We round up three of our favorite romance reads of fall 2023
We love getting cozy with a good book. Whether you're looking to escape into the past, need a juicy rom-com retelling, or can't get enough of enemies to lovers, there's a fall 2023 romance read for you. Here's three of our favorites.
'You Again' by Kate Goldbeck
Kate Goldbeck gives When Harry Met Sally a millennial update with this romance, You, Again, about two enemies turned friends turned lovers. Free-spirited, struggling comedian Ari is the antithesis of everything perfectionist chef Josh values, so naturally, when they first meet (only to discover they’ve been having sex with the same women), they hate each other. But when a series of events keeps bringing them back into each other’s lives over the course of several years, they form a singular friendship that they then must decide if they’re willing to risk turning into something more.
Goldbeck writes with a vibrant, witty pen, crafting images of New York City as vivid as the When Harry Met Sally poster-vibe of the book’s cover. She upends gender norms, making the bisexual Ari the commitment-phobe, and delectably masculine Josh the hopeless romantic. Goldbeck also approaches the love story here with a frankness that hallmarks many of the norms and challenges of millennial dating — be it hook-up apps, the vagaries of polyamory, or a more nonchalant attitude toward drug use. In that, it loses some of its polish that makes the work of Nora Ephron so distinctive. Ari and Josh feel vividly real, at times painfully so, but they lack some of the idyllic sheen that makes you want to live in Ephron’s highly curated version of New York City.
Still, much of that is welcome, whether it be the wider range of sexual identities on display or the multicultural make-up of the cast of characters that feels distinctly more like the reality of a bustling metropolis. Goldbeck has a wry, biting style to her work, which can at times overshadow the book’s inherent romanticism. But that doesn’t make the climax’s signature grand gesture any less swoonworthy. The novel’s mileage varies based on a reader’s Ephron attachment levels, but we can’t deny that we want to have whatever Goldbeck is having next.
Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
'The Duke Gets Desperate' by Diana Quincy
Diana Quincy launches her new Sirens in Silk series with this luscious tale of an American heiress and a dashing duke. Anthony Carey, Duke of Strickland, fully expects to inherit the family estate when his American stepmother dies mysteriously, only to discover that she’s left it to a distant cousin — the infuriatingly lovely Raya Darwish. With her sudden new property in hand, Raya resolves to turn the crumbling castle into a tourist destination and help save its future. She and Strickland loathe each other, but they can’t seem to stop groping each other either. This ultimately leads (gasp!) to a betrothal to save Raya’s reputation.
Quincy is one of several historical romance authors carving space for a more diverse past on the page, and The Duke Gets Desperate is no exception. Raya is of Arab descent, referencing her family’s own background and traditions throughout the book (as well as her desire to buck some of their more patriarchal standards). She is a force to be reckoned with, determined to make Castle Tremayne a success, with or without the Duke she can’t seem to stop ogling. Quincy crafts a passionate, inspiring heroine in Raya, one whose sense of self-worth, confidence, and business acumen make her romance reader catnip. Strickland is every inch the strapping hero, one equally at home sweating as he crafts pieces in the forge as he is waxing poetic about the Anglo-Saxon objects he’s collected via his archaeological digs.
Quincy leans hard into old-school romance vibes with refreshingly diverse characters — she delivers a mirror scene so hot and sinful that it will turn your autumnal reading hour into a scorching summer day. The Duke Gets Desperate delights with its feisty heroine, beefy hero, and scorching hot love scenes.
Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
'Do Your Worst' by Rosie Danan
Rosie Danan, author of the divinely sweet and filthy The Roommate, returns with this enemies-to-lovers tale with a bit of archaeological intrigue in Do Your Worst. Riley Rhodes is determined to turn her family’s ability for supernatural curse breaking into a legitimate business, and her latest assignment at Scotland’s Arden Castle has the potential to be a career-making job. Until the cute guy she almost hooked up with turns out to be stuffy archaeologist Clark Edgeware, who is equally set on getting her fired.
Clark and Riley butt heads at the castle, their penchant for hijinks emphasizing Danan’s distinctly humorous voice. But when the curse seemingly keeps pushing them together, they uncover deep wounds about family secrets and have to decide if they can set aside their differences (and super hot hate f–king) long enough to maybe break the curse once and for all. With the curse, perhaps they can also banish the childhood traumas holding them back.
Danan is an expert at crafting sexual tension on the page, and she elevates her ability to write both crackling banter and deliciously hot bedroom scenes with her latest entry. Riley’s smart-ass approach to life clashes oh so perfectly with Clark’s dry, “I don’t have the patience for this” attitude (and given the cover illustration and Clark’s gruff manner, it’s difficult not to imagine Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein as Clark). But what makes Danan truly distinct as a writer is her ability to blend high heat with an abundance of heart. She pivots away from the sex work focus of her previous novels, but there’s no less emphasis on the pressure of living up to familial obligations and the complex role of sex in our lives and relationships.
Both Riley and Clark are wrestling with feelings of inferiority, and the ways in which they upend their expectations of each other is deeply romantic. Danan perfectly tempers the transition of their physical intimacy from pure lust to genuine connection, only ratcheting up the heat as she raises the stakes of their relationship. With a bit of Scottish lore and two feisty main characters, Danan makes doing your worst one of the best reads of the fall.
Heat Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.