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Rom Com Books Set in New York

While most of our romantic comedy book lists are curated by trope (like friends to lovers or fake dating books), we decided to create today’s list based on the setting. This collection of New York Rom Coms is full of novels that will make you swoon, laugh, and step into life in the Big Apple.

If you’re participating in our Read Around the USA Challenge, any of these books set in NYC can be used as your New York book selection. Although they’re lighter than the other titles on our main list, you’ll still get a feel for life in New York City without the expense of travel. NYC is a destination both Book Girls enjoy visiting again and again, so these books are our perfect mini-escape to the city in between real trips.

Rom Coms Set in New York City

Lease on Love Book Cover

Book Summary

When Sadie doesn’t get the promotion she both needs and expects, she immediately adds three things to her to-do list – a drink, a one-night stand, and a new place to live. Unfortunately, she tackles these tasks in the wrong order. The drinks turn into Sadie mixing up a dating app and a roommate app. Whoops!

Jack has been dealing with the unexpected death of his parents by escaping into movies and video games alone. After hearing her story, he offers Sadie the spare bedroom in his gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone at an excellent price.

The cheap rent lets her grow her former-side business into a full-time gig. But how long can these polar opposites happily co-exist in one house?

The Book Girls Say…

This is a lighter pick for fans of the rom-com genre, but it still addresses some deeper issues that make for good discussion. By the time these characters gather for Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll feel a strong connection to each of them.

Emma of 83rd Street book cover

Book Summary

For 23 years, Emma has led a comfortable life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. However, when she plays matchmaker for her sister, Margo, it results in a wedding, and Margo relocates downtown. Simultaneously, Emma’s friends seem to be traveling constantly, leaving her feeling bored and alone as her final year of graduate school looms.

Fortunately, she finds a potential new friend in Nadine, a newcomer to the city from Ohio. Emma is thrilled to give Nadine an NYC-style makeover as their friendship blossoms. Meanwhile, her childhood friend and neighbor, George Knightly, continues to dampen her spirits with his lectures on adulthood. Little does she know, this renewed attention from Knightly is because he can’t seem to get her off his mind.

The Book Girls Say…

This May 2023 release is a modern & spicy retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.

Nine Women, One Dress book cover

Book Summary

If you delight in those moments when you discover the perfect dress that boosts your confidence, you’ll adore this NYC novel. A renowned designer is retiring and has released what’s acclaimed as the “It” dress of the season. Throughout the book, you’ll meet nine different women who procure the dress and witness how it influences their lives.

Some women are deserving of this almost magical dress, while others may not be. The tales of how each woman acquires the dress are frequently humorous, but then you’ll see how it impacts their lives in significant ways. As you read, you’ll visualize each moment as if you’re watching a classic rom-com film.

The Book Girls Say…

We loved this author’s novel, Eliza Starts a Rumor, which was a big hit on our character in their 50s list.

Made in Manhattan book cover

Book Summary

As soon as we saw this book described as a reverse My Fair Lady, we were intrigued!

Violet has led a privileged life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She does all the right things, from her manners to her always-appropriate attire. This makes Violet the perfect candidate to teach Cain how to fit in.

He’s the newly discovered grandson of a family friend and needs to transform from his southern Louisiana self to a suit-wearing New Yorker to take over the family business. But he wants nothing to do with this makeover!

Will these total opposites find a mutual understanding?

Overdue Life of Amy Byler book cover

Book Girls’ Readers Rate This Book

94% Would Recommend to a Friend

Book Summary

Three years ago, Amy’s husband left on a business trip and just decided not to come back. Forced into single parenthood and with no child support, she did what she had to do – cutting back expenses and taking a job as a school librarian. Now, her husband has shown back up out of the blue, wanting to reconnect with his teenagers. Amy is reluctant to let him have them over the summer, but she finally gives in.

