How To Find a Romance Novel By Description

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Nikki DeMarco


The inimitable Nikki DeMarco is as well-traveled as she is well-read. Being an enneagram 3, Aries, high school librarian, makes her love for efficiency is unmatched. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, and is passionate about helping teens connect to books. Nikki has an MFA in creative writing, is a TBR bibliologist, and writes for Harlequin, Audible, Kobo, and MacMillan. Since that leaves her so much time, she’s currently working on writing a romance novel, too. Find her on all socials @iamnikkidemarco (Instagram, Twitter, Threads)

We all know the feeling. You’re minding your own business and something sparks a memory of a book you’ve read. The title is on the tip of your brain. Was it The Duchess Deal or Any Duchess Will Do? Or was it about a duke, not a duchess? Good luck googling “duke romance.” Maybe it wasn’t either, but it was for sure royalty. You do another quick search. A Princess in Theory! No, Red, White, and Royal Blue? Hang on, The Queen’s Game? You remember the author! Cole. Now, Alyssa or Kresley? They’ve both written historical and fantasy. That makes you think of the paranormal book you loved about vampires. Or was it shifters? The cover was definitely green.

Voracious romance readers face this problem regularly. We’ve read so many novels that titles get confused and plot lines blur. Finding a book by description alone can be challenging. Never fear, dear reader, I have some tips on how to find a romance novel by description that can help.

1. Keyword Phrases

Romance follows tropes: only one bed, enemies to lovers, second chance romance, etc. These are useful tools when trying to find a book by description. 

screenshot of a list of only one bed books on goodreads

Goodreads has lists of books by trope. The easiest way to find them is typing “[name of trope] romance books” into Google. The Goodreads list is always a top result. For example, only one bed books has its own list. A nice feature of Goodreads is that if you have used it to track your own reading, the books you’ve marked as read are labeled that way in the list. This makes it easy to scan the list for the books you’ve read. Even if you don’t use Goodreads to track your books, there’s still a long list to help jog your memory. Sometimes, the lists here are too long and overwhelming. That leads me to my next tip.

screenshot of google search of Asian autistic romance with The Bride Test as a result

Google books is a search engine specifically for books. I did a few searches with books in mind and got to every book I was looking for. I searched “Asian romance autism” and it showed me The Bride Test by Helen Hoang as the first result.

2. Podcast Show Notes

Podcasts are treasure troves of information. Show notes are gold. Often, the podcast’s website will have tags on their episodes to make what you’re looking for easier to find.

Fated Mates: Hosted by romance author Sarah MacLean and romance reviewer Jen Prokop, this podcast has extensive show notes with tags for each one. There is a search feature, too. Keeping with the earlier example, I searched only one bed and found episodes with lists of books much more manageable than those I found on Goodreads. One of the episodes was on forced proximity exclusively.

Heaving Bosoms Podcast: Hosts Erin McCarthy and Melody Carlisle have a list of author tags at the bottom of their episodes page. Scroll all the way down and find that name that’s just on the other side of the memory veil you can almost touch.

3. Put the Social in Social Media

So often we are lurkers and not active participants in our social media consumption. We forget that there are people behind the handles with knowledge. And sometimes, those people on the internet are even nice.

#Romancelandia on Twitter is a great place to drop a question. There are authors, librarians, literary agents, and other romance readers who could stumble across your question and shoot you a few answers.

#Bookstagram is an Instagram tag worth looking up to find people to connect with over books. Does It Bang on Instagram is an account that tells whether there are sex scenes in a book or not. Their whole feed is pictures of covers. If you remember what the cover looks like, this could be a great place to start. Jeeves Reads Romance, Talk About Swoon, and Whitty Reads are romance-specific Bookstagrammers.

#BookTok on TikTok has more specific tags like #SpicyBookTok where you can scroll, chat, and connect about romance novels. This is an especially good place for hearing descriptions first and titles after that might help you narrow your search or remember a title. The Books I’ve Loved is an account reviewing romance novels. From there, just start clicking on hashtags, being entertained and discovering books.

OSRBC, or Old School Romance Book Club, on Facebook is a private group hosted by Sarah MacLean and full of romance lovers. Post a question in the feed and within minutes people start responding with suggestions. It’s a great place to connect and discuss books further once you remember what it is you’re looking for.

Happy hunting! You’ll find the book you were looking for in no time with these helpful hints. You are guaranteed to find books to add to your TBR list along the way, and even though we complain about it, we love it. Just as much as we love HEAs.