pride and prejudice

Best 'Enemies to Lovers' Romance Books of All Time

When it comes to romance tropes, “enemies to lovers” has long been labeled as *the* fan favorite. Sure, “friends to lovers” and “grumpy-sunshine” are also high in demand with voracious romance readers. Yet when it comes to the top-tier set-ups in rom-com fiction, “enemies to lovers” will always be crowned #1.

Due to the sheer popularity of the trope, thousands of romance authors have tried their hand at emulating the love/hate relationship dynamic in their fictional works… Yet only a handful have done so successfully.

With that in mind, we rounded up the greatest “enemies to lovers” romance novels of all time.

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

It would be straight-up offensive to curate an “enemies to lovers” book list without including Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen’s novel practically originated the love/hate relationship trope, which is embodied through Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett’s bodice-ripping romance.

In this classic, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett get off on the wrong foot — seriously. After Darcy insults her at a party Elizabeth sulks in the corner and labels him as an arrogant prick. Suddenly, she wants nothing to do with him.

Yet the more Darcy gets to know Miss. Bennett, the more intrigued he grows. Suddenly, he finds himself blissfully enamored by her presence, and every move he makes is done in an effort to capture her attention or impress her.

Austen’s novel has remained a classic for centuries, and for good reason.

But be warned: P&P will transform the greatest cynics of love into the most hopeless romantics. Read at your own risk.

Call Me By Your Name - Andre Aciman

Set in the sensual backdrop of Northern Italy, Call Me By Your Name explores the complex thrills and aching melancholy that come with true love. In this sizzling psychological romance, Elio wants nothing more than to impress his new summer house guest, Oliver. Yet when Oliver gives him icy glares and gives him the cold shoulder, Elio tragically decides to “stay away.”

As the novel progresses, we learn Oliver’s cool exterior is just a mask to hide his roiling feelings. Coming from a strict, prejudiced family, Oliver is forced to repress the romantic stirrings he has for another boy.

This misunderstanding leads Elio and Oliver to display icy disdain for one another — until the ice is melted by a passionate fire that engulfs all of Italy.

Warning: Buy some tissues with this book. You’re gonna need them for all the tears you’ll shed.

The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

Lucy and Joshua are polar opposites in every way imaginable. While Lucy wears bright, patterned colors and smiles at all she sees, Joshua wears the same monochrome business suits and scowls at all who cross him.

While Lucy is warm, colorful, and creative, Joshua is cold, closed off, and dark. Their differences should be all fine and good, except for one issue: they work right next to each other at the office. Unable to avoid one another day in and day out, their everyday banter eventually turns to heated banter.

This book is great for anyone looking for a fun, accessible beach read that strictly focuses on this crazy relationship and has little to no external subplots.

By a Thread - Lucy Score

If you’re looking for a feel-good rom-com with “enemies to lovers” at the forefront, look no further than Lucy Score’s By a Thread. Set in the blustering streets of New York City, this workplace romance centers around a strict boss named Dominic and his mischievous trouble-maker employee, Ally.

It’s a rare thing when a rom-com is equal parts sizzling and hilarious. By a Thread successfully combines two major ingredients in a classic rom-com. Plus, Ally and Dom’s repartee is too laugh-out-loud genius not to make this list. From the very first page, you’ll find yourself desperate for the duo to just kiss already!

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Although the “enemies to lovers” relationship in Six of Crows serves as a subplot rather than the front-and-center conflict, it’s so well-written and rich with passion that we popped it on our list.

In this fantasy-heist novel, Matthias Breker and Nina Zenik are destined to despise each other. Why, you ask? Oh, simply because Nina is a proud witch. And Matthias is firmly dedicated to becoming a witch hunter — his life’s work.

Their life-long hatred for one another makes it all the more confusing when feelings start to rise. Of course, Nina and Matthias do everything in their power to stifle these emotions. But they’ve banded together for a once-in-a-lifetime heist, and the mission’s close quarters make it impossible for them not to address their issues head-on.

For those looking for a love/hate dynamic that’s far darker than your typical “feisty banter at the office” read, Six of Crows should absolutely be added to your reading list.

The Cruel Prince

Calling all fantasy fans!

If you love getting lost in magical worlds with an extra side of steaming romantic tension, The Cruel Prince is your next must-read. Similar to Six of Crows, The Cruel Prince is a fantasy novel with an “enemies to lovers” subplot where the characters truly detest one another.

Jude and Carden are constantly butting heads. Yet when these sworn enemies realize there’s more to their passionate feelings for each other than meets the eye, they must face the consequences of walking the fine-fine line between love and hate.

Want a twisted version of the trope, it’s time to pick up Holly Black’s book. Like, yesterday.

Red, White, & Royal Blue

Red, White, & Royal Blue is a hilarious yet heart-wrenching LGBTQ “enemies to lovers” read. The novel follows Alex Diez and his budding relationship with the prince of Britain, Prince Henry.

Sadly, the couple has to keep their romance a secret due to the political constraints of Prince Henry’s position. Their clandestine affair is epitomized in one of the book’s best lines: “Dear Thisbe, I wish there weren’t a wall. Love, Pyramus.”

Spanish Love Deception

For those craving a lighthearted beach read oozing romantic tension and hilarious banter, Spanish Love Deception is the way to go. This BookTok favorite follows polar opposites Catalina Martin and Aaron Blackford.

But what happens when Catalina desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding, and Aaron is more than willing to oblige? In this steamy novel, Catalina and Aaron must feign coupledom, despite being utterly unable to stand each other.

This fun novel also tackles the popular “fake dating” romance trope, killing two birds with one stone.


Set in the gritty streets of Brooklyn, this modern-day Beauty and The Beast tale follows the bubbly Autumn and her brooding landlord, Blake. Despite Autumn’s happy-go-lucky persona, she can’t help but be completely “Captivated” (see what we did there?) by her permanently moody landlord.

It seems like these two have absolutely nothing in common other than their intoxicating attraction to each other. When they start acting on those feelings, will they be able to make it work, considering how fundamentally different they are? Or do their differences only enhance their already-sizzling connection?

It Happened One Summer

In this coastal novel, Piper is your typical attention-seeking socialite with a secret heart of gold. Meanwhile, Brenan is a scowling deep-sea fisherman who seeks as little attention as possible.

Piper has been handed a life of luxury from birth so prefers the finer things in life. Meanwhile, Brenan would be more than happy to live off a small boat with only the ocean to keep him company.

Of course, their differences make it so they're constantly at each other's throats. But despite their initial animosity, Piper and Brenan eventually grow to care for each other deeply.

Well, there you have it, folks! Which “enemies to lovers” novel will have you eagerly turning the pages?

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