13 books to read if you love romantic comedies

What’s that? Oh, it’s just the sound of your heart skipping a beat.
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I’ve never been a fan of romance novels even though I live for a romantic comedy. Hugh Grant being a dork? Absolutely. Meg Ryan in a cable-knit sweater? Outstanding. I’ve just never really dug the whole love story thing when it comes to my taste in books. But then the world turned upside down and suddenly a lighthearted read was all I wanted. 

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Fortunately, there’s no shortage of romantic comedy books to devour these days. And I’ve done the groundwork to round up some of the best for you.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now is definitely the time to get reading romantic novels or, even better, check out what those of us in the know are calling “smut” (AKA sexy little stories).

We’re talking binge-worthy books that you can see being adapted into a Netflix movie starring Florence Pugh and Dev Patel. Actually, someone get Netflix on the phone I have an idea.

Whether you’re looking for a lighthearted read or a quick-witted page-turner, one of these romantic books is sure to catch your attention.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton, $17.25 from Booktopia

Having already penned a bestselling memoir, Everything I Know About Love, it was only natural for Dolly Alderton to take her talents to fiction.

Ghosts is the story of 32-year-old Nina Dean, a successful writer with a life that’s “falling apart” despite her best efforts. When she uses a dating app for the very first time, Nina suffers the all-too common reality of being ‘ghosted’ by a man she was seeing.

While she worries about biological clocks and settling down, she’s also coping with the fact that her father is battling dementia and her mother seems intent on having a mid-life makeover. It’s a lot. And it’s a captivating read that will pull you in; making you laugh, cringe and cry with Nina.

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dolly alderton ghosts
(Credit: Booktopia)

Love At First Spite by Anna E. Collins, $24.75 from Booktopia

This book combines our favourite rom-com tropes in the best way. We’ve got a creative leading lady with an enviable job, we’ve got a cheating ex-fiancé, we’ve got a scheme that involves working with a man who is “so annoying” (ahem). 

Interior designer Dani Porter decides to buy the vacant lot next to her exes house, the one they were supposed to live in together after getting married. You know, before he cheated on her with their realtor. 

So, Dani decides to build a vacation rental next door, which will mess with his property views and prove she’s not one to be stepped on. But, in order to pull off the aptly named Spite House, Dani has to work with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, who is the polar opposite to her. Yeah, you know you want to see where this one is going.

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love at first spite booktopia
(Credit: Harper Collins)

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Sutanto, $23.25 from Booktopia

Dial A For Aunties flirts the line between romantic comedy and black comedy, with things verging on very dark sometimes. Well, they would be dark if not for being so damn funny.

Meddy Chan works in the wedding industry with her mother and aunties, with their biggest event of all time fast approaching. But when Meddy accidentally kills her blind date the night before the wedding, things take a turn. She turns to her aunties for help, since their meddling ways set her up on the date in the first place.

Although, figuring out what to do with a dead body when they’ve got their biggest wedding EVER to pull off is just a little complicated. Throw in the fact that Meddy’s gorgeous ex-boyfriend works at the venue, and you’ve got yourself one chaotic and enticing read.

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dial a for aunties
(Credit: Harper Collins)

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry, $14.95 from Booktopia

If you’re on the nerdy side of TikTok – AKA BookTok – you’ve no doubt seen this cover popping up everywhere. And for good reason, too. The second novel from Beach Read author Emily Henry is a delight from start to finish, taking us on a much-needed vacation with Poppy and Alex.

Set over the course of 12 different summers, the book flashes between the past and the present, giving readers a glimpse into why this once-solid friendship fell apart – and why Poppy is so desperate to save it.

Using one last adventure to lure Alex in, Poppy is determined to make things right. So, what could go wrong? Lots. Obviously.

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people we meet on vacation
(Credit: Booktopia)

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, $20.50 from Booktopia

Another book that scored rave reviews recently, The Flatshare is an enticing read told from two vastly different perspectives.

Tiffy and Leon share a flat and a bed. But they’ve never met. Living and working in London – and both needing affordable rent – the pair decide to “flat share” a one bedroom apartment, agreeing never to cross paths while she works a corporate job in the day, and he works in a hospital in the evenings.

What will happen next? Well, you may think you know, but we can guarantee the journey makes this book well worth the read.

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the flat share
(Credit: Booktopia)

Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, $17.95 from Booktopia

If that title alone doesn’t grab you, I don’t know what will. A big-hearted book that’s safe to give to your mum – I did! – this story turns every idea you’ve ever had about elderly widows on its head. I mean, if you ever had preconceived notions to begin with.

