Discover the best romance novels of 2020. This book list highlights my most favorite romance books of the year as well as all of the books published this year that I gave 4 or 5 stars.
See if your favorite books made this list of the best romance novels of 2020!
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What a year for romance books!
I always love reflecting back on the books I read at the end of each year to see which stand out as the best romance novels of the year.
Every year I try and balance reading a number of new romance book releases AND throw backs waiting for me on my TBR pile.
This list of best romance novels of 2020 only covers the new releases that were published this year and that I read in 2020, not any previously released books that I read.
While several of the best romance novels I read this year were from my most favorite authors, I read some amazing books from authors who were new to me and even authors who released their debut novels!
Several of my favorite romance book tropes are also represented in this best romance novels of 2020 list including enemies to lovers, fake relationship, office romance, MM romance and sports romance to name a few.
For my best romance books of the year lists, I like to highlight specific books that really stood out to me though I also included the full list of all the published romance books in 2020 that I rated 4 or 5 stars.
Check out what I loved in 2020 below!
Do you have a book that stood out as the best romance novel of 2020? Share in the comments. I’d love to know.
The Best Romance Novels of 2020:
Best Book Boyfriend
Killian Black from Cruel Paradise
by J.T. Geissinger
Killian Black is a mob boss in Boston but who is he really? His world is turned upside down when he crosses paths with a thief who happens to be the daughter of his most deadly enemy.
I’m all about finding my next book boyfriend when I read romance, so it’s always fun to reflect back and see which hero stood out from the rest of the pact.
This year’s best book boyfriend award goes to Killian Black.
I loved how he is this total alpha male and yet would do anything and everything for Juliet, making him completely at her mercy.
He’s more than what he seems which confuses Juliet because she should despise him and yet she can’t stay away.
He was confident, caring, thoughtful and oh so sexy. Everyone needs a Killian Black in their life!
He absolutely made Cruel Paradise one of the best romance novels of 2020.
The Best Dirty Talker
Weston Lockwood from The Rivals
by Vi Keeland
The Lockwood and the Sterling families have been feuding for years, and that hasn’t changed now that they are co-owners of a luxury hotel.
Weston Lockwood has never failed to push all of Sophia Sterling’s buttons and get under her skin. The trouble is, every time they fight, she somehow winds up under HIM.
I have a definite weakness for dirty talking book boyfriends and Weston Lockwood was THE BEST dirty talker of the year.
Hailing from feuding families, Weston and Sophia exuded this intense chemistry from the start that was fueled from the loathing they felt for each other. But behind closed doors, Weston’s words were so incredibly sexy that Sophia had no problems giving in to his demands.
I highlighted so many passages in this book and couldn’t get enough of Weston!
This dirty talker absolutely made this book one of the best romance novels of 2020 for sure.
Most Reflective of the World Romance Novel
Love Under Quarantine
by Kylie Scott and Audrey Carlan
Evan and Sadie are both in San Francisco when the city shuts down and citizens are asked to self-quarantine due to a global pandemic.
Evan, an NFL player, has already been isolating himself in his best friend’s apartment to escape the press when a scandal hit that is threatening his football career. The only thing that is making this crazy time a bit better is the blond neighbor he meets next door – Sadie.
Well, 2020 sure was unlike any other year for everyone around the world thanks to the pandemic. But I loved how Scott and Carlan took this real world event and used it as a storyline for their latest book.
They captured a lot of my own feelings and experiences and really brought the reality of the situation to light in the perfect, forced proximity love story.
It definitely deserves a spot on this year’s best romance novels of 2020 list.
Best Love Story
The Guy in the Middle
by Kate Stewart
Lance Prescott is a quiet loner and footballer at Grande U. He has everything riding on his senior season– for him and for his family. He just didn’t expect to fall for Harper, the coach’s daughter.
The Guy in the Middle is the one book this year that has stayed with me long after I finished reading it.
The culminating scene between Lance and Harper just tugged on all of my heart strings and is one that I’ve reread many, many times since.
I think Stewart wrote the perfect novel with this one giving us one of the best love stories worth reading. It also wrapped up a fantastic series with one of the best epilogues I’ve ever read.
