The 25 Best Humorous Romance Novels
Are you a lover of romance novels looking for something a little more light hearted? Do you long for love stories that make you laugh rather than focusing on intense drama? Here we have a list of 25 of the best side-splittingly funny romance novels to sate your appetite for love and laughs, and there’s even a few here for you readers out there who usually “don’t do romance”. Stick around and indulge yourself in these 25 amusing tales of amour.
To begin our journey into the world of love and humour we start off with a cutesy chick-lit novel about a young woman who is sweet and charming, but a bit of a bumbler. Emma Corrigan, the woman in question, has very few secrets, none of them huge or dramatic, but all of them embarrassing, and all of which she ends up spilling to a handsome stranger whilst on a plane. Unfortunately for unlucky Emma, this “stranger” turns out to be Jack Harper, the CEO of the company she works for… Her boss. What ensues is a nice cheeky little romantic romp that piles on the laughs, and not the cutesy little smiles at mildly amusing lines, I’m talking full-on, snorty, out loud laughs. It also provides its fair share of heartbreak on the course of a romance that is sweet and ultimately extremely sappy. It may take a few chapters to warm up to the book, especially for anyone who is not typically a fan of chick-lit of the modern office girl variety, but once you’re on board I can guarantee you’ll enjoy this fun ride, even if you don’t become a full convert to the genre.
Minerva 'Min' Dobbs is a slightly cynical, witty and suspicious thirty something who has found herself dumped by a man who she barely liked let alone loved. Needless to say, she’s not too broken up over her “loss”. Unfortunately though, Min needs a date for her sister’s upcoming wedding, and has to find a replacement date whilst also battling her overbearing mother, a dress that doesn’t fit and the input of her two hilarious best friends. Luckily, she meets an unbelievably good-looking guy who actually asks her out… To win a bet. It’s a less than perfect beginning but it results in a whole lot of chaos, drama and could it be true – love? Bet Me is a wonderfully well-written book; it is funny, witty and charming, and balances its elements perfectly. It has drama, but doesn’t go overboard, and instead focuses on humour and randomness; Min is quirky and goofy, but practical and smart. Her beau, Cal, is a sexy charmer, and despite the fact that the pair do not always see quite eye-to-eye, they make a great couple. With fast-paced, entertaining and funny dialogue, and heart and soul in bucket loads, Bet Me is a book made for romance lovers, and one that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Pretty much everybody has heard of Bridget Jones (if you haven’t, where have you been?!), this book saw huge success as it follows thirty-something singleton who starts a diary in the new year to chronicle her journey to:
a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise
Even larger success came from the following movie adaptation, but this being a list of the best humorous romance books and not best romantic comedy films; we’ll stick to talking about the book without resorting to comparisons with Renée Zellwegger and Colin Firth. Bridget’s story is not a glamorous one, it’s an honest (if at times a little over the top and bizarre) tale of a woman who loves sex, cigarettes and alcohol, and has a lot of friends who sorely need their mouths washed out with soap. It’s the kind of book that will divide you, it’s clumsy in places, idealises relationships and Bridget can be so, so shallow at times you may actually want to reach into the book and throttle her. Nonetheless, it’s hard to deny that Bridget Jones’ Diary is entertaining, Fielding has done a great job at making it funny, and isn’t that what we want here, after all? As a love story it’s a little unbelievable, and has very light Pride and Prejudice undertones that thankfully are not overplayed (bar the very obvious naming of a character – I’m looking at you, Mark Darcy!), making it overall a fun ( if slightly exasperating at times) romance which you may catch yourself chuckling at in spite of yourself.
One for the Money is the first in the Stephanie Plum series by literary entertainer extraordinaire Janet Evanovich. The series follows a female bounty hunter in New Jersey who ends up chasing her ex-boyfriend as her first bounty. This book reeks of the early 90’s era it was written in, especially evident in Stephanie’s questionable fashion choices (big hoop earrings, big hair and spandex shorts!), but it’s not a huge issue, the humour contained within this nineties exterior is still fresh and delicious. With a hilarious dynamic between bounty hunter and hunted that still retains some of their previous dalliance, as well as a fun mystery that includes gangsters, prostitutes, boxers and drugs, the story is as original as it is absorbing. Stephanie is a captivating lead, smart and strong and very sarcastic, with a nice strong supporting cast including some very well-meaning and loving, if annoying and quite embarrassing, family members. This is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys their romance novels to be funny, and with a little mystery and action thrown in to season the mix.
