30 African romance novels you should read
It’s the month of love (although we think every month is a month of love, but that’s for another post). Romance novels are a daily celebration of love. Yet, often, African romance novels are omitted from various lists as if the writers and readers don’t exist. But we do. So we made our own list. 😀
This is a list of romance novels written by African writers about African protagonists. We’re aware there are African writers who write about non-Africans and vice versa. This list is not about them. Sorry, not sorry. 😀 The stories include contemporary, historical, fantasy and suspense subcategories of romance.
Like many romance novelists, some of the authors in this list are prolific. So if you read one and love it, there will be many more to read from the same author. Some are new(ish) writers but we've also included modern-day African romance pioneers, including some of the firsts to publish in ebooks.
The list is dominated by West Africans (read Nigerians 😜), understandably and the books are written in English. However, the list is not exhaustive. Feel free to leave a comment if you know any books that meet the above criteria, especially romance novels by Africans about North Africans! We want to read those too.
Note: A romance novel must have a central romantic love story and an emotionally satisfying happy ending (where the lead characters survive the story and live happily ever after together). For example: While Romeo and Juliet is a love story, it is NOT a romance story. In the same vein, Nicholas Sparks books are NOT romance novels. So please do not suggest any tragic love stories. Thank you. 😉
Without further ado, let’s begin.
<<<The West Africans>>>
Men of Valor box set by Kiru Taye (historical romance, ebook, paperback)
This collection of three stories goes where the standard historical romances rarely ever go—into the heart of Africa before colonisation.
HIS TREASURE – In a time when men ruled their households with firm hands, can a quiet man tame his rebellious wife with persevering love?
HIS STRENGTH – When a warrior seeks to claim a free-spirited woman, he soon discovers a tigress unwilling to be caged. Is the hunter about to be hunted?
HIS PRINCESS – With the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders and his honour at stake, can a Prince truly love a slave?
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His Inherited Princess by Empi Baryeh (contemporary romance, ebook, paperback, coming soon to audiobook)
India Saene, Princess of Bagumi, must enter a marriage alliance to save her kingdom from an economic crisis. Tragedy strikes when her husband of a few hours is killed in an accident on the way to their honeymoon. She recovers from a coma two weeks later to discover she has been inherited by her husband's younger brother! Sheikh Omar El Dansuri has never wanted to be king, nor does he desire a wife. However, when his older brother dies, he not only becomes the future king of Sudar, but he also inherits his brother’s bride through an age-old tradition. Falling for the headstrong India is out of the question especially when evidence points to her as his brother’s killer. Neither India nor Omar wanted this marriage, but the passion that burns between them cannot be denied. When India’s secret is revealed, will either of them survive the consequences?
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Love at First Sound by Amaka Azie (contemporary romance, ebook, paperback)
Heartbroken after discovering her fiancé’s double life, Emem Akpan ends the relationship and moves into an apartment at the other end of Lagos, determined to get her life back on track with no more diversions. However, a massive dose of distraction bumps into her in the form of Yomi, a sexy younger man who has set his sights on her and will stop at nothing to get her attention. Yomi Oladipo has always harboured a crush on Sasha, the anchor of his favourite radio show …. who happens to be none other than Emem, his new downstairs neighbour. Enthralled, he wants to get to know her better, but just when she decides to give them a chance, a troubling secret about her shatters his heart. After experiencing a savage betrayal by someone he once trusted, will Yomi be able to overcome Emem's devastating revelation?
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Love and Hiplife by Nana Prah (contemporary romance, ebook, paperback)
Lamisi Imoro will do anything to complete her PhD before the extension is up. It doesn’t matter who dies, leaves her high and dry, or hates her guts, she’s on fire. But, her supervisor wants to prove just how much he’d love to see her fail by throwing obstacles to thwart her from reaching her goal. Desperate for help and nowhere else to turn, she’s forced to ask for the assistance of the hiplife artist who once saved her from a nasty fall. She finds that their scorching attraction is a problem and is determined to tamp her rising emotions because nothing will stop her from getting what she set out to accomplish. Blaise Ayoma is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?
