Portrait of a woman seated and reading possibly on board SS TANDA -- from the Australian Maritime Museum

Read-It-Again Romance Favorites

Earlier this month I re-read Pride & Prejudice for the first time in over 10 years. I had a completely different experience reading it as a 30-something historical romance reader than as a college-aged English Literature major. Somehow it was wittier, more romantic and subtle, more sly and tongue-in-cheek than I remembered it being. Of course I fell in love with Darcy and Elizabeth all over again and vowed to never again let so much time pass before re-reading Pride & Prejudice. 

It’s officially on my read-it-again romance list, and yes, I have a real list. It’s small at the moment, just a few select favorites that I turn to every year (sometimes less, sometimes more) when I need a little something that I know I can always find within its pages.

A Week to Be WickedSometimes it’s a light-hearted romp, with nothing but two people falling in love with laughter, like Elizabeth Boyle’s Mad About the Duke or Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked. They’re romance novels at their uncomplicated best. Conflict is cursory and the real reason I read them is for the banter, the witty back-and-forth, and the knowledge that these two people are already in love, they just need to discover it. I happily devour Minerva and Colin’s love-on-the-road odd-couple story in A Week, which of course uses one of my favorite romantic tropes: the bluestocking and the rake finding love. They restore my faith in romance and remind me that sometimes it’s simple and straight-forward, much as it is with Elinor and James in Mad About the Duke. These novels feel like warm cozy hugs on cold rainy days and never smile to leave me smiling like a dope for days afterward.

Other times I’m drawn to romantic angst in all its gut-wrenching, stomach-churning glory. I love feeling the kind of turmoil that comes along with unrequited love, as in Sherry Ravishing the HeiressThomas’ Fitzhugh Trilogy, especially Ravishing the HeiressEvery time I read Millie’s unspoken and unending love for Fitz my heart beats faster, my nails are bitten down to nothing, and I have to stop and remind myself it’s going to be ok in the end. I have yet to review it because when I try all that comes out is…ALL THE FEELINGS!!! I recently experienced that again after reading When He Was Wicked, Francesca’s story in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. I’ve just put it down but I already know I’ll be picking it up whenever I need to feel the extreme highs and lows that come with long, enduring love.

Then there are some novels whose appeal I can’t quite classify but are just so absolutely satisfying that they’re like a sleeve of Thin Mints at the start of Girl Scout cookie season. They’re just right. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Sarah MacLean’s first Love by Numbers book) is the epitome of the perfect romance for me, and again I’ll say for me, because one woman’s perfect dessert is another’s idea of worthless calories. I know that when I need them, Callie and Ralston will be there to give me a reading hangover the likes of which are Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rakeunparalleled by any other I’ve ever experienced. I sing this book’s praises to everyone I want to bring over the romance dark?light? side and have already created a convert or two. Lisa Kleypas’ A Devil in Winter is also in this inexplicable category. Although I enjoyed the Wallflower series overall, I reach for A Devil more times than I can count, needing my brooding hero fix.

Now that you know enough about me to determine whether or not we could ever be friends (books say a lot about us, after all), I’m curious: What are your read-it-again favorites?

I tweeted this question and got some great responses (here are a few):

I’m giving away a copy of two of my favorites–A Week to Be Wicked and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake–to two lucky commenters. To enter, leave a comment with your email address and the names of the romance novels you reach for again and again.


16 thoughts on “Read-It-Again Romance Favorites

  1. Lenora Bell says:

    We have exactly the same taste in books! If I had to choose only two more to add it would be Eloisa James’ FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE because hello, sassy romance-writing heroine and super alpha hero and THE DUKE AND I by JQ because that book is pure sparkling perfection and I could read it millions of times.


  2. Bube says:

    Great titles!
    I love A Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas 🙂
    I have a two re-read books,Dream a Little Dream by SEP and The Bride by Julie Garwood.
    These books are my favorite!
    Thank you for the wonderful post and great giveaway! :))


  3. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA says:

    Nine Rules is one of my faves! I’ve read it multiple times, too!
    I wasn’t really into The Devil in Winter but I loved The Secrets of a Summer Night and have re-read it a few times, too…. tonight just might be the night to re-read this! 🙂


  4. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA says:

    Nine Rules is one of my faves! I’ve read it multiple times, too!
    I wasn’t really into The Devil in Winter but I loved The Secrets of a Summer Night and have re-read it a few times, too…. tonight just might be the night to re-read this!


  5. Cris says:

    Great post! The Devil in Winter is one that I always go back to! As is The Perfect Wife by Lynsay Sands and Making Chase by Lauren Dane. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas is another one that I’ll reread time and time again. Funnily enough I’ve realized that most of the ones I always come back to happen to have curvy/plus-size heroines. All of these books are going to be in a post I’m writing for next week on my fave curvy heroines.


  6. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard says:

    What a great post! Some books I return to over and over are:

    A Summer to Remember (Mary Balogh) – in the “inexplicable but I just love it” category. I also love rereading Slightly Married; Slightly Scandalous; and Simply Love by the same author.

    Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Julia Quinn) – Colin’s heartfelt and very public toast to his wife near the end is swoon-worthy

    The Devil in Winter, and also Mine Till Midnight (Lisa Kleypas) – the first for one of the best redeemed rakes ever, and the second because I just love the heroine for some reason

    A Secret Love (Stephanie Laurens) – another one that appeals for inexplicable reasons


    • Veronica says:

      Isn’t that funny how some books are just the absolute right fit? You can’t exactly explain why, but they’re like your book soul mate.

      Romancing Mister Bridgerton is THE BEST Bridgerton book in my humble opinion 😉


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