Mel Fuller is a celebrity gossip columnist for the NY Journal, who on her way to work (late) she finds her next door neighbour lying face down and her dog barking like mad. Having a liking for the sweet Mrs. Friedlander, she decides to take care of her cats and dog whilst she is in a coma, but the demand of having these animals to look after takes a toll on Mel, and so with the help of her friends she tracks down the only living relative of her comatose neighbour. The nephew, Max Friedlander is cute, and appears to have a thing for redheads (score one for Mel!) but something is not quite right about him… What ensues is fun whirlwind romance, mixed with a tinge of mystery and a whole lot of laughs as we follow Mel’s interactions with the mysterious man and the questions surrounding Mrs. Friedlander’s near-death experience. The whole book is presented in an email format, which may put some of you off, but actually works very well thanks to the fabulous writing style of Ms Cabot. The characters are a little bit over the top at times, and there’s a lot of deceitful and conniving behaviour that causes misunderstandings that do add to the comic value but can be a bit overmuch at times. Nonetheless, The Boy Next Door is a nice quick and easy read, that is fun, fluffy and oh so sweet.
Cannie Shapiro is a 28 year old reporter, a little on the larger side, and has just sked her boyfriend of three years for a break from their relationship as the two are no longer entirely compatible (read: he goes to college and smokes pot all day while she works). During the aforementioned break her boyfriend gets a job writing a column for a national magazine entitled “Good in Bed”, the first of which he writes about Cannie, and calls it “Loving a Larger Woman”. Needless to say, Cannie is not best pleased. From here on out, Cannie’s life is in emotional turmoil as she battles self-esteem issues and trying to find love, from her friends, her family, her lover and ultimately, herself. It’s a witty and intelligent book, with a heroine who is believable and relatable to anyone who has had similar issues with their self-esteem. For those super-confident people reading, Cannie may come across as annoying and whiny, but the evolution of her character makes sticking with her through all the self-doubt oh so worth it. What you end up with is an emotional, witty and genuinely funny at times romance – just be aware that the author’s name combined with the title may prompt some “hilarious comments” from strangers on public transport…
To Catch an Heiress is a romance novel, but the romance element is not necessarily the reason why you should read it. You should read it because it is a downright hilarious book with some romance chucked in. It’s the story of an orphan set to inherit a huge fortune once she turns twenty-one, who has the misfortune of being passed around a number of guardians who always end up dying. The latest one is extremely cruel and so little orphan Caroline runs away… Only to be captured by a British spy who believes (somehow) that she is a notorious Spanish spy. This ridiculous but intriguing plot is only half of what makes this book funny, where it really shines is in the dialogue. Julia Quinn does such a fantastic job of bringing the laughs that it actually draws away from the romance element, it almost reads as an afterthought, but it actually kind of works – especially if you are in the mood for a nice light read. It’s a romance that is low on sensuality but high on sweetness and maintains a good pace throughout. For love, laughs and a happy ever after, you can’t go wrong with To Catch an Heiress.
This next book is somewhat of a guilty pleasure novel, you’ll be quite embarrassed reading it, and unlikely to want to broadcast the fact that you are, but I can tell you now you won’t regret indulging in this fun and remarkably funny vampire romance. Our protagonist is a newly blooded vamp, Betsy, who blusters her way from situation to ridiculous situation in truly sassy style despite her own naiveté. She’s a smart-ass, and a little zany but charming, and it’s fun to experience the processes and learning curve associated with her new vampiric life style – especially when it results in the often hilarious situations Betsy finds herself in. The romantic interest is a fairly shallow one; it is not sickly sweet, but it does provide a vehicle for some nice, and pretty erotic, sex scenes. In terms of comedy, there’s a little bit of everything; situational comedy, wit and laugh-out-loud dialogue, sarcasm and playful verbal sparring. Undead and Unwed is far from a lengthy read, but no less fun for in spite of it, they are fast, funny, sexy reads that are highly addictive – if you read this first instalment, be prepared to embrace the desire to read them all!
