Are you a romance reader looking to escape in a feel-good book? Are you looking for the Best Enemies to Lovers Books? Look no further.
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Enemies to lovers is a cherished trope in the romance genre, made highly popular by Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice. In a few words, these plots revolve around two people who very much dislike each other, but that end up overcoming their hostility and differences until they finally (spoiler!) fall for each other. Whether it’s within a contemporary romance or a fantasy novel, enemies-to-lovers books always manage to convey intense emotions, moving change of hearts, and just the right amount of sexual tension. It should come as no surprise that so many romance readers are in love with this sub-genre.
If you’re one of them, this post is for you. Below are the 10 Best Enemies to Lovers Books of All Time (according to readers) including both fantasy and contemporary romance.
1. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Genre: Contemporary romance; Goodreads rating: 4.20; 2021
Lina and Aaron work at the same company – and guess what, they hate each other’s guts. But with her sister’s wedding getting closer, and no one to claim as a boyfriend, Lina has no other choice but to let her insufferable colleague play her date for the sake of saving face.
This book has everything you could ever want in a romance book. Besides the enemies-to-lovers element, there’s fake dating, office romance, grumpy vs sunshine, vacationing together, plus some A+ spicy moments. The ever-building tension gets heavier with each chapter, and you’ll often find yourself holding your breath as you read.
Plus, Aaron Blackford? It should be illegal to make someone THAT perfect. The author does an amazing job of unraveling his character slowly to her audience, and you find bits and pieces of him that are so dang adorable you won’t believe your eyes.
Speaking of which, let me go and quickly manifest me some Aaron.
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy romance; Goodreads rating: 4.18; 2015
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that combines the traditional fairytale with faeries, political intrigue, and a significant amount of sexual tension.
The storyline revolves around Feyre, a mortal girl who regularly hunts to provide for her family. After accidentally killing a Fae in the woods, Feyre is summoned from the mortal part of her world to the dreaded faerie lands, with no chance of ever going home again.
Feyre initially keeps her guard up in her new surroundings, but over time finds herself entangled in a dangerous game of faerie politics.
Even worse, she ends up falling for her faerie captor.
3. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Genre: Contemporary romance; Goodreads rating: 4.09; published 2016
The Hating Game is the contemporary gold standard for all the best ‘enemies to lovers’ books out there.
Imagine an alternate universe where Jim and Pam actually loathed each other and saved all of the annoying pranks for each other, instead. That’s insane, and pretty much what you get with the Hating Game.
Lucy and Joshua are both executive assistants to the CEOs of an important publishing company, and they pretty much hate each other. So much so, that in their shared office they amuse themselves all day with a series of childish ‘games’ and pranks to exasperate one another.
The hatred intensifies even more when an opportunity for a promotion appears, and both Josh and Lucy want in on it. Nonetheless, they will soon discover they might want each other more.
4. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy romance; Goodreads rating: 4.47; 2015
Frequently mentioned by the “best fantasy books of all time” lists, Six of Crows is a bit different from the rest of the romance novels mentioned here.
To start, it’s much more than a romance novel. In a few words, Six of Crows is a sweeping epic tale of six main characters, six dangerous outcasts trying to pull off an impossible heist that could make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Within the plot, this series has so many hidden themes and complex motifs that one could probably write an entire dissertation on them alone. There’s darkness, magic, morally gray characters everywhere, and then a subtle, slow-burn romance between two young thieves.
The romance never takes over the plot and is applied with a very light hand, never getting in the way of the heist. But despite being very subtle, we strongly believe Six of Crows romance falls beautifully into place with the plot and absolutely deserves a spot on this list.
The only thing you’ll hate about this book is that you didn’t read it sooner.
5. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Genre: Contemporary romance; Goodreads rating: 4.02; 2019
Olive and Ami are identical twins, but couldn’t be more different. Ami is confident, while Olive prefers to stay under the radar. Ami is sleek and skinny, while Olive is curvy. Where good luck always seems to be on Ami’s side – well, you get the picture.
When Ami and her new husband suddenly find themselves unable to leave for their pre-paid honeymoon, they kindly ask their siblings to go instead. After all, Olive can easily pass for Ami, and Ethan, well…Ethan will do his best to take on his brothers’ identity and have fun, despite being Ami’s sworn enemy. And off they go…Maui, here we come!
