12 Best Women’s Fiction / Romance Crossover Books I’ve Read in 2021

If you’d asked me a year ago, I would’ve told you that I don’t like women’s fiction. I’m a romance girl; I love love, and that’s what I like to read about. However, I consume so much romance that I’ve found myself drawn to romance/women’s fiction crossovers recently, because they usually feature insightful, unique storylines, slow burn romances, and a focus on the emotional connection between characters. Romance is still central to the plot (I wouldn’t have it any other way!), but personal growth is also a major part of these stories – which makes them feel much deeper and richer.

I’m a romance reader, so you can guarantee that all of the books on this list feature strong love stories. Some are romance with a side of women’s fiction, some are women’s fiction with a strong romantic element. But they ALL have complex, interesting storylines and relationships that evolve throughout the course of the book. Each of these has received a 5-star rating from me, and they’re all 2021 releases. I’ve included the blurbs, a description of the vibe, links to my reviews, and links to Amazon/Bookshop.org for easy addition to your collection. Happy reading!

In case you’re wondering, according to GoodReads: Women’s fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, “chick lit,” and other sub genres. It is distinct from Women’s writing, which refers to literature written by (rather than promoted to) women. There exists no comparable label in English for works of fiction that are marketed to males.
The Romance Writers of America organization defines women’s fiction as, “a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship.”


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥🔥 a couple of brief steamy scenes

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

The New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners returns with a witty and effervescent novel about what happens when two people with everything on the line are thrown together by science—or is it fate? Perfect for fans of The Rosie Project and One Plus One.

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers:This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt nother soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

“Laugh-out-loud, sweet, charming, and humorous” (Library Journal, starred review), The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

Read the audiobook review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3iSxDDK
Bookshop Hardcover: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781982123963


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥🔥🔥 a few steamy scenes

What If You & Me by Roni Loren

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren blends heat and heart in this emotionally charged story of:

  • A frightened woman longing to break free
  • A wounded man searching for his purpose
  • An unexpected friendship turned sizzling hot connection
  • And an emotional climax that’ll have them both learning to let go

The world can be a scary place. At least, that’s what Andi Lockley’s anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn’t help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now—she’s channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can’t sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he’s now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he’s supposed to do with his life, and he can’t let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi’s place, Hill can’t stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more…if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself—and love—again.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3uNXpwC
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781492693253


Vibe: true romance / women’s fiction crossover
Heat level:
🔥🔥 minimal steam

Float Plan by Trish Doller

Heartbroken by the loss of her fiancé, adventurous Anna finds a second chance at love with an Irish sailor in this riveting, emotional romance.

After a reminder goes off for the Caribbean sailing trip Anna was supposed to take with her fiancé, she impulsively goes to sea in the sailboat he left her, intending to complete the voyage alone.

But after a treacherous night’s sail, she realizes she can’t do it by herself and hires Keane, a professional sailor, to help. Much like Anna, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned. As romance rises with the tide, they discover that it’s never too late to chart a new course.

In Trish Doller’s unforgettable Float Plan, starting over doesn’t mean letting go of your past, it means making room for your future.

“The perfect escape. Fresh, funny, and romantic. I wish I could sail away with this book.” – Meg Cabot, New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries andLittle Bridge series

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/380aZmK
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781250767943


Vibe: true romance / women’s fiction crossover
Heat level:
🔥 not steamy

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

From the New York Times bestselling author of This Time Next Year comes a heartwarming and hilarious tale that asks: What if you picked up the wrong suitcase and fell head over heels for its mystery owner?
 

Hopeless romantic and lifestyle reporter Laura’s business trip to the Channel Islands isn’t off to a great start. After an embarrassing encounter with the most attractive man she’s ever seen in real life, she arrives at her hotel and realizes she’s grabbed the wrong suitcase from the airport. Her only consolation is its irresistible contents, each of which intrigues her more and more. The owner of this suitcase is clearly Laura’s dream man. Now, all she has to do is find him.

Besides, what are the odds that she’d find The One on the same island where her parents first met and fell in love, especially as she sets out to write an article about their romance? Commissioning surly cab driver Ted to ferry her around seems like her best bet in both tracking down the mystery suitcase owner and retracing her parents’ footsteps. But as Laura’s mystery man proves difficult to find—and as she uncovers family secrets—she may have to reimagine the life, and love, she always thought she wanted.

Releases on November 9th!
Read my sneak peek review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VUlK6V
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9780593331521


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥🔥 a few steamy scenes

Love Scenes by Bridget Morrissey

Acting like she’s in love with her handsome nightmare of a co-star–in a movie directed and produced by her complicated Hollywood royalty family–is Sloane’s job. But what happens when the lines between script and reality get blurred? 