Master romance novelist Julie Garwood makes her obligatory appearance now with the first book in her Lairds’ Fiancées series. In classic Garwood style we have ourselves a heroine who is near impossible not to like. Jamie is the chosen bride of Alex Kincaid, the mightiest of all of the Scottish Lairds, and it’s not hard to see why, she’s gorgeous, nice, sweet, is amazing at pretty much everything she tries, generous and self-sacrificing. I know, I know, she just screams “Mary Sue!” right? (For those of you who don’t know what a Mary Sue is, it’s a term for a female character who is so perfect that they are annoying) However, by some form of miracle, Jamie is a totally loveable character! Along with this wonderful woman comes a great coupling with Alec in a relationship that is hot and sexy yet sweet. The pair doesn’t start out as the perfect couple, but they grow together and adjust to one another, with lots of poignant moments along the way, and plenty to make you laugh. The Bride is a book that will transport you to a warm, fuzzy, happy place that will make you laugh, sigh wistfully and lift your spirits.
Something borrowed is the story of Rachel White, a young attorney in Manhattan who on the night of her thirtieth birthday does something uncharacteristically bad – she sleeps with the fiancé of her best friend, Darcy. She tries to put the one night stand behind her, but instead as to come to terms with the fact that she actually has very strong, very real feelings for him. Having lived in Darcy’s (extremely perfect) shadow all her life, it’s the first time she has an opportunity to take action and put her own happiness first, which to be honest does make her quite self-centred, but honestly no character in this book is perfect. Everyone is flawed, and really not all that likeable, but this makes them all the more real. It all works together quite adorably in spite of the character flaws, and the love triangle between Rachel, Darcy and supremely handsome Dex will have you on the edge of your seat wondering who he will pick. Something Borrowed is guaranteed to make you laugh and make you cry, and if you can get over the fact that the protagonist is cheating and essentially being rewarded for it – which is surprisingly easy thanks to how Emily Giffin wrote her – you’re bound to enjoy the ride.
Soulless is a book for you fetishists out there, you know who you are, the ones who love corsets and paranormal creatures. Don’t hide, embrace it, and let me tell you about this fun novel that brings these two wonderful things together and binds them in love and comedy. Soulless is a satirical take on the conventions of the historical novel genre, delicately fused with a funny paranormal romance. Our heroine is an intelligent and fierce woman, she doesn’t have a soul, but that’s no big deal. She’s strong and passionate, moral, and socially aware. For such a woman you really could have no other love interest than a big, sexy, Scottish werewolf, and Lord Maccon is exactly that. The chemistry between the pair is overwhelming and so delectable that you’ll find yourself reading furiously to get the next romantic scene. Not only does she perfectly nail the werewolf nailing, but Carriger also manages to make Soulless a genuinely funny novel, which is a great thing to see mixed in with the fantasy/supernatural/steampunk elements. It’s wonderful to find a truly funny romance for those who are not a fan of the chick-lit genre and prefer their romances to have a more adventurous side.
Highly renowned romance novelist Lisa Kleypas hits yet another home run with this first book in her “Wallflowers” series, Secrets of a Summer Night. The series follows the escapades of four young women who enter London society in the hopes of finding husbands through the use of their wit and feminine wiles. Our central cherub in this first book is Annabelle Peyton, a young woman who is trying to draw in a nobleman to wed in order to save her family from financial ruin. Unfortunately for Annabelle the most interested party is Simon Hunt, a wealthy and powerful man who makes it clear from the outset that he is not interested in wedding her, only in bedding her. Despite knowing that Annabelle has specific husband-criteria, it’s hard to keep it in mind as the deliciously sexy Simon pursues her, and it’s almost painful waiting for her to succumb to him since there is just so much sexual tension between them. As a nice aside, her friendship with the other “Wallflowers” is just delightful, their plotting is funny and fresh and some of their antics are pure fun silliness (including a scene where they all play rounders in their drawers!). It all makes for a delightfully funny and dangerously steamy read!
