10 Best Authors Like Robyn Carr: Genius Behind Virgin River

If you’ve binge-read Robyn Carr’s romance novels like you binge-watched the addictive Virgin River series on Netflix, you’ll love these authors like Robyn Carr.

One of the best romance authors, Robyn Carr, is best known for her Virgin River series, which tells the story of a nurse who moves to a small town to start over and finds herself wrapped up in love, drama, and friends who begin to feel more likely family. Many readers first became familiar with Carr’s work after getting hooked on the hit Virgin River Netflix series. In addition to her Virgin River series, Carr has written several other New York Times bestsellers, including Sullivan’s Crossing series and the Thunder Point series.

The Las Vegas-based author’s books have sold over 27 million copies worldwide. In 2016, Carr won the 2016 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America. While the author is a well-known name in romance writing today, her career had a tough start. Her first book was published in 1978, but it took her three decades to hit the NYT bestseller list, and fans worldwide are grateful that she stayed the course. If you’ve worked through Carr’s novels, you’ll love the authors in our guide.

Best Authors Like Robyn Carr Ranked

1. Debbie Macomber, 1948 –

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber

Award-winning contemporary romance author Debbie Macomber burst onto the literary scene on New Year’s Day in 1983 with the release of her debut novel, Starlight. The New York Times bestseller follows protagonist Karen and the apple of her eye, Rand. Macomber is known for her tenacity. It took her five years to have her first book accepted by a publisher, and she worked tirelessly on her manuscripts on a rented typewriter while raising four children.

She once attended a conference where she volunteered to have a novel critiqued by a Harlequin editor – the editor heavily criticized her work. Macomber turned around and sent the book to Harlequin’s rival, Silhouette Books. The company picked up Macomber’s novel, Heartsong, and it became one of the most well-received books of the author’s career.

“I want to practice gratitude. I know that sounds hokey, but instead of concentrating on the negative, I want to look at the positive side of life.”

Debbie Macomber, Thursdays at Eight
Marriage of Inconvenience (The Manning Family Book 3)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Macomber, Debbie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 156 Pages - 01/15/2018 (Publication Date) - MIRA (Publisher)

2. Nora Roberts, 1950 –

Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts

New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson) name is synonymous with romance genre excellence. To date, the author has written more than 225 novels. She’s also written under the pen names J.D. Robb, Jill March, and Sarah Hardesty. Roberts’ novels have spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Like many authors, Roberts was rejected many times before Silhouette Books picked up her 1981 novel Irish Thoroughbred. Over the following three years, Roberts wrote and published 23 more novels. Since 1999, every work Roberts has published has become a New York Time bestseller, and she’s sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. 

“Feeling too much is a hell of a lot better than feeling nothing.”

Nora Roberts, Midnight Bayou
Captivated: The Donovan Legacy
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Roberts, Nora (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 356 Pages - 06/02/2020 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Paperbacks (Publisher)

3. Sherryl Woods, 1944 –

Sweet Magnolias: A Slice Of Heaven
Sweet Magnolias: A Slice of Heaven book cover image

Sherryl Woods (also known by pseudonyms Alexandra Kirk and Suzanne Sherrill) has written over 140 romance novels. She started in 1982 by publishing her first novel, Restoring Love. Woods’ Sweet Magnolias series spans 11 individual titles and has been made into a hit Netflix series. Readers and viewers love watching as three friends – Dana Sue, Helen, and Maddie work together to manage love, work, and life in the South. Her Chesapeake Shores series has also been made into a TV show on the Hallmark Channel. 

“Or is this just what you do? You start to get involved, get scared when the emotions are too much, and then dream up any excuse you can to run? Or to invite the other person to dump you?”

Sherryl Woods, Moonlight Cove
Isn't It Rich? (Perfect Destinies Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Woods, Sherryl (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 02/23/2016 (Publication Date) - MIRA (Publisher)

4. Susan Mallery, 1970 –

The Boardwalk Bookshop
The Boardwalk Bookshop book cover image

With multiple New York Times bestsellers, Susan Mallery is regarded as one of the top romance authors in the industry. Mallery is known for injecting humor into her novels, finding the lighter side of the ups and downs that women deal with throughout life. Her complex characters are put through real-life situations where readers struggle with which direction protagonists should turn. Readers especially love her Fool’s Gold series, which started in 2010 with the novel Chasing Perfect. The series follows characters through the small town of Fool’s Gold, California, as they fall in love and work to make the tiny town just below the Sierra Nevada mountains their home.

“You’re only responsible for yourself, Jess. And that’s the only person you can control. Other people will either get it or they won’t but you can’t define yourself by their opinions.”

