There's hardly a genre better suited for audio than romance books. Whether it's a tender story of first love, or a passionate affair, listening to narrators at the top of their game carefully unspooling the threads of a love story is our favourite way to consume these enchanting stories. You'll find sexy tropes, diverse and distinct characters ready to fall in love, and great, innovative rom-com audio recordings with standout performances in this list. These are the best romance books, from classic tales to contemporary romance via erotica and fairy tale love. Happily ever after? No spoilers here, thank you very much.
Ph.D. candidate Olive Smith doesn’t believe in long-lasting love — but her best friend Anh does. Convincing Anh that she was dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough. So Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees: young professor Adam Carlsen. Somehow, he agrees to be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes awry, putting Olive’s career on the line, Adam surprises her again. Will it all end in tears? Or will Olive find true love? Ali Hazelwood’s New York Times bestseller is an absolute must-read romance title brought to life in audio format by narrators Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton.
Another title involving fake relationships features on this romance list from Spanish romance writer Elena Armas. In The Spanish Love Deception, Catalina Martín desperately needs a date for her sister’s wedding in Spain — because her little white lie about having an American boyfriend has spiralled out of control. Everyone, including her ex and his fiancée, will be there and eager to meet Catalina’s made-up partner. Enter Aaron Blackford, Catalina’s handsome but condescending colleague, who offers to step in. As the wedding edges nearer, Aaron is the only viable option. And Catalina realizes her insufferable colleague might not be as bad as he seems.
In bestselling American author Lisa Kleypas’s stunning historical romance, four young ladies make a pact at the ballroom to help each other find husbands. The beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors — if only she had a dowry. The only way Annabelle can help her struggling family is to marry a wealthy man. Enter Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress. They try to outmaneuver each other and find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have imagined. Secrets of a Summer Night is Kleypas’s first entry in her Wallflowers series, and British TV and film actor Rosalyn Landor lends her voice talent to this audio version.
Iconic romance author Colleen Hoover introduces listeners to twenty-something Lily, a small-town girl who always had to work for everything she wanted. After graduating from college, Lily moved to the big city of Boston to open her flower shop. She finds herself in a seems-too-good-to-be-true relationship with Ryle, a bright and ambitious neurosurgeon, but she can’t stop thinking about her first love, Atlas. In this second-chance romance, Lily must come to terms with her dilemma and navigate the complex feelings surrounding it. Which love will win over her heart, and with whom will she find her happy ending?
Nothing beats a good romantic comedy, especially one set in the heat of the summer. New York Times bestselling romance author Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer tells the story of Piper, a Hollywood “It Girl” who gets cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beachtown. She hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she experiences a meet-cute with Brendan, a bearded, sexy local who thinks she won’t last another day in town. In this fun and thrilling rom-com, Piper is determined to prove her family and her unlikely love interest wrong.
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander features time travel and a sensual historical romance set in medieval Scotland and 1940s England. A runaway bestseller turned into a smash TV hit. While fans may argue that Outlander is not a proper romance because it incorporates so many elements of other genres (historical fiction, adventure, drama, and more!), it's precisely these diverse story elements that make it feel so immersive. Hall of Fame Narrator Davina Porter's pitch-perfect accents bring characters from different time zones and countries to live in this swoon-worthy adventure. She switches between English and Scottish accents with ease and introduces and maintains distinct character voices for the entirety of the audiobook, making the listening experience entirely irresistible.
In Bared to You, you'll be introduced to Eva and Gideon—both successful financially and a bit of a mess personally—and things get intense right from the start. As the pair grapples with their overwhelming chemistry, they also struggle to cope with their dark pasts, slowly realizing it may be possible to learn to trust again. One of the best parts of a great romance is its all-encompassing, can't-stop-listening nature, and Bared to You channels that quality. Narrator Jill Redfield brings a thrilling edge to this book through her expert narration; at times, the story grows so intense it feels like half romance and half psychological drama, leaving listeners blushing and breathless.
Arguably the best known and most loved romance of all time, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice brings us the timeless love story of bright, enchanting Elizabeth Bennet and surly, brooding Mr. Darcy, surrounded by an endlessly entertaining cast of characters. Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike—who first played Jane Bennet in the 2005 film adaptation and now performs the audiobook—clearly loves the story as much as listeners do. As those familiar with Austen know, a performance of her work is incomplete without a narrator who can highlight the subtle, nuanced humour that shines through in her prose. Thankfully, Pike does precisely that, and her narrative style wonderfully conveys both the satirical side of Bennet's story and the sometimes silly nature of romance. It's truly a novel that holds up listen after listen.