When Nikki takes on a creative writing class at her local temple in London, she accidentally finds herself teaching an illicit storytelling workshop to a bunch of widows, after they discover a risqué read in her bag. Listening to the older ladies recounting their sexiest stories and fantasies, Nikki finds herself shockingly invested in her students.

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Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows
(Credit: Booktopia)

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan, $26.90 from Booktopia

From the bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians, Sex and Vanity puts luxe parties, extravagant fashion, family drama and forbidden romances back on the map… where they belong.

Set between two tantalising summer playgrounds, the book follows Lucie Churchill as she spends two different vacations avoiding George Zao, at two very different, pivotal points of her life.

Once when she’s young and not-so-carefree in Capri, and once when she’s in The Hamptons with her fiancée, paying homage to the iconic novel A Room With A View.

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kevin kwan sex and vanity
(Credit: Booktopia)

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston, $23.90 from Booktopia

Following the debut novel Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston returns with another swoon-worthy book to give you butterflies.

August moves to New York thinking she’ll find a world as cynical as she is: true love doesn’t exist and the best way to go through life is alone. But then she meets Jane, a gorgeous and mysterious woman on a train. 

Oh, and Jane is also a 70s punk rocker who’s trapped in time and needs August’s help to… not be that. Time travel and a sexy romance? We’re there.

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one last stop
(Credit: Booktopia)

One Year Of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie, $22.40 from Booktopia

Having escaped Venezuela as illegal immigrants, the Palacios family have been living under-the-radar in Trinidad. Until their beloved Aunt Celia dies and it turns out she’s got some unfinished business with a local crime boss called Ugly. Now, it’s their business.

As the family are left to do whatever illegal activities Ugly requires, our leading lady – 20-something Yola Palacios – finds herself drawn to his formidable right-hand-man, Roman.

Ah, yes, the enemies to lovers arc set against a backdrop of shock twists, strip clubs and illegitimate love children. Now that’s a lot of tomfoolery for a book about crime, but, here we are.

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one year of ugly
(Credit: Booktopia)

The Giver Of Stars by Jojo Moyes, $16.50 from Booktopia

A little more classic on the romance novel spectrum, The Giver Of Stars is the kind of book you can easily see being adapted into a film by Reese Witherspoon. And, honestly, it wouldn’t shock me since this was one of her book club picks.

Transporting us to the town of Baileyville, Kentucky, in the 1930s, this novel introduces us to a set of ‘remarkable’ women.

Alice Wright has travelled from England to marry Bennett Van Cleve, a man who certainly doesn’t live up to the hype. Margery O’Hare is the daughter of a notorious felon, and she’s on a mission to spread books around to the poor and lost.

Together, they begin working on a packhorse library – discovering freedom, friendship and, of course, a lil’ romance.

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The Giver Of Stars
(Credit: Booktopia)

Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan, $26.95 from Booktopia

Brimming with acid humour and scintillating sex scenes, Insatiable is probably on the exact opposite end of the spectrum to The Giver of Stars.

Violet’s life is no where near as exciting as she thought it would be. She wants better friends, better sex and a better job. When she meets Lottie, an exciting older woman who hires her to work in a buzzy new start-up, things finally start to look up.

Seduced by their luxe townhouse, lavish lifestyle and Friday night sex parties, Violet finds herself intertwined with Lottie and her husband, Simon. Is this what she wanted?

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Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan
(Credit: Booktopia)

Writers & Lovers by Lily King, $18.75 from Booktopia

From the author of Euphoria comes Writers & Lovers, an outrageously funny and heartwarming read. 

Moving back to Massachusetts after a devastating love affair, 31-year-old Casey is waiting tables in a local restaurant between writing her novel and… avoiding writing her novel. She’s also coping with the recent loss of her mother. Things aren’t great, but when are they ever, in the beginning? 

This is when she meets Silas and Oscar, finding herself at the pointy end of a love triangle. Torn between two different men – and different possible futures – Casey finally takes on a new phase of her life.

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writers & lovers by lily king
(Credit: Booktopia)

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, $20.35 from Booktopia

A modern love story that’s been compared to works by Sally Rooney, Exciting Times introduces us to Ava. 

At 22 year’s old, Ava is heading off on a ‘gap year’ of sorts, leaving Ireland to take a poorly-paid job in Hong Kong working for rich families as an English tutor.

Transforming from a coming-of-age tale into love story as she meets fellow expats, Julian and Edith, the novel explores money, love, unspoken feelings, cynicism and the general confusion of being in your early 20s. Making it a must-read.

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exciting times booktopia
(Credit: Booktopia)

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