Must-Read Subgenres in Romance Literature

A man and a woman standing under a tree. Generative AI.

Romance novels have captivated readers for centuries with their enchanting tales of love, passion, and happily ever afters. The allure of these books lies in their ability to transport readers to worlds where love conquers all.

Romance Novels Are on the Rise

Within the past year, Gen Z has driven romantic novels to the top of bestseller lists. As reported in July 2023, Gen Z craves deep emotional connection, diversity and representation, and life lessons in romance books. The #BookTok side of TikTok influences many people to try certain books, making romantic writers like Colleen Hoover and Emily Henry wildly popular, very quickly. See what all the fuss is about and find the subgenre for your taste!

According to romantic novelist Nana Malne, "Regardless of the characters or plots or color palettes one truth reigns, romance is about the hope of finding love and that’s intoxicating. Readers want to believe that despite the adversity the writer throws at the characters, love will conquer all."

From the sweeping grandeur of historical romance to the thrilling twists of paranormal romance, each subgenre brings its own unique blend of emotions and storytelling elements. Get ready to embark on a journey through the beguiling world of romantic literature.

Historical Romance

Historical romance novels often feature themes of love, passion, and relationships, while also exploring the challenges and constraints imposed by historical contexts such as cultural expectations, class dynamics, and historical events. Readers experience different time periods, such as Regency-era England, the American Civil War, or medieval Europe, feeling the romance and the historical backdrop simultaneously.

Pride and Prejudice
$5.59

by Jane Austen

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02/18/2024 11:40 pm GMT

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a timeless classic that follows the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a spirited and independent woman, and Mr. Darcy, a proud and seemingly aloof gentleman. Set in early 19th-century England, the novel explores themes of love, class, and societal expectations.

Outlander
$24.99

by Diana Gabaldon

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02/18/2024 04:13 pm GMT

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon mixes romance, time travel, and adventure. This novel introduces readers to Claire Randall, a World War II nurse who finds herself transported back to 18th-century Scotland. There, she becomes involved with Jamie Fraser, a Highland warrior, and must navigate a precarious love amid political upheaval.

Gone With the Wind
$18.59

by Margaret Mitchell

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02/18/2024 11:41 pm GMT

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. This epic historical romance centers around Scarlett O'Hara, a headstrong Southern belle, and her tumultuous relationship with Rhett Butler, a charming and enigmatic hero. It's a tale of love, survival, and the complexities of the human heart.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal romance offers readers a unique blend of romance and fantasy, allowing them to escape into a world where love transcends normal boundaries.

Twilight
$13.95

by Stephenie Meyer

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02/18/2024 11:51 pm GMT

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is a bestselling series that follows the story of Bella Swan, a teenage girl who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, and falls in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire. Their love faces complications from the supernatural world they're a part of, and they become embroiled in an eternal struggle between good and evil.

A Discovery of Witches
$26.55

by Deborah Harkness

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02/19/2024 12:01 am GMT

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness tells the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch who discovers a mysterious manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library. This discovery leads her into a world of magic and romance as she becomes involved with Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic vampire. Their forbidden love carries them through secrets, ancient prophecies, and supernatural conflicts.

Dark Lover
$299.00

by J.R. Ward 

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02/19/2024 12:12 am GMT

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward is the first book in the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series that introduces readers to the world of vampire warriors tasked with protecting their kind from enemies. The story focuses on Wrath, the last pure-blooded vampire, and Beth, a half-breed vampire in need of protection. Their romance seeps with danger, passion, and the complexities of vampire society.

Contemporary Romance

Unlike historical or paranormal romance, contemporary romance focuses on relationships and love stories set in the present day. These novels explore a wide range of themes and vary in tone from light-hearted and comedic to intense and emotionally charged. Contemporary romance often delves into relatable issues and tackles contemporary societal problems.

The Hating Game
$8.38

by Sally Thorne

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02/19/2024 12:21 am GMT

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne follows Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, coworkers who share a fierce rivalry at their publishing company. As they're forced to work closely together, their animosity gradually turns into a deep connection and unexpected attraction. This novel is full of witty banter, sizzling chemistry, and delightful romantic tension.

The Kiss Quotient
$22.25

by Helen Hoang

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02/19/2024 12:41 am GMT

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang tells the story of Stella Lane — a brilliant mathematician with Asperger's who hires an escort named Michael Phan to teach her how to be better at relationships and intimacy. As they embark on a series of unconventional lessons, Stella and Michael find themselves falling for each other.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
$15.03

by Gail Honeyman

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02/19/2024 12:47 am GMT

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman beautifully weaves a touching love story. Eleanor is a socially awkward and isolated woman who leads a solitary life until she meets Raymond, an IT guy from her office. As their friendship blossoms, Eleanor's world begins to change, and she learns the true meaning of love, compassion, and human connection.

Science Fiction Romance

Science fiction romance offers readers a unique blend of futuristic possibilities, imaginative world-building, and emotional depth. It combines the excitement and wonder of science fiction with the emotional journeys and intimate connections found in romance novels.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
$24.73

by Audrey Niffenegger

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02/18/2024 05:49 pm GMT

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger tells the story of Clare and Henry. Henry has a genetic condition that causes him to time travel involuntarily, leading to unexpected absences and reunions with Clare throughout their lives. Their love faces the challenges of time travel, but they strive to make their relationship work against all odds.

The Host
$20.90

by Stephenie Meyer

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02/18/2024 01:51 pm GMT

The Host by Stephenie Meyer features humanity taken over by parasitic alien species known as "Souls." Wanderer, one of the aliens, occupies the body of Melanie Stryder, a human rebel. Unexpectedly, Wanderer forms a connection with Melanie's former human love interest, Jared.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
$311.60

by Becky Chambers

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02/19/2024 12:26 am GMT

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers follows the journey of a diverse crew aboard a spaceship called the Wayfarer. As they travel through space, bonds form and relationships blossom, including a slow-building romantic connection. The story highlights the challenges and beauty of love in a vast and unpredictable universe.

Explore the Endless World of Romantic Novels

If you enjoy these books and want more subgenres of romantic novels, explore the content of young adult romance, LGBTQ+ romance, romantic suspense, and fantasy romance. Each one has unique attributes and endless options for reading. Enjoy!

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