It truly is one of the best romance novels of 2020 and one of the best romance novels of all time.
Best Couple to Root For
Brig Knightly and Ruth Barber from That Swoony Feeling
by Meghan Quinn
Brig Knightly is painfully single while the rest of his brothers have already paired off into coupledom bliss. He’s tried to find the one but he’s plagued by that wretched family curse.
Luckily the town has started a new pen pal program and he’s hit it off with his mysterious writer. The only problem – he’s been hanging out with Ruth Barber, his new work neighbor, and he’s getting that swoony feeling for both women.
You kind of have to fall for the hero and the heroine in a romance book for it to really stand out in my opinion, but I especially love those characters who have you rooting for their happily ever after from the start.
Brig Knightly is a one-of-a-kind guy, that’s for sure.
His romantic heart totally captured me and I could feel his desperation to find his soul mate.
I loved Ruth equally as hard as she pined for the man who just didn’t see her.
I loved both of these characters as individuals and even more so as the cutest couple, making this one of the best romance novels of 2020!
Best Sports Romance Book
Hard to Handle
by K. Bromberg
Dekker Kincade will do anything to help save her family’s sport agency. Even if that means trying to sign, pro hockey star, Hunter Maddox, the only man who has ever broken her heart.
I never get tired of reading sports romance books. I just love reading about athletes and the partners who capture their hearts.
Hard to Handle was not only a great hockey romance book, but it was also such a well-written second chance love story.
I loved the set up between sports agent and hockey star, but more importantly how both Hunter and Dekker had to learn to trust love and one another again.
This was a fantastic book and the first in a fantastic sports romance series, making it one of the best romance novels of 2020 in my book.
Best Second Chance Romance Book
Been There Done That
by Hope Ellis
Nick and Zora were childhood sweethearts, planning to marry at age 18. But one night, Nick up and left, only leaving a note, until he returned 12 years later. Zora has her funding at the University to worry about as well as her faux-fiance, and now that Nick is back in town she has to guard her heart as well.
Reading this book was one of those amazing experiences where you just go into a book completely blind but end up finding a gem that becomes one of your most favorite romance books of the year.
Ellis’ debut novel was completely captivating and so well written. I especially loved Zora because I could see so much of myself in her but I equally loved all of the side characters as well.
Sometimes second chance love stories can be overly sappy or dramatic which doesn’t appeal to me at all.
This story however just felt real – from the awkward reunion to the struggles at forgiveness even if past actions were based on good intentions.
I knew instantly upon finishing this book that it deserved a spot on my best romance novels of 2020 list!
Best MM Romance Book
by Brooke Blaine and Ella Frank
Panther and Solo are both fighter pilots in an elite training program, vying for that number one spot – to be named the best of the best. Neither will accept defeat and yet neither can seem to ignore their attraction to one another even if a gay relationship isn’t standard in the military.
This is actually a best MM romance series as Danger Zone is the first in The Elite three book series.
I loved Blaine and Frank’s three book series, Fallen Angel, which was published last year and they wowed me again with this MM romance between two fighter pilots.
This book totally reminded me of the movie Top Gun and pits straight-laced Panther against his competitor, reckless bad boy Solo.
The chemistry between these two alpha males was off the charts, especially since their relationship was top secret.
This book not only made this list of best romance novels of 2020 but also my best MM romance book list!
Save this for later:
Ava in Dear Ava
by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Ava is back at Camden Prep for her senior year as the outcast. The popular Sharks may rule the school but one destroyed her and now another is leaving secret love notes in her locker.
Let me just say that Madden-Mills brought the heavy with Dear Ava this year.
This high school romance highlighted characters who have seen and struggled with way more than anyone ever should by the time they are eighteen.
I typically don’t read books with sexual assault as part of the story line but this book just grabbed me and I couldn’t stop reading.
Ava, the main heroine, is one of the reasons why. Returning to the high school where she was assaulted, alone and without support, this girl is the epitome of strong heroine.
She was tough as nails, fighting for the ones she loved and never backing down from the haters.
This was an early release of the year and has continued to stand out as one of the best romance novels of 2020.
