I don’t know what it is about quirky older relatives who decide to make interesting decisions in their wills, but it sure does lead to some interesting times when it comes to romance novels. Because what’s better than leaving a single person your home, business, or all your worldly possessions? Leaving two people that same thing. Or sometimes, in very rare cases, it’s just one person who gets the inheritance, but they end up having to share it anyway, because Reasons. In any situation, romance novels with the central theme of “We only get this inheritance if we work together” really do make for strangely fun stories (even with the elements of grief that are bound to find their way through). So here are three you might find interesting!
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Maybell is a dreamer. A daydreamer. Literally– she has her own little daydream coffee shop and bakery that she retreats into when she needs it. It even has a dream man. But when that actual man appears in a situation she never expected—her great aunt has left Maybell her historic mansion, but she shares the inheritance with the taciturn groundskeeper—well. That’s a reality she isn’t ready for. Such fun, such delight, such adorbs. I laughed with them and felt for them. And the anxiety rep! Oh man. My heart.
Rep: Maybell is a straight cis white woman in her 20s; Wesley is a straight cis white man in his 30s with severe social anxiety
CN*: severe social anxiety; panic attack; death of a family member; aftermath of hoarding; catfishing; toxic work environment; mention of toxic family experiences; intrusive thoughts; minor deception; mention of claustrophobia
The Tenant by Katrina Jackson
Forget Rex Harrison. This is the true ghost romance of my heart.
Noel inherits a house right after losing his job and packs up immediately to move to Louisiana. His life in Atlanta isn’t doing much for him, so he might as well make a fresh start in what is apparently a place where he has history, even if he never knew. Everyone in town knows something he doesn’t, though—that place there’s haunted, with Ruby’s ghost. She stole the house fair and square a hundred years ago and this man is not going to take it from her.
Well, you know what happens after that.
Rep: Noah is a straight cis Black man in his 20s; Ruby is a queer cis Black female ghost in her 30s
CN: financial distress; mention of bad roommates; discussion of enslavers and enslaved people; sex work; on page murder (flashback); mention of rape; sex on the page; gentrification; race-related home attack; gun violence (not protagonist)
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters
The daughter of flighty Art People, Cade feels she’s the only one in her family who understands stability and common sense. This is proven to be a generations-long issue, as she discovers at the reading of her aunt’s will (why is it always the aunt?). Cade, whose life is on the east cost, must essentially move to Portland for a number of months to live in said aunt’s home and work with the woman who managed her aunt’s sex toy shop—and who also lives in the guesthouse. Did we mention the pair have inherited it together?
Rep: Cade is a queer cis white woman in her 30s; Selena is a queer cis white woman in her 20s
CN: Grief; emotional abuse; excessive drinking; recreational drug usage; sex on the page; destruction of property; financial distress; discussion of past student/teacher power imbalance in a sexual relationship; sex toys; forced proximity; complicated family relationships
Looking for more love stories, no matter what the meet cute looks like? Check out our romance genre page, opens a new window!
*Going with the current conversation on content and trigger warnings, I’ve started to use the term Content Notes covering both features that could be triggering and content that people might be looking for, including tropes and themes.