Losing yourself in a good book was even more important this year than in previous years. I am so thankful for these amazing writers that share their work with us. Here are the Top 20 Books in 2020.
- Romancing Her Rival by Joanna Barker
- The Noble Smuggler by Sian Ann Bessey
- Letters for Phoebe by Sally Britton
- Fall From Trace by Rebecca Connolly
- Valley of Dreams by Sarah M. Eden
- Promised by Leah Garriott
- A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch
- Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter
- His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson
- Where the Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball
- The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah E. Ladd
- The Last Eligible Bachelor by Ashtyn Newbold
- The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano
- The Lady of Larkspur Vale by Kasey Stockton
- The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch
- The Masked Baron by Anneka R. Walker
- Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker
- Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson
- A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White
- The Kissing Tree by by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese
Romancing Her Rival by Joanna Barker
He stole her inheritance. She stole his heart.
Daphne Windham has depended upon one thing her entire life: inheriting her beloved great-aunt’s estate, Cheriton Hall. With her mother desperate to marry her off to the highest bidder, Daphne is relieved to escape to Cheriton for the summer—until she learns that her aunt has decided upon a different heir entirely. Cole Everard, the steward’s son and Daphne’s childhood friend. Former friend, that is.
Raised on the grounds of Cheriton, Cole Everard never imagined he would be named heir, but he is determined to prove himself worthy of the position. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, especially when Daphne arrives claiming he is anything but worthy. Instead of their close friendship, Cole is met with cold indifference—which would sting much less if he wasn’t entirely in love with her…
Hurt and betrayed, Daphne believes her only choice is to undermine her new rival and reclaim what is rightfully hers. But that plan becomes increasingly difficult, what with Cole’s infuriating charm and kindness. When fate offers Daphne a second chance, will she take it or risk it all for the promise of love?
The Noble Smuggler by Sian Ann Bessey
Despite living at her father’s inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him—completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be.
When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father’s death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded midcharade, Jonas’s life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler’s daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again—until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past—secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever.
Letters for Phoebe by Sally Britton
When Phoebe starts receiving anonymous letters, she never once thinks the most irresponsible man in London is her correspondent. Or that she will fall in love with him.
Phoebe Kimball grew up believing in love, but after failing to find a gentleman capable of capturing her heart, she has turned more practical than romantic. She is determined to find a husband in London this Season. If only the annoying Mr. Fenwick would stop appearing every time she sets her cap at someone! When an anonymous letter arrives warning her that her current target is unsuitable marital material, Phoebe begins a relationship with the letter writer that promises something more than a practical alliance.
Griffin Fenwick does not usually care for women on the hunt for a husband, but Miss Kimball’s quick wit and refusal to admit she enjoys his company intrigues him. When he realizes the gentlemen on her list of eligible bachelors is full with scoundrels, he warns her the only way he can – through a letter. As he comes to know Phoebe better, he soon realizes he wishes to put his own name on her list. If only she liked Griffin as much as she liked her anonymous correspondent.
When Phoebe realizes its been Griffin writing her all along, will she put aside practicality for love, or spurn Griffin for even trying to woo her?
Fall From Trace by Rebecca Connolly
Gone, but not forgotten…
Alex Sommerville should have been dead. To the world, he had been dead for almost five years, and with him, the secrets he had carried as Trace, the most elusive member of the London League. When a chance to escape finally comes, Alex finds just enough life left in him to take it, and races off to return to the woman he loves.
…Back, but at what cost?
The last person Poppy Edgewood ever expected to see suddenly falls into her life again – literally. Alex is a shell of the man he once was, and on the brink of the death she thought him already lost to. What answers will he have for her when he recovers, and can she even bear to hear them?
Valley of Dreams by Sarah M. Eden
Patrick O’Connor has seen far too much of the cruel and unforgiving world. Life has beaten him down relentlessly. Out of hope and out of options, he makes the terrifying and desperate decision to return home to the family he has lied to for years, the family he knows will never forgive him.
Widowed and nearly unable to care for her tiny daughter under the weight of extreme poverty, Eliza Porter jumps at the opportunity to leave behind the slums of New York City for the promise of a new life and a new beginning in the frontier town of Hope Springs.
Fate tosses the two of them together more and more often, while the burden of his tightly-held secrets and the ache of her abandoned dreams pull them further and further apart. Clinging to the whispered possibility of something more than the pain life has offered them thus far will require every bit of hope they can find in this peaceful but precarious valley of dreams.
Promised by Leah Garriott
Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart…
Warwickshire, England, 1812
Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious match-making party intent on securing the perfect marital match: a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake, Mr. Northam.
There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match–to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage–to Lord Williams.
Under no conditions will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose.
A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch
A Victorian Historical Romance
Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience’s elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister’s antics but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.
Taken on as household staff by her brother’s former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn’t helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated than she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.
Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter
For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he’s even more at a loss.
The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley’s refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued by the area’s newest eligible bachelor.
Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?
His Lady in Hiding by Jen Geigle Johnson
Lady Elizabeth Davenport is desperate. Her hand in marriage has been offered to the highest bidder, a distressing proposition in and of itself but made all the more repulsive when she meets her father’s first choice for her hand—Lord Pinweather. When her parents refuse to hear her pleas, Liz is forced to take drastic measures—she will impersonate her maid and begin anew in America on her own terms.