As the plot suggests, a humorous enemies-to-lovers romance fills out the book. It’s very funny and engaging from the start, and yet the storyline soon takes a more emotional tone with several climaxes related to trust, family, career, and relationships. Reading this book for the first time is like being enveloped in warmth.
6. The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy romance; Goodreads rating 4.09; 2018
The Cruel Prince showcases author Holly Black at the top of her game: there’s court intrigue, magic, an atmosphere of terror, and a beautifully dark romance. In this novel, Fae domination is at its apex. Humans are considered weak and useless, while Fae are considered superior in every way.
In this mess, we follow Jude, a young mortal girl that witnessed her parent’s murder. After that terrible night, she and her sisters are carried away by the actual murderer to live in Faerie.
Ten years later, Jude is still trying to live in this new world while continuously being reminded of her human status by all her peers – mainly by the faerie prince Cardan who never hesitates to make her life miserable. Fae will soon find herself wrapped up in a very complex game, a game that may cause a civil war to break out in Faerie if not played properly.
7. Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Contemporary romance; Goodreads rating: 4.05; 2020
Don’t let the cover and blurb fool you, because this book has more substance than it suggests. What seems to be a light summer read actually contains a lot of thoughtfulness and heartache.
Using her clever wordplay, Emily Henry brings her audience into the lives of two very different writers. There’s January, a once positive romance writer, fighting her own demons while working through a bout of writer’s block. And then there’s Augustus, a broody and mysterious twice published author, confronting creative fears of his own.
A mix of unfortunate circumstances find January and Gus, old rivals, neighbors for the summer – and this is the perfect excuse to fall in love.
Witty exchanges paint the chapters and provide the ideal counterbalance to the pain in their hearts. Beach Read is amusing, deep, and hella romantic.
8. Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1) by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: Fantasy romance; Goodreads rating: 4.03; 2019
Fans of the best enemies to lovers books and fantasy will absolutely inhale this retelling love story.
In this new world of Belterra, witches are burned at the stake by orders of the king. The Chasseurs are responsible for hunting them down, and they’re ruthless. After fleeing her coven, our protagonist Louise resorts to a life of thievery on the streets. She’s managed to live undetected for over two years, up until one burglary gone wrong sets the wrong wheels in motion.
The last thing she expects is to end up tangled into Reid Diggory’s life, a famous chasseur whose sole mission in life is to hunt down witches like Lou.
The forbidden and sexually explicit love story that arises is compelling and addicting, and the 17th-century Frenchesque setting really adds to the atmosphere of the story.
9. The Simple Wild (The Simple Wild #1) by K.A. Tucker
Genre: Contemporary romance; Goodreads rating: 4.38; 2018
Calla Fletcher was born in rural Alaska but moved to Canada when she was only 2 and hasn’t been back since. She’s 26 now, living in Toronto, where life is good. That is until everything starts to fall apart, and she finds out that her father, who still leaves in Alaska, is unwell. And that’s when she decides to finally go back home.
Calla can’t even imagine what life is like in the Alaskan wild. Her father owns a line of airplanes and has quite a few pilots that work for him. The one that picks Calla up is Jonah. Jonah and Calla seem like the most unlikely pair. And in a lot of ways, they are.
This story is a romance, but it’s also so much more than that. This is a story about a difficult father/daughter relationship. It’s a story about growth, about learning who you are, and about discovering what life really means.
I feel like this book will really touch the soul of those readers who enjoy their romance to contain a high level of intimacy.
10. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Genre: Sci-Fi; Goodreads rating 3.96; 2019
If you want a complex, unconventional, sapphic enemies-to-lovers romance set amidst a century-long time war (and how could you possibly not want that?) then this is the book for you. This Is How You Lose the Time War is about two women, Red and Blue, on opposite sides of a time war, followed as they fall in love with each other through love letters.
Red belongs to the Agency, a technology-centric society, while Blue belongs to the Garden, a natural entity. Out of nowhere, Red finds a sardonic, mocking letter from Blue in the ashes of a war zone, and that’s how they start writing letters to each other.
The lyrical prose never comes off as excessively convoluted, and clearly serves to highlight the emotions expressed by the characters.
This is a passionate, haunting, genre-storming prose poem describing an unconventional love story, and it is perfect for readers looking for a slow burn, enemies-to-lovers book filled with yearning desire and romantic longing.
What’s your favorite enemies to lovers book? What are, in your opinion, the best enemies to lovers books of all time?
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Tags: best enemies to lovers books; best romance books; best enemies to lovers fantasy books