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Valentine's 2020 by Tomilola Coco Adeyemo (steamy romantic suspense, ebook)
She broke his heart once. They were young and he was hopelessly and insanely in love with her. Now that she has returned, years after she hid his child from him, Handsome Billionaire Tycoon Tokunbo Carew will do everything within his power to stay away from his first love and the mother of his child, Lola Sodipo. However, as much as he tries to, he can't stay away from her. As he battles the biggest threat to his family business and legacy just yet, Tokunbo Carew must decide whether or not he wants a family or true love. He must also realize that his dark side may cost him the one true love he's ever known.
Fine Maple (Age is no Bother #2) by Emem Bassey (steamy contemporary romance, ebook)
Agnes is 37, never been married, has two kids for a man who left her to marry a woman who wouldn't add weight after childbirth, and owns a small pastry business she runs from her apartment. She is the description of what society calls an 'old cargo', a woman with kids whom no sane man would marry. She is okay with this reality and only lives to take care of her kids and grow her business.
Until Bass shows up at her door. He’s everything that’s wrong—he’s younger by seven years, he’s kind of an online celebrity, he’s her neighbour and her only friend’s cousin. It was a disaster waiting to happen but Bass thinks otherwise. Can Agnes dare believe his convincing words?
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The Only One by Somi Ekhasomhi (contemporary romance, ebook, paperback)
An old love... …or a new passion. Hope has never forgiven Charles for the pain he caused her when he married someone else, but when he shows up in her life, separated and contrite, she is tempted to accept his apologies. But then there’s Daniel, who is handsome, successful and sexy, with a smile that lights up her insides. He’s the perfect man, as long as she’s prepared to let go of her feelings for Charles. With her heart on the line, will Hope choose the past, or allow herself to fall for someone new?
Redeemed Through Love by Unoma Nwankwor (Inspirational Romance, ebook, paperback)
At thirteen, Halima Dajuma discovers that her father has another family. No longer is she an only child, but younger sister to three older brothers. This discovery changes everything. For a while, Halima happily settles into a safe life shaped by her family's expectations. Now, determined to find her voice, she breaks an arranged betrothal and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. The search for truth rattles her world and the people in it, in ways she didn't bargain for. When everything comes crashing down, will she be content with what she finds or wish she'd remained in the comfort of the familiar? The connection was electric, heart jolting even, but it came from the wrong source. Charming, attractive, and successful, Ekene Odili, is the Dajuma family lawyer. He's also friends with Halima's oldest brother, Rasheed. For years, religion and her fiancé stood between Halima and Ekene. He knows she's off-limits. However, knowledge is no match for a heart that refuses to adhere to logic. When he begins to see the pain she has to endure, is he willing to sacrifice his heart and let her go? The ultimate loss soon shatters her heart, then will Halima still have the courage to surrender to a redeeming love? Note: This is the standalone story of the baby sister to the brothers from the Sons of Ishmael Series. Of course, you do not have to read the series to read this book, but for the full ultimate experience, you'd want to.
The One by The Fertile Chick (Contemporary Romance, ebook, paperback)
Erinkan has met her soul mate, the man who ticks every single box she has. Handsome, smart and wealthy, the mystery Kay is everything she has ever prayed for. But in a cruel twist of fate, she loses his contact information and as she didn't give him hers, he has disappeared from her life just as quickly as he came into it. Determined not to give up, a manhunt begins for the man of her dreams.
Until she meets Emeka, a man nothing like what she thinks she wants, making her question everything she has ever thought about love...and who could be THE ONE!
The Naive Wife - Rachel's Choice by UfuomaEE (Inspirational Romance, eBook, paperback)
On the day of her sister's marriage introduction, radio show host, Rachel Eden, meets Ejike and Doug; two friends that could not be more different.
She finds herself instantly attracted to Ejike, but there's something about Doug and the way he's determined to win her heart.
Neither men are who they appear to be, however, making Rachel's choice harder. Her producer and friend, Dongjap, also makes his intentions known, but could he be a little too late?