With her newfound freedom, Amy decides to escape rural Pennsylvania to attend a librarian conference in NYC. Overworked and underappreciated, Amy describes herself simply as “a 40-year-old mom-shaped-librarian.” But her old friend Talia, a fashion magazine editor in the city, wants to help her see herself in a new light. A makeover, a few blind dates, and a trending hashtag later, Amy gets a glimpse of what her life could have been if she had chosen different priorities.

Just as Amy is struggling with whether to stay in this exciting new chapter of her life or return to the life she left behind, a crisis brings her two worlds crashing together.

The Book Girls Say…

Amy is totally relatable as a main character, and you’ll want to root her on during her escape from everyday responsibilities and her search for romance at 40. This book tops our list of favorite rom coms!

Kindle Unlimited as of: 02/01/2024

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Books With Characters in Their 40s

Sleepless in Manhattan book cover

Book Summary

Paige spent her childhood in and out of hospitals, but now she’s a cool and collected event planner. Always determined to prove herself, Paige decides Manhattan is the best place to take the world by storm. 

While starting her own business alone in the city is a challenge, she’s also busy trying to hide her massive crush on her brother’s best friend, Jake. He’s also the city’s most eligible bachelor and has already broken Paige’s heart once. However, when he offers her new company an amazing opportunity, it’s clear they still have chemistry.

The Book Girls Say…

If you love a great series, this book kicks off the From Manhattan with Love series. It started as a trilogy about three friends, but has been such a hit that it was expanded to include additional full-length novels and novellas.

Love in the City book cover

Book Summary

When bookshop employee and aspiring writer Alex is dumped on her 30th birthday, she makes some huge life decisions…while drunk.

The next morning, she has a choice. Should she undo those actions and continue her life in New Zealand? Or hop on the plane she booked to New York City to pursue her dream of writing a sexy romance novel?

The Book Girls Say…

The characters in Love in the City are entertaining and fundamentally good people with relatable flaws.

There were connections that came easier than they would in real life. But sometimes, we need a true break from the harshness of the world. The overall message is about letting ourselves believe in love. The author develops that slow-burn theme throughout the book, just like the relationship developing until it finally ignites into steamy flames. Romance novel perfection!

If you enjoy this book, there are three more in the series!

Kindle Unlimited as of: 02/01/2024
It Had to Be You book cover

Book Summary

For twenty years, Liv has run a successful NYC wedding-planning business with her husband, Eliot. When he dies unexpectedly, Liv is shocked to learn that he’s left his half of the business to his young girlfriend, whom Liv knew nothing about. Much to Liv’s chagrin, perky Savannah shows up on her doorstep, eager to be her partner and protege.

As Liv and Savannah struggle to find a way to work together, they each find new love in unexpected places. In addition to Liv and Savannah, we are introduced to many of the wedding vendors that they work with – the florists, caterers, servers, and musicians. In a Love Actually-style narrative, this book follows each of them as they navigate love and friendship, and we see their lives overlap at weddings throughout the city.

The Book Girls Say…

With five different storylines, we were worried that we’d be left feeling like we didn’t get enough of any of them, but the characters were very well developed and the way that each couple was woven throughout the book left us feeling very satisfied! This book was especially lovely in its representation of so many different types of love stories!

If you’d like to learn more about this OwnVoices novelist, check out our 2021 interview with her here.

Roomies book cover

Book Summary

This rom-com is the perfect rom com book for theater lovers! Holland Bakker has a major crush on Calvin, the street musician who plays in the subway station near her apartment, but she’s never had the nerve to talk to him. Fate brings them together one night when he saves her from a drunken attacker, but then he disappears when the police arrive. Holland wants to find a way to repay Calvin, so she gets him an audition with her uncle, a Broadway musical director.

The audition goes very well, but Calvin’s Broadway debut is in jeopardy because his student visa expired years ago. He’s been in the country illegally ever since. So, hoping to help both her uncle and Calvin, Holland proposes a scheme in which she’ll marry Calvin without letting him know about her long-held infatuation with him.

