10 swoonworthy romance novels to escape with

We love clever, funny, and achingly romantic stories. Laura Wood – author of dazzling period romances, including The Agency for Scandal, A Single Thread of Moonlight and A Sky Painted Gold – has joined us to recommend her top ten romantic reads this Valentine's Day.

Laura Wood

"Romance novels are booming right now and that doesn't surprise me at all. During these turbulent times, there is simply nothing better than curling up with a book that will make you swoon. For me, reading romance is all about escaping into something warm and comforting – a place where happy endings are guaranteed, where our favourite tropes are brought to life in fun and creative ways. Marrying the familiar with the fresh and exciting, a great romance novel is a balm to the soul."




Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

The writing is immaculate in this witty, swoony rom-com that features fake dating, a pitch-perfect love interest, and a love letter to female friendship.


No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Out in March, this book, set in the late 19th century, features one of the most loveable protagonists I've ever encountered and a romance I was cheering for from the start.


The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Grown-up Ballet Shoes with magic and a romance between a sunny witch and a gorgeous, grumpy librarian? Honestly, the perfect book. I wanted to live in it.


Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

Part romance, part thriller this is one of my all-time favourite books. No matter how many times I read it I cannot put it down.


The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

My favourite of their books, I absolutely love this one, and there's a second book coming out soon featuring one of the scene-stealing side characters… I can’t wait!


The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

If you enjoy a touch of fantasy with your romance then I don't think this book can be beaten A reimagining of the Arabian Nights, it is a slow, steamy thrill perfect for fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope.


Unsticky by Sarra Manning

Truthfully, you could read anything by Sarra Manning, but I'm recommending this brilliant book because it is due a renaissance. If you like an edge of dark romance then this is the one for you.


A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

For my money, the queen of gorgeous, dreamy romance is Eva Ibbotson. This book features a ballerina who runs away to dance in a theatre in the Amazon and it’s every bit as magic as that sounds.


Book Lovers by Emily Henry

The small town, enemies-to-lovers, bookish rom-com of dreams! I love Emily Henry and this is my favourite of her books so far.


Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

If you want a gentle, low-stakes comfort read that will have you fully invested then this is it. No one writes having a crush like Sally Thorne. This will make you swoon.


About The Agency for Scandal by Laura Wood

An all-female detective agency righting wrongs at the end of the nineteenth century; infiltrating a scandalous upper class world straight out of Bridgerton and using their wit and bravery to unmask a villain.

Eighteen-year-old Isobel Stanhope is keeping a lot of secrets. There's the fact that she's head over heels in love with a Duke who doesn't know she exists; there's the fact that her family is penniless but nobody in society knows about it; and then there's her job at the Aviary, an investigative agency run by women that specializes in digging up scandal on powerful men.

When Izzy finds herself pulled into a case that involves gaslighting, blackmail, and missing jewels, as well as the Duke who holds her heart, can she and her friends untangle the web of secrets and lies to uncover the truth and protect the innocent? And when the stakes are so high, what happens when the crush she's been hiding begins to turn into so much more?

Discover these and even more wonderful books in your local bookshop

The Agency for Scandal

Caboodlers' Corner

Caboodlers' Corner

Browse quizzes, reading lists, and recommendations from our guest booksellers.

Caboodlers' Corner
National book token cookie themed gift card

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single visitor in possession of a good website, must be in want of a cookie."
Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austen

We use cookies to make our website work, understand how visitors use our website, and display relevant marketing to you.