Out-of-work actress Sloane Ford is in desperate need of something to do after losing her steady TV gig. When her famous family ropes her into working as a producer on their World War II-era romance, they neglect to mention that the film will be headlined by Joseph Donovan, her least favorite former co-star of all time. The roguish actor made her life a living hell the last time they worked together, using his movie star good looks and Irish charm to cover for his erratic professional behavior. On their new film set, he promises he’s different now, but Sloane is far from convinced.

As filming gets underway, it becomes clear that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When the lead actress is abruptly fired, Sloane agrees to step in and take over the role, and she starts to remember why she fell in love with acting in the first place. On camera, she and Joseph share an electric chemistry. Off camera, they’ve been honing their characters and, much to Sloane’s surprise, growing closer. But playing the role of a woman in love with Joseph Donovan is a dangerous business, and the more time they spend together, the less Sloane can tell what’s real between them, and what’s just for show. 

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3wvALJL
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9780593201152


Vibe: true romance / women’s fiction crossover
Heat level:
🔥🔥 minimal steam

The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry

Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.

Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.

Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.

He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3z1OedP
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781542018364


Vibe: true romance / women’s fiction crossover
Heat level:
🔥🔥 minimal steam

Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay

A woman looking for a new lease on life moves to Arizona where she rents a guest house on a gorgeous property with a mysterious owner—a man who teaches her about resilience, courage, and ultimately true love, in this funny, bighearted novel about hope and healing from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay.

Stuck in a dreary Boston winter, Annabelle Martin would like nothing more than to run away from her current life. She’s not even thirty years old, twice-divorced, and has just dodged a marriage proposal… from her ex-husband. When she’s offered her dream job as creative director at a cutting-edge graphic design studio in Phoenix, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

When she arrives in the Valley of the Sun, Annabelle is instantly intrigued by her anonymous landlord. Based on the cranky, handwritten notes Nick Daire leaves her, she assumes he is an old, rich curmudgeon. Annabelle is shocked when she finally meets Nick and discovers that he’s her age and uses a wheelchair. Nick suffered from a stroke a year ago, and while there’s no physical reason for him not to recover, he is struggling to overcome the paralyzing fear that has kept him a prisoner in his own home.

Despite her promise to herself not to get involved, Annabelle finds herself irresistibly drawn to Nick. And soon she wonders if she and Nick might help each other find the courage to embrace life, happiness, and true love.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xDlDKd
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9780593101377


Vibe: true romance / women’s fiction crossover
Heat level:
🔥 not steamy

Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

International bestseller Mhairi McFarlane explores lifelong friendships, long-buried secrets, and unexpected love in a heartfelt, emotional new novel, perfect for fans of Evvie Drake Starts Over, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, or In Five Years.

Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.

But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gyEIIC
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9780063036857


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥🔥 a few steamy scenes

From the Embers by Aly Martinez

Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.

In the aftermath of tragedy, it’s strange the things you remember. 

The deafening boom as the house exploded.

The paralyzing fear as I searched for my wife.

The blinding smoke burning my eyes as I carried her out. 

But carved into my soul for the rest of my days would be the earth-shattering realization that the woman in my arms wasn’t my wife. 

Bree and I were the only survivors—not that either of us were truly living after that night. As a single dad with nowhere else to go, I moved into her guest house. And somehow, through the guilt and grief, we forged an unlikely team.

It took years, but I watched the gradual return of her smile—slow and life-altering.

The two of us could sit outside for hours, talking about nothing, and it filled the massive hole in my chest with new life. 

I may have carried her out of that fire, but the truth was, Bree saved me.

As we healed, the secrets and lies of the past smoldered in the ashes, threatening to ignite again. 

Our love was born from the embers, and together we would go up in flames.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PPozDv
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9798742783022


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥🔥🔥 a few steamy scenes

Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl

A smart, sexy, and witty romantic comedy—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne—about a twentysomething who lives out every woman’s fantasy: getting paid to give men who do us wrong a taste of their own medicine. But when a previous target unexpectedly shows up at her office, she’s forced to rethink her life as a professional heartbreaker.

Brinkley Saunders has a secret.

To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following in her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.

In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.

But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3kRSV5E
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781982167783


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥 minimal steam

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist. When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn’t expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn’t just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn’t want to take anything for granted. But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from “daily adventure” to “next-level bad” (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she’d be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua. Now she’s feeling things she’s vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see. 

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3tWHAmQ
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9781538715666


Vibe: more romance than women’s fiction
Heat level:
🔥🔥 minimal steam

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Can you find real love when you’ve always got your head in the clouds?

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

Read the review here

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mhP7cs
Bookshop Paperback: https://bookshop.org/a/18118/9780593085530


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2 thoughts on “12 Best Women’s Fiction / Romance Crossover Books I’ve Read in 2021

Add yours

  1. Kind of reminds me of a rough, more male-centered equivalent, which is “technothrillers” (stuff that focuses on technology and big scope conflicts) vs. “action thrillers” (smaller scale and focused more on individual fighting). They’re similar, but you can definitely see differences in individual works.

    Liked by 1 person

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