Soon, Calvin is a Broadway star, but when will Holland finally stop acting?

By Any Other Name book cover

Book Summary

Despite Lanie’s successful career as a romance editor and a big promotion on the horizon, she has a difficult task to ensure her step up to editorial director. She must get the publisher’s biggest author, Noa Callaway, to turn in their manuscript, which is already 4 months late. That job seems impossible since no one even knows who Noa Callaway is. There is an NDA in place, no photos, and people don’t even know Noa’s gender. 

Because of the secrecy of Noa’s identity, part of the book is written in epistolary format via emails. That also makes it a slow-burn book, especially in the first half before the romance kicks in. 

Throughout the novel, many NYC landmarks are mentioned, including The Cloisters.

In a New York Minute book cover

Book Summary

Franny, usually vibrant and chatty, is having the worst day imaginable. Despite her job not being great, she still feels bummed about being laid off. To make matters worse, subway doors snagged her favorite dress, ruining it and exposing her to everyone within sight.

Fortunately, a handsome stranger in a stylish Gucci suit comes to her rescue. However, he vanishes as quickly as he appeared. She assumes she’ll never encounter him again, but the whole incident gets posted online and quickly goes viral. Surprisingly, in the midst of a bustling city, their paths cross repeatedly. Should Franny trust these signs and pursue the love she has always desired?

Little Brooklyn Bakery book cover

Book Summary

Sophie comes to New York as a food editor for a top magazine, but she’s also trying to recover from a painful breakup. Thankfully, two things are starting to distract her from that pain. She now lives above a delightful bakery in Brooklyn, which is owned by her charming new friend Bella. 

Bella’s cousin, Todd, is distraction #2. He’s a columnist and shares her love of both food and writing. No matter how much they have in common, neither Todd nor Sophie are ready for a relationship. But as their friendship grows, they may not be able to ignore the fireworks. 

The Book Girls Say…This book is part of the consistently highly-rated Romantic Escapes series, set in unique locations around the world. Each one features a different character, so you can read them in any order.

You Wish book cover

Book Summary

Data analytics intern Maya has always been awkward. She blames being busy for her lack of a love life, but really she’s not confident enough in herself to pursue a boyfriend. But that doesn’t stop her from lusting after co-worker Presley, who is appropriately Elvis-ish and dreamy. 

While Maya works to be one of only two interns offered a job at the end of her four-month stint, Presley is in his own competition with Nash in the race to acquire the most new business for the firm. Presley makes everything a game, so he bets Nash that he’ll finally top Nash’s sales numbers this year. 

And if Nash loses, he has to do anything Presley wants…and Presley wants him to grant intern Maya three wishes.

The Book Girls Say…

This new book has very few reviews, but they are all excellent. It’s available with Kindle Unlimited, so Melissa read the first few chapters to check it out and found herself chuckling out loud. Maya’s awkwardness is relatable, and Melissa can’t wait to finish the book. Readers say Maya and Nash get themselves into all kinds of funny situations around NYC.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 01/30/2024

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Rom Com Books Set in New York

Fairytale of New York book cover

Book Summary

Six years ago, Rosie made a big move from England to NYC after a heartbreak. Now, she’s flourishing with her own floral business. She’s been content skipping romantic relationships and focusing on three friendships instead. 

Ed is charming but also commitment-phobic, Marnie is unlucky in love, and Celia is a bit of a tornado. When a new friendship starts between Rosie and Nate, Rosie questions whether it may be time to give love another chance. Just as their relationship begins to blossom, Rosie’s brother arrives with a secret. Will it blow up her life again, or is it possible that all of her dreams could come true?

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan book cover

Book Summary

If you’re looking for a book with more humor, Sophie Kinsella never fails to make us laugh. Becky Bloomwood has a shopping addiction, but she’s kind of got it under control after the first book in the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic. Now, she’s traveling to New York from her home in London. 

