The Best Romances of 2009

There’s nothing more subjective than a Best Books list. Keeping that in mind, the first thing I did was eliminate novels written by my closest friends, which took Connie Brockway, Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medieros, and Julia Quinn out of the running. They’ll have to glow in the warmth of their appearances on other Best Books of 2009 lists. That decision helped me decide to focus on rising stars, authors whose books you might have missed. Each of these five books was a discovery for me, read once with delight, and a second time with an equal sense of discovery, comfort and affection. The heroes include a couple of Scottish lords, a convict, and a werewolf; the heroines are bold, witty and enduringly lovable. I’ve put the novels in alphabetical order, by author.


The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Jennifer Ashley


This novel about a not-so-mad Scotsman and a delightful, bold young widow is deeply, passionately romantic. If you're suffered from ennui due to reading about yet another rakish English nobleman, Ian Mackenzie is your antidote. I adored him.






One Reckless Summer

Toni Blake


This is the perfect small town romance, pitting the sheriff's do-good daughter against the town hell-raiser, Mick. There's nothing simple about the story, because once Jenny knows Mick's secret, she learns that weave of good and evil is as complex as the breakdown of her marriage - and her new love for Mick.





To Beguile a Beast

Elizabeth Hoyt


This is a Beauty & the Beast story - an utterly entrancing novel about a scarred man and a woman determined to find refuge with him - whether he wants it or not. I loved how Helen simply shows up at the castle announcing she's the new housekeeper - and forces her way into Sir Alistair Munroe's heart.





Big Bad Wolf

Christine Warren


One of the lingering results of a miserable high school experience is a deep love of romances in which plain Janes win the hottest boy in town. Big Bad Wolf is a hilarious, super-sexy novel about a plain and plumpy kindergarten teacher who's suddenly noticed by the BBW himself.






The Sweethearts' Knitting Club

Lori Wilde


I kept reading this book throughout a hours long rain ride with whining children, spilled hot chocolate and a grumpy husband. We arrived in London, and I could hardly put it down. The story of how Jess Calloway got out of prison and came back home to Twilight, determined to find Flynn MacGregory is one of the the sexiest and flat-out most romantic novels I've read this year.


by Santa on ‎12-11-2009 08:40 AM

I am amazed that I've actually read two of the five, have been thinking about picking up one of them and, no shock here, I will be adding the other two to my TBB list. I think it's good to expand our reading lists to test out new authors and genres. I try to do that as much as possible.

by Janga on ‎12-11-2009 09:15 AM

I love these lists! And I've read the first three on your list--all A reads for me too. The Sweethearts' Knitting Club is a recent addition to my TBR stack.


I blogged on my top 10 this week, and The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie heads my list too. A Duke of Her Own is there as well, along with some other very popular titles  and a couple that probably are not showing up on many lists. :)

by Emmanuelle on ‎12-11-2009 10:17 AM

I read those first three books and really loved them too. I haven't read Lori's books yet but really hope to do it soon !! I could add Duchess of Mine, Seduced by His Touch, Gone too Far, Love at First Flight, Bed of Roses, Hot on her Heels, What I did for Love... to that list.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.