My Top 5 Books With a Romance Element (Five Fall Favorites)

Happy Thursday, and welcome to the fourth day of the Five Fall Favorites blog party!

You can find all of the information about the Five Fall Favorites blog party by seeing my first post from Monday, or by going to the lovely host (Kate Willis Hoppman)’s site, but for a quick recap, each day this week, a group of bloggers is each sharing their five favorite books in a particular genre – the goal being for us all to find some great new reads!

There is also a grand giveaway at the end of all this, with some of the prizes featured below in the images below. You can enter that giveaway by just following this link.

The epic grand prize!

And to add to the excitement, every day there’s also a Kindle deal going on, where you can snag the featured ebook free on Amazon. These are great stories written by many of the authors participating in this blog party, and I encourage you to check them out!

Today’s featured deal is Kiera by Kate Willis (yes, the host of this event!) (click this link or the image below to find it)!

Today’s topic?

My Top 5 Books With A Romance Element

If you’ve known me long, you probably know that romance books aren’t usually my cup of tea. I have nothing against romance itself and find it very sweet and beautiful when done right, but it’s so hard to find stories that handle it properly. Even when just a sub-plot.

So for that reason, I don’t have many favorite books that are romantically-focused (though I’m always looking for recommendations!) but below are a few that I have read and really liked. I felt that all of these handled their romance well, with good themes and strong characters.

Redeeming Love

Author: Francine Rivers

Genre: Historical fiction

Target Audience: Adults

What Stuck Out To Me: This is probably one of the first outright romance novels that I’ve read and enjoyed. I’ve only read it once, due to how heavy it is, but the characters and themes have stayed with me. Rivers does a beautiful job of retelling the biblical story of Hosea in a closer and relatable setting, illustrating God’s unconditional love in a powerful way.

The hard situations in this story broke my heart, as I couldn’t help but think of all the people in the world that have dealt with similar situations. Still, I was also reminded of how God can work in our lives, turning even the darkest and most horrific parts of our pasts into beautiful opportunities for good. The lessons about forgiveness, redemption, grace, and love are well-developed.

Tricky Content: The protagonist is/was a prostitute, so, though all the sensitive content that comes along with that is handled tactfully, it’s nearly constant throughout the story and still obvious what is happening. Also included are references to topics like abortion, assault, drunkenness, slavery, violence, and depression/thoughts of suicide.

I Recommend It To: Mature young adults and older, due to the subject matter.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

The Atonement Child

Author: Francine Rivers

Genre: Contemporary

Target Audience: Adults

What Stuck Out To Me: This is another deep Rivers romance novel that I appreciated. I wouldn’t say it was quite as powerful as Redeeming Love for me, but it has its own strong themes and lessons, focused less on romance, and more on the value of life. That said, there is definitely still a strong romance aspect to this story, and I found it very sweet and easy to root for the paired characters.

The characters were my favorite part, mostly because Rivers didn’t use stereotypes. There were Christians that made awful decisions and unbelievers that rose as heroes; everyone seemed diverse, real, and complicated, and they all made real mistakes. When dealing with such tricky topics as abortion and assault, that’s important to me. Is it perfect? No, but I found it well-worth the read, as it reminded me to have empathy and think deeper.

Tricky Content: In-depth conversations and references to abortion, assault, prejudiced comments, and a lot of emotional conflict and trauma.

I Recommend It To: Mature young adults and up, due to the subject matter.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!


Author: Nadine Brandes

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out To Me: This was the first book by Nadine that I read, and it was a fantastic one to start with! I’ve never known much about the Romanov family, but I always liked the animated movie (Anastasia) loosely based on their life. This was an intriguing, emotional, and well-developed take on the same history, adding in a fascinating magic system.

Most of all, I liked the characters. They were relatable, interesting, and strong, but still imperfect in a very real way. Their relationships, especially the close-knit family during their biggest hardships, inspired me and made me appreciate my own family more. And yes, the romance was both beautiful and heartbreaking. I was definitely rooting for each couple. The plot grew more mysterious and intense the farther into the story, with strong themes.

