Jenna wasn’t going to let the darkness of her past prevent her from building the life she’s always wanted, so she put herself through college and moved to the magnificent city of Chicago. But just when she thought all her dreams were coming true, a shocking incident shattered her fairytale life, and now, she’s hiding a terrible secret—a secret that could cost her everything.
Damian is as gorgeous as he is mysterious, keeping his own dark secrets from everyone he meets. He never thought he’d care about anything again…until he meets Jenna. He knows letting her get close to him will put her in danger, but when he suspects Jenna’s in trouble, there’s only one thing that matters: protecting her at all costs.
Thrust into a terrifying nightmare where a threat looms in every shadow, Jenna and Damian find themselves in a race for survival. Soon, everyone Jenna loves is in peril, and only the ultimate sacrifice can save them…
“I couldn’t put it down.”
In this article we’ll be going over what makes:
A GREAT LOVE STORY
THE BEST ROMANCE BOOKS
BEST ROMANCE NOVELS OF ALL TIME
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOOKS
FORBIDDEN LOVE STORIES
DARK ROMANTICISM BOOKS
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE NOVELS
BEST MODERN ROMANCE NOVELS
STEAMY ROMANCE NOVELS
What is dark romance (be it dark romance books or dark romance movies)? To explore the dark romance meaning, we must first remember that a romance novel typically focuses on two people falling in love. The dark romance definition is subjective, but it often means that in addition to the primary love story, there is a sinister, twisted, or dark element woven into that storyline, sometimes in the romance component. There can be several categories people use for this subgenre, including dark twisted romance books, captive romance novels, dark revenge romance books, dark bully romance books, dark college romance books, and many others. To better understand dark romanticism books, there are several dark romance examples to add to your reading list (check out some good recommendations on fictionobsessed.com). First, let us explore how romance can differ, and overlap with, other genres.
The difference between contemporary romance novels and other genres, such as domestic suspense/thriller novels is important. According to the Romance Writers of America, “a romance novel must have a central focus on the development of a romantic relationship between two people. The other criteria for a romance novel are that it must have an emotional throughline and build to an optimistic conclusion.” In other words, it must always have a happily ever after.
Here is what Kathy had to say about this:
Why is it so important to pick the right genre? I’m not going to lie. When I first gave myself a crash course in genres and what set of rules each came with, I was convinced categorizing my marvelousness into a sandbox would stifle my creativity. I became all, “no one puts Baby in a corner!” For the super young, if you don’t know what that is, google ‘love story quotes.’ GREAT movie.
I fought against that current, taking my characters wherever I saw fit, thank you very much, but then came the epiphany: At its core, a genre conveys to the reader what they can expect the book to be about. I knew this part, of course, but read that again and really think about that. If my book sits next to a bunch of romantic comedy books, the reader will be appalled by it, and that unsatisfied reader may go on to write scathing reviews. All because the novel was sitting in the wrong section of the bookstore. So, it became critical to define my genre. It’s okay that it can fit into a couple—in fact, that can be a great thing, but it forced me to sit down and think—what genre makes the most sense?
I love romantic novels with a happily ever after, but to keep me on the edge of my seat, I find the best modern romance novels are the ones where I’m not guaranteed any ending—the ones where anything can happen. When I think of the best love story books of all time, I’m sometimes drawn to love stories in Greek mythology because of the intensity and tragedy. As the author of thehellenictimes.com says, to the Greeks, “Love was extremely important—and hurtful, deadly, and destructive. However, love was vital to the scheme of existence, and the Greeks felt they had to pay homage to it…but not necessarily revere it.”
Most important of all, I relish the relationships that new romance novels encapsulate. I want to fall in love with characters going through something major, where the stakes are as high as the tension, and the pages turn themselves. I’m drawn to darker stories like those of Nora Roberts more so than to lighthearted ones, but all stories are fantastic and entertaining. The best romance novels for adults offer us an escape from our everyday stressors and allow us to transport into another world. Sometimes that world is happy, sometimes it’s sad, but it is always entertaining.
So why do I have LOVE as a key element in my stories? I think a great love story makes everything better. I believe our connection to other souls in this world is the foundation of life and great stories. Getting to know someone for that first time, feeling that spark, that connection, wondering what could happen. Facing seemingly insurmountable challenges and wondering how it’s all going to turn out, makes for great entertainment. Even if a love story is secondary, a subplot of a novel, it makes it more entertaining for me, and I like to write what I love.
Allow me to highlight some of the best romance novels of all time.
Twilight. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight started it all for me. When I finished the series, I was so upset that it wasn’t going to continue. Stephanie had transported me into a world that felt so real that I felt I’d lived it myself, and her unique twist on superpowers drew me in as well. Yes, Edward Cullen had superhuman abilities, but he considered himself a bad guy, not to be trusted. BRILLIANT, and the love story between him and Bella was something I couldn’t put down.
It was after ending it that I was rummaging bookstores for anything that could give me the same high twilight did. And while some might say it is not a steamy romance novel, I find it to be one of the hottest contemporary romance novels of all time, thanks to the anticipation of what might happen between the characters. If you haven’t already, this is one of the all-time favorite hot novels to read, and it’s also been made into a steamy romance movie (to reiterate I find it steamy in the sense of anticipation of what might happen between the characters. It does not have love scenes). Nonetheless, Stephanie Meyer is one of the best romance authors out there.
The Time Traveler’s Wife. One of the best romance books on Goodreads, and one of the best romance novels, the story of a girl falling in love with a man who time travels involuntarily was fascinating. How would their love story work? What would happen to them in the end? Could he figure out how to stop time traveling before it’s too late? Truly one of the best love story novels in English, though it’s since been translated into more languages. While it technically can’t be cited as a historical romance—thus doesn’t make the category of best historical romance novels—it does jump around in time, which makes it fascinating!
The Silent Patient. Yes, it’s a thriller, or possibly a Romantic thriller–rather than a feel-good romance book—but it does have a great love story in the Greek-tragedy sense of the term. At its heart are two people, both the patient and the psychologist, entangled in their own tragic romances. While this is a phycological thriller, it still has the heartbeat of love woven throughout it. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!
Verity. Talk about Dark Romance, one of the best romance novels in 2020, and as a bonus, it has some of the steamiest romance novel excerpts! What can happen when romance goes horribly wrong, and wonderfully right? Colleen Hoover keeps you on the edge of your seat this ENTIRE novel, from the opening scene to the last page, you are hooked, addicted to finding out what comes next. Colleen Hoover quickly became one of my all-time favorite authors, and I’m so grateful I stumbled across her work. If you haven’t read any of her books, I highly recommend them!
I hope you found this article helpful and maybe found some new authors and novels to try!