Midnight Dance by TM David West (Contemporary Romance, ebook)
Having lost her mother four years ago, and recently losing her job, Prue considers leaving Calabar to join her Aunt Lillian in Lagos her only choice. But when she discovers that her aunt too had passed, without her very reticent and disapproving grandfather telling her, she is confused which way to go. And that confusion multiplies when her grandfather accuses her of theft and sends her out of his home. Clarence Abang considers old man Aaron Rawlings flagrantly ruthless, self-righteously judgmental and downright insufferable and only deals with him in matters of business. But it becomes personal he has to take his granddaughter into his home and then it becomes even more personal when his on-and-off girlfriend, Bibi, doesn't like the arrangement at all.
Serwah: Saga of an African Princess by Rita Coker (Young Adult, Historical Romance, ebook, paperback)
Set in 18th Century Ghana during the time of the renowned Asante Kingdom, the son of a chief is betrothed to a princess of legendary beauty. The royal couple brave intrigue, doubt and many surprises on their path to marriage.
Forces of Destiny by A. Akinosho (Inspirational Romance, ebook, paperback)
Tola grew up as an only child in the suburb of Chicago. Gloomy days was all Tola could see ahead of her as financial woes slowly crept into her life with the death of her stepfather and the imminent death of her cancer stricken mother. Unexpectedly, the father she never knew she had appears. His royal destiny becomes hers. How will it change Tola’s life? Will she find the shackles of royalty too much to bear? In her search for comfort she chances upon a love so powerful she’s willing to gamble everything and change her destiny. The fight to secure both her love and her crown will demand more than her love and her family are willing to give.
The Lekki Club by Lani Leigh (erotica, ebook, paperback)
A closet male sexual submissive. An unexpected encounter. Can he embrace what he truly is in Nigeria. Remi Olapade is a Nigerian bachelor enjoying his time mingling with his multiple casual hookups, after the unfortunate end of his engagement to the society girl Janet. An unexpected invitation to the ultra-secretive ‘Lekki Club’ leads him to a summons to Room 3, where he meets the mysterious Mistress Eve.Eve strips and chips away at the walls Remi has put up to fool others. Slowly she gets him to admit who he truly is and embrace what he truly wants. Can Remi be brave enough to accept what he has been hiding from his previous sexual relationships? Can he convince Mistress Eve to leave Room 3 and take their relationship into the real world? Is Remi ready to stop pretending and give up his other women for her? If you enjoy sizzling sex scenes, raw emotions and bondage, then The Lekki Club is for you. The Lekki Club is an erotic story of love, loss, the supernatural, life changing mistakes, and redemption.
Love Happens, Eventually by Feyi Aina (Contemporary, Romantic Comedy, ebook, paperback)
Nifemi Ajayi is single, not searching and not expecting to ever get married. When her younger sister trips at a family wedding event, a visit to the hospital puts her in the sights of Dr Esosa Aghomo. There is instant chemistry. Esosa ticks every box on her checklist and there’s no reason not to invite him to her grandmother's 60th birthday celebration. Then her uncle, Toba, shows up at the party, tall, handsome and grown out of his teenage awkwardness. He is much cooler than Nifemi remembers and is sporting a sexy new girlfriend who is the cynosure of every eye present. A death in the family and a will reading reveals a big family secret and the truth about Toba’s parentage. This raises many questions for Nifemi, topmost of which is how to handle an uncle who is no longer exactly an uncle. Even more when she finds she can’t trust Esosa. Love Happens, Eventually is full of musings about life, love and the usual Nigerian life drama as seen from the eyes of a single girl from a huge Yoruba family whose least favorite question is when she is getting married.
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A Love Rekindled by Myne Whitman (contemporary romance, ebook, paperback)
When Efe Sagay receives a transfer to the branch of a prestigious hotel chain in the Nigerian capital, she accepts it, happy to return home to family after years in the United States. Also, Nigeria is a big place, right? There should be nothing about her new city, Abuja, to remind her of the heartbreak of her relationship with ex-fiancé, Kevwe Mukoro. However, Efe is facing Kevwe across an office seven months later, swamped by emotions she’d thought were dead. When Kevwe claims he’s never stopped loving her, and asks why she abandoned him, Efe stomps off, incensed. It was the other way around! But they are unable to stay away from each other, and buried desire flares. Ultimately, passion is no match for the bitter memories of broken promises. Efe and Kevwe have to resolve the traumatic events of the past before love can be rekindled.
