8 of the Best Romance Novels out in July

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Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

It’s July, and those temperatures are sizzling. And yes, you’ve guessed it — so is the chemistry in many of the romance novels new to the shelves this month!

We’ve got long-time crushes, second chance romance, fake dating, friends-to-lovers, and rivals falling in love. A lot of last month’s themes are back in July: the one-of-us-is-famous love affairs, the family-pleasing antics, the foodies, the trying-to-make-your-dream-happen-and-finding-love-along-the-way plot line.

Note that there aren’t as many noteworthy LGBTQ+ romances as we usually like to include. This is likely because many of them are published during or just before Pride Month. But plenty more will be on the shelves in August — watch this space!

In the meantime, throw one of these in your beach bag along with your suncream, make yourself comfortable on a poolside sunlounger, head to the shade of a tree in your favourite park, or crank up that air conditioning and make yourself cosy at home. Light the scented candles; pour the wine; grab some reading-friendly snacks; put on a feel-good playlist; run a bath. I’m pretty sure there’s something for you on this list whatever you’re into, and, after the last couple of years, don’t we all deserve some self care?

Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu cover

Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu (July 12)

Fake dating? Check. Workplace romance? Check. Perennially single Matt has a Filipino family who really want him to get married. So, naturally, when he goes to a family gathering, he brings his longtime favorite coworker Cadence to pose as his girlfriend and reassure them that he’s on his way to settling down. Cue long-overdue sparks…

No funny Business by Amanda Askel cover

No Funny Business by Amanda Aksel (July 12)

Two comedians go on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles in this forced proximity romance. Olivia is following her dreams to make it as a standup, and Nick provides his Jeep, some welcome advice, and more than a little chemistry.

The Romance Recipe cover

The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett (July 12)

A great read for foodies and reality TV fans, this Sapphic romance follows the story of Amy, the owner of an ailing restaurant, and Sophie, whom she’s hired because of her internet fame. But Sophie is so done with influencing — she just wants to cook. She really isn’t into the idea of the TV show they’ve been offered. She is into Amy, though — and it’s mutual.

(Note that this book was previously erroneously included in a June romance roundup.)

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center cover

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (July 19)

If you’re a fan of the celebrity/civilian trope — don’t miss this one! Katherine Center’s writing here, as always, is emotionally astute, honest about the realities of life, and full of hope. This one’s about Hannah, a bodyguard who’s been hired to protect A-list actor Jack from his corgi-breeding stalker. Jack doesn’t want his family to know about the stalker or bodyguard, so Hannah reluctantly agrees to pretend to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. You know where this is going.

The Accidental PInup cover

The Accidental Pinup by Danielle Jackson (July 19)

Nobody is more surprised than photographer Cassie Harris when she finds herself in front of the camera rather than behind it, modelling sexy lingerie for her friend’s fashion company. And when it turns out that the man photographing her is none other than her arch-rival, Reid Montgomery, plenty more surprises ensue.

Can't Resist Her book cover

Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander (July 19)

When Summer moves back to Austin, Texas, she’s devastated to hear that the high school founded by her grandmother is destined for demolition. Architect Aiko Holt has different ideas about the neighborhood, though. Will it be enough to keep them apart? Or will the passion they remember from their senior year dance overcome their rivalry?

Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee cover

Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee (July 26)

Childhood friends restoring a bookshop together — sign me up for this one. All the more so because Jack has been in love with overachieving Lizzy forever and I’m rooting for him to finally get the girl.

Knot Again by Kwana Jackson book cover

Knot Again by Kwana Jackson (July 26)

The next installment in the Real Men Knit series is finally out! And this one’s a second chance romance. Local celebrity Lucas escapes to the laundromat regularly to avoid his fans, but he never expected to run into his high school crush there…

Need more romance in your life? Check out 8 New Romance Novels You’ll Fall in Love With in 2022 and The Next 12 Books Like the Love Hypothesis.