Who doesn’t love a good romance book? They’re a guaranteed form of escapism and pretty much always have a happy ending that restores your faith in humanity and the concept of romance itself.
However, for years the most mainstream and popular novels have been pretty homogeneous in the type of stories they tell. Namely, the protagonists are most often straight and white.
If you’re an avid romance reader, this can get boring pretty quickly. Plus, it’s not true to life! Epic romance doesn’t just happen to straight white people, after all!
Whether you want to broaden your romance fiction horizons, or you want to see your own life experience reflected in your favorite genre, read on to discover 15 beautiful African American romance novels!
1. From Scratch By Tembi Locke
We’re kicking things off with a memoir by Tembi Locke that tells her story of living with grief and using the memory of love to guide her through these dark times.
Tembi’s husband, Saro, is diagnosed with cancer early in their marriage, and tragically passes away. Struggling with her grief, Tembi and her young daughter fly from LA to her in-laws’ home in the Sicilian countryside.
Although there is a culture clash that causes Tembi to butt heads with narrow-minded family members, she finds a quiet place to reflect on her time with Saro and their love story.
Over the course of three summers in Sicily she begins to heal with the help of the community and the acceptance of her family.
2. Love Radio By Ebony LaDelle
YA romance is an amazing genre to celebrate just how sweet first love can be!
Love Radio tells the charming story of a teenage radio show host, Prince Jones, who gives out great relationship advice despite the fact he is yet to fall in love.
He has a chronically ill mother and a little brother to care for, after all, so when is Prince supposed to find time to date?
But he then meets his dream girl, Dani Ford who has her own reasons for avoiding romance. However, she agrees to go on free dates with Prince to see if their feelings for each other are real.
3. Real Men Knit By Kwana Jackson
If you want something heartwarming and cozy to read?tag=myromancereads0721-20, you can’t go wrong with Real Men Knit!
Kwana Jackson’s novel is set in a Harlem knitting shop once owned by Mama Joy, an adoptive mother to four young men.
When Mama Joy passes away, one of her adoptive sons, Jesse, is determined to keep the beloved store going and enlists his childhood friend – and employee of the knitting shop – Kerry, to help keep it going.
As they work together to get the business back on its feet, Kerry’s crush on Jesse reawakens, while Jesse’s eyes finally open to the fact that Kerry might just be The One.
4. Seven Days In June By Tia Williams
This poignant romance doesn’t avoid the tough questions, telling the story of Eva Mercy, an erotica author, and Shane Hall, a literary author, and their brief but intense fling that happened 15 years ago but has never left their minds. In fact, it served as the inspiration for some of their novels.
When they have a chance encounter at a literary event in New York, their old feelings are rekindled. As well as an intense romance, this novel explores themes of motherhood, betrayal, and Black culture.
5. Good Hair By Benilde Little
Good Hair is an iconic romance novel by Benilde Little, and although it was written in the 90s, it’s still as enjoyable today!
It tells the story of Alice Andrews, a journalist living in Newark whose life changes forever after she meets Jack, a wealthy but entitled doctor.
Alice is soon brought into the world of African American elites in Manhattan. While the love between her and Jack is growing, Alice’s traumas and insecurities from childhood rear their heads as her working class background collides with Jack’s wealthy family and upbringing.
This is a riveting love story that masterfully explores powerful themes like class differences.
6. How To Catch A Queen By Alyssa Cole
How to Catch a Queen puts the ‘fairy tale’ into ‘fairy tale romance!’ The first installment of the Runaway Royals series, How to Catch a Queen tells the story of Shanti Mohapi who agrees to an arranged marriage with Sanyu, the king of Njaza, so she can fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a queen so she can make a difference in people’s lives.
Her match with Sanyu is purely pragmatic at first, but the more time they spend together the more their marriage of convenience becomes a love match.
7. Meet Cute Club
Jordan Collins owns a bookstore and has a lot on his plate. Not only is his book club – the Meet Cute Club – in danger of being shut down, but he has to join forces with his annoying co-worker Rex Bailey to save the club.
But as they team up to save the club, Jordan starts to wonder if he’s got Rex all wrong and starts to see him in a whole new light.
8. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy By Alyssa Cole
Another entry from Alyssa Cole (this time from her Reluctant Royals series) is Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, a novella that tells the story of royal adviser Likotsi who is recovering from a broken heart. She decides to return to NYC to get over her lost love.
This seems like a good idea at first until she encounters Fabiola, the woman who broke her heart, while being stuck on a subway train together.
Now reunited in NYC, Likotsi and Fabiola must confront their past and ultimately rekindle their connection.
9. Get A Life, Chloe Brown By Talia Hibbert
We’re willing to bet you’ll fall in love with Chloe Brown immediately! Chloe is described as a ‘chronically ill computer geek,’ who after a near-death experience decides she needs to get her life together.
She moves out of her family home, writes a to-do list of things she wants to do, and asks her insanely good-looking neighbor, Red, for help.
The build-up to their romance and the chemistry between them will keep you gripped from beginning to end.
10. The Boyfriend Project By Farrah Rochon
When Samiah Brooks becomes a viral sensation for live-tweeting her break-up she and the three other women her ex was seeing at the time vow to swear off relationships and focus on themselves.
But Samiah didn’t consider Daniel Collins, a sexy, charming colleague of hers who is as funny as he is smart and charming.
You’ll be cheering for Samiah all the way as she tries to decide whether Daniel is the man for her.
11. An Extraordinary Union By Alyssa Cole
Yet another home run from Alyssa Cole! This historical novel is not only a romance but addresses the more difficult aspects of American history head-on.
Set in the Civil War, An Extraordinary Union tells the story of Elle Burns, a former slave who returns to the South in order to spy for the Union Army.
Meanwhile, the detective Malcolm McCall is tasked with infiltrating rebel forces in Virginia. Malcolm and Elle join forces for a common good, but the big question is: Will their romance put their missions at risk?
12. Hidden Sins By Selena Montgomery
Selena Montgomery isn’t just a fantastic author but also a former congresswoman and the nom de plume of Stacey Abrams.
She also wrote Hidden Sins which tells the story of Mara and Ethan, two former lovers who come together to solve a murder mystery that has been unsolved for 50 years.
While they work to solve the case will they also be able to deal with the betrayals that haunt them and resurrect their love?
13. I Think I Might Love You By Christina C. Jones
I Think I Might Love You tells the story of Jaclyn Love, a certified bad girl, and Kadan Davenport who can’t resist her charms. This novel ticks off all the boxes of a great rom-com.
It has lots of laughs, sizzling love scenes, and a sweet meet-cute. Plus, this entry is a novella and the first in a series of books, so while you may finish this book quickly you can rest assured that there is more to devour.
14. Every New Year By Katrina Jackson
Candace Garret and Ezra Posner have been friends since they were kids, but as far as romance goes, they’ve never quite got the timing right.
Although they hook up practically every New Year, a long-term relationship seems out of reach.
As they try to cut ties in order to move on with their lives, they find themselves drawn to each other once again, and must finally confront the feelings they’ve had for each other for as long as they can remember.
15. Being Hospitable By Meka James
When Kiki Jenkins lets her best friend’s younger sister stay with her, she believes she’s just being hospitable. However, Charley Graham is looking for more than just somewhere to stay.
As Kiki and Charley give into their connection, they start to contemplate if their sizzling chemistry is enough to build a long-term relationship on.
We hope our picks for the 15 best African American romance novels to read next get your heart racing and remind you that love truly conquers all.