Genre guide – Romance fiction

This page links to recommended reading lists for a range of Romance fiction sub-genres as well as other Romance resources. It also lists authors whose work you may like to try - including familiar names and some that may be new to you.

Dealing with the beautiful, ridiculous, funny, serious, amazing, despicable ways that humans in love treat each other, Romance and its subgenres will either fill you with a feeling of longing, or a warm sense of recognition.

The Romance genre is broad and whether you prefer settings that are modern, historical, rural, or fantastical, or characters who are royal or rugged, restrained or raunchy, there's a subgenre that's 'The One' for you.

Like romantic fiction set in the past? You might find some great reads in our Historical fiction genre guide too.

Authors who write romance fiction

Recommended reading

Christian Romance

The sub-genre christian romance is all about the chaste chase. The heat is dialled way down with these stories of modest Christian women finding love and navigating the challenges of their faith. These titles will appeal not only to the religious among us, but also to anyone who is after a nice, gentle, wholesome romance read.

Classic Romance

Most romance novels published after World War 2 are considered ‘modern’. Anything prior to that is considered classic, with the heyday being the turn of the century. Typically featuring prudish women that harbour secret desires, pompous men of importance who turn out to have a heart of gold, and family, legal, or societal pressures getting in the way of love and becoming a head-ache for all involved. Even if you’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, you’ve heard of it, proving the consistent popularity of the romance genre - these titles are where it all began.

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary romances are love stories set in the modern era focusing on the developing romantic relationship between two main characters and with a realistic plot line. If you like the lighter, fluffier side of the romance genre this is a great place to start. Most contemporary romance novels have a happily ever after ending which make them the perfect quick read.

Historical Romance

Set during various time periods - capturing the courtship drama of the past (including forbidden romance). If you like stories about love, passion, adventure and gentlemanly endeavours... come hither, darling!

Interspecies Romance

If you like your romance reads slightly out of the ordinary then these interesting pairings are well worth a try. Interspecies romance involves humans who fall in love with anything from aliens, to merpeople, demons, to Robots. This genre generally focuses on the love story but can also include themes like sexuality, mental health, family relationships, and cross genres into sci-fi adventure, paranormal fantasy, and erotica.

LGBTQIA+ Romance

Looking for a romance read with lesbian, gay, bicurious, or transgender characters? Look no further - the search for love is over! This list contains many different genres that fall under the romance umbrella from happy endings, bittersweet love, erotica, fantasy, fairytale retellings and interspecies love affairs.

Paranormal Romance

If you like paranormal beings set in a fantastical world with heavy lashings of romance this lustful list is for you! There are vampires featured here and seductive ghosts, lusty werewolves and all manner of naughty beast's to sink your teeth into - all the magical ingredients for supernatural love.

Romance - Common folk

Often set in England or other British colonies, the Peasant Romance genre follows in Austen's footsteps as young female protagonists leave their childhood homes from rural villages moving into the big wide world and come to grasp what society expects of them. Often set in an era when social conditions were rapidly changing during the industrial boom, and religion was clashing with modernity - we follow the world changing around them. Within all of this, these novels follow the many routes to love, family and fulfillment in such a time of major change.

Romance - Erotica

If you enjoy provocative storylines and flirtatious characters you may enjoy Erotic Romance novels. A genre that runs the spectrum from delightfully titillating encounters dripping with subtext, to some truly fleshy hardcore sex scenes with copious naughty words. Be careful where you read these as a nosy stranger behind you on the bus might be in for a shock! A lot of this genre focuses heavily on character interaction (both physically and emotionally) but there are some great story based novels in the mix if you prefer just a dash of raunchy content in with your intriguing plot.

Romantic Adventure

Looking for a romantic tale with added action and suspense? From impressive swordsmanship, and humour, to romance at a circus, bittersweet time travel lovers, to steamy suspense filled mystery stories, consider this list your go to for adventurous love stories.

Royal Romance

If you're looking for a good character-driven story filled with lust and sweet romantic gestures this could be the list for you. Royal romance deals with stories involving princes and princesses, kings and queens - usually falling for someone decidedly ‘un-royal’. Stereotypically, it’s a common-born young woman, who is suddenly swept into a world of unimaginable riches, glitz, and glamour by a mysterious and handsome stranger who saw something special in her smile... and also just so happens to be next in line for the throne.

Western Romance

Western romance is any romance novel set in the American west. So then what’ll it be stranger? Historical or contemporary? Picture the handsome farmhand smiling at the ranch owner’s daughter, he is resplendent in tight blue Levi jeans, collar tips, and a Stetson hat, leaning on the fence with one leg propped up. That endearing, working class, southern gentleman smile as he tips his hat back to get a better look at her. The secret romance that blossoms between them, the sunset walks, and then the customary roll in the hay. Just because it’s formulaic doesn’t mean it’s not fun.

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