Tricky Content: A magic system with spells, violence, some intense/disturbing scenes, kisses, and drunkenness (portrayed as bad).

I Recommend It To: Teens and up that are intrigued by Anastasia’s story, historical fantasy, and/or Russian-inspired fiction with steady romance.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

The Heirs of Neverland Series

Author: Kara Swanson

Genre: Fantasy

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out To Me: First, I love good fantasy retellings, and getting to see another version of Peter Pan was so much fun! The intriguing plot kept me hooked from the start.

I really enjoyed all the different characters, too! From Peter, to the original protagonist, to Tiger Lily, and the Lost Boys, I found that there was a depth to each of them that I don’t find when I think of the Disney version. Peter especially was a more serious version of himself, and, me being the sucker for angst that I am, enjoyed seeing him learn and grow. The villains were formidable and interesting, the action compelling, and the themes strong.


Tricky Content: Violence, dark tones (especially in the second book), general angst and trauma, occasional ‘coarse’ language, and light romance with several kisses.

I Recommend It To: Teens and up that enjoy Peter Pan stories, or are simply looking for an engrossing and deep fantasy read.

Here’s the link to add Dust on Goodreads!

Within These Lines

Author: Stephanie Morrill

Genre: Historical/Romance

Target Audience: Young Adult (YA)

What Stuck Out To Me: I just finished this one yesterday! What a rollercoaster of emotions . . . This is such a powerful story of thinking for yourself, overcoming prejudices, and valuing others for who they are, no matter how hard others fight you for it. The historical settings were very well-described and I felt like I was really there in the midst of the action. I was sucked in from the beginning.

The characters were also a highlight for me (if you haven’t been able to tell by now, I’m a very character-driven reader and writer). The protagonists – and main couple – were a cute balance of fiery and gentle, and I really appreciated that they were already in love when the story started. It wouldn’t have worked as well to have them meet, fall in love, and then go through all the story horrors for one another as relatively new acquaintances. And I want to be friends with the supporting characters too, haha. Definitely glad I read this one!

Tricky Content: Mild violence, disturbing descriptions of Japanese camps, several undescribed kisses, references to a character who had a miscarriage after becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and plenty of occasions of racism (clearly portrayed as wrong).

I Recommend It To: Teens and up that enjoy sweet romance stories and intriguing historical fiction – especially about WWII.

Here’s the link to add it on Goodreads!

We’ve reached the end of day four of the Five Fall Favorites blog party! What are some of your favorite reads that incorporate romance? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

Again, check out Kate’s host post here, for a full list of other bloggers participating and so that you can find even more book recommendations! Don’t forget to join the giveaway here, and pick up the daily Kindle deal (Kiera by Kate WIllis), here!

See you tomorrow for some more bookish fun!

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24 thoughts on “My Top 5 Books With a Romance Element (Five Fall Favorites)

    1. Haha, yes, they write such good books! 🙂 I completely understand the hesitation. There definitely is a strong magic system in this, and while it’s not ‘black magic’ or anything like that, it does have a big impact on the plot. I’ll admit that I don’t even know exactly how the system works, as it confused me a little bit. 😛

      1. Lol, I get that! I think one of these days I am going to try it out, even if it’s just for the historical part of it! I’m a huge Romanov Family nerd… 😛

      2. Haha, that’s awesome! I didn’t know too much besides the animated movie at the time, so I wonder if there are hidden references that you’d pick up on? Now I’m curious!

    1. I haven’t seen the Redeeming Love movie, no. I probably will at some point, but I’m a bit hesitant since I suspect they’ve probably toned down the Christian aspects (which was the most powerful part of the book, in my opinion). I haven’t heard too much about it yet though!

  1. Dust and Shadow. My sister can’t wait to get her hands on book #2. And Within These Lines sounds like a cool book!

    1. Yes, they’re so beautiful! Kirk Duoponce always does amazing cover work. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on Within These Lines if you do read it! I feel like I say that a lot, but I love comparing notes on good stories, haha.

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