Susan Mallery, Sweet Trouble
The Sister Effect: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Mallery, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 417 Pages - 03/07/2023 (Publication Date) - HQN Books (Publisher)

5. Jill Shalvis

Almost Just Friends
Almost Just Friends book cover image

Jill Shalvis is a USA Today and NYT bestselling author known for quirky, realistic characters who feel like best friends to readers. Fans love following Shalvis’ characters as they evolve through a series. Some of her series (such as her Sunrise Cove books) can all be read as standalone novels, while others (such as The Wildstone Series) are meant to be read sequentially. Shalvis’ 2022 novel The Friendship Pact was named one of Apple Books top-selling romances of the year.

“If it’s going to be two against one, make sure you aren’t the one.”

Jill Shalvis, The Sweetest Thing
The Sweetheart List: A Novel (The Sunrise Cove Series Book 4)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Shalvis, Jill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 351 Pages - 06/13/2023 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

6. Linda Lael Miller, 1949 –

Willow
Willow book cover image

As a child, Linda Lael Miller was captivated by stories from an elderly neighbor who was a Western legend–they had even met Jesse James. Her first historical romance, Fletcher’s Woman, was published in 1991. While the author is known for her Western romance novels, she also branches into other romance sub-genres, including paranormal stories, time-travel novels, suspense, and contemporary romance. Miller is known for writing strong female characters, and she’s stated that she wants to show her readers that they can be independent and take care of themselves.

“Being a McKettrick meant claiming a piece of ground to stand on and putting your roots down deep into it. Holding on, no matter what came at you. It meant loving with passion and taking the rough spots with the smooth. It meant fighting for what you wanted, letting go when that was the best thing to do.”

Linda Lael Miller, Sierra’s Homecoming
Springwater Wedding (Springwater Seasons Book 7)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Miller, Linda Lael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 09/07/2001 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

7. Kristan Higgins

Too Good To Be True
Too Good To Be True book cover image

Three-time RITA award winner Kristan Higgins is known for seeing the lighter side of romance. Readers love laughing while swooning, and Higgins can strike the delicate balance between respecting and poking fun at her characters. The author has been heralded as a bestseller by the New York TimesPublishers Weekly, and USA Today. Higgins writes both novels, including the Blue Heron series, the Gideon’s Cove series, the Cambry-on-Hudson series, and standalone novels.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, what level of schooling you’ve had or where you live—stalking is innate to the female psyche. We’ve all been there.”

Kristan Higgins, Fools Rush in
Pack Up the Moon
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Higgins, Kristan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 463 Pages - 06/08/2021 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

8. Catherine Anderson

Perfect Timing
Perfect Timing book cover image

Catherine Anderson is the queen of cowboy romance novels, including Indigo BlueSimply LovePhantom WaltzSweet Nothings, and Blue Skies. For much of her career, the author bounced back and forth between historical and contemporary fiction. Readers love how Anderson transports them back in time, allowing them to imagine the steps they would take if they were in the protagonist’s shoes. The author writes both series (including the Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series that kicked off in 2009) and standalone novels. 

“When your head tells you one thing and your heart another, listen to your heart. It tells no lies.”

Catherine Anderson, Comanche Magic
Maple Leaf Harvest (Mystic Creek Book 7)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Anderson, Catherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 446 Pages - 08/24/2021 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

9. Fern Michaels, 1933 –

Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman book cover image

Fern Michaels is known for her unique ability to bring her characters to life, one page at a time. Many of Michaels’ novels feature female protagonists who find their way out of difficult circumstances – Michaels has stated that writing these types of characters reminds her of herself at the start of her career when she struggled to sell her first novel. Her second novel, Pride and Passion, sold well, and her career took off quickly.

She writes both series and standalone novels, including the CaptivesTexas, and 33-book Sisterhood series. When Michaels began writing, she was a single mom of five children, making a point to give back to others in the same position. She’s developed preschool and daycare programs that charge a fee that makes sense for single mothers.

“She blinked once, then twice, and yet again, sure what she viewed was just another part of this fantasy world that she had stepped into when her feet touched the green grass of Ireland.”

Fern Michaels, Secret Santa
Tick Tock: A Thrilling Novel of Suspense (Sisterhood Book 34)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Michaels, Fern (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 354 Pages - 12/27/2022 (Publication Date) - Zebra Books (Publisher)

10. Joann Ross

Second Chance Spring
Second Chance Spring book cover image

Joann Ross is a New York Times bestselling author who has written over 100 novels. Many fans of Ross get their start with the Honeymoon Harbor series, which follows Jon and Sarah as they fall in love, despite their families having a century-long feud. Readers also love Ross’ standalone novel The Inheritance, which follows sisters Tess, Charlotte, and Natalie as they uncover family secrets and struggle to make sense of their father’s death. Ross is known for writing stories with a theme of redemption, creating flawed characters that readers cannot help but root for.

“The Hawaiians have gifted us with the lovely knowledge that when the breeze stirs in a wedding, as it’s doing lightly at this very moment in this garden, it’s the presence of their ohana, or family, who are physically absent but are surrounding the brides at this moment with their love, support and blessing.”

JoAnn Ross, Once Upon a