20 Best Romance Novels That'll Make You Swoon So Hard

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Crown Publishing + Farrar, Straus and Giroux + Gallery Publishing Group

I'll never understand why romance novels aren't always taken seriously. I get it — it can be a little embarrassing to ride the subway with a salacious-looking book cover on display. But that doesn't mean the story behind those ripping bodices and rippled abdominals isn't worthwhile (and sometimes, a totally erotic story is hidden behind a seemingly nondescript cover). Deciding what makes for the best romance novels is subjective, but for me, a romance novel's merit isn't necessarily qualified by its quantity of sex scenes. I love hot-and-heavy content as much as the next person, but I personally think a great romance is about more than just titillation.

From sci-fi to historical fiction to horror, romance can be found in nearly any genre. Maybe you're into BDSM and role-play. Maybe you're into sexy, sensual love affairs. There's something about reading a romance that's so much more intimate than watching it play out on a screen, and the best romance novels will leave you feeling more hot and bothered than even the most erotic movies. I've rounded up some of the best romance novels of all time, and these books all prove that romance is more inclusive and captivating than most people give it credit.

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