Closer Than A Brother by Nkem Ivara (Contemporary Romance, eBook)
Daye Thompson didn’t know when it happened, but while playing the role of the-big-brother-she-never-had to beautiful Samantha Egbuson, he falls in love with her. Confessing his true feelings could signal the end of their lifetime friendship. Can he risk losing her altogether?
She may have fallen for her best friend, Daye but can Samantha trust him with her heart when she's had such rotten luck with men she trusted in the past?
Lessons in Love by Lara Daniels (Contemporary Romance, eBook)
Fourteen months ago, Tara Olu-Browne quit her well paying job to follow her heart: Become a full time romance writer. Her decision is paying off, until she agrees to write for Black Desire, a new romance publisher set to turn out books that will appeal to a West African audience. Black Desire is headed by business mogul, Jimi Akintaylor and while he says he enjoys Tara’s previous works, he is critical of her current manuscript calling the love scenes improbable. Tara is left with two choices: quit writing for Black Desire or suck up her pride and request pointers from Jimi on how she can improve on the love scenes. She chooses the latter, and realizes too late that she just signed up for some very practical lessons in love.
A Little Bit of Love's Magic by Bambo Deen (Fantasy Romance, eBook)
A young woman finds the person her heart desires with the help of a bit of magic.
Noura is a young I.T. consultant whose weak point is her family. She is at that age when the pressure to get married has hit a new high, but she is not in love with her current boyfriend of three years. After losing a bet, she has to pay a visit to a herbalist in order to obtain a love charm. Despite initial scepticism, Noura follows through with the bet and obtains a charm that is supposed to lead her to true love. The instructions are straightforward, “use this charm and the first person you encounter afterwards will be the love of your life”. The only issue is that the first person Noura sees is another woman.
Bewaji has just moved back to her family home after almost a decade in the United Kingdom. She is looking for nothing more than a haven where she can relax, paint and not think about the row that was the reason she left in the first place. Of course nothing goes as planned, barely a week since Bewaji has returned and her father is trying to play matchmaker. There is also the matter of the gorgeous Noura who seems to believe that she is in love with Bewaji.
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Betting on Love by Kani Sey (New Adult, Contemporary Romance, eBook)
Despised and constantly degraded, Binta can’t wait to leave home when she discovers her family never wanted her. She is determined to cut a path and succeed in her life without love and emotional connections. Until she bumps into her former best friend, Bass. Once upon a time, Bass was head-over-heels in love with Binta. But she shattered his heart, and he had to move on without her. A chance encounter with her five years later brings back all the buried emotions. However, it seems Binta hasn’t overcome her trust issues. This time, though, Bass is not willing to walk away so readily. Can he convince her to bet on their love?
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Not Just Another Interlude by Lara T Kareem (New Adult, Contemporary Romance, eBook, paperback)
Sewa’s decision to steer her love life in the direction she wants instantly backfires, prompting her to halt her quest for love and focus on other more important things like getting a job. Fate has its own plan and puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, Jide. Jide isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. Crossing Sewa’s path more than once, he doesn’t leave it up to chance because there is something special about her. When their budding relationship suffers a huge blow, Jide will have to prove that love is worth fighting for, to Sewa.
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One More Night by Rosemary Okafor (Contemporary Romance. eBook, paperback)
A night with Grace’s ex husband reignites old feelings she thought long buried and provides a second chance for her dead marriage. With a world of uncertainty between them, they must determine if the reasons that tore them apart in the first place will do so again. Imelda has known one kind of love—hard, stressful and abusive. Then she crosses paths with Kolawole, a far cry from her usual taste in men. With an old debt to pay, forced loyalty and blackmail, can she walk away from an old relationship that threatens to tear her apart? Chinyeaka’s life has not been easy. But she’s determined to get the future she deserves by any means necessary. One More Night weaves the stories of these women as they search for love, second chances, forgiveness and self rediscovery.
