While it may have roots in classic Gothic traditions, romantic suspense has grown into a genre that encompasses mystery suspense books of all kinds. It includes romance books with a side of murder, spy thrillers that blend mystery and romance, action-packed suspense books that highlight romantic relationships, and a whole lot more. If you’re in the mood for some haunting and atmospheric romantic suspense, we’ve got you covered. These four books tick all the boxes for that perfect romantic suspense novel: they’re deliciously eerie, with just the right balance between edge-of-your-seat tension and swoon-worthy romance.
Whodunit meets romantic suspense in The Archivist, an atmospheric thriller about power, privacy, and the price of fame. Emily Snow is a young archivist hired by Regents University to finish a job interrupted by the untimely death by drowning of the previous archivist, Nadia Fontaine. The job isn't a simple one: Emily is tasked with organizing the papers of famous Pulitzer-Prize winning author Raymond West. As she begins to sort, Emily realizes that several items are missing. She tracks them into the mysterious "dark archives," where she discovers a trove of correspondence documenting a passionate love affair between Raymond West and Nadia Fontaine. It leaves Emily wondering what truly caused Nadia's death. As her position becomes more dangerous, she only becomes more determined to uncover the truth, putting her archival skills to the test.
No one writes romantic thrillers quite like Nora Roberts. In The Obsession, a woman wrestles with her desire for an ordinary life and the need to protect her past. Years ago, Naomi exposed her father's horrific crimes and lost her innocence forever. Now a successful photographer with a different name, her father's actions still her haunt her thoughts. She's fallen in love with an old house in a small, tight-knit town, and she wants nothing more than to settle down as part of the community. But the town's residents keep asking questions she doesn't want to answer; the handsome and alluring Xander Keaton is especially persistent. Nora knows the only way to move on is to open up about her past—but facing a nightmare requires a lot of courage.
by Sandra Brown
Bestselling author Sandra Brown has written over 70 novels—when it comes to romantic suspense, she knows what she's doing. Best Kept Secrets, first published in 1989, is worth a read for longtime fans and newcomers alike. Alexandra Gaither is a successful attorney who's not afraid to go after exactly what she wants. And what she wants is justice for her mother, who died in the midst of a scandal 25 years earlier. Armed with the full power of the law and a no-nonsense attitude, Alexandra returns to the small Texas town where her mother was killed to investigate the three men who were with her on the night she died. Her probing stirs up controversy, intrigue, and old resentments, putting Alexandra's own life in danger. But she will stop at nothing to bring those responsible for her mother's death to justice.
If classic Gothic fiction is more your style, look no further than the brilliant work of Daphne Du Maurier. In her 1936 novel Jamaica Inn, a young woman is caught up in the sinister plots unfolding in a crumbling inn on the remote Cornish coast. Though she's warned to stay away, Mary Yellan is determined to honor her dead mother's last request to travel to the isolated Jamaica Inn, where her aunt and uncle are residing. But nearly as soon as she arrives, she's caught up in the inn's treacherous web. There's something dark lurking within its walls, and worst of all, Mary finds herself falling for a mysterious stranger she knows she can't trust. Full of chilling suspense, romantic longing, and eerie, atmospheric details, it's easy to see why this Gothic novel remains a classic today.