Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
I love a good romance novel, but it’s getting harder and harder to find novels that focus on the heart-felt development of love over the fiery love-making scenes.
Sure, I don’t mind a bit of smut here and there, but I love some sweet clean romance novels that concentrate on slow-burning romance.
For me, clean romance books are more relatable. They focus on relationship building and a developing plotline, rather than scenes sizzling with heat.
In this guide, I’ve listed my top clean romance stories so you can enjoy the romance without worrying about reading too many intimate scenes.
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What to Expect From Clean Romance Novels?
If you want to read a romance book that focuses on the relationship, then you will enjoy a clean romance book.
These books offer readers a romantic storyline that is absent of graphic sexuality and vulgar language.
Readers can expect uplifting and heart-warming stories focused on love, commitment, and strong moral values.
They are more for family reading, young adult literature, or religious readership.
The emphasis is on simple, wholesome stories that emphasize communication, trust, and respect.
The characters’ development is driven by their innermost values, rather than physical intimacy, which makes their emotional journey feel organic and authentic.
Spiritual Clean Romance Novels
I begin my list with the top spiritually clean romance books. These have some religious or spiritual connotations to the story, adding to the reason to keep things clean…
1. Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers
Known for its moving, powerful storyline, Redeeming Love is one of Francine Rivers‘ most well-known slow burn romance books. It is based on the story of the biblical prophet Hosea but set during the 1850s gold rush.
Since she was sold into prostitution at a young age, Angel has been fueled by anger. But she hates the most the men who use her and then leave. No one has ever stayed.
That is until Michael Hosea steps into her life and obeys God’s call to marry and care for Angel. In the face of all her anger and bitterness, he loves her, and slowly she thaws, learning to trust.
But this scares her, so she runs. Will she return to the man and the faith she loves?
This story is a powerful allegory for the love of God and a picture of what unconditional love looks like.
2. The Parting – Beverly Lewis ( first of a trilogy)
A master of the clean Amish romance and known worldwide for her beautiful love stories, The Parting is one of my favorites by Beverly Lewis.
This is the first in the series called Courting Nellie Fisher.
It has been nearly one hundred days since Nellie’s younger sister Suzie died.
As Nellie begins to hope for a future with Caleb Yoder, the rumors about her sister grow, and some in the community want to keep the couple apart. Including Caleb’s father.
Meanwhile, the tensions between the modern and the Old Ways are growing. As the divide grows, Nellie and Caleb find themselves and their community torn apart in a divide that may never be closed.
It is a story of what it means to love one another even in trouble and find healing as the conflict grows around you.
3. The Thorn – Beverly Lewis
I couldn’t just include one of Beverly Lewis’s amazing works. The Thorn is another of my favorites and the first I read of hers that made me fall in love with her work. This is the first in her Rose trilogy.
Rose Kauffman has a growing friendship with the bishop’s foster son, Nick.
But her sister cautions her against being too involved, and a proper, young Amish man is also courting her.
At the same time, Rose also house keeps for an English widower with an attic that she can never enter. What is he hiding?
Rose’s sister, a Hen, is also struggling with romance and falling for the wrong man, as her husband is very modern.
The two sisters navigate difficult and tense relationships, trying to find their place within the people.
A beautiful story of sisterhood and community as the sisters grow together and try to do what is right.
4. Shadow Among Sheaves – Naomi Stephens
Another moving clean romance novel based on biblical stories. This sweet piece from Naomi Stephens is based on the timeless story of Ruth and Boaz.
Set during the Great Rebellion of 1857, a time of brutal clashing between British imperial forces and the others around them.
Nobody understands Rena, as she marries a British imperial officer and moves to her mother-in-law’s homeland of England at her husband’s death.
The two widows find compassion in the stern figure of Lord Barric, who helps them even in the face of social justice.
But as his affection for Rena grows, he is torn between his reputation and his love for her.
This is a deep military romance novel of the bonds women share and finding love again after a tragic loss.
