If you adore the suspense, heartbreak and the super satisfying ending that is Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth’s love story, these five books are for you.
To be on this list the books must fall into the Second Chances trope of romance and have good reviews from multiple sources. Something in the past separated our lovers and the obstacles piled in front of their happily ever after seem insurmountable.
The problems from the past must be real enough to have caused a separation, but they can’t be so terrible that our main characters can never move past them. They must be far apart for now, and yet it has to be obvious that they’re meant for each other and still madly in love.
It’s a tricky balance to get right, but when it’s done well there is no story more satisfying. I might have cried at the end of the 2007 BBC adaptation of Persuasion (I admit to nothing.)
(All book descriptions came from Goodreads.)
1.Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (Paranormal, Steampunk, Mashup)
“As the mercenary captain of Lady Corsair, Yasmeen has learned to keep her heart as cold as steel, her only loyalty bound to her ship and her crew. So when a man who once tried to seize her airship returns from the dead, Yasmeen will be damned if she gives him another opportunity to take control.
Treasure-hunter Archimedes Fox isn’t interested in Lady Corsair—he wants her coldhearted captain and the valuable da Vinci sketch she stole from him. To reclaim it, Archimedes is determined to seduce the stubborn woman who once tossed him to a ravenous pack of zombies, but she’s no easy conquest.”
2. The Trouble With Love by Lauren Layne (Contemporary)
“Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante, and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.
After giving up everything for a pro soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.”
3. Waiting For Clark by Annabeth Albert (Contemporary, Novella, Ebook only)
Dear Reader, My friends and I love cosplay, and this year we’re going all out for our city’s con. Yup, we’re going to go as members of the Justice League. I’m going as Batman, but I can’t figure out who’s going as a Superman. My friends are being a little cagey. What’s going on? How did I go from not knowing who Superman is to making out with the guy?
Bryce has hardened his heart against the man who broke it in college, but Clark wants nothing more than to get back their easy, close friendship and hopefully something more.
4. Dark Skye by Kresley Cole (Paranormal)
“As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.
Lanthe has never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?”
5. Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley (Historical)
“Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him. Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman.”
If you enjoy these recommendations, we also have 5 Books for Readers Who Love Pride and Prejudice (and the enemies to lovers trope).