Later this year, AAR will ask readers to choose their 100 Top Romances as we’ve done many times over the decades. What does that mean? Are these the best romances ever written? Readers’ personal favorites? A representation of all the genre has to offer? Romances everyone should read?

A series of comments by Jenna got me thinking I’d like to also compile a list of the 100 romances everyone–or at least romance readers–should read before they die. These are the books, to me, that defined and shaped the genre as well as those which tell its history. They should be stellar reads–the sort of books one recommends to others. And if the stories they tell no longer hew to our definition of what’s acceptable to write or value, they must be romance novels you can articulate why they should be on such a list. (Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love would be one such book.)

My list is just that. These are all books I’ve read and given thought to. I’ve chosen just one romance per author. I’m sure as I give this more thought, I’ll come up with more books I feel belong on my list. But, to start, my list would consider these reads:

Black Ice by Anne Stuart, Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale, Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game, Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke, Topaz by Beverly Jenkins, It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin, Fifty Shades of Grey (the series) by E. L. James, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Bared to You by Sylvia Day, Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh, Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas, The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan, A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev, An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole, The Wedding Date by Jasmin Guillory, Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata, Intercepted by Alexa Martin, Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan, The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne, Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran, A Gentleman’s Position by K. J. Charles, A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole, The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, Death Angel by Linda Howard, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Castles by Julie Garwood, Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi, The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Naked in Death by J. D. Robb, Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara Joy, Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey, Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers, The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh, The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith, A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee, Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster, American Love Story by Adriana Herrera, After Hours by Cara McKenna, The Roommate by Rosie Danan, Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley, Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis, A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane, Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun, Beard Science by Penny Reid, Famous by Jenny Holiday, The Devil You Know by Jo Goodman, Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai, The Color of Love by Sandra Kitt, and Off The Edge by Carolyn Crane.

What’s on your list?

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