5. A Bound Heart – Laura Frantz
A fun, fiery novel set in the mountainous world of Scotland, filled with castles and secrets that travels all the way to the New World of the Americas.
Magnus MacLeish and Kark MacDougall have grown up on the same castle grounds, but Magnus is now the laird, and Lark is just the keeper of the bees, but she is the one who could help him keep his wife alive.
But when his wife dies suddenly, the pair are caught up in a whirlwind and then expelled from their island, sold as indentured servants to the New World.
Will they survive the new world together or be destroyed?
A story inspired by the author’s authentic family history, in a tale of love and exile set in colonial America.
Classic Clean Romance Novel
Of course, romance novels were seen as smutty when most classic literature was written. Today, they are way tamer than what other authors are putting out there.
Here are some clean, classic literature books…
6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is a classic, but for a good reason. Jane Austen’s work, which even she considered so explicitly set in its time and place, has managed to transcend these things and has been a beloved favorite for decades.
It is the story of Elizabeth Bennet, an opinionated girl who speaks her mind, even when it is polite, as she finds a verbal competitor in the handsome, sullen Mr. Darcy.
As the two spar in polite settings, what starts as animosity slowly becomes friendship and something else entirely.
If you are looking for a classic witty, clean read, this is a great start and an excellent introduction to the work of Jane Austen.
Her other novels are also great to clean romance stories, so if you love this, continue diving through her works.
Related Reading: Books Like Pride and Prejudice
7. The Sisters of Sea View – Julie Klassen
The first in an ongoing romance series by the well-reviewed Julie Klassen, this book is a masterpiece.
It reads like a modern classic and has the elements of historical romance that we all love: intrigue, wit, and charm.
It is set in Regency-era Devonshire. This is the story of four sisters.
After their father’s death leaves them with little money, Sarah suggests to her sisters that they open their beautiful home to invalids. Emily and Georgiana agree, but their sister Viola who wears a veil to hide a dreadful scar is hesitant.
But instead of caring for the sick and dying, they find themselves hosting fashionable gentlemen, and Sarah begins to fall for a mysterious Scottish widower.
This book is for you if you are looking for a new, touching Regency read.
8. Far Side of the Sea – Kate Breslin
Far Side of the Sea is a novel from the up-and-coming writer Kate Breslin. Set in the war-torn environment of WW 1, full of mystery, intrigue, and love.
This is the story of Lieutenant Colin Mabry, who receives a message from the woman he once loved and thought dead, Jewel Reyer, via carrier pigeon.
When he finds the sender of the message, he realizes it isn’t Jewel, but her half-sister Johanna, who believes Jewel is alive and in the custody of German agents.
There are spies everywhere, and Colin is unsure of Johanna, but together they search for answers until they realize that they must fight to stay alive simply.
A page-turning story filled with drama and tension, this is the book for you if you love a wartime romance.
9. Emma – Jane Austen
Another classic by Jane Austen that I just had to include is Emma. With the same wit and charm as Pride and Prejudice, this stunning novel’s draw is the brilliant main character.
Emma is a feisty young lady, dotted upon by a loving father and with many friends who surround her. She brings her little town to life by organizing the lives of the people in it.
Of course, she loves to play matchmaker, but it has dangerous effects that she could never have predicted.
This is a fantastic and hilarious read from Jane Austen, full of regency intrigue.
If you are looking for a book that will have you clutching your sides and swooning in the same chapter, this is the book for you!
10. A Proper Charade – Esther Hatch
A Proper Charade is the second book in the ongoing Proper Scandals Series by Esther Hatch, but each book can be read as a standalone novel.
A Proper Charade is set against the world of the London Season and is full of delightful twists and turns.
Lady Patience Kendrick is a free-spirited, sunny heroine who is bogged down by the societal pressure of the upcoming Season.
When her brother calls her frivolous, it is simply too much.
So Patience disguises herself as a maid to prove that she can work just like anyone else.
But as she does her best to blend in and work hard in her new position, she can’t help starting to fall for the charming son of the house.
This is a hilarious, romantic story full of wrong turns that will have you screaming at the characters on the page.
If you are a fan of the Bridgerton series, this is for you, but you want to avoid all the more steamy scenes.
Modern Clean Romance Novels
You might think that modern romance books can’t be clean these days, but these authors tell another story…
11. In The Market for Love – Megan Squires
One of many great books by the new romance author Megan Squires is In The Market For Love.
This cozy story is set in an idyllic little town that will fulfill all your cottage-core and homesteading dreams.
Sophie Potter has everything she wants. She runs a thriving flower farm and Farmer’s Market in the tiny North Carolina town of Fairvale.
But where the rest of her life is thriving, her love life is non-existent, but she is content with that. Until the architect Cole Blankenship ends up on her doorstep, looking for a lost piece of luggage.
He has been selected as the designer of a backyard contest, and unfortunately, that is the very land that Sophie is farming.
As tension rises between them, what started as animosity turns to something else.
Are you looking for a cozy, comforting enemies-to-lovers story? This might be the new book for you!
12. By Your Side – Kasie West
I love the light, easy romances of Kasie West. Her works stand out as bright lights in a world filled with smutty, intense novels. By Your Side is one of my favorite books of hers.
Autumn Collins loves to be in control, and everything in her life is going just fine… until she gets locked in the library.
To make matters worse, she’s locked in with none other than
Dax Miller. The two slowly open up to each other and form a connection that neither of them expected. But will what they have last outside of the library?
This sweet, funny angst romance novel is packed with tension. And what book lover doesn’t enjoy a locked-in library story ?!
13. It’s Better This Way – Debbie Macomber
It’s Better This Way is a beautiful story by the prolific author Debbie Macomber. It chronicles what love after heartache can look like, bringing hope to anyone who reads it.
Julie Jones has been divorced for almost six years. After finding out that her husband had an affair, she tried to save the marriage, but nothing worked.
Her daughters stand by her side, even as a new stepmother enters their lives. Julie has settled into her new condo, sold her business, and reinvented her life without another man.
Until she meets Heath Johnson in the resident gym, a fellow divorcee who understands her in a way she has never felt before. But will shocking secrets threaten their relationship?
This second chance romance story is hopeful and great for anyone who loves a woman finding herself again after grief and hardship.
14. The Return – Nicholas Sparks
A beloved clean romance writer, Nicholas Sparks has done it again with The Return.
The intriguing romantic thriller is set against the background of lovely rural North Carolina.
After a mortar blast puts him out of action in Afghanistan, Trevor Benson moves back to New Bern, NC.
He regroups in a dilapidated cabin from his recently deceased grandfather, tending to bees and waiting to start his second round of med school.
But as he slowly falls in love with a local, he gains insights into his grandfather’s mysterious death. Trevor realizes New Bern might not be exactly as he remembered it.
This book will have you on the edge of your seat all the way up to the end.
If you are a fan of mysterious romances with just a touch of thrill, this could be a new book to add to your list.
15. An Unlikely Pair – Traci Hunter Abramson
The first in a refreshing and energizing series, An Unlikely Pair is great if you love romance born out of competition and athleticism.
Amaliya Marcelk’s world has crumbled around her. So she goes to a new city to try and rebuild but meets the handsome Tyler Linden on the way.
Tyler lost hope of going to the U.S. national figure skating championship after his sister’s shocking retirement.
But when he sees Amaliya at a local ice rink, he asks her to become his new figure skating partner.
The road to championships is challenging, but as the two bond over their art, they also bond off the rink. While their friendship and something more survives the trials of competition?
This compelling, fast-paced sports romance book will have you wondering how it ends till the last page.
If you love the intensity of competition and figure skating, this should be on your list.
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Final Word on Clean Romance Books
So there you have it. Those are my favorite clean romance novels with a heartfelt storyline and a passionate romance without the smut.
I hope you found something that interests you on this list. If you have any more suggestions, let me know in the comments!