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Find more Top 10 Romance Debuts
Booklist reviewers praised these exceptional romance fiction debuts over the past year, novels that choreograph love-over-obstacles in a TV studio, a university, at a rodeo, and in a 1920s Irish village.
The Charm Offensive. By Alison Cochrun. 2021. Atria, $17 (9781982170714).
As a producer for the popular reality TV dating show, Ever After, Dev Deshpande believes in the power of romance; can he dispel the skepticism of contestant Charlie Winshaw, a millionaire tech geek?
A Dance in Donegal. By Jennifer Deibel. 2021. Revell, $15.99 (9780800738419).
Moira honors her late mother’s wish and travels to 1920s Ireland to teach, meeting handsome thatcher Sean McFadden and discovering a problematic family secret.
Happy Endings. By Thien-Kim Lam. 2021. Avon, $15.99 (9780063040847).
In Lam’s bold and refreshingly sex-positive debut, Trixie Nguyen is determined to convince her traditional Vietnamese family that selling sex toys is a legitimate career, only to run into her ex.
How to Fail at Flirting. By Denise Williams. 2020. Berkley, $16 (9780593101902).
Professor Naya Turner starts dating Jake, then learns that he’s involved in cuts at the university, as Williams captures the pressures of academia and portrays two people who love their work but haven’t a clue about romance.
Isabelle and Alexander. By Rebecca Anderson. 2021. Shadow Mountain, $15.99 (9781629728476).
For Isabelle, marrying Alexander is a family business decision rather than a romantic pursuit, but then an accident changes everything in Anderson’s lovely Victorian romance about compassion and devotion.
A Lady’s Formula for Love. By Elizabeth Everett. 2021. Berkley, $16 (9780593200629).
Athena’s Retreat, a Victorian club formed by Lady Violet Hughes and her closest friends, is a haven for women to explore their scientific interests, a pursuit that turns dangerous for Violet in this brilliant launch of Everett’s The Secret Scientists of London series.
The Layover. By Lacie Waldon. 2021. Putnam, $16 (9780593328255).
On her last trip before quitting her job and getting married, flight attendant Ava finds herself stuck on an extended layover in Belize with colleague Jack, making for a lively, funny, and poignant romance.
A Rogue to Remember. By Emily Sullivan. 2021. Forever, $8.99 (9781538737309).
Charlotte thought that running away from her chaperone in Florence would be enough to end her uncle’s matchmaking efforts, but instead his protégé, Alec, turns up in Sullivan’s vivacious and lush love story.
The Shaadi Set-Up. By Lillie Vale. 2021. Putnam, $16 (9780593328712).
Indian American Rita Chitness is building her furniture restoration business when she comes up with a scheme to present her secret boyfriend to her parents: they’ll register on a respected Indian matchmaking website. What could go wrong?
The Wildest Ride. By Marcella Bell. 2021. HQN, $16.99 (9781335773227).
Lilian Sorrow Island (whose Black and Native American grandfather taught her to ride) is desperate to save the family ranch, so she competes in a rodeo reality TV show, as does AJ Garza, precipitating Bell’s sexy and immersive multicultural romance.
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