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Writers recommend books for romance lovers — and the romance reluctant

Illustration by Caitlin Troutman

Think romance novels aren't worth your time? These writers think they can change your mind this Valentine's Day.

If you think romance novels are all fluff and bodices, think again.

"There is a romance for everyone," Jessica Pryde, editor of Black Love Matters, said on Talk of Iowa.

Or, as author Chloe Angyal said, “if you want a romance novel that's about lesbian werewolves in space, that exists. We find that for you. This genre is huge."

Pryde and Angyal discussed how attitudes toward romance novels, and the genre itself, have changed over time. They also recommended titles for longtime fans — and for those hesitant to give the books a chance.

“Asking me to pick my favorite romance novels is like asking me to pick my favorite child or my favorite Spice Girl. It’s not fair.”
Chloe Angyal, author

"Gateway" romance novels

For the romance-resistant reader

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams

Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

"It is "The Princess Diaries" meets "Black Panther," is the best way I can describe that particular combination. And I'm going to say the words that will make a romance reader just thrilled, which is: it's the first in a series."
Chloe Angyal, author

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

And some other favorites

For those already head over heels for the romance genre

The Duke Who Didn'tby Courtney Milan

“This one is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion…it’s a romp!”
Jessica Pryde

Fire Seasonby K.D. Casey

Indigoby Beverly Jenkins

Luck of the Drawby Kate Clayborn

"Kate Clayborn, I will read your shopping lists."
Chloe Angyal

The Romantic Agendaby Claire Kann

Unwritten Rules: A Gay Sports Romance Book by K.D. Casey

Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio