The Most Beloved Romance Books of the Last Decade

Posted by Marie on October 16, 2018

The 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards is presented by Audible.

This year, we're celebrating the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers. Before we reveal this year's nominees, we decided to look back at the last decade of Best Romance winners that have captured our community's hearts (and made their bosoms heave).

Dominating this roundup are authors J.R. Ward, Diana Gabaldon, and Colleen Hoover. Their swoon-worthy titles have won multiple times throughout the years, making them beloved favorites. Which romance winners have you read? Don’t forget to add what catches your eye to your Want to Read Shelf!

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The first Goodreads Choice Award Romance winner was the seventh book of Diana Gabaldon's internationally acclaimed Outlander series. Here Jamie Fraser and his time-traveling wife, Claire, fight alongside the rebels in the American Revolution.

Winner: Best Romance (2009)

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Xhex, a symphath assassin, and John Matthew, a vampire, were the first paranormal paramours from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series to enthrall romance readers in the following Goodreads Choice Award season.

Winner: Best Romance (2010)

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Dr. Manuel Manello never believed in monsters—until a powerful vampire warrior ends up on his operating table. In the end, he saves her life, while she leaves her mark on both his body and soul.

Winner: Best Romance (2011)

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Ana and Christian have it all in the sensational finale of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Together they'll build a future filled with passion and intimacy. But the demons from Christian's tortured past aren't done with them yet.

Winner: Best Romance (2012)

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After years of unrequited love, Blay has moved on from his fellow vampire soldier, Qhuinn. Just when it seems like their paths may no longer cross, destiny intervenes so that two halves can finally become whole.

Winner: Best Romance (2013)

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The Americans have won the Revolution, and Jamie Fraser returns from the front—only to discover that Claire has married his best friend, Lord John Grey, in his absence.

Winner: Best Romance (2014)

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2015 marked the first year a contemporary love story won Best Romance. Here Auburn Reed realizes that the only way she can get her life back on track is to cut the enigmatic artist Owen Gentry out of it. But can she sever their soul-deep connection?

Winner: Best Romance (2015)

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Lily is an exception to Ryle's strict “no dating” rule. Still, she can’t help but wonder why the gorgeous neurosurgeon has avoided relationships in the past and what that means for their future.

Winner: Best Romance (2016)

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Fed up with her family’s lies, Merit Voss decides to leave them for good. Then she learns one secret that changes everything. Can she reveal the truth at the risk of losing the man she loves?

Winner: Best Romance (2017)

Which Best Romance winner have you read? Let us know in the comments.

Don't forget that the first round of voting for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards begins on October 30!

Check out more recent blogs:
12 Spooky Listens That Young Readers Will Love
Susan Orlean's Library-Themed Reading Recommendations
Our Readers' Favorite YA Books of the Last Decade

Comments Showing 1-50 of 70 (70 new)

message 1: by Jaed (new)

Jaed I've been wanting to read some romance haha

message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I have read EL James and JR Ward

message 3: by Tonya (new)

Tonya If you enjoy paranormal romance, you can not go wrong with JR Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series!

message 4: by Aurea (new)

Aurea Otero I love JR Ward's Brotherhood series, these are my favorites and enjoyed reading EL James books.

message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary I love the All Souls Trilogy: Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life by Deb Harkness. The romance and the history are utterly enticing.

message 6: by Mariola (new)

Mariola All books of Karrelyn Sparks (love at stake series) and spectacular new The embraced series : How to tame a beast in seven days / so I married a sorcerer / eight simple rules for dating a dragon...and more to come soon!!

message 7: by Connie (new)

Connie Welch Love theOutlander series by Gabaldon. Romance, history, science has it all!

message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Mary wrote: "I love the All Souls Trilogy: Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life by Deb Harkness. The romance and the history are utterly enticing."

I loved these as well!~

message 9: by Pat (new)

Pat Curtin Have read all of Ward and the Fifty Shades books. Cannot wait to try on Hoover.

message 10: by Alison (new)

Alison I’ve read the J.R. Ward books on the list and loved them. I read the first Gabaldon book, but haven’t kept up with the series. Looking forward to reading Hoover!

message 11: by dawn russell (new)

dawn russell J. R. Ward

message 12: by Lauralee (new)

Lauralee Wiltsie The the two best books I've read are all by Elizabeth Rose. The Caretaker of Shadowman's Hill, The Familiar, if I could give them more than five stars I would

message 13: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Gee willikers! Way to spoil Gabaldon's Written in My Heart's Own Blood!!! I can't unsee that.

message 14: by Smallrain (new)

Smallrain I love the early Outlander books. The one in the Caribbean and the American revolution were somewhat tedious. Perhaps she will have them over at the French Revolution next. Too bad the Civil War is out of the question.

message 15: by Selena Cruz (new)

Selena Cruz Barred to You series

message 16: by Jessica T. (new)

Jessica T. I've read the J.R. Ward books from this list. Highly recommend!

message 17: by Ella walker (new)

Ella walker I have read Gabaldon and J.R.Ward love the Outlander books and the Brotherhood books.

message 18: by MiraO88 (new)

MiraO88 I'm kind of surprised that with so many Hoover novels making the list "Ugly Love" didn't. It's my fave!

message 19: by cheryl cabebe (new)

cheryl cabebe I am disappointed that Coming Home by Laurie Breton was not included in your list.

message 20: by Donna (new)

Donna I love the Outlander books and enjoyed the TV series too. Enjoyed the Fifty Shades books way more than the movies.

message 21: by Λίνα (new)

Λίνα Θωμάρεη Still can't believe that Whithout Merit was the best romance of 2017

message 22: by Kylie (new)

Kylie Dowers Fifty shades romance, you have got to be joking, how unsulting to call it that and for it to win an award

message 23: by Ellie (new)

Ellie I've read EL James. I don't do paranormal at all, fantasy only once in a great while so I've read Gabaldon, because Scotland. I doubt I'll ever read Hoover. Too many red flags in the reviews for me.

message 24: by jacinta boland (new)

jacinta boland I've read all the J.R. Ward books plus the E.L. James series. Loved em all

message 25: by Frank (new)

Frank Why on earth would you ever offer mummy smut like 50 Shades as a choice for any awards list other than 'The Worst Popular Books Ever'?

message 26: by Nimarvi (new)

Nimarvi Montiel Read them all but J. R. Ward books are a favorite of mine and the black dagger series it's by far the best vampire romance series I've ever read. Can't wait for the nominees of this year

message 27: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Without Merit was really good. I really enjoyed it... had some good twists ... I like Colleen Hoover

message 28: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Sonia wrote: "Gee willikers! Way to spoil Gabaldon's Written in My Heart's Own Blood!!! I can't unsee that."

Agree. Cruel.

message 29: by Maggie (new)

Maggie I love J R Ward, but also Lara Adrian and Christine Feehan. About to read the newest Laurell K Hamilton too. Yet to start Gabaldon. So may friends love her. I'm waiting for enough time for a binge read of the series. I hope the T series hasn't wrecked the reading experience. Any views on that?

message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan Dawson I've read the fifty shades trilogy loved it...

message 31: by It's Me - Yvette (new)

It's Me - Yvette I’ve read 5 of the 9 listed. I haven’t read too many Colleen Hoover books, so need to add them to my want to read shelf.

message 32: by Maria (new)

Maria I have read all of JR Ward's brotherhood series and LOVE these vampires. Also, have read all of the Outlander series and Jaime is one hot Scot who has it all - loyalty, faithfulness, poet at heart, fighter, lover and friend. James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser is the whole package. I would recommend both of these series. And I do have to agree with those folks that say how did any Fifty Shades novel win as best of the year romance. Yes, I read them and they were fine to read, but certainly there were better romance novels in the year that Fifty Shades Freed was published.

message 33: by Maria (new)

Maria Maggie wrote: "I love J R Ward, but also Lara Adrian and Christine Feehan. About to read the newest Laurell K Hamilton too. Yet to start Gabaldon. So may friends love her. I'm waiting for enough time for a binge ..."

message 34: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Rivera I've read all of J.R. Ward and the Fifty Shades trilogy. Love the BDB series and the spin-offs.

message 35: by Maria (new)

Maria The Outlander TV series is wonderful. Watching it and then reading the series is good because you can envision the TV Jaime and Claire when you start reading the books. There's a few things that are portrayed differently in the Starz production than in the books, but since Diana Galbaldon is giving her blessing to the TV series, she must not mind the few differences. I would recommend that you start on the books as soon as you can, though, so that you can get more of the background as you view the TV series. But be aware that the books are very, very detailed and not always easy to read. But you will love them, I promise!

message 36: by Claire (new)

Claire Wow with that many wins, I think I need to try reading J R Ward....

message 37: by Sissi (new)

Sissi Drake All of them except for Diana Gabaldon because time travels aren't my favorite. I've loved all and I agree even if I think you leave out a lot of other good ones.

message 38: by Vrushali (new)

Vrushali Just EL James... Need to read Colleen Hoover's books..

message 39: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell I really love it

message 40: by Debbie (last edited Oct 17, 2018 02:42AM) (new)

Debbie Jorgensen I love JR Ward and the Black Dagger brotherhood... keep them coming. If you love JR Ward you should check out Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter trust me you will not be disappointed ....

message 41: by Vicky (new)

Vicky I've read EK Blair books which are really good.

message 42: by Terri (new)

Terri Wonder if Fifty shades freed as told by Christian Grey is coming out anytime soon

message 43: by mwana (new)

mwana You people are really going to call one of the most maligned books of the 21st century 'Beloved'? Really?

message 44: by Karen (new)

Karen How Fifty Shades ever won anything is beyond me.
Crappy writing.

message 45: by Kiandra (new)

Kiandra Halstead Got more new authors to read...😁😍😏

kittykat AKA Ms. Tortitude So for all the thousands of romance books released in the past nine years, two authors have won the romance category three times, and one has won twice, and two of those three authors winning books were all in the same series? I'd love to know who votes for these.

And in light of this, kudos to Ms. James for 50 shades as whilst not the best representation of contemporary romance (by far!), at least she managed something that others could not by beating out the "same old same old", even if it was just once.

message 47: by Silvia (new)

Silvia People like what they like. I agree that the writing in 50 Shades wasn't great, but GR readers apparently loved the story and overlooked the writing.

The GR awards got me to try her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, which I never would have done on my own, so sometimes the crowd knows what it's doing.

Same with Colleen Hoover. I had to see what all the fuss what about, and why her fans are so enthusiastic.

The near-winners also got me to try Nalini Singh.

message 48: by Silvia (new)

Silvia kittykat (was Herekittykitty) wrote: "I'd love to know who votes for these."

Everyone on GR is invited to vote every year, but only a vocal minority do. I finally voted last year. Some authors have very enthusiastic followers, and they are probably more motivated to vote.

message 49: by Sheila (new)

Sheila There are several great writers of romance. Raine Miller, Mia Sheridan, and Brittany Cherry are but three of my favorites because they define their characters and then draw you into the story. The key is to try other authors. If you like their style then borrow from the library or buy. If you dont then move on.

message 50: by Penny (new)

Penny Sonia wrote: "Gee willikers! Way to spoil Gabaldon's Written in My Heart's Own Blood!!! I can't unsee that."

I know! OMG!

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