Best Tortured Hero
West in Playing With Fire
by L.J. Shen
West St. Claire is a god on campus – he’s broody, he’s aloof, and he only does one night stands. Until he meets Casey.
Casey is a fellow student at Sheridan U who survives by trying to blend into the background and stay unseen. Until she meets West.
My heart bleeds for tortured heroes in romance books and Shen gave me the best tortured hero to fall for in West St. Claire.
It’s one thing to put your heart on the line and have it smashed, but it’s quite another when it’s also your body on the line and your will to live.
West had demons he was carrying that would weigh down the strongest of men and yet his walls were breached by Casey who was equally burdened.
I loved reading their story of love and redemption, making it one of the best romance novels of 2020.
Best Classic Romance Novel
Dance Away With Me
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Tess has moved to the wild woods of Tennessee after the death of her husband where she meets a famous street artist, survivalists living in the wild and small-town folk who aren’t keen on outsiders.
I have found a few, amazing romance book writers who deliver the full package in their romance books each and every time.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one of these writers and she delivered quite an epic romance with this year’s release of Dance Away With Me.
Her prose built this entire world in the back mountains of Tennessee with such rich characters and a moving storyline.
This book weaved in grief, loss, prejudice, ignorance, fear, hope, love and so many other themes and emotions into this story in such a beautiful way making it a definite best romance novel of 2020.
Best Cast of Characters
by Chelsie Edwards
Daisy Payton is a freshman at college ready to start a new chapter in her life, on her own and away from the pressures associated with the family name Payton. On move in day she meets Trevor Boone, a senior who’s biding his time until he graduates and can unload the burdens that have been weighing on him.
Neither Daisy or Trevor expected or anticipated their instant attraction but barriers ultimately arise that try to block their potential start at something more.
It’s one thing to completely fall for the main characters of a story, but it’s the rare romance book that gives you a full cast of characters that you equally can’t get enough of.
Daisy and Trevor were fantastic as they explored their attraction, but Daisy’s relationship with her girlfriends, sister and father as well as Trevor’s relationship with his cousin brought such a richness to this novel.
These characters and relationships were integral to exploring the themes of friendship, the bonds of family, the importance of loyalty, honesty, forgiveness and grace in this book making it one of the very best romance novels of 2020.
Now to wait for the follow up books to get more of these amazing people!
Best Romance Novel From a New Author to Me
by Jewel E. Ann
Gracelyn is on a self-imposed man ban having had her heart broken by three men in her life. Her heart is even more shattered with the loss of her brother and his wife die, leaving her as the guardian to her ten-year-old nephew, Gabe.
Moving into a house on the beach in San Diego, she meets her neighbor, single dad, Nathaniel who’s had his own heart broken more than once.
This was a book that I picked up because of the rave reviews I was reading.
Never having read a Jewel E. Ann book, I decided to jump in and was instantly captivated by these two characters who had been devastated by love in the past and unsure if they would ever find it again in their future.
It’s also rare to find a romance book that features a heroine in her forties (that’s not also an age gap romance) which made me love this book and the heroine even more.
This was a great book from start to finish, giving me a new author to follow and solidifying it as one of the best romance novels of 2020.
Best Romance Novella
by K.A. Tucker
This Christmas novella continues the story that started with The Simple Wild of Calla and Jonah’s life together in Alaska. Life in Alaska often has its own drama, but now Jonah and Calla are dealing with family drama this Christmas as their parents descend for the holidays.
With pressure to set a wedding date, meddlesome neighbors and family strife, this Christmas will be anything but simple.
I loved returning to Alaska and getting more of the snark and sweetness between Calla and Jonah as well as getting a few surprises.
This holiday novella was the best present of the season and definitely one of the best romance novels of 2020.
Best Christmas Romance Novel
A Very Bossy Christmas
by Kayley Loring
The professional line has definitely been crossed between Declan and his assistant Maddie. He asked her to be his fake girlfriend and attend his family’s holiday events in exchange for giving her Christmas day off.
Declan needs his assistant by his side this holiday season, even if she claims to hate him. But it’s time he got it together or do the most unprofessional thing of all and fall for her.
I love a good Christmas romance to get me in the holiday spirit and this book definitely did the trick.
I prefer heat over sap when it comes to a holiday romance read and this one totally fit the bill.
Declan and Maddie burned up the pages with their hate to love chemistry. The texting was oh so good and the writing just witty and hilarious.
It is not only one of the best romance novels of 2020 but it also made my best Christmas romance book list.
Hottest Office Romance Book
by Stella Rhys
When AJ gets hired at one of the top sports agencies, she is instantly attracted to her boss. Not one to mix business with pleasure, she stuffs that attraction down deep. But when she catches her fiance with another woman, all bets are off.
I adore office romance books because of the sexual tension that brews between colleagues who don’t want to cross the line between business and pleasure.
And when the story involves a boss and his assistant, it’s even more thrilling!
AJ and Adam had been able to keep their attraction in check for years but when he offered to scratch her itch, oh boy did the heat turn up.
I loved each of Rhys’ books in this series but this one was the perfect office romance, making it one of the best romance novels of 2020 for me.
Best Historical Romance Novel
Where the Lost Wander
by Amy Harmon
Naomi and her family set out on the Oregon Trail for a better life in California where she meets and falls for a half-Pawnee man. But life on the Trail is filled with hardship and death and staying together may be the toughest thing of all.
This amazing historical romance novel consumed me for days so it was a no brainer that it was going to be one of the best romance novels of 2020 for me.
Harmon’s words are so captivating that you feel like you are on the wagon trail along with them.
She effortlessly transports you back in time with an engaging story and characters who rise above.
I loved Naomi’s boldness and John’s quiet confidence, making this a must-read book of the year and one I recommend for all historical romance fans.
Best Romance Book Retelling
Pride and Papercuts
by Staci Hart
Laney is devoted to her job and she’s not about to let someone talk down to her even if he technically works for her boss – even if his name is Darcy.
Laney Bennett and Liam Darcy are like oil and water and don’t hold back when it comes to expressing how they really feel about each other. Loathe may be a strong word but then again there really is a thin line between love and hate.
I am so impressed with any author who tackles an iconic romance such as Pride and Prejudice and creates their own unique twist on the story.
Staci Hart’s modern retelling of this amazing story was nothing short of fantastic!
She captured all of the memorable moments between Elizabeth and Darcy from the classic and wove them into a wonderful office romance.
Fans of Jane Austen will love this best romance novel of 2020.
Best Opposites Attract Romance Novel
Santa Baby Maybe
by S. Doyle
Joy is the head ornament designer at the Christmas decoration company, Kane Co. As an artist, it’s her dream job but unfortunately it means also having to work with the uptight CFO, W.B. Darling.
He completely rubs her the wrong way, and is even going on blind dates to find a wife, so why are they hanging out together….and kissing?
I absolutely adored this holiday romance and it instantly captured a spot as one of the best romance novels of 2020 and one of my most favorite Christmas romance books.
The push pull between Joy and W.B. drove up the sexual tension between these two opposites until it finally bubbled over.
I loved how W.B. comes across as uptight and aloof but Joy sees that there is so much more to the man.
Though this was a holiday novella, it felt like a full novel that gave the perfect love story. A must read for 2020 and every holiday season.
Cecelia grew up sick. She believed in romantic love and looked for a worthy man to give her heart to. But it was the year she had to spend in Triple Falls to earn her inheritance from her absent father that she truly learned the price of her sickness.
Kate Stewart completely gripped my heart and made it have all the feels with two more epic releases to make this list of best romance novels of 2020 with the Ravenhood duet.
Not only were these books so eloquently written, but she really made me think and question so many things.
I LOVE when an author can make me contemplate world views while also giving me an all-consuming romance.
We live in a world where we see what we want to see and she reinforced that worldview in these best romance novels of 2020.
Even More Best Romance Novels of 2020
Below are even more books which I consider to be the best romance novels of 2020. These are the romance books published in 2020 that earned a 4 or 5 star rating from me.
It takes a LOT to get above 3 stars from me so these books are definitely deserving as the best romance novels of 2020.
Click on the book cover to read my book review of any of these best romance novels of 2020.
What do you consider to be the best romance novels of 2020? Share in the comments below!
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