Looking for authors like Nora Roberts is no easy task. Because there are no authors like Nora Roberts. With over 225 romance novels under her belt, multiple #1 bestsellers, and the title of America’s Favorite Novelist, it’s hard to think of a romance author who’s helped define the genre more over the last decades. However, her influence on the romance genre continues to newer authors writing coming up in the genre today. In her prolific career Nora Roberts has tackled paranormal romance, historical romance, suspense, and even futuristic science fiction romance under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. However, she’s most known for her contemporary romances.
In choosing authors like Nora Roberts, I primarily looked for contemporary novels that have strong heroines with all encompassing passions or careers of their own. I wanted authors who write with both humor and high stakes, often blurring the line with suspense. And, of course, I wanted sizzling romances with swoonworthy romantic heroes. I’ve read easily over a hundred Nora Roberts romances in the last 15 years, ever since I found boxes of them hidden under my mom’s bed. And these are the elements of Nora Roberts’s stories that stand out the most to me. Without further ado, here are ten authors like Nora Roberts!
Like Nora Roberts, Tessa is a versatile romance author who’s created a variety of sexy stories. If you like Roberts’s suspense novels best, start with Protecting What’s His. If you prefer her home improvement novels (this is a sub genre of her work, I swear—just think of the amazing Inn at Boonsboro trilogy), pick up Bailey’s newest novel, Fix Her Up.
The women in Tracey Livesay’s Shades of Love series remind me of the quintessential Nora Roberts heroine. They have strong personalities. Strong interests and career goals. And strong wills that the heroes much learn to appreciate. Livesay’s novels also diversify and update classic romance tropes in the best possible ways. Love on My Mind is a wonderfully subverts the “fake relationship” and “bet” storylines. Along Came Love is an accidental pregnancy romance, and Love Will Always Remember plays with twins switching places and amnesia.
Rebekah Weatherspoon is another multi-dimensional romance author, with delightfully diverse characters. If you want something lighter and contemporary, run don’t walk to get your hands on Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny. Yes, the title is goofy. But this is a sweet book about a working single mother of twins that tackles gender norms head on. If you are more of a fan of the suspense in Roberts’s novels, check out Haven or Sanctuary!
Alyssa Cole has received critical acclaim for her historical Loyal League series, following Union spies during the Civil War, and her contemporary romances in the Reluctant Royals series. And she recently added sci-fi romance to the list, with The AI Who Loved Me. Aside from being a triple-threat and romance writing powerhouse, Cole also is similar to Roberts by being a strong advocate for the romance genre. She is vocal about people taking the genre seriously and about the need to have more writers and characters of color in romance.
Christina Lauren (the pen name for the friendly writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) started out in more of a 50 Shades vein, with the Beautiful Bastard series. But they eventually moved more into slow burn romances and enemies to lovers territory, which feels very Nora Roberts adjacent. Dating You Hating You is my personal favorite. However Roomies or their newest book The Unhoneymooners are also great books to start with!
Even though Jasmine Guillory is relatively new on the writing scene, she’s published four books in the last two years and has already established herself as an innovator within the romance genre. If your favorite Nora Roberts books are her popular Bride Quartet, then you should read The Wedding Date and the subsequent books in the series that are all wedding related, fiercely feminist, and so romantic.
Jackie Lau writes funny, tongue-in-cheek romances with series that usually follow all of the members of a family. This set up feels deeply reminiscent of Nora Roberts’s series like The Macgregors and The Stanislaskis. Grumpy Fake Boyfriend introduces the Kwan Sisters series and Not Another Family Wedding starts off a series of books about the Chin-Williams. Lau seems particularly drawn to fake dating stories. If this is your favorite trope find one of her books to read ASAP, and you won’t be disappointed.
Sarah Title’s books often have a tamer, less explicit feel to them than some romance novels. They are full of small town charm, a strong sense of setting, and a disproportionate number of librarian characters. She even has a series called Librarians in Love. The first is the acclaimed The Undateable about a librarian who’s disapproving look is turned into a meme that earns her the “least dateable woman” title. Kentucky Home, about a woman fleeing an abusive marriage and rebuilding her life on a horse farm, is also a delightful read to begin with.
While Alisha Rai’s early books are markedly more sexually explicit than a Nora Roberts romance, her recent novels—especially The Right Swipe—have definite Roberts vibes. In it, Rhiannon Hunter is a dating app creator who gets involved with spokes person for one of her biggest competitor (who also may have ghosted her months before). Hate to Want You also features a heroine with a strong sense of self who highly values her career, in this case as a tattoo artist. The mingling of work with relationships and the need for the heroines to develop a work/life balance are conflicts Nora Roberts has explored in her romances time and time again. Also, even toned down a little, these reads are pretty steamy. Rai is basically an expert at writing sexual chemistry between her characters.
Debbie Macomber is a great Nora Roberts read-alike with a tremendous back list. She’s been writing romance almost as long as Roberts, and has at least a hundred novels under her belt. Her small town romances can seem quiet, but usually incorporate elements of suspense that spice up the endings. Macomber is also known for her Holiday and Christmas romance novels which are perfect for fans of seasonal Hallmark movies. In fact, several of her stories have been adapted by Hallmark for the Christmas season!
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