As companion to my favorite contemporary Catholic fiction-writers that I posted in August, here are my favorite contemporary Christian romance authors (with a few bonus honorable mentions at the end.) The prominence of Christian themes vary from author to author and story to story, but all are perfectly blended with the story and none are pushy or proselytizing, which frankly, no one wants to read.
Authors are listed in no particular order.
I read Nicole Deese’s debut novel All for Anna (Letting Go Book 1) in June of 2013. (It’s free on Kindle, so grab it!) I can’t recall now how I discovered it. Bookbub? I’ve enjoyed all of Nicole’s books. She doesn’t waste words, and the ones she chooses are witty, poetic, and endear you to her flawed heroines and the good guys who fall for them.
My Favorite: All She Wanted (Letting Go Book 2), which I’d love to re-read if I can make the time. Mainly because Briggs is a passionate, self-sacrificing, respectful guy of the swoon-worthy variety.
Tammy L. Gray
I’ve enjoyed Tammy L. Gray’s books from the start (another Bookbub find, I think), beginning with Shattered Rose, the first book in The Winsor Series. (It’s perma-free, so click that link and go get it.) Tammy is skilled in creating realistic, intriguing characters. The stories are “clean,” but not sanitized – meaning they incorporate the messiness (and sin) of life. The characters tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for them to discover peace, love, and joy.
Favorite: Sell Out is Tammy’s latest and my favorite. She’s grown tremendously as a writer, and this anti-bullying high school romance is a gem for all ages. For more on Sell Out, read my interview with Tammy.
Pretty sure I found Becky Wade’s books through Nicole Deese’s recommendation. And what a find they were! Becky is masterful at pulling you into her characters’ world and not allowing anything to pull you out. The characters are always well-drawn, making me wish they were real people I could bump into at the grocery store. Or the rodeo as the case may be.
Favorite: All of them? Do I have to pick? If I must, Undeniably Yours (A Porter Family Novel Book #1). Still one of my favorite exchanges of all time, between Meg and Bo:
Meg: “You drive around with handguns and shotguns in your cars?”
Bo slanted a look down at her, humor in his eyes. “We’re hicks from a small town in Texas. ‘Course we do.”
Denise Hunter produces well-written, romantic stories with remarkable speed and consistency. I’ve not yet read her entire back catalog, but I’ve loved every one of the Chapel Spring romances. Her couples ooze romantic chemistry.
Favorite: Dancing with Fireflies ( A Chapel Springs Romance Book 2). From the gorgeous cover to the unwavering devotion of Daniel, this is a charming, small town romance guaranteed to make your heart ache with every up and down in Jade and Daniel’s love story.
Amy Matayo does hip and contemporary better than anyone I’ve read. Her stories are alive with modern, recognizable characters – even if they’re on reality TV.
Favorite: Far and away, my favorite is Sway. This book wasn’t what I expected – it was so much more. I do NOT encourage flipping to the end, but, best last line in a book. Ever. You’ll just have to buy it and read it.
Honorable Mention: Katie Ganshert. I’ve only read one of Katie’s adult novels, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, which I enjoyed. However, I LOVED her The Gifting Series, which is written under the name K.E. Ganshert and geared toward young adults. If it fit the contemporary Christian romance category, she’d be on this list on the strength of that series alone.
Historical Christian Romance: I prefer contemporary stories to historical ones, but I love Karen Witemeyer’s books. Stealing the Preacher (The Archer Brothers Book #2) is my favorite. I’ve enjoyed many of Julie Lessman’s novels as well, particularly A Passion Most Pure (The Daughters of Boston Book #1). I plan on reading her new contemporary novel, Isle of Hope, this weekend. I suspect were I to have written this post a week later, she may have made the contemporary list.
Romantic Suspense: I enjoy an occasional romantic suspense novel. For compelling stories and consistency, Irene Hannon can’t be beaten. (A favorite? Trapped (Private Justice Book #2)) I’ve also enjoyed Dani Pettrey’s books, particularly Shattered: Alaskan Courage Book #2.
For more Five Favorites, visit Call Her Happy.
Do you read contemporary Christian romance? Do you have a favorite author or a favorite book?