethearts pretend to be in a relationship in order to delay the inevitable. Their feeling are rekindled just as old threats vie to keep them apart.