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Diary of a Wallflower by Glory Abah (New Adult, Contemporary Romance, ebook, paperback)
I have always been a wallflower—too quiet, too shy, with a boring life that revolves only around work and church. But boring is about to get a twist: Alex, my high school boyfriend, pops back into my life, though he hardly seems to recognise me and appears to like my friend, Chioma. And Simon, my best friend? Seems he has feelings for me! Did I mention I might still be in love with Alex? Suddenly, I am thrust into a daunting love triangle … Two choices lie before me: best friend or high school boyfriend? Do I bury my head in the sand and go for my best friend? Or do I fight for my ex, for a love that was always meant to be, it appears? What would a wallflower do?
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Remembering Love by Aminat Sannik-Kamal (Contemporary Romance, eBook)
A story inspired by Kiru Taye’s Keeping Secrets:
After Derek was involved in an accident, Elizabeth spent every day by his side, caring for him, talking to him, helping him recuperate. When he finally wakes up, he doesn't remember her, his girlfriend of over ten years. In addition to not remembering her, he also hates her and could not explain why.
<<<The East Africans>>>
Pharaoh’s Bed by Mukami Ngari (Historical Romance, ebook)
Maa's dreams come true when the prince of Aksum chooses her to be his bride. However on the night of their marriage ceremony, the evil Pharaoh Lamani of Kemet invades Aksum with his army. He takes the throne and Maa as his concubine. She should hate him, but each time their eyes meet it feels like she has known him all her life. Like the hauntingly beautiful Lamani should be hers. Can she love someone who ruins everything she cherishes?
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A Place Called Happiness by Diana Anyango (Contemporary Romance, eBook, paperback)
Abandoned in an orphanage as a child, Geraldine Aketch’s scars are deep and still hurting. When the architect of her pain, her mother, crawls back seeking forgiveness, Geraldine is not ready to let her into her life and leaves home.
Brandon Odhiambo is a broken man. His wife ran off with his best friend and he must stay strong to take care of his daughter. Love is the last thing on his mind. Until he meets Geraldine.
Desire so strong brews between them. But their past lives intrude, and love is put to the test. Can they find a place called happiness, together?
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V For Visa by Mona Ombogo (Interracial, Steamy Romance, ebook, paperback, audiobook)
When Rain Handa's visa to join her fiance in the U.K is denied, she accidentally bumps into the visa officer, Darien Mitchell, who denied it. He is cocky and unapologetic. Her angry reaction to him is expected. What she doesn't see coming is the chemistry that surges between them. He is dangerous, and not just because falling in love with him would be stupid on a good day. He is dangerous because she is a good girl, trying to follow all the laws of life and he is the complete opposite. With Darien, she'll be playing out of her league. Will she listen to reason and walk away or is the temptation of him too much to resist? V for Visa is the first book in this sassy, steamy interracial romance. If you llike exotic locations, layered mysterious characters and witty banter, add steam, then you'll love this suspense filled, page-turning series.
Amazon | Smashwords (Free at time of posting)
The Mara Song by M.O. Kenyan (Interracial Romance, ebook)
A new haircut, a girl power playlist, and new scenery are the best cures for a broken heart. But what about falling in love? Wakio escapes the city to find a new beginning from her cheating boyfriend. She goes to the Mara for the grassy plains, rolling hills, and the contagious chill atmosphere. A breath of fresh air is what she came for but instead, she finds love. Never trust a man with two names. Christopher is known to many as Jonathan. Christopher is a man who craves his freedom but Jonathan is engaged and about to get married. He goes to the Mara to check out his wedding venue but meets a woman who makes his question his decision and his feelings.
<<<The Southern Africans>>>
Into The Sun by Takalani M (Contemporary Romance, ebook)
In a village in Venda, Thandeka has a chance encounter with a business tycoon that offers her the words of comfort she has been longing to hear.
They don’t exchange names but she is shocked to learn from a friend that he is a serial womaniser.
Gundo is delighted when the beautiful woman he met in Venda shows up as a cleaner at his company in Johannesburg. He would love to get to know Thandeka better. He doesn’t realise that she has been misinformed about his identity and his intentions
Destiny by Tlalane Manciya (Contemporary Romance, eBook)
Thato works as a receptionist for a law firm, while pursuing her goal of being a social worker. Her passion lands he