Book Recs By Tropes is a series where I recommend books according to tropes.
Friends to lovers is a perennial favorite that’s right up there with enemies to lovers. Whether it’s the unrequited longing, mutual pining, slow burning feels or the lightning bolt, holy shit realization of clueless dorks, this trope creates some of the most beloved stories out there.
Here are a few of the most enjoyable friends to lovers romances I’ve read. I hope you’ll enjoy them too!
If you fancy a Grand Tour of alt-Regency Europe through the eyes of a feckless idiot of a gentleman with very questionable virtue hopelessly pining after his bestfriend, check out The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
While the story meandered a little too much for my liking, this is still a fun adventure. We get a wonderful trio of characters. Felicity, a highly intelligent sister who can throw a better punch, Monty, a spectacular mess of a brother making moony eyes at his bestfriend and Percy, the musical, level headed best friend patiently waiting for Monty to get his act together. It’s a Grand Tour like no other and a beautiful story of love, family and friendship.
Gnomon – Luchia Dertien (4 stars)
Have you ever read Le Miz and found yourself shipping Enjolras and Grantaire so damn hard? This Le Miz retelling makes that dream come true.
Gnomon is bursting with passion, obsession and a whole lot of pining. While the book is far from perfect and boy do I have my niggles, it is easy to be swept away by Renaire’s all consuming obsession that turned into love that, happily, Delaurier reciprocated just as passionately. Normally, this level of obssession would feel suffocating but the author succeeded in portraying the overwhelming feelings without making one gag. Delaurier and Renaire are two unhinge people making things difficult for themselves because they’re wired that way. Somehow they made it work. And yes, you will end up following these stupid terrorist boys.
The Weight of It All – N.R. Walker (4.5 stars)
(contemporary romance, humor)
If you need a feel-good, weight-loss fairy tale in your life, The Weight of It All gives you a plus-size queen with verbal diarrhea, Prince Charming in gym shorts, orgasmic lemon tarts and Chariots of Fire.
This is one man’s quest for a better bod after a bad breakup. He enrolls in a gym and meets the kindest, nicest Thor in the form of his personal trainer. The jokes might be a bit repetitive but the banter is easy-going as it is hilarious. The side-characters were the kind of brutally honest people we all need in our lives. This might be a fairy tale but it is still grounded in reality. It did not have a poster perfect ending but it certainly had a happily ever after.
Bleed – Joel Abernathy (4.5 stars)
(paranormal, dark, shifter)
If you are prepared for a very, very angsty, emotionally wrenching saga of vengeance, betrayal, family, love, friendship, duty and loyalty, Bleed is a story that rips your heart into pieces, much like that cover here.
This shifter book is almost epic in its scale. One Alpha’s son desperately try to prove himself while his best friend was forced to confront a monster from his past. It is a well-conceived, well-executed friends-to-lovers romance told in both MCs’ POV. The internal dialogues were raw. Pain was a tangible presence permeating everything. And that was before actual pain was inflicted. It’s so bloody and dark, it almost crossed over to horror territory. Mason and Vasil summed it up best when they described their relationship: “Creepy and kind of fucked, but…sweet.”
The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe – Charlie Cochet (5 stars)
The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe is a ridiculously good, ridiculously fun, historical gem about a WWI veteran and his doctor friend. This a book to try if you are looking for pure escapism.
Johnnie and Doc Henry had met each other eight years prior and sparks flew. You would think the two would have had their happily ever after by now but, nooo, Johnnie had to be Johnnie and couldn’t let go of personal demons. Yes, even if everyone was vocally and actively shipping them, even if each knew how the other felt, Johnnie is still keeping Henry at arms length.
But that doesn’t keep him from flirting like mad. Sometimes Henry turns the tables and beat Johnnie at his own game. How these two managed to deliciously slow burn their way through the entire book, until Jonathan finally came to terms with his feelings, is a treat worthy of a 5 halle-fucking-lujah stars.
The King and His Vigilant Valet – Charlie Cochet (5 stars)
(paranormal, humor, shifter)
The King and His Vigilant Valet is a love story thousands of years in the making. If slow burn is your thing, it doesn’t get as slow or as delicious as this!
This is the best kind of shmoopy, squeetastic fluff, with a doofus king who was spectacularly oblivious to his best friend’s more than friendly feelings towards him. You’ll be amaze at what Jean went through for King Alarick. Theirs was a wonderful tale of undying friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. And damn, the twists were so clever! All the things that were built up since book one came together beautifully.
This is the third and final book of the shifter series, Paranormal Princes. It is should be read after the first two books because that is where we catch glimpses of Jean trying valiantly to hide his true feelings towards his bestfriend.
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! – Claire Davis & Al Stewart
(contemporary romance, young adult)
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! is all you could ever ask for in a coming of age, friends to lovers story! It felt like reading an exceptionally outstanding shounen ai manga except the characters and the setting are in the UK and there are no pictures.
It’s fluffy, cute, funny, heartbreaking, brilliant, silly, emotional and I could go on and on and on but that doesn’t really do the story justice. So I’ll just leave you a line from the story:
“Once a boy shows you the stars, they’re a hard act to follow.”
Two Rogues Make A Right – Cat Sebastian (5 stars)
Quite possibly, the most adorable friends to lovers historical ever!!!
Two Rogues Make A Right is as sweet and gentle as an idyllic summer, a quintessential story of falling for one’s best friend. And when those two friends are a couple of doofuses who bumble their way through life and their relationship in the most endearing way possible? I was reduced to incoherent squeeing emojis.
Let the sheer ✧♡➴✧♡。❣╰(⋈◍＞◡＜◍)╯❣。✧♡ ➴✧♡!!!!-ness of the story turn you to mush too!
This is the third book of Seducing The Sedgwicks but can be read as a standalone.