Reading These 8 Happily Ever After Romance Novels Will Make Your Day
By Emily Lee
March 24, 2020
While it's important for all non-essential workers to stay home as much as possible in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, we can all admit that following social distancing can sometimes feel boring and even isolating. One way to bring more joy and fun into your life during this time is by picking up a romance novel. Even on the best of days a happily ever after ending can somehow make your smile a little bigger and your mood a little brighter. We put together a list of eight joyful romance novels that will make you feel less alone while stuck at home.
For those worried about how to purchase books in states and cities following shelter in place guidelines, there are multiple ways to safely buy one of these books (or any others that catch your fancy) while staying home. If you want to support your local independent bookstore, you can order a book for delivery via IndieBound. If you don't have a local bookstore near you, but still want to support independent business during the shut down, use Bookshop. Barnes and Noble will deliver or provide curbside pickup for online orders, depending on local guidelines. Amazon will continue to deliver books, as well, though they are prioritizing other types of orders at this time.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Jacket Copy: What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.
Reader Review: "Is it possible for your whole body to grin? The answer is hell yes. Red, White & Royal Blue is a story lit up like a beacon to the weary and the lost. My heart still swells with so much delight. The notion of memory simply fails to adequately capture the sensation. I know the words but none of them really encompass the feeling of deep contentment, mixed with the kind of frustration one feels at waking from a sweet dream. I promise you that what memories you will keep of this story will warm you in the cold, and taste sweet when the world runs sour. Do not miss it." - Chaima via GoodReads
The Proposal by Jasmine Guilroy
Jacket Copy: When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part—they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans.
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up—in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes
Reader Review: "This was such a delight to read! I adored the diversity, the humor, and the portrayal of some really relevant, yet tough topics. These characters were all brand new to me, but I’m really excited to go back to [Jasmine Guilroy's first novel] The Wedding Date and see how we meet a certain someone initially there. Definitely recommended!" - Chelsea via GoodReads
We Met in December by Rosie Curtis
Jacket Copy: Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.
But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.
Reader Review: "I absolutely loved this book. The cast is utterly relatable, with the two main characters both undertaking life changes to work out what they really want to do in life, and building a beautiful friendship as they go. The setting is perfect and wonderfully described, and I love how the story unfolds over the space of a year instead of being a rushed off your feet romance. Will it all work out for them? You need to read it and see." - Jax via Amazon
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Jacket Copy: Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
Reader Review: "My heart cannot be contained right now. I'm so in love with this book to the point where I feel sick and my heart wants to burst with happiness. This story leaves me on a high that I cannot come down from. I don't want to. I'm addicted!" - Warda via GoodReads
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Jacket Copy: Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ―people on the internet are shipping them??― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Reader Review: "Was this seriously a debut novel? Tweet Cute by Emma Lord is one of the best YA contemporary/rom-com's I've read in so long. It was adorable, endearing, and made me laugh out loud more than once. I loved the modern day, high school spin of the You've Got Mail type of story line, and it was so much fun to read!" - Christy via GoodReads
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Jacket Copy: American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
Reader Review: "Imagine if Richard Curtis scripted a Royal Wedding...the heroine is an irresistible American ( think Notting Hill & Four Weddings) and her suitor is an Englishman whose upper lip has acquired maximum stiffness (think Notting Hill & Four Weddings - again). Oh, and he happens to be heir to the throne. The story is every bit as charming and witty (and snarky) as those rom-coms with a superbly-realised supporting cast. A great, breezy, holiday read." - Mark via Amazon.
The highly anticipated sequel to The Royal We—The Heir Affair—comes out in July, as well.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Jacket Copy: Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.
Reader Review: "Friends, The Kiss Quotient is so deserving of every ounce of hype it has received thus far. I am not sure I’ve ever been so happy, and had such a lame grin on my face, while reading any other book. This was heartwarming, beautiful, and a treat to read. Don’t sleep on this one. Also, Michael and Stella are both partner goals, I swear." - Melanie via GoodReads
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Jacket Copy: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan. But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Reader Review: "Fangirl is one of my all time favourites. It's one of those "cuddle up with a blanket"-"sip hot chocolate"-"feel good"-books. There's not many books that can do this to me. I think this works so good for because Rainbow Rowell captured the kind of sadness and loneliness that also functions as an emotional wall between the protagonist and the outer world with such skillfulness that I immediately recognised this feeling. There's lots of novels that feature bookworms who'd rather live between the pages than in real life. But Rainbow Rowell is the first author who really had me believing." - Kai via GoodReads
Photo: Berkley Publishing/MacMillan/Wednesday Books/Grand Central Publishing/Penguin Random House/Harper Collins