It happens every year: as we move into spring, the pace of romance publishing seems to intensify. This year, as is increasingly the case, we’ve got some excellent reads to look forward to. Trends include books set in the book world and romance novels with a political element – what I like to think of as books for West Wing fans. The popularity of fake dating as a trope shows no signs of slowing down, either, and neither does the element of Hollywood glamour.
But there’s plenty to look forward to whether you’re into enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance, Regency England, or secret crushes. If British romcoms are your thing, look for seasoned writer Beth O’Leary and debut novelist Lex Croucher. Abby Jimenez has a book for fans of The Idea of You who long for more age gap romance. And there’s lots of great LGBTQ+ rep, too, including The Romantic Agenda, whose main character is asexual.
At the bookshop where I work, we’re constantly expanding our romance section, and it’s so much fun watching people carefully choose their next reads from among the brightly coloured spines. I can’t resist asking if they need my help, which is really just an excuse to gush with them about all these wonderful books. But since I can’t handsell books to all of you, here are a few of my recommendations for this month.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa (April 5)
What do you do when you’re helping plan a wedding, but it’s quickly apparent the groom would be making the biggest mistake of his life by going through with it? You crash it, of course. Only sometimes you end up fake dating the groom, and mayhem ensues.
Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh (April 5)
Manny is a successful businesswoman, the CEO of a company that helps people move on from their heartbreaks. Meanwhile, she has a heartbreak of her own to contend with, though hers isn’t romantic: she is grieving her parents, and with them the realisation that she doesn’t know as much as she’d like about her South Asian heritage. Enter Sammy, who promises to fix that…
Reputation by Lex Croucher (April 5)
Set in Regency England, where a bookish and lonely Georgiana meets the irresistibly naughty Frances, this book is pitched as Bridgerton meets Gossip Girl, with a dash of Jane Austen. Sounds pretty irresistible!
Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead (April 5)
This one’s a second-chance romance between former high school sweethearts with a bitter breakup in their history – and they’re now forced to work together as Lee helms a company that sells electric cars and Ben serves as a policy expert focussing on energy issues. Rosie Danan calls this one “a simmering slow burn bursting with banter” and “a romance for anyone who’s ever felt too messy to be loved.”
The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (April 12)
Joy’s never told her best friend Malcolm that she’s in love with him. But now he’s invited her for a weekend away, it might be her last chance…since he’s fallen for someone named Summer. Meanwhile, Fox, who likes Joy, makes up for the fourth side of the love square. Are love squares a thing? They should be.
Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman (April 12)
Ten years ago, up-and-coming journalist Chani interviewed up-and-coming actor Gabe. Her piece went viral, netting her a solid career, and helping launch him as the next James Bond. But what really happened that night? And what will happen now when they finally meet again?
Book Smart by Amanda Pennington (April 14)
Melanie is done waiting. She has a plan: she’s going to follow old-fashioned advice about finding a man. And she’s going to get a boyfriend out of it…or, at least, a good story to write.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez (April 19)
Age gap romance fans! This one’s for you. It’s also for you if you love the Hallmark movie vibe of the sophisticated, career-minded woman who meets a small-town guy and has her live upended by unexpected chemistry.
Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper (April 26)
Ah, secret crushes. We’ve all been there. And some of us have even put them in our novels – which is exactly what PK does when he secretly writes about his love of his best friend Art. But will this plan to woo him over work?
Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery (April 26)
If, like me, you’re a West Wing fan and always looking for a book with those vibes, hit the preorder button on Love, Hate & Clickbait! This romance between a political consultant and a data analyst has the fake dating and enemies to lovers trope, so there’s something for everyone.
Why not branch out into a different trope this month as you build your TBR list? There’s so much goodness here. I’m not a historical fiction reader, but I’m definitely tempted to give Reputation a go. How about you?
Need more recommendations? Try 8 Romance Novels You’ll Fall in Love With in 2022 and 24 Black Romance Novels to Add to Your TBR in 2022.