Regency romance fans will be familiar with the trope that begins this audiobook. The Duke of Ashbury needs an heir, which means a wife is necessary. Enter Emma Gladstone, and there you have it: a marriage of convenience. What follows is an impeccably written tale filled with genuine, heartfelt emotion, a dash of humour, and, yes, plenty of steamy moments. The Duke begins their arrangement with lots of rules to maintain emotional distance (no questions about his battle scars, for a start). Still, Emma comes prepared with rules of her own (dinner every evening, with conversation, whether the Duke likes it or not), and it doesn't take long for the romance to begin. Tessa Dare is one of the current reigning queens of the romance genre, and she's well-matched with performer Mary Jane Wells. Their characterizations of the two protagonists fill this story with the humour, tension, and tenderness it deserves.
With Burn for Me, New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new series called Hidden Legacy, blends noir, fantasy, and love in its daring debut. The story follows detective Nevada Baylor on a mission to bring in fugitive Prime—the most dangerous type of magician. Although that wasn't a challenge enough, she is kidnapped by the equally powerful (and tantalizingly attractive) Connor Mad Rogan, who happens to be after the same dangerous target. As these reluctant partners embark on their mission, they encounter a cast of colourfully diverse characters that narrator Renee Raudman plays with dynamic voices and distinct personalities, making this story even easier to get lost in.
When Violet Hall meets Alex Waters, a professional player (of both hockey and women), she's sure she knows what she's gotten herself into. She allows herself to enjoy what she thinks will be a one-night stand and prepares to write Alex off just like the rest. But when he becomes more intelligent, quicker, and more interested than she had anticipated. Violet unexpectedly finds herself trying to resist falling for him and into the whirlwind of his player lifestyle, where she knows she's likely to get hurt. As though the insane romantic tension between Violet and Alex wasn't enough, Pucked is narrated via alternating performances between John McLaren and Muffy Newtown. They perfectly capture the pair's banter, miscommunications, and mutual attraction in a way that will leave you with butterflies.
In this modern twist on the marriage of convenience trope, Holland Baker, a 25-year-old New Yorker, weds veritable stranger and Irish immigrant Calvin McLoughlin. Her motivation? To save her uncle's Broadway show and pay Calvin back for rescuing her from a subway attack. The big-city setting and chemistry between the characters add a zing to this sweet story. Still, the true highlight is narrator K.C. Sheridan's effortless delivery and Irish accent, which lends authenticity to Calvin's character. Adored by listeners worldwide, the gentle, tender love that grows from these unconventional roots will touch your heart in a lasting way.
Wanderlust is a dual-narration romance rich with chemistry, tension, and sexy accents, all from the mind of Lauren Blakely, one of the most beloved names in romance. Grace Grant plays the enthusiastic, career-driven American in Paris. Still, the charming tenor of British actor Richard Armitage steals the show as her translator, Griffin (especially as he switches easily from English to French—swoon!). Joy begins her trip determined to keep things professional; after all, with this being Griffin's last assignment before he takes off to travel the world, both expats know now isn't the time to be making new commitments. But within just a few conversations, it's only too obvious just how natural the pair's chemistry is. Complete with a setting in the most romantic city globally, this love story is all but impossible to resist.
Best known for hosting NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Linda Holmes has turned her considerable storytelling talents to the romance genre in Evvie Drake Starts Over. Julia Wheelan narrates Holmes's words with a steady, thoughtful tone that complements how the story gracefully handles the two main characters' different, intensely personal tragedies that become the bond that brings them together. Listeners arrive in the story's coastal Maine setting alongside Dean, a struggling MLB pitcher. His crippling anxiety has forced him to take a hiatus from his career and the media whirlwind back in New York. When he moves into the apartment at the back of recently widowed Evvie's property, the two form a friendship that quickly blossoms into something more.
In Stuck-Up Suit, dual authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward flesh out a daydream that most listeners can identify with—the one in which we see a good-looking stranger on the train and imagine introducing ourselves, flirting, and starting an epic romance. At first, Soraya hates everything about the loud, rude, arrogant man across from her on the train (except his looks, of course). But when he drops his phone, Soraya picks it up on a whim and drops it off at his office—though not before leaving a steamy little photo on it to remember her by. She never expects him to respond, but it doesn't take long for things to start heating up when he does. This listen is pure fun and seductive storytelling; the two narrators expertly heighten the chemistry between the leads, increasing the romantic tension at a compelling pace that leaves the listener feeling breathless.
