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Anyone who’s ever grown up in a small town knows that everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everybody’s business.
This makes starting a new romance in a small town somewhat challenging, and also an excellent premise for a small town romance story.
In these small town romance books, we meet protagonists who grew up in small towns.
Therefore they must date in secret, to avoid the prying eyes of nosey neighbors, as well as those who have just moved to town, unaware of the goings-on and secrets.
If you’re looking for a romance book set in a small town to really captivate you and get you gripping to the edge of your seat, then you’re going to want to add these suggestions to your reading list.
What To Expect From Small Town Romance Books?
Small town romance books offer readers a chance to escape into stories of heartfelt connections and sweet, rural settings.
You can expect these novels to combine the idyllic life of rural towns with the passionate romance between two people, where at least one character has lived their life in isolated villages and towns, and face obstacles and difficulties more common to a close-knit community.
They usually have storylines that include strong family values, loyalty to one’s hometown, and overcoming challenges through determination.
There is usually an element of adversity, such as disapproving parents, nosey neighbors, overbearing societal pressures etc.
Despite this though, these stories usually end with a happily ever after, and as readers we get to witness characters reach their dreams and find true happiness together – defying all odds.
Typically, the small town romance troupe offers more lighthearted storylines, focusing on the emotional connection over the attraction.
The Best Small Town Romance Books
Now you know a little bit about what to expect from these small town romances, it’s time to introduce you to my absolute favorites. So, here they are!
1. Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
My absolute favorite small town romance book is Where the Crawdads Sing, which tells of one woman’s resilience, fight for survival, and battle against prejudice.
After her family left home due to her violent father’s behavior, Kya was left alone. When her father also left, she was left to raise herself in her home in the marsh. People in the nearby town call her the marsh girl and avoid her at all costs.
When a young man she was connected to is discovered dead, everyone in town suspects Kya.
To prove her innocence, she must share her story, including her romance with the local boy, Tate, and her connection to the victim.
This is not just a small town romance book but a thrilling read with a gripping storyline, and a plot twist that has your jaw falling to the floor.
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2. It Happened One Summer – Tessa Bailey
Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer is a small town romance novel for romance fans that are itching for page-turning books. It’s a rom-com, but doesn’t loose itself in the hilarity and also has a heartwarming story too.
After an unfortunate party mishap, Piper Bellinger, Hollywood “It Girl,” gets thrown into a world she can barely stomach—Westport, Washington, the small town she was born in.
Everyone, including herself, thinks she won’t make it, but the desire to prove them wrong burns strong as she does her best to get acclimated to this small new world where everyone knows each other.
Worst of all, burly sea captain Brendan, who challenges her at every turn, won’t get out of her sight. But as the story develops, so will Piper’s feelings—finding belonging in a place where she would never have thought to look.
If you’re not sure this book is right for you, then keep your eyes out for the movie adaptation which is yet to be released.
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3. Archer’s Voice – Mia Sheridan
Archer’s Voice is one of the most convincing love stories I’ve read to date.
It follows a woman named Bree who arrives in the small, sleepy town of Pelion, Maine, she wants to find peace and solace after escaping a terrifying ordeal with an ex.
But she immediately meets Archer, an isolated man with his demons.
Archer doesn’t talk to anyone. He needs a woman to help heal his wounds and find his voice, and she needs a man to help her learn to love again.
This story is about passion, the transformative power of love, and resilience.
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4. Beach Read – Emily Henry
Beach Read is a great rom-com novel about a romance writer who no longer believes in love. It will have you laughing with every page, but also falling in love with the characters and their relatable problems.
Augustys Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction, and January Andrews writes bestselling romances. The only problem is they are both stuck with writer’s block.
To find inspiration, they have been sent by their publishers to a beach house, where they will spend three months working on their next book.
Until one evening when too much wine leads them to strike a deal – Augustus will write romance, and January will write the next Great American Novel.
The pair take each other on a series of dates to inspire the other with their novels.
At the end of the three months, each will finish their book, and no one will fall in love…
If you love slow-burn romances with hints of humor, focusing on the relationship blossoming naturally rather than instant attraction, then this ticks all the boxes.
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5. Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score
You wouldn’t expect it from the cover, but Things We Never Got Over is a bad boy romance book with plenty of steam and sizzling chemistry.
The story follows a bearded barber called Know who prefers to fly solo. Until a runaway bride comes along.
Naomi wasn’t just running from her wedding but trying to rescue her twin from the rough town of Knockemout, Virginia, where disputes are settled in bar brawls.