Boyfriend Luke has announced a new job opportunity in the Big Apple, and wants her to join him. She’s loving the land of sample sales and Park Avenue Penthouses. Bonus points that her bills are thousands of miles away in London! But when an unexpected disaster strikes, can her relationship (and bank account) survive?

This is Your Life book cover

Book Summary

This book is described as a love triangle between a nanny from the Midwest, a famous movie star, and the Big Apple itself. Juliana is a nanny for social-climbing parents in Manhattan. One day she has a chance encounter with Gabe King – who’s apparently a big star, although Juliana is oblivious to that. The only thing she knows is that he has amazing eyes. Nonetheless, Gabe’s sister thinks Juliana is just another crazed fan. 

As Gabe and Juliana become friends, she begins to see through his eyes the constraints of being a celebrity. And when he kisses her, she also discovers what it’s like to have the attention turned on her. Can their relationship survive the stress of fame?

This rom-com is said to go a little deeper than the standard tropes. Having lived in New York for many years, author Jennifer Ann Shore writes like a local and makes NYC a vibrant character in this book.

Kindle Unlimited as of: 02/01/2024
One Wish in Manhattan book cover

Book Summary

If you love the idea of a magical Christmas in Manhattan, this is a great pick! Hayley and her nine-year-old daughter, Angel, head to New York with all the classic NYC Christmas activities on their list. Hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue all make them fall in love with the city. 

Angel also has a harder to-do on her list – finding her real dad. Hayley is on board and does her best to fulfill her daughter’s dream. Along the way, she meets a restless billionaire, Oliver Drummond. As she’s drawn to him, she wonders if her own dreams can still come true. 

Kindle Unlimited as of: 02/01/2024
Rosie Effect book cover

Book Summary

In the first book of the The Rosie Project trilogy, we meet Don Tillman – a charming, but awkward professor at a university in Melbourne. He is trying to find love using a scientific survey in what he calls, “The Wife Project.” Enter Rosie. Although Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, he’s intrigued by her own quest to identify her biological father, and he’s eager to help.

The second book in the trilogy, The Rosie Effect, follows Don and Rosie to New York City, where together they face a brand new challenge. Rosie is pregnant, and Don is once again using his academic roots to learn everything he can about child-rearing. And, of course, the results are hilarious. Don is also busy meddling in the lives of his friends and neighbors.

I Heart New York book cover

Book Summary

This is the first book in the I Heart series, with books set in cities across the US and Europe. In I Heart New York, Angela has just suffered a heartbreak and fled UK to spend time with her friend Jenny in NYC. It’s her first time in the city, and it begins with a whirlwind tour and a makeover. A sleek new haircut and a sassy new wardrobe provide just the fresh start she needs. Before long, she’s getting over her cheating ex by attracting the attention of not one, but two different men, and blogging all about it. 

Both the book and the series are described as warm, funny, and unputdownable. If you enjoy this one, you’ll want to continue to follow Angela’s adventures as they take her to Hollywood, Paris, and beyond. In book 6, she returns to New York for an unforgettable big-city Christmas.

Magical New York Christmas book cover

Book Summary

Sabrina Post is a 26-year-old struggling writer who arrives at the Plaza Hotel to begin her next gig – ghost-writing a memoir for a famous art dealer. It’s a dream job – she gets her own suite and a big paycheck! Her week gets even more magical when she finds out the art dealer once worked for the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson.

Throw in a member of the British aristocracy that Sabrina meets at the hotel bar, and you have the perfect heartwarming holiday read!

The Book Girls Say…

Fans of Fiona Davis novels will love this book! Like many of Davis’ books with an NYC landmark building at their center, the Plaza Hotel is like a character in the story. You’ll learn so much about the history and architecture of this grand hotel. Additionally, this holiday novel has a dual timeline with a historical fiction story that introduces us to the author of the famed Eloise books.

This book actually takes place during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It features many of the quintessential NYC Christmas activities and culminates with a glamorous New Year’s Eve gala.

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Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.

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