Our next novel is a classic, one of Jane Austen’s most light-hearted novels and a fan satirical look at the gothic novel genre. It tells the story of Catherine Morland, a young woman who is obsessed with reading Gothic thrillers. During a stay in Bath with a family friend she meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney and agrees to a visit at his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Her mind filled with the ideas planted by her favourite books, she sees secrets and conspiracies at every turn in this shadowy, creepy, old abbey. It’s truly funny to see all of the misadventures and misunderstandings resulting from Catherine’s tendency to confuse life with fiction. Not only does Northanger Abbey parody the gothic novels that were hugely popular at the time and explore Catherine’s quite wacky obsession with them, but it also provides at its core a more serious commentary on marriage. There is a fair share of truly heartfelt dramatic and romantic moments, as one would expect from an Austen novel, but more than anything Northanger Abbey truly is really, really funny. Anyone who has never read Austen or steers away from older novels in the fear that they’re all too serious would do well to read Northanger Abbey to gain a change in perspective.
This next novel is a more unusual one for those of you who are looking for something a bit more out of the ordinary. Jasper Fforde paints an alternate reality in which people wage wars over ideas, where literature is always at the forefront of peoples’ minds and conversations. It is in this alternate 1985, during the investigation of the kidnap of Jane Eyre from her book that our romance takes place. Literary Detective Thursday Next is searching for the missing character (who has been kidnapped and as such disappeared from all copies of her book), and it is during this investigation that she is reunited with her lost love, Landen Parke-Laine. The spark is not lost, and the pair are reunited, which culminates in a very cute ending for the couple. The romance is not the main focus of this novel, so it’s not strictly a romance novel but this novel is funny and it does have a very sweet romance, so I’m reserving the right to have it here on the humorous romance novel list – it is perfect for those of you who are averse to novels in which romance is the sole focus, and yet want something lovey dovey in your funny fiction.
Next we have a sexy supernatural romance that’s sprinkled with silliness for a fun paranormal romance-humour mash-up. Our heroine, Catherine, is a half-vampire who is on a mission to kill all vampires. This huntress meets another hunter of vampires, and of course, with their mutual interest in killing all blood-suckers, they get on famously. The bounty hunter, known as Bones, is a mysterious and devoted man, he helps Catherine out of more than a few scrapes, but it’s written so well that you never feel as though she is a damsel in distress. What makes this a humorous romance and not just a paranormal one is the dialogue, plenty of witty one-liners and verbal sparring to keep your appetite for amusement sated. This book is just the first in a series, not perfect but filled with originality, sizzling sexiness, romance and some laugh out loud moments that will keep you on your toes as our two protagonists fight evil and make love.
Rumour Has It is the light and fluffy story of newly single Tilly Cole, a young city girl who after a break up impulsively takes up a job in a small town. Little does she know that small towns, particularly the one in which she now finds herself in is a hornet’s nest, rife with gossip and intrigue, and many of the women are battling for the heart of the town’s most desirable bachelor: Jack Lucas. Jack is tall, dark, and hot, hot, hot, with a reputation for being a schmoozer, a love-‘em-an-leave-‘em kinda guy. And yet every woman wants him. Despite being warned off of him by everyone in town, she believes in them less and less the more time she spends with him. It’s riveting to watch their relationship develop and wonder if they’ll end up together or if Jack will indeed break her heart. The plot is executed in wonderful witty style, it has such a fun sense of humour that you can’t help but enjoy it, and hidden within the light fluffy exterior are actually some very important messages. The strong interplay of conflicting emotions make this a standout novel, and just goes to show that sometimes what is really needed is a good laugh and a nice light, fluffy romance.
We delve into the world of online dating now, a place that is treacherous and filled with liars, and it is here that we find Lucy, a murder mystery writer using online dating sites in order to research her books. Her idea of research is to go on “dates” and then mentally kill off the people she meets. Unfortunately for her, another woman has had the idea of using Lucy’s books as a “how to kill” manual, and has been using online dating to meet people and actually kill them. Then bring in Quinn, an undercover cop using the online services to find the killer…. You can see where this is going right? Lo and behold he ends up on a date with Lucy, thinking she is the murderer, when both parties have ulterior motives chaos is clearly not too far away. This rather ridiculous “suspense” plot should give a good idea of the kind of silly and funny this novel is, guessing the identity of the murderer is not hard, but forget the mystery! What this novel is at its core is fun, flirty and silly. Our cop is a super-hot stud and great match for Lucy, their romance is sure not to disappoint. Sex, Lies, and Online Dating is a genuinely funny story with a little bit of suspense and a lot of romance that is perfect for when you want something light, fast paced and quirky.
