Love The Viscount Who Loved Me? Here are 12 more books we need to see brought to the screen.
Advertisement

There's a fine line between love and hate — and who can resist a romance that channels sexual tension into eventually swapping from one side of that line to the other?

Season 2 of Shondaland hit Bridgerton dropped on Netflix Friday, and it's a masterclass in the enemies-to-lovers trope with Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) finding loathe at first sight. But they soon find that their mutual dislike is accompanied by an all-consuming yearning and palpable sexual tension for each other.

Based on Julia Quinn's novel The Viscount Who Loved Me, the story explores what happens when spending time with someone we think we hate turns into a slow burn romance.

It's a classic romance trope we find hard to resist, so we rounded up 12 other enemies-to-lovers novels that we think Hollywood should adapt next.

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
Credit: Avon

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

This novel only came out last week, but we're already obsessed with it. Inspired by The Taming of the Shrew and rom-com classic 10 Things I Hate About You, it follows lawyer Kareena Mann and Dr. Prem Varma. When Kareena is faced with losing her late mother's home unless she gets engaged, she realizes she has to try harder at finding her soulmate — but she doesn't expect it to be Dr. Prem Varma, the cardiologist and hook-up who she made go viral by starting a screaming match with him on his local cable show. You see, he doesn't believe in love. Well, Anthony Bridgerton might have something to tell him about that. We love how this book gives a contemporary spin to the Shakespearean tale of a fierce woman being pushed toward marriage with a man who turns out to be her perfect match.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean
Credit: Avon

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

You have to really, really hate someone to fake your own death and frame them for your murder. But that's precisely what Mara Lowe does to Temple, a man known simply as the Killer Duke. In his ignominy, he's become the ruler of London's darkest corners and a prize bareknuckle boxer. But when Mara resurfaces to help her brother, who's fallen into debt at Temple's casino, can he finally clear his name? It's not so simple when this deal leads him to discover how mysterious and irresistible Mara really is. We've long argued Sarah MacLean's romance novels would make for superb television (or film) fodder with their dark, gritty take on 19th century London and the sinful truths lurking behind all the brightly covered frivolity of the aristocracy. And we'd love to see this world of an exclusive casino and the love stories that pass through its doors brought to life.

May Books
Credit: Berkley

Beach Read by Emily Henry

We're a sucker for a professional rivalry, and it doesn't get much better than this Emily Henry gem about romance novelist January Andrews and literary fiction wunderkind Augustus Everett. When the two end up in neighboring beach houses struggling to write their next books, they agree to a challenge: to take their best stab at writing in the other's genre. But as their creative skills unlock and they give each other lessons in their respective areas of expertise, they also start to fall for each other. Admittedly, this is a book about books and writing, spearing conventional criticism of both genres — but all the same, we know these lakefront cabins and palpable yearning would make for a movie we'd want to watch again and again.

Best Romance of 2021
Credit: Headline

To Love and To Loathe by Martha Waters

With her dry wit, Martha Waters is an undeniable inheritor to Julia Quinn's romance legacy. We can't get enough of this enemies-to-lovers tale of f—boi Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, and the widowed Diana, Lady Templeton. When the two constantly bickering aristocrats make a wager that Jeremy will have to marry within a year or pay Diana one hundred pounds, they also strike another proposition — one that involves sharing a bed with no strings attached. But of course, all that sniping was really just flirtation. Waters is consistently one of the funniest voices in historical romance. We know an adaptation of this would really put the com in rom-com and resemble something like Bridgerton by way of Clueless.

July Romance
Credit: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Enemies-to-lovers meets fake dating? Our hearts can't take it! Luc O'Donnell is, in short, a mess. He's the louche son of a rock star whose drunken escapades are frequent tabloid fodder. When he needs to clean up his image, he strikes a deal to forge a fake relationship with straitlaced barrister Oliver Blackwood. The only problem is they have absolutely nothing in common to the point where they actively annoy each other. But as with so many fake dating stories, that irritation quickly fades into something that feels altogether more like love. The banter and emotional resonance of Hall's writing is tailor-made for the screen, and we need to see these two emotionally stunted beautiful human beings on our televisions asap.

