As the world continues to change, so does the world of romance novels. The latest trends in contemporary romance novels are all about diversity, representation, and a focus on mental health and self-discovery. From steamy slow-burns to heart-warming second chances, there’s something for everyone in this list of the best contemporary romance novels of 2023.
“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
Poppy and Alex have been best friends for years, but haven’t spoken in two years after a disastrous vacation. Poppy wants to fix their relationship and convinces Alex to take one more vacation together. However, she must face a big truth that could ruin everything. This novel has been named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by several publications.
“The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood
Olive, a PhD candidate, pretends to be in a romantic relationship to satisfy her friend’s beliefs in lasting relationships. She kisses Adam, a well-known professor, to convince her friend, and Adam agrees to keep the charade a secret. When Olive’s career is threatened, Adam supports her, and their experiment becomes dangerously close to reality.
“The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas
A woman needs a date for her sister’s wedding and asks her colleague to pretend to be her boyfriend. She only has four weeks to pull off the ruse and her family won’t be easy to fool. Despite initially disliking her colleague, she accepts his offer as her best option and begins to see him in a new light as the wedding approaches.
“One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston, the author of Red, White & Royal Blue, is a romantic comedy that tells the story of August, a cynical 23-year-old who meets Jane, a girl from the 1970s who is literally displaced in time. August falls for Jane and must use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. The novel is described as magical, sexy, big-hearted, and filled with humor and heart. It has been named one of the best books of the year by several publications, including Time Magazine and NPR.
“It Happened One Summer” by Tessa Bailey
Fashionable, wild child Piper is exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town and tasked with running her late father’s dive bar to learn responsibility. She meets surly sea captain Brendan who thinks she doesn’t belong, but an undeniable attraction simmers between them as she starts to feel at home and wonder if LA is truly where she belongs.