I now present to you one of Shakespeare’s most popular comic plays, a love story set in a mythical Athens. It’s a hugely complex love triangle… Square..? Um… It’s a hugely complex love multi-sided shape. Lysander and Demetrius both want Hermia, Hermia only wants Lysander, but Hermia’s father wants Demetrius as his son-in-law. Meanwhile, Hermia’s friend Helena loves Demetrius, but he does not love her. Got that? Whew. Lysander and Hermia elope, but are unknowingly pursued by Demetrius and Helena and manage to get caught up in a spat between the king and queen of the fairies. Me oh my, it’s a right royal mess, but it’s all extremely well-plotted, these intricately woven intertwined love stories collide to create an enchanting and extraordinarily funny tale. It’s not as well known for insight as other works by Shakespeare, but it has much to say about love (as Lysander says: “The course of true love never did run smooth”) and the fact that is all wrapped up in a play that is entertaining and funny enough that it is enjoyed by near all who read it makes it all the sweeter. It may not be the greatest of his plays, but it certainly is one of the most accessible and one of the funniest.
Sixteen year old Jessica Darling is devastated. Her best friend, Hope, has just moved away and she’s left alone without a life-line, left to deal with her parents, her “friends”, school and her complete lack of love life alone. Now in her sophomore year, mysterious and yet super funny, smart and sweet Marcus Flutie is taking an unusual amount of interest in Jessica and she has mixed feelings about him, flailing about without her rudder of Hope to help her steer. Don’t get me wrong though, Jessica is not helpless – on the contrary she is a wonderful protagonist; smart, sensible, sarcastic and quirky. She’s funny without ever having to try, dramatic, observant and like most teenage girls, extremely afraid to be herself. She is so relatable, a character that most women will easily be able to understand and sympathise with, and this is part of what makes up Sloppy Firsts’ charm. It is not only the charming characters that drives this novel, it is the fact that it underlines an important issue: high school sucks, and it’s hard to navigate that social environment. Observing the slow development of the relationship between Jessica and Martin in this environment is both excruciating and enticing as the sexual tension between the pair builds and they gain greater understanding of one another. Sloppy Firsts is a must-read for romance-lovers, an instant love that tackles serious issues whilst managing to remain hilarious and representing those crucial high school and teenage years in a way that is relatable. It’s a novel about love, youth and learning to love yourself.
Next is a novel that teaches us all a valuable lesson: that it is never too late for love. It’s no secret that in romance novels it is often seen that women of roughly thirty years of age or so are “past it” and are consistently worried about being on the shelf, living as a spinster for the rest of their lives. This novel instead brings us Sugar Beth, a woman who is returning to her hometown fifteen years after high school, penniless, with a trail of ex-husbands behind her. And yet, all is not lost for her hopes of love – the return home sparks a whole new love affair for Sugar, one filled with cute, witty and humorous banter that has a great number of laugh out loud moments. What Ain’t She Sweet? really treats you to is a story that is not only funny, sweet and romantic, but also thoughtful and insightful, and features some wonderful character development. Phillips’ talented depiction of small town life, both the good and bad elements of it make this an even more enjoyable read; it’s the perfect book for anyone looking for a cute love story, a happy ending and a wonderful atmosphere
This next book, actually a play, is conclusive prove that Oscar Wilde was an absolute smart-ass, and absolutely fantastic because of it. There is witty banter everywhere and wise-cracking insults litter the dialogue of this sharp satirical observation of aristocratic life. The story itself revolves around a man named Ernest, a man who exists solely in the minds and on the silver tongues of John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff. The pair each spin their individual webs of lies in order to impress the women in their lives who (for some reason) absolutely adore the name Ernest. The chaos wrought by their lies and the tangled mess of mistaken identity and lies is honestly hilarious. Wilde’s sharp observations of the despicable nature of the aristocrats are hysterical, nailing their pettiness, vanity, arrogance and vapid nature, and this comedy has maintained its ability to entertain and tickle to this day. There is a romantic element, too, of course, I haven’t forgotten that crucial aspect, although it isn’t the main focus of the play – this is more of a love story for the more sardonic reader who enjoys some sarcastic and sometimes silly social commentary with their romance.
