Be honest: Were you ever a romance snob? With their dramatic covers and happily-ever-afters, romance novels have gotten a bad rap. But, as novelist Katy Ames ’02 writes, “Romance is a world in which women get to read stories about women, written by women. And in it, we get to do whatever we want – or whomever we want – without judgement.”

Whether you’re choosing a romance for item number 2 in the #SmithiesRead challenge or just looking for an entertaining read, here are 5 Smithie romance novelists whose work you can trust to deliver a satisfying happy ending.

Sarah MacLean ’00 — Brilliantly interwoven regency romances with smart, relatable heroines and plenty of adventure mixed in with the steamy stuff. This reader suggests beginning with A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME, the first in the four book Rules of Scoundrels series.

Katy Ames ’02 — Katy’s contemporary Seven Winds series features fierce heroines, heroes with personality, and a hot island setting. The series is loosely connected, so you can start with whichever book most strikes your fancy. Also be sure to check out Katy’s Choose Your Own Romance serial!

Karelia Stetz-Waters ’99 — Karelia writes contemporary lesbian romance… and YA… and erotic thrillers! Lots of options to tick the “genre novel” box, but if you’re looking for a traditional romance novel plot progression, the Out in Portland series is what you’re after: heat, romance, conflict, and the all-important HEA. Readers report that the series is so atmospheric, the city of Portland could be her own character.

Valerie Bowman ’96 — Valerie writes racy regency romps with witty dialogue and heroines who could have been Smithies themselves. This reader is adding THE UNEXPECTED DUCHESS to the old TBR, because I love a good enemies-to-lovers story.

J.R. Ward ’91 — Ward is a prolific bestselling author of paranormal romance. Her Black Dagger Brotherhood series (beginning with DARK LOVER) has a serious following and currently numbers 14 novels, not including the spinoff Black Dagger Legacy books. Renowned for her world building and scorching sex scenes; if you’ve never read paranormal romance, now is a great time to start!



BONUS: If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, here are another 5 Smithie romance authors who are on our radar. Tell us who we missed in the comments!

Sylvie Fox ’93 | Miranda Davis ’81 | Alice Severin ’92 | Shannon O’Brien ’13 | Mary B. Rodgers ’87