Mid-Century Romance: 10 of the Best 1950s Romance Books

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Carolina Ciucci


Carolina Ciucci is a teacher, writer and reviewer based in the south of Argentina. She hoards books like they’re going out of style. In case of emergency, you can summon her by talking about Ireland, fictional witches, and the Brontë family. Twitter: @carolinabeci

Romance books set in the 1950s aren’t a dime a dozen. If I learned one thing while compiling this round-up, it’s that very few authors seem interested in writing historical romances set in the post-war period. In fact, it’s the only period in the first half of the 20th century that doesn’t present a reader with an abundance of choices. Edwardian romance? You might have Downton Abbey to thank for it, but the stories are there. Jazz age? Oh yeah. World War II? There are enough options to make you dizzy. But the late 1940s and 1950s? I scrolled down lists upon lists upon lists until my eyes bled, and I could barely find enough novels and novellas to complete this post.

Rest assured, though: find them I did. With the help of my fellow Rioters, wonderful romance reader friends, and many, many a database, I found ten 1950s romance books that explore that unique post-war period where it became obvious that the world had changed, and it was not about to go back to the way it used to be. The Civil Rights movement, the Baby Boom, women’s changing roles, it can all be found within the pages of these stories. What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.

Cover of Chasing Moonlight by Raaven St. Pierre

Chasing Moonlight (Again for the First Time #3) by Raven St. Pierre

Jesse Peterson and Quinn Dixon’s attraction is mutual and immediate. Their growing feelings for each other will not only knock them off balance, they will also put them in danger: living in Alabama in the late ’40s, they’re at risk of being torn apart by Jim Crow laws.

Cover of Tommy Cabot Was Here by Cat Sebastian

Tommy Cabot Was Here (The Cabots #1) by Cat Sebastian

Everett Sloane likes the quiet, which means that he must stay away from chaotic Tommy Cabot at all costs. But when they run into each other after 15 years apart, the two former best friends find that parting ways again might simply be beyond their capabilities.

Cover of The Heiress and the Baby Boom by Lauri Robinson

The Heiress and the Baby Boom (The Osterlund Saga#2) by Lauri Robinson

Childhood friends Randi Osterlund and Jason Heim didn’t continue their friendship into adulthood. On the contrary, they can’t stand to be in the same room together – which proves problematic when the real reason beyond their constant tension becomes obvious, leaving them with an unexpected consequence…and a shotgun wedding.

Cover of Pride & Passion by Carla Buchanan

Pride & Passion (Decades: A Journey of African American Romance #6) by Carla Buchanan

Constance Ray’s life will never be the same after her husband is killed in the Korean war. When navy officer Nathaniel Kelly comes with a message from her late husband, however, Constance knows that she can’t ignore it: neither the message nor her growing feelings for Nathaniel.

Nathaniel’s own feelings aren’t in any doubt. His love for Constance is instantaneous and intense. Ignoring them isn’t working – but when their work for the Civil Rights Movement keeps throwing them together, he has to wonder: why should he?

Cover of Between Here and Gone by Barbara Caridad Ferrer

Between Here and Gone by Barbara Caridad Ferrer

Natalia San Martín’s life in her native Cuba was close to perfect, until Fidel Castro’s coup changed the course of her story. Five years later, Natalia, who now goes by the name of Natalie Martin and lives in NYC, is offered what seems like the opportunity of a lifetime: ghostwriting a famous model’s memoir. However, along with Jack Roemer, her new publisher’s lawyer, Natalia will discover that everyone, maybe even Jack, has secrets to hide.

Cover of Stranger in Paradise by Barbara Bretton

Stranger in Paradise (Home Front #2) by Barbara Bretton

In 1953 London, people gather to watch the new queen’s coronation. Among these people is American journalist Mac Weaver, whose homesickness is soothed when he meets and falls headlong into love with English reporter Jane Townsend. When they head back to New York, they think it’s all going to be smooth sailing from there. But there are secrets and scandals that will ensure otherwise.

Cover of Round Midnight by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

Round Midnight (Fly Me to the Moon #2) by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

This collection houses two holiday novellas, A Midnight Clear and A Midnight Kiss, set in 1948 and 1950, respectively. In each story, two people’s lives will forever be altered by events that take place at midnight – once on Christmas, once on New Year’s.

Cover of Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

It wasn’t only adults who fell in the love in the post-war era, and a person’s first love should be an experience unhindered by bigotry and fear. As in this YA, however, this isn’t the case for 17-year-old Lily Hu. Lily’s feelings for Kathleen Miller are enormously risky in 1954 Chinatown, San Francisco. Let’s not forget red-scare paranoia, and her father’s deportation being a terrible likelihood despite his established citizenship.

Cover of Romance 50's Style by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Romance, 50’s Style (Romance in the 1950s #1) by Margaret Lynette Sharp

Set in 1950s Australia, novellas Whatever It Takes and Sisters and Rivals dive headfirst into the world of long-distance relationships, scheming sisters, and love.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton Book Cover

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Following her late grandmother’s wish, Cuban-American writer Marisol Ferreira travels to Havana to scatter her ashes. Once there, she’ll stumble upon a family secret that has been hidden for decades.

Can’t get enough of historical romance? We’ve got you. There’s also something for the YA lovers out there.