Jasmine Guillory is a star of the literary romance world, known for her bestselling novels that explore modern relationships with a sharp, insightful eye. An Oakland native, she earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College before attending law school at Stanford University.
After a successful career in law, Guillory turned her attention to writing, publishing her debut novel, The Wedding Date, in 2018. The book was an instant hit, and her subsequent novels – including The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Party of Two – have only cemented her status as one of the most exciting voices in contemporary romance. Her work features protagonists of color, often centering Black women professionals, and has been praised for addressing issues of race, gender and consent in modern dating.
A passionate romance reader herself, Guillory shared some of her favorites of the genre in a book list for Time. “People need influxes of joy, especially during hard times,” she noted. “I hope more people realize the joy that romance novels can bring them.” Running the gamut from Regency-era historical fiction to love stories for the digital age, explore her top 10 romance reads below, and complement with the swoony recommendations of Emily Henry.
Jasmine Guillory’s Reading List
Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
“I love all of her Wallflowers books, but Devil in Winter I have read and re-read so many times. I checked it out from the library so many times that I eventually bought my own copy.” -JG
Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
“For a while, I was just reading historical romances about white people, which are lovely, but they didn’t make me feel like I had a place in romance. Then I read Beverly Jenkins and loved her books.” -JG
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
“Farrah Rochon has a collection of three books in the Boyfriend Project series about three women who meet because they discover from Twitter that they’re all dating the same man, but then become really good friends… The Boyfriend Project is the first one that kind of sets up their whole friendship, but each book is about a different woman. I love the friendships in the books, but I also really like the way each woman has a very different story and character. The way that they fall in love is so fun and thoughtful, and such a good read.” -JG
32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
“It’s about a Black woman who’s turning 32 and her love story, and it’s really funny and smart. I remember sneaking away at work to read it on my phone because I was just so deep into the story.” -JG
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
“I really love Bet Me. The trope is one that I have always not really liked—you know, there’s a bet that he can get her to do something and then they fall in love—but in the hands of a great writer, it really worked. I had so much fun reading it.” -JG
Fumbled by Alexa Martin
“Alexa Martin has four books about this football team, and I love the way she writes about sports. She doesn’t ignore all of the bad stuff, but talks about it and confronts it in a really interesting way. With Fumbled, she takes another trope that was never one of my favorites: when a man and woman have a baby together before the book starts and he doesn’t know about the baby. I’ve never really loved that, but put any frog in the hands of a great writer and I will love it. She makes me really empathize with both of them.” -JG
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
“I just love the way that Alisha Rai deals with people going through hard stuff in a relationship and working through it together. The friendships and families in her books are done so well.” -JG
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
“There are books that I read a lot when I was a kid that we don’t think of as traditional romance novels, but there’s lots of romance in them. I love the Anne of Green Gables books, especially Anne of the Island, where she and Gilbert go to college and he tries to get her to marry him, but she says no. Then their friendship breaks up, and then they get back together—love it. That romance has always stuck with me because I think it’s very real; they started as enemies, then became friends, and then fell in love—that transition of a relationship is done so well, and it really makes you fall in love with them together.” -JG
Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace
“The Betsy Tacy books are definitely a comfort read. I love Betsy and Joe because their romance also goes through some ups and downs.” -JG
Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai
“Alisha Rai does steamy very well. The first one of hers that I read, Serving Pleasure, was very steamy and great.” -JG
(via Time; photo by Andrea Scher)
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