I’ll be honest. I can’t even remember the first romance anthology I read. The only thing I remember is that the first story. It was a western where the heroine, after being caught in a compromising position, was forced to marry. At least the hero and quickly made husband was a friend who lived on the outskirts of town with his hooligan brothers. And she needed glasses, which she was very self-conscious of. So, she seldom wore them and when she tried baking a cake she used salt instead of sugar.
And that’s that. That’s all I’ve got. But, considering how long it has been since I read it, I’m happy I even remember that little bit.
Romance anthologies are a great way to get a taste of an author’s particular writing style without committing to a whole book. I know how that sounds, but not every author is for everyone. There’s nothing wrong with not liking an author, no matter how hyped or established they are in a particular genre.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it until the date of my eternal sunset; life’s too short to read things you aren’t loving.
There have been more than a few now-favorite authors that I was first introduced to in an anthology. Of course, that means that the opposite is true. But that’s the risk that we as readers take. Luckily in my experience the good has outweighed the not good for me.
They’re also a good alternative if you’re one who is struggling to find time to read. I know that it is something all book dragons face. Sometimes real life obligations do get in the way. Anthologies are opportunities to read a story in one sitting and get a beginning, middle, and an ending. And, since it’s romance, of course there is a HEA or HFN. Sometimes, that burst of serotonin that comes from reading a good story gets you through your next adulting task.
A quick note before I proceed. Due to the nature of anthologies, the synopsis tends to be very short or not available past a few sentences. So, the descriptions for the ones listed here will be very brief. But I will try to put as much of a lure in them as I can in the hope that you decide to pick them up.
Holiday Brides by Jewel Amethyst, Farrah Rochon, and Stefanie Worth
This is a short collection of three contemporary stories about finding love during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This is one where there is not a lot of meat to the description but, who doesn’t love a holiday romance?
Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole
If you’re one who still finds yourself randomly singing snippets form this soundtrack, then this is the anthology for you. The premise of the story involves Eliza, Alexander’s widow, going around getting stories about her late husband from the soldiers who fought alongside him. In her journey she comes across three stories about three different couples and how they fell in love. Now, I will admit that at least two of these stories are available as standalone novellas; but if you want the story all in one bundle, then this is the option for you.
Love in Color by Bolu Babalola
This collection of romantic short stories features a variety of new spins on historical, mythological and folklore tales from around the world. Love in Color is the author’s debut book and shows off her talent for taking tales as old as time but making them refreshing and new to all readers.
Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires, and Dianna Love
This supernatural collection is all about the various supernatural creatures that rule the night. Whether your preference runs towards ghosts, vampires, or shifters, chances are this collection has you covered. While most of these are standalone stories, there is one from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series included as well.
Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista
A collection of short stories all about first romantic encounters. From sweet to steamy, this ten story collection has a variety of meet cutes, all with a happy ending, guaranteed to make you smile. As an added bonus, all of the stories here include queer API characters, so the representation is real.
Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, and Carly Phillips
This is another collection of stories that take place around the winter holidays, with couples who find love along with the gifts waiting for them under the tree.
This is a collection of five beloved Kimani classics that were published by the wonderful Mrs. Bev. They range from holiday romances to finding love abroad when you least expect it. This author rarely disappoints so this one is sure to bring you a lot of joy.
Finding Ms. Write Edited by Jae and Jove Belle
The stories in this collection of lesbian fiction all surround various types of “book people” and the women they fall in love with. Whether it’s a novelist who is falling in love with her editor, a rare book finder who finds love instead, or a bookshop owner falling in love with the author who is a perpetual patron, this collection is sure to have a bit of something for everyone.
Rosie’s Curl and Weave by Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Felicia Mason, and Francis Ray
This one involves four women who all go to the same beauty shop and end up finding love when and where they least expected it. I remember reading this book when I was younger, so I was very excited to hear that it was getting republished and a new cover to go with it. Now, this doesn’t release until November so there is a bit of a wait but it will be well worth it.
And those are the books I have for you today. Of course, it goes without saying that this is not a definitive list and there’s much more out there to try.