Top Ten of 2020

2020 was the year of the bodice-ripper for me.  All in all, I read 140 books last year, and the vast majority of them were sigh-inducing, joy-eliciting romance novels.  

In this post, I’m sharing my top ten reads from 2020. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I watched the Netflix adaptation before I read the book (I know, I know). Believe me when I tell you, this book is so good, knowing the entire plot did nothing to diminish its beauty or brilliance. I laughed. I cried. I adored every single page of this book, and you will too.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

All I can say is that it’s a damn shame it took me so long to get these books into my life.   The Pink Series is part Julia Quinn, part Scarlet Pimpernel, and 100% delightful.  Even better, I emailed Lauren Willig a writing question, and she responded.  Thus, I will love her forever. 

The Firebird by Susannah Kearsley

One upside of Covid was that I worked my way through Susannah Kearsley’s entire back catalog.  I loved each one, but The Firebird took my breath away. This book jumps between two storylines- one in the present and the other in 18th century Russia. Both were riveting! It’s a perfect blend of contemporary, historical, and paranormal.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

This is the first book of a fantasy romance series that is absolutely captivating.  Honestly, I read the first book on a lark, assuming I wouldn’t keep going.  I. Was. Wrong.  These books keep getting better and better.  Plus, Maas just released the fifth book in the series this month (and boy is it steamy!).

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn

With the staggering success of the Netflix adaptation of Bridgerton, Julia Quinn is getting a lot of love, and rightly so.  I adore the Bridgerton series, but her other books are just as wonderful.  In this book, Lady Danbury is up to her matchmaking schemes once again, and you’ll smile your way through each chapter.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Celebrity romances aren’t usually my thing, but they might become my thing.  This book blew my socks off with truly creative story-telling and characters I want to befriend in real life. From start to finish, my face was glued to the kindle, and I may have given my children unfettered access to Netflix and goldfish crackers until I finished. 

Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

The best word to describe this series is delicious.  These books are decades old, and the many pop-culture references date the material more than was wise, and I don’t even care.  If you’re looking for a fun series, with sexy alpha heroes, and a little bit of magic, here you go…

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

I’ll admit this book started slow for me, and it took me a while to connect to the heroine (and perhaps a little too long to meet the hero).  I even considered putting it down, but I’m so glad I kept going.  This book ended up being one of the most moving reads of 2020.  The characters were so well-developed and the last half of the book wrecked me in the best sort way.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

This book hits so many notes for me.  The heroine is a widowed single mom of three sons (I love stories about fellow boy-moms) who owns a bookstore.  The hero is restoring a historic mansion to make it a B&B.  Some have even called it “renovation porn.” Then there’s the matchmaking ghost.  Nora Roberts is the godmother of romance because she writes great books. The Next Always is no exception. 

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

I love Sarah Maclean.  If I weren’t desperately in love with my husband (and straight), I would propose marriage to this woman just so I could talk about romance novels with her every day. I’ve read through her entire catalog, and each of them would get five stars, but The Day of the Duchess is a masterpiece.  It might be the most perfectly crafted romance novel I’ve ever read. 

What were your favorite reads of 2020? Comment below and share the joy!

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