Once on board the ship to America, another passenger, Lord Barton, discovers her true status as a noble almost immediately. After listening to Liz’s highly modified version of her life and her plans to begin again, Barton has compassion on her, teaching her to abandon her noble mannerisms. Upon disembarking, however, Barton’s generous spirit quickly dampens when he discovers Liz has indeed found work—as his own head housekeeper. Suddenly the tender feelings they hid from one another on the ship are inescapable—but their difference in station makes romance impossible. As misunderstandings abound and a shocking character from Liz’s past looms, she knows she can’t hide her true identity forever. But as her deception begins to unravel, will her charade cost her the man she loves?
Where the Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball
Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twentyfirst birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.
Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.
But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.
The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah E. Ladd
In Regency England an advantageous match could set up a lady for life. Julia knows Matthew Blake, copper mine owner and very eligible bachelor, is the gentleman she should set her eyes upon. But why can’t she steal her gaze away from his younger brother, Isaac?
Cornwall, England, 1818
Julia Twethewey needs a diversion to mend her broken heart, so when her cousin invites her to Lanwyn Manor, Julia eagerly accepts. The manor is located at the heart of Cornwall’s mining industry, and as a guest Julia is swept into its intricate world. It’s not long, though, before she realizes something dark lurks within the home’s ancient halls.
As a respected mine owner’s younger son, Isaac Blake is determined to keep his late father’s legacy alive through the family business, despite his brother’s careless attitude. In order to save their livelihood—and that of the people around them—the brothers approach the master of Lanwyn Manor with plans to bolster the floundering local industry. Isaac can’t deny his attraction to the man’s charming niece, but his brother has made clear his intentions to court the lovely visitor. And Isaac knows his place.
When tragedy strikes, mysteries arise, and valuables go missing, Julia and Isaac find they are pulled together in a swirl of strange circumstances, but despite their best efforts to bow to social expectations, their hearts aren’t so keen to surrender.
The Last Eligible Bachelor by Ashtyn Newbold
A ruse can only last so long…
Tillie Sherbrooke was born a lady, but lost her place in society by her father’s folly. Quiet, resourceful, and loyal, she now makes the perfect lady’s maid for her mistress Sophia. When Sophia’s parents give her no choice but to travel across England to be matched with a mysterious young bachelor, Mr. Hill, she has no interest, especially since there are several other ladies vying for him. Who better to send in her place than Tillie? What gentleman would notice a maid, even one disguised as a lady? So when Sophia asks this favor of Tillie, or rather—threatens her into it, Tillie must rely on her past, the life of a proper lady, if she hopes to keep her position at Sedgwick Manor.
Disguised as her mistress, Tillie takes a coach across the country to a new place, one both unfamiliar and frightening. With so much at stake, she does all she can to stay quiet and invisible. But when she inadvertently catches Mr. Hill’s attention, she realizes she may have more to lose than her livelihood. She may very well lose her heart.
The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano
Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.
Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings–mostly negative ones–about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.
The Lady of Larkspur Vale by Kasey Stockton
She wants to forget she ever knew him; he just wants her.
Mabel Sheffield is too tall, or so she believes. It’s one of the reasons she has given up on finding a husband and instead embraces her role as a spinster, dedicating her days to managing her grandmother’s estate and her seven-year-old sister. But when Liam MacKenzie shows up at her house to stay for the summer, she’s unsure if she can keep her resolve. The problem: he’s the other reason she’s a spinster.
Book two in the Ladies of Devon series, The Lady of Larkspur Vale is a childhood friends-to-lovers and second chance romance story. It is a clean Regency romance that continues telling the story of the four women who make up a literary society in Devon and form a lasting friendship.
The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch
He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life
When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.
But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.
Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?
The Masked Baron by Anneka R. Walker
Andalin is accustomed to her father’s frequent travels and to being left behind. So when he returns home and instructs her to pack her belongings, she is bewildered but there is no time for questions as she is whisked away on a mysterious journey under the cover of night. When their tense flight leads them into the forbidding Black Forest, the pair quickly finds themselves in great peril. With little hope of escape, father and daughter are spared when rescue appears in the form of the mysterious Dark Rider, a notorious deadly highwayman feared by all he meets. But his assistance does not come without a price: he is taking Andalin with him. Now her fate rests in the hands of the enigmatic masked man whose secrets are inescapably tied to the beautiful young woman now in his charge.
Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker
Brighton, England 1820
Amelia Moore wants only one thing–to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own–without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.
Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter–and eventually playing by his rules–makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson
In this new Regency romance, a young unwed mother must protect her heart from the charms of her convenient new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.
When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.
Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murder, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.
Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.
A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White
Zivon Marin was one of Russia’s top cryptographers until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee to England after speaking out against Lenin, Zivon is driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits. But never far from his mind is his brother, whom Zivon fears died in the train crash that separated them.
Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and re-creating photographs. With her father’s connections in propaganda, she’s recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove if she ever found out.
After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily that soon takes over their hearts. But both have secrets they’re unwilling to share, and neither is entirely sure they can trust the other. When Zivon’s loyalties are called into question, proving him honest is about more than one couple’s future dreams–it becomes a matter of ending the war.
The Kissing Tree by by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese
Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors’ unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.
In Regina Jennings’ Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.
In Karen Witemeyer’s Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.
From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.
Heartwood by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who’s reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.