But Naomi’s evil twin hasn’t changed and stole her car and cash. She also leaves her with something unexpected, her niece, who she didn’t know she had.
Now she’s stuck with no car, no money, no job, and no home, with an 11-year-old to take care of.
Knox doesn’t do high-maintenance women, but as Naomi’s life imploded right before him, he decides to help her. So much for living a solitary life…
This is a single parent romance book with a slow-burning romance that goes from lust to love.
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6. Indigo Ridge – Devney Perry
If you’re looking for an enemies to lovers, small town romance book with some thriller notes, then Indigo Ridge is the book for you.
The story follows Winslow Covington, the new chief of police in the small town of Quincy, Montana. She’s desperate to prove to the town she earned her right as the chief, not just because her grandfather is the mayor.
To solidify the communities trust, she must earn the respect of the Edens, the town’s founding family – except she may have had a one-night stand with the family’s oldest son.
Griffin Eden was a mistake and one she wants to put behind her, but his arrogance keeps reminding the town that she’s an outsider.
She tries to avoid him, but when a woman is found dead on his property, they have no choice but to cross paths.
As she tries to uncover the mystery behind the murder, she also uncovers some deeper feelings for Griffin, who she realizes is not arrogant, but smart, handsome, and undeniably, irresistible.
What I love about Indigo Ridge is that its characters are so relatable and have so much depth, I feel as if I know them personally.
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7. Flawless – Elsie Silver
Looking for something steamy? Well, Flawless is the small town romance novel for you. It follows the cowboy bull rider, Rhett Eaton, who gets into trouble with his sponsors.
To smooth things over, his agent gets him a babysitter for the last few months of his tour.
She happens to be his agent’s daughter, Summer Hamilton, to who he instantly feels attracted.
The chemistry is undeniable, the heat is sizzling, and the romance is pure passion. If you love steamy cowboy romances with a small town heroine, you will swoon over this one.
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8. All Rhodes Lead Here – Mariana Zapata
All Rhodes Lead Here is a slow-burn, single dad small town romance book with a rollercoaster love story.
The story follows Aurora De La Torre, who has been through a terrible year and decides it’s time to settle down in her small town hometown.
She rents a garage apartment from a handsome, single dad, Tobias Rhodes. Rhodes and Aurora soon develop a friendship, even though Tobias is a grumpy sunshine character.
But soon Aurora’s secrets from her difficult year come to light, and it threatens the passionate love they have grown together.
Fair warning, this is a long read, at 570 pages you’re going to need to allow plenty of time for this one. However, the story never falters and will leave your heart feeling full at the end.
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9. The Simple Wild – K.A. Tucker
The Simple Wild follows a city girl called Calla Fletcher, who is trying to connect with her estranged father. She ends up in the Alaskan wilderness where she was born, braving odd daylight hours, bears, and outhouses.
She dreams of her home in Toronto, but this may be her only chance to get to know her biological father.
While struggling to adjust to this remote lifestyle, she meets Jonah, a quiet Alaskan pilot who has been running her father’s charter plane company, who thinks she’s too pampered to make it in the wild.
But Calla wants to prove him wrong.
Soon, they form a bond, and their relationship turns from enemies to friends too, maybe, lovers.
But will Calla stay? Or will she return to Toronto?
This is one of those romance books that I think about often. It has an unlikely pair as our main protagonists, and a setting that is simply dazzling. I loved the opposites attract elements of this book, it somehow made it feel more realistic.
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10. Center Ice – Cate Cameron
Center Ice is another small town romance with a city girl meeting a small town boy. It’s very unique in that it’s a sports romance story, but focuses on the relationship building more than the sport.
Karen is a city girl that has been forced to go live in the small town of Corrigan Falls.
Corrigan Falls is a hockey town. Karen initially hates her time in the small town as she lives with a new family, but things change when she meets Tyler.
She finds that Tyler is one of the only people who truly understand her. However, there’s a catch, Tyler is the star player of the town’s hockey team.
Center Ice explores the dynamics between Kate and Tyler as they learn to support each other with their issues. Tyler’s life seems to be always about hockey and Karen is having a hard time with her new life.
Readers have described this book to be emotional in the best way!
Enjoy an intimate read about a hockey romance that will have you interested in hockey and hockey players.
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11. Making Faces – Amy Harmon
Making Faces is a modern-day Beauty and the Beast retelling with military romance themes.