Agnes and the Hitman is one of those books that is perfect for those who usually steer away from chick-lit, and possibly even for those of you do love it. If you’re sick of the cookie-cutter heroines who are all gorgeous, all sweetness and light then meet Agnes. Agnes, better known as “Cranky Agnes”, is a food writer, well known for her short temper and no nonsense attitude. Her life is turned upside down one day when she is held at gunpoint… for her dog. Yeah, it’s weird, right? Shane, a hitman, is sent to protect her, and for some reason people just keep coming after her, trying to kill her and take her dog – but why? It’s a fun and quirky mystery, and along the way watching the blossoming love between Shane and his cranky companion is just amusing beyond all belief. Agnes is a woman who appears normal but is just buckets of crazy, and that’s what makes her so fun to read about! With a hilariously ridiculous plot that is executed in grandiose comic style and a cast of colourful characters, Agnes and the Hitman is truly captivating.
Reality TV lovers out there may be intrigued at the concept of a brand new show, one in which people pretend to live in Victorian times for a whole month, living on an English Estate and having to dress in period-appropriate wear, act according to the social conventions and such. Sounds fun right? No? Okay, so maybe the idea of wearing a corset for a month is less than appealing, but for Tessa it’s an opportunity to clear her debts, and she’s taking it! To make this already unique plot more unique our protagonist falls well out of the bounds of normal romance fare, and is fabulous because of it! Tessa is a 39 year old, 5’11” widow; she’s a size 18 with a whole lot of body issues, but playing the Duchess on the “reality” show changes her life. In an ensuing romance with her leading man we are treated to a whole lot of interesting, witty and downright funny banter – Tessa loves to banter during foreplay and sex, and it is side-splittingly funny whilst still functioning as a really good sex scene. Add the hilarity of 21st century people trying to do things as 19th century folk would and it results in hilarious hijinks after hilarious hijinks. The Corset Diaries is sexy, funny and a perfect uplifting romance for those days you need something slightly smutty and totally enjoyable.
We move on now to the indisputable genius that is William Goldman, and his glorious piece of meta-fiction that is loved by people the world over. Goldman’s premise is that he is simply abridging a story his father read him when he was a kid that his father had (unbeknownst to him) left all of the boring parts out of when reading it to the child Goldman. Here he relates this abridged version in order to bring it to his own child, but really, that story (a book written by “S. Morgenstern”) does not exist. I could rattle on for ages about how clever the matryoshka structure of the novel is, the fictional stories all contained within each other, but let’s get down to the more pertinent things that make this book awesome, and more importantly, that qualify it for this list. First, the romance: it is in essence a story of true love, of beautiful women and good men, of fighting and a little bit of sex. But it is not the romance that makes this book so worth reading, it is the humour. The unbridled silliness and that is simultaneously intelligent that seeps from every page, the quotable one-liners and the original, oddball characters. It’s hard to summarise all of what makes The Princess Bride worth reading, just believe me when I say that Goldman is one hell of a writer who has penned one amazing story that will keep you laughing and have you rooting for love all the way to its appropriately silly ending.
Our final novel is one that on the surface is about love and pop music, but there is a much more beneath this simple exterior. High Fidelity is a story about obsession and rejection, about a man who is having trouble maintaining adult relationships. Rob is always rejected, or he does the rejecting, he pushes people away but can’t stand to be alone. It is here with this lonely man that we start, just after his break up with Laura, a woman who truly cared for him as he is listing the top five break ups in his life, the worst ones, the ones that hurt the most, the ones that changed him – and Laura doesn’t come close. And so the book wanders aimlessly through Rob’s life, touching upon the women whom he had loved at some point, and his on-off relationship with Laura. All the while we are treated to the hilarious but mundane conversations of Rob’s daily life, those he shares with his friends Dick and Barry who work for him at the record store he owns. Their conversations focus on trivialities like women, TV shows, movies and music, but these conversations are fun, frivolous and add a great deal of humour to what is largely quite a depressing plot. At its core, High Fidelity is a as close as it gets to true-to-life depiction of what single life is like, what relationships are like, and what we take for granted in love.