Cannon Freeman becomes the black sheep in his infamous criminal family when he shifts his loyalty from his family to the love of his life, Drew Carson. This fast-paced crime romance starts with a daring set of audiobooks in which Cannon and Drew defend their love—and their lives—from the notorious Cassos. The world March has built is just as captivating as the leading couple's electric chemistry. The back-and-forth performance by Hall of Fame Narrator Andi Arndt and fan-favourite Sebastian York is not only irresistibly sexy, but also perfectly captures the drama, intrigue, and danger of the Mafia world.
Keep your tissues nearby for this one, as it's a full-on, lifelong love story that follows Laurie and Jack from their first almost-meeting through a decade of heartbreak, hope, and love. Narrators Eleanor Tomlinson and Charlie Anson are ceaselessly charming, and their sweet performance is likely to elicit some warm, fuzzy feelings in listeners. A selection in Reese Witherspoon's much-adored book club, One Day in December, is a story of missed connections and fated coincidences that's utterly devastating, hilarious, and heartwarming. It's easy to feel like you're listening to an additional storyline from Love Actually with this title, all the excellent Christmas cheer included.
This is a love story that spans the Atlantic—on one side, listeners have Alex, the First Son of the first female President of the United States, and on the other, Henry, the Prince of Wales, youngest grandson to the Queen of England. We never wanted to leave the world lovingly constructed by author Casey McQuiston, and we're not sure we'll ever be ready to let go of Alex and Henry's sweet, sexy, and enthralling love story. Superb narrator Ramon de Ocampo not only lends a unique voice to each character but also guides listeners through extreme depths of emotion. As Alex and Henry tackle some of their lives' most challenging issues—divorce, depression, coming out, and their relationship with fame, to name a few. Ocampo reads the third-person point of view almost as a loving caretaker, making us feel as in love with the couple as they are with each other.
You've undoubtedly heard of fan favourite, bestseller, listened to by millions. If you haven't already, consider this your invitation to dive into the worldwide sensation Fifty Shades of Grey. The young, mild-mannered Anastasia Steele is a literature graduate and now a reporter, which is evident in how the character articulately describes her experiences with the mysterious Christian Grey. Becca Battoe is a perfect choice to play the naive ingenue being led out of her comfort zone and into the sexual unknown, crafting an actual performance that makes Steele and Grey and their exploits feel all the more real.
Paranormal romance superstar Molly Harper turns the good-girl-gone-bad trope in this unexpectedly funny vampire romance. Jane Jameson, who's been nothing short of an angel her whole life, finally gets fed up one day after being fired disrespectfully. She goes out drinking to blow off some steam, and the next thing she knows, she's woken up as a vampire. Hearing the protagonist figure out her new life and her new, very inconvenient thirst for blood is funny, thanks to narrator Amanda Ronconi's perfect delivery of the wry, witty writing. Throw in a love story and a murder-framing plot that add more layers of comical complication to Jane's life, and you have the recipe for a truly refreshing take on the vampire romance.
There are few names as widely recognizable in the romance and mystery genres as the prolific Nora Roberts. With Northern Lights, she blends her romantic expertise with elements of the investigative crime for a fast-paced, heart-racing story. Set in the beautiful small town of Lunacy, Alaska, the report brings together two fiercely independent spirits: Nate Burke, a hardened chief of police running from his past, and the private, capable Meg Galloway, who prefers the company of her huskies over that of men. But an unexpected New Year's kiss seems poised to change everything—until Nate uncovers evidence that a long-lost killer may still be in their midst.
Few romance tropes are better known (or better loved!) than the tension of enemies slowly becoming friends. Sally Thorne takes this favourite trope to the workplace. She introduces us to Lucy and Joshua; two ambitious individuals stuck together in a corner office vying for the same promotion. They're constantly trying to one-up each other, and when their games go too far, they're left to wonder if what they feel for the other person is hate—or something else entirely. The Hating Game is a slow burn of a tale that narrator Katie Schorr voices with mischief and humour. If a classic and clever will-they-or-won't-they romance is right up your alley, this is the listen for you. You can also watch The Hating Game as it was adapted into film in 2021 starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell.
Naledi Smith keeps getting emails from an African prince claiming to be her betrothed. Like any sane person (and especially like the intelligent, practical grad student she is), Naledi thinks they're spam and sends them to the trash immediately. But when it turns out that they aren't, she finds she's in for quite the unexpected royal adventure. With her fresh and razor-sharp wit, author Alyssa Cole keeps their burgeoning relationship sexy and fun. Masterfully performed by Karen Chilton, who captures the essence of both the regal Prince Thabiso and skeptical Naledi, this audiobook refreshes the overwhelming Eurocentric sameness of royal romances.