Ambrose Young is a tall, strong, and handsome MC who signs up to fight for his country in the military. When Ambrose and four other men from his small town go off to fight against the terrorists of 9/11, only Ambrose returns.
Except Ambrose is not the same. He returns a broken man, permanently wounded and grieving the loss of his friends.
And then there’s Fern, who has loved Ambrose since she was thirteen, only she never thought he would look her way.
When Ambrose returns, her love remains unwavering. The pair become friends and then move into something more.
It’s a tender and sweet military romance story about a slow-burning, budding romance between two unlikely souls with themes of love, loss, second chances, and how love goes beyond the surface.
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12. The Coastguard’s House Darling Island – Polly Babbington
The Coastguard’s House Darling Island is a sweet, clean romance story with a feel-good storyline. If you’re looking for steam though, you’ll find this book lacks this element.
Lucie Peachtree is preparing to move to the country with her heart-throb boyfriend.
Except Rob failed to mention to Lucie that while she was busy selling her house and trying to get pregnant, he had secured himself another life with her pregnant colleague.
As her world comes crashing down, Lucie gets a call from the universe. One drunken night in the bathtub, she buys a large, rundown house on the internet. A little house on a small island just off the coast.
Welcome, to Darling Island, from the moment she arrives, she’s full of regret. She struggles to make sense of the small town ways, but after a surprising love interest walks into her life, suddenly Darling doesn’t seem half bad.
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13. Virgin River (Virgin River Series) – Robyn Carr
Virgin River is the debut novel by Robyn Carr in the Virgin River series. Now also a Netflix original series, this sweet angst romance book is full of tender moments that will leave you breathless.
It follows the love story of a midwife/nurse who is recently widowed and moves to a small town, Virgin River, which has a population of six hundred.
After losing her husband, Melinda Monroe sees this job in the remote mountain town as the perfect escape from her heartache.
But her hopes come crashing down within an hour of arriving—the cabin she was given is a dump, the roads are dangerous and the local doctor ignores her.
Realizing she’s made a mistake, she leaves the next day.
Just as she’s about to leave, a tiny baby is abandoned on a front porch. It changes everything. Especially when former marine Jack Sheridan comes into the mix.
This is a heartwarming small town romance book with a family-orientated storyline with a female hero and a slow-burn romance theme. If you’re not sure it’s right for you, check out the Netflix series first.
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14. Reckless Memories – Catherine Cowles
If you’re looking for a book that intertwines mystery with romance, then Reckless Memories is for you.
Isabelle Kipton (Bell) has lived in a small town on a remote island called Anchor Island since she was a little girl.
She took a job managing The Catch and Bar Restaurant for The Hardy family, who were more family to Bell than her own.
Ford Hardy was her childhood friend, but when he was 18, he left to live a good life in LA, abandoning her when she needed him the most.
Years later, he has never been back home, but after hearing the family may lose the bar, he decides it’s time.
Bell isn’t too pleased with Ford’s return, not only because he left but because of the rekindling of feelings she had for him when they were teenagers.
Will Bell and Ford be able to move past their mistakes? Will their feelings for each other ever rekindle?
This is a cute best friends to lovers small town romance that had me rooting for Ford and Bell from the very beginning.
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15. Tattered Stars – Catherine Cowles
The last book to recommend to you is Tattered Stars, which is another heartfelt story about two lovable characters falling slowly in love. It’s both heartfelt and passionate and is beautifully written.
Everly Kember left the small town of Wolf Gap, Oregon, nearly fifteen years ago. She thought staying away would help her forget about her father and all the horrible things he did.
But when her mother decides to leave the family ranch, she must return.
This is her chance to face the demons lurking in her closet, and also start her dream of opening an animal sanctuary.
But then she meets Hayes Easton, the sheriff of Wolf Gap. When he learns Everly has returned, he wants to pick up where they left off.
But this time, Everly isn’t going anywhere. Hayes and Everly start a friendship, which soon turns into something more when Hayes must become her protector when her safety is at risk.
This is an enemies to lovers romance that has hints of suspense, drama and mystery that keeps you hooked on every page.
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Final Word on Small Town Romance Books
What I love about small town romance novels is that you can have vastly different storylines and ways of developing a relationship when the setting is so small.
As you can see from my list, there is a huge diversity of romance stories here, which makes this romance troupe one of the most captivating.
I hope you found a book to add to your bookshelf from this list. If you have any more recommendations, let me know in the comments!
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Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Louisa