Romance novels are a diverse and expansive genre, with countless subgenres and niches that cater to different readers’ preferences. While many readers are familiar with popular romance novels, some lesser-known titles offer unique and captivating stories that are worth exploring. In this article, we will explore the top five niche romance novels that will take you on a journey, from the historical to the contemporary, and introduce you to some books that you need to read—now!
1. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Dart is a historical fantasy romance published in 2001. It follows the story of Phèdre nó Delaunay, a courtesan in the fictional country of Terre d’Ange, who is chosen by the gods to be their tool of vengeance. Her mission leads her to uncover a plot that threatens the stability of her country and fall in love with a man who is forbidden to her.
Carey’s lush prose and intricate world-building make this novel a must-read for anyone who loves historical fantasy romance. The novel’s exploration of power, politics, and love in a fictional world inspired by Renaissance Europe will captivate readers and leave them eager for more.
2. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
A Promise of Fire is a fantasy romance published in 2016. It follows the story of Cat, a powerful sorceress who is kidnapped by Griffin, the leader of a group of warriors, to help him win a war. As they travel together, Cat and Griffin fall in love, but secrets from their pasts threaten to tear them apart.
Bouchet’s fast-paced plot and well-developed characters make this novel a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy romance. The novel’s blend of Greek mythology, magic, and romance creates a unique and captivating world that readers will want to return to again and again.
3. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
Wicked Gentlemen is a steampunk romance published in 2007. It follows the story of Belimai Sykes, a fallen angel who lives in a world where magic and technology coexist. When a detective named William “Hound” Mikkelsen hires Belimai to help him solve a murder case, they begin to fall in love despite the societal prejudices and dangers that surround them.
Hale’s lyrical prose and imaginative world-building make this novel a must-read for anyone who loves steampunk romance. The novel’s exploration of social justice, redemption, and love in a world where angels and demons walk among humans will leave readers spellbound.
4. The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham
The Duke I Tempted is a historical romance published in 2018. It follows the story of Poppy Cavendish, a bluestocking who poses as a prostitute to seduce the Duke of Westmead and take revenge on him for ruining her sister’s life. However, as they spend time together, they begin to fall in love, and Poppy must choose between her desire for revenge and her love for the Duke.
Peckham’s elegant prose and well-crafted characters make this novel a must-read for anyone who loves historical romance. The novel’s exploration of gender roles, power dynamics, and sexual desire in Regency England creates a captivating and nuanced story that readers will not be able to put down.
5. Soft on Soft by Mena Waheed
Soft on Soft is a contemporary romance published in 2018. It follows the story of June, a fat femme makeup artist, and Selena, a hard femme model, who meet at a fashion event and begin to fall in love. As they navigate their relationship, they must confront their own insecurities and societal expectations of beauty and gender.
June’s passion for makeup artistry and Selena’s experience in the fashion industry create a unique bond between them. However, their contrasting personalities and backgrounds sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Waheed challenges traditional notions of beauty and invites the reader to question their own biases and prejudices.