2021 was a rollercoaster of a  year for me – and I would imagine for many others. Regardless of where on the political spectrum you fall, you were no doubt affected by the controversies surrounding the events at the U.S. Capitol in January, the vaccine debates that have raged the world over since the spring and the ongoing pandemic. Fortunately, romance is a diverse enough genre to have a little something for everyone and this year I found some angsty reads, some books that made me think, and some books that made me laugh. All of them reminded me that however hopeless things seem, love always finds a way.

Our Darkest Night  by Jennifer Robson

It is the Autumn of 1943. To survive the Holocaust, Antonina Mazina, a young Jewish woman, poses as the wife of  Nico Gerardi, a young man who was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary and run his family’s farm.Their love story, set against a backdrop of terror and hardship, is a gorgeous, haunting, lyrical tale that you will remember long after you have read the last page.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent retailer

Wild Woman and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce

Sawyer Hayes and Honoree Dalcour were born decades apart but their lives are united by an amazing mystery. When Sawyer sets out to get answers about that past, he discovers more than he could ever have expected. We discover a story filled with beauty, mystery, danger and romance.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent retailer

Just Last Night  by Mhairi McFarlane

The publisher’s blurb for Just Last Night is extremely vague in describing the contents of what is a captivating and heartfelt tale about grief, how we deal with the inevitable secrets that are revealed when a loved one dies and how love can occur with the most unexpected of people at the least opportune time. I loved this story of heartache, romance and redemption and strongly recommend it.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent retailer

When Stars Rain Down  by Angela Jackson Brown

When Stars Rain Down is a lyrical tale of family, friendship and romance. Taking place during the Jim Crow Era South, it celebrates how love can bloom even under the most difficult of circumstances. Opal Pruitt and Cedric (Stank) Perkins have an absolutely gorgeous romance and the setting is memerizing, showing us the horror humans can inflict on each other and the courage it takes to stay loving in a world full of hate.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent retailer

Homebound by Lydia Hope

I love science fiction romance and this story about Simon, stranded on Earth and enduring incredible suffering and Gemma McKinley, a young woman who has been physically and emotionally battered by life, discovering love in exceptionally bleak circumstances is a great one (Technically this is a 2020 release but I didn’t hear about it till 2021).

Buy it at: Amazon

Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown

The 1920s bootleg scene makes an unusual backdrop for the love story of a lawman trying to solve a horrific murder of which he is the accused and the savvy bootlegging lady determined to give her family the best future possible.

Buy it at: AmazonAudible, or your local independent retailer

The Dating Playbook  by Farrah Rochon

This second installment in the The Boyfriend Project series is funny and sweet and delightful and every other superlative you can think of. Taylor Powell and Jamar Dixon are terrific people who make a wonderful couple and their love story is well worth a read.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

If you love fairytale romance at all, this funny, sweet novella which turns many tropes upside down in the best way possible is a must read.

Buy it at AmazonAudible or your local independent retailer

The Matzah Ball  by Jean Meltzer

For the last decade, Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt, daughter of one of the world’s most prominent rabbis, has made a living as Christmas romance novelist Margot Cross.When her publisher insists she write a Hanukkah story, she has no choice but to reconnect with Jacob Greenberg, her Jewish summer camp arch-nemesis who just happens to be the genious behind several popular Hanukkah celebrations. Sparks fly when these long time enemies find themselves together once more. This is a funny, festive story that’s filled with holiday cheer.

Buy it at AmazonAudible or your local independent retailer

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The author packed a lot into this angsty novel about violinist Anna Sun and business mogul Quan Diep, who discover love amidst a whole bunch of trouble. What the book lacks in sunny lightheartedness it more than makes up for with its tender, genuine love story.

Buy it at AmazonAudible or your local independent retailer

Maggie Boyd
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I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.