Stella Lane values logic and math, a temperament further reinforced by her Asperger's syndrome. Nonetheless, she's decided that as a highly successful 30-year-old woman, the only thing she has left to learn are lessons in the love department. She does what anyone looking for expert advice and guidance would do and hires a professional: escort Michael Phan. A charming and utterly unique romance soon follows as Stella applies her characteristically logical approach to learning, one by one, everything there is to know about love and sex. Narrator Carly Robins has the difficult task of making love scenes sound clinical and sexy at the same time. She manages it so flawlessly that by the time Stella starts to realize she's developed feelings for her unconventional tutor, it's likely that listeners are feeling it too. Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient is a thriller of a listen.
This girl-next-door loves boy-next-door story isn't like most we've heard before. Broken Knight carries all the sweetness of childhood love between neighbours Luna and Knight, who grew apart as they grew into different cliques, but kept their love for each other. But it also addresses a weighty plotline filled with tragedy and angst—and the couple at the centre is more authentic, emotionally raw, and compelling for it. This romance title also stands out for its large cast of narrators: Savannah Peachwood, Jacob Morgan, C.J. Bloom, and Christian Rummel perform different characters with different perspectives on the events. The entire cast works perfectly to underline the central couple's struggle to find each other in the suffocatingly narrow confines of their small town.
It is Bridgertons' world; we all happen to be living in it. The world in question is Regency London, and the romantic yearnings of the elite are at the heart of Julia Quinn's eight romance books, magnificently adapted for audiobook and brilliantly narrated by Rosalyn Landor. The Duke and I start things off, and the whole thing unfolds from there, with all the villainy and chivalry that listeners have come to expect and demand from Period Drama romance. Bridgerton is brilliant in how it normalizes the hearts and minds of the wealthy, showing that the irrational urges that love inspires are just about as human as it gets. Not on the Bridgerton train yet? There's never been a better time to climb aboard.
A thrill-a-minute romantic tour de force from New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date does a brilliant job of showcasing the unpredictable nature of love. Planning is foolish when it comes to matters of the heart, so you might as well let life take you along with it. If that means going to a wedding with a guy you get stuck in an elevator with, then so be it. Free of expectation, Alexa and Drew find that they get on pretty darn well, but can their long-distance romance survive such eccentric foundations? Excellently narrated by Janina Edwards, The Wedding Date is dripping with humour and positively oozes swagger.
Expertly narrated by Julia Whelan (one of the best voices in the game), Beach Read takes the listener on a romantic journey that puts the old 'opposites attract' theory very much to the test. Opposites also tend to, you know, repel, and Beach Read showcases a contradictory love between literary fiction author Augustus Everett and romance novel wizard January Andrews. Will they? Won't they? Do they even care? January has a best-seller to write, while Augustus is more interested in bleak research for the next Great American Novel. It all makes for a captivating story. A brilliant listen that is one of the best romance novels of recent times.
What list of classic romances is complete without The Notebook? The tale of Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson has reverberated around the globe since it was first published in 1996, and this audiobook adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ famous contemporary romance novel brings it up to a new level entirely. Much of that is down to the fabulous narration of Barry Bostwick, as the American actor fills every chapter with heart and soul in spades. Love is supposed to be magical, ethereal, and life-affirming, and The Notebook understands this from the first second to the last. Decades after it was unleashed on the world, The Notebook remains one of history’s great love stories.
American writing duo Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) are known for their teen fiction and romance novels. The witty The Unhoneymooners follows an enemies-to-lovers journey, a popular trope in the romantic comedy subgenre. Meet Olive, a girl who doesn’t have the best of luck, whether in her love life or career. Her twin sister, Amy, is the opposite. When Amy’s wedding comes around, Olive has to spend the day with the best man, Ethan, to her disgust. But the bride and groom fall sick at the wedding, and the honeymoon is up for grabs. Will Olive and Ethan make the best of this unique opportunity — or will Olive fall victim to her streak of lousy luck?
Charlotte Brontë’s classic love story is a fascinating and turbulent story of one woman’s life from childhood to adulthood. Having grown up orphaned and seemingly unwanted by everyone around her, this story follows Jane Eyre on her new journey of becoming the governess at Thornfield Hall, all the while under the watchful eye of the mysterious Mr. Rochester. Classic book lovers will fall head over heels for this audio version, as actress Thandiwe Newton’s voice grips listeners into this rollercoaster romance. Filled with mystery and secrets, Jane Eyre examines the social struggles of being a woman in the early 19th century.