If you love the found family trope then you’re going to love my list of best guardian ward romance books that I share in this episode.
Most of these books fit in the category where an aunt becomes the guardian of her niece or nephew and is thrown into the new role of mom when it was least expected.
I have a total soft spot for these guardian ward books and I cannot wait to share these favorites with you.
Episode 13: The Best Guardian Ward Romance Books in the Found Family Trope
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Books Discussed in this Episode:
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Episode Show Notes:
Hello readers, one of the romance book tropes I’ve really come to love over the past year is the found family trope and within that I’ve come to devour a lot of guardian/ward romance books which are books where another family member suddenly becomes the guardian of kids who aren’t their own due to the unexpected passing of the kids’ parents or other reasons where the parent or parents are no longer in the picture.
Do you like these books? Or is it just me? Who knows and I guess we will find out by the popularity of this episode or not but I love them and wanted to share my favorites with you in this book list.
The first book on this list of guardian romance books is Next of Kin by Hannah Bonam-Young.
This is her debut novel and, WOW, to say that I’m impressed is an understatement and just so you know she isn’t a one-hit wonder. I love her second book (Next to You) AND her third book (Out on a Limb) and I cannot wait for even more because I love her writing.
But Next of Kin is a roommates-to-lovers romance about Chloe who learns that her birth mother has unexpectedly given birth to another baby. Now Chloe is adopted and her mother struggles with substance abuse if I remember correctly and can’t take care of her daughter, so Chloe steps up as a next of kin guardian for her sister.
But she fails to pass the Child Protective Services’ financial evaluation so she really has no choice but to partner up with another next of kin guardian, Warren, who needs a suitable place to live to ensure he can get guardianship of his teenage, younger brother.
He needs housing, she needs money, so Warren and his brother become Chloe’s roommates. So Chloe is 24 and now she’s faced with taking care of a newborn that has some health issues and maintaining her job while getting used to basically having a stranger in her house – a stranger who really wants nothing to do with her.
That is A LOT as I know what it’s like to be a first-time mother and care for an infant but man does she step up.
This is such a sweet slow burn romance because these two have their own issues to work through but they also realize that they make a great team. I mean, that first moment when Warren helps Chloe with the baby so she can get some sleep was epic.
It’s honestly the sweetest, most heartwarming guardian romance with some steam mind you, but you get two guardians doing their very best to make it work for the family members that they’d do anything for. Just read it for the epilogue which had me bawling my eyes out.
Book two on my list of best guardian romance books is Wait for It by Mariana Zapata.
So Mariana is definitely one of the queens of slow burn romance and this is definitely one of my favorites of hers.
It is a story about Diana, a young aunt who is raising her two nephews when her brother and his wife pass away. She has just moved into a new neighborhood and one of her new neighbors is Dallas.
Now of course they become friends and then more but I just loved Diana in this book and her fierce love for her boys despite hiccups and others’ questioning her choices for them. Being a single parent isn’t easy and that is noted here but the love is definitely always, always there.
Book three on my list is one of my all-time favorite romance books and one I could reread again and again because I love this couple so much and it is Sustained by Emma Chase.
Chelsea is a woman who suddenly becomes the guardian to her six nieces and nephews after their parents pass. Six kids you guys!
One of the older boys tries to pickpocket Jake Becker, hot shot defense attorney and total ladies man. But when he returns the boy home and sees how overwhelmed Chelsea is, plus sees a bit of himself in the teen boy, he starts showing up and helping. And let me tell you – the way he steps in and the way Chelsea is there for these kids – it’s amazing and gives you all the feels.
Of course, Jake cannot help but start to eye Chelsea and he gets jealous when she goes out on a date. Their chemistry is awesome and I have a total soft spot for a man who can take care of a woman when she’s sick.
This is definitely one of the best guardian romance books so I hope you pick it up and give it a go.
Book four in this list of guardian romance books goes to Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score.
Now you’re in luck if you read this book because the Things We Never Got Over series is complete and you’re going to want to read all three books but this can absolutely be read as a standalone.
This book catapulted Lucy into mainstream popularity because it was everywhere on Booktok and now it’s in bookstores but also available on Kindle Unlimited so really there’s no excuse not to read it if you haven’t already.
This is a small town romance, grumpy sunshine romance between Naomi and Knox. Naomi ups and leaves her wedding (in her wedding dress mind you) when she gets a message from her crazy twin sister that she is needed to take care of her 11-year-old niece – a niece Naomi didn’t even know she had!
So there she is in her wedding dress, at a crappy hotel meeting her niece with her car stolen by her sister, no job an nowhere to go. Luckily Knox, despite being the grouch he is, steps up and offers her and Waylay a place on his family’s property.
What transpires is a really sweet and swoony small town romance with a bit of mystery while Naomi and Knox start to fall hard for one another and while Naomi tries to be the best aunt and guardian to Waylay as she can. It’s super sweet and it too has one of the best epilogues which definitely had the tears flowing.
Learn more about what I loved about this book in my book review for Things We Never Got Over.
Book five on my list is a recent read and a new release as of 2023 and that is Change of Plans by Dylan Newton.
This is a super sweet new adult romance where Bryce, a young chef, is given guardianship of her 3 nieces. And she ends up meeting veteran, Ryker in the grocery store when she needs help untangling her stuck niece from under a grocery shelf.
It’s a pretty funny meet-cute where sparks fly but Bryce has her hands full with her nieces and Ryker is still dealing with PTSD from his time overseas and phantom limb pain from his below-the-knee amputation as a result of an IED.
I like how this story really focused on Bryce’s struggles as a guardian between grandparents who questioned her every move and a teenager who was acting out. But the kids were adorable and it was a quick, easy read that actually got a bit more steamy in parts than I was expecting. I think you’ll enjoy it.
You know, putting this list together has me thinking about a list I should do about characters who were once in foster care as I’m already thinking of some standouts in that micro-trope.
It also reminds me of romance author, Rebecca Yarros who adopted her foster child and started a nonprofit, One October, which provides bags, clothing, equipment and resources for foster kids and foster families so that they have everything they need to help the children in their care. I love their mission!
Thanks for joining me today and be sure to let me know if you check out any of these books. You can email me at leslie at she reads romance books dot com. Happy reading!
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