Romance Books 2022 A Caribbean Heiress in Paris
Credit: HQN

A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera

This book doesn't even hit shelves until May, but we're ready for it to be optioned already. When Luz Alana journeys from Santo Domingo to the 1889 Paris World's Fair, she has one goal in mind — to expand her family's rum business. She immediately clashes with whisky distiller and nobleman James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick. Even more infuriatingly, he seems dead-set on helping her. But she soon realizes he could make a useful ally, and they forge a bargain to enact a marriage of convenience that will benefit both their businesses — but their tempestuous relationship quickly sparks into something more. Bridgerton may have changed the game by casting more inclusively, but this historical enemies-to-lovers tale actually engages with issues of colonialism and racism that the subgenre has often skated over in favor of pure escapism.  

Romance
Credit: Avon

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Sometimes the mutual dislike in the enemies-to-lovers trope is predicated on something irrational or a complete misunderstanding, but in this contemporary rom-com, Carolina Santos has every right to detest Max Hartley, her ex-fiancée's brother and the best man who convinced him to jilt her at the altar. When the two are forced to collaborate on a business project that could make or break their careers, they bicker and one-up each other until the truth is exposed and that roiling morass of feelings spills over into attraction. We keep seeing a call for '90s rom-coms to make a comeback, and if this isn't perfect material for one, we don't know what is.

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker CR: Carina Press
Credit: Carina Press

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

We love a good showmance, but is it perhaps even better when the two parties who hate each other are an actress and the critic who can't seem to stop panning her work? Freddy Carlton agrees to feature on The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event bringing Jane Austen's works to life where viewers choose the outcome. But she doesn't plan on the palatial estate where they're filming to be the home of her mortal enemy, theater critic James "Griff" Ford-Griffin. This has epic grumpy-sunshine vibes and a central mystery about their family's mutual pasts that makes it impossible to put the book down. Imagine if Roy and Keely on Ted Lasso had to solve a whodunnit it together, and you'd get something like the energy of The Austen Playbook, which would make superb television with its vibrant characters, lush settings, and dialogue-ready banter.

A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Credit: Avon

A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

We've been beating the drum for Hollywood to adapt Alyssa Cole's Reluctant Royals series for some time now, but we're going to keep doing it. This second book in the series features an ADHD heroine grappling with the messiness of her life and a silver fox swordmaker with a Scottish burr designed to give you chills. When Portia accidentally discovers that Tavish McKenzie is the secret son of a duke, she makes him her makeover project — but what happens when she'd rather make-out than makeover? From its royal trappings to its Edinburgh setting to its commentary on neurodivergence, acceptance, and class, there's so much to unpack and enjoy here.

Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins
Credit: HarperCollins

Wild Sweet Love by Beverly Jenkins

We don't know why there aren't at least four Beverly Jenkins series by now, but we do know this enemies-to-lovers historical romance is a perfect place to start. When Teresa July takes a new job as a cook for an elite Philadelphia family, she's determined to put her train robbing past behind her. But her boss' stuck-up son, Madison Nance, doesn't trust her from the word "go." Or at least that's his explanation for not wanting to letting her out of his sight. But the two transition from adversaries to lovers when a woman from Madison's past threatens Teresa's future. Jenkins' books are always rife with sensual connection and rich historical detail that would make an adaptation irresistible.

Every Boy’s Got One by Meg Cabot
Credit: Turtleback Books

Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot has already proven that her writing is perfect for iconic movie-making (The Princess Diaries, anyone?), but we'd love to see a more adult rom-com stem from her prolific backlist. Based partially on her own elopement with her husband, the book follows cartoonist Jane Harris and her nemesis Cal Langdon as they accompany their best friends Holly and Mark to the European countryside for their wedding. The two can't stop sniping at each other, until they have to put aside their differences to help their friends' wedding come off. Mutual dislike meets European getaway? Sign us up (oh, and the title refers to a "heart" — get your mind out of the gutter).

The Prince of Broadway Joanna Shupe
Credit: Avon

The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe

If you've been loving The Gilded Age but wishing it was sexier, you need to be reading Joanna Shupe. As owner of New York City's most exclusive casino, Clayton Madden has the power to ruin the most powerful families, excepting one that has eluded him. But when Florence Greene comes to him seeking a mentor so she might one day open a casino just for women, he finally has a shot at burning them to the ground. Florence isn't stupid; she knows what he's after. But the two can't resist each other, forcing them both to reconsider just what they're willing to give up for love. Give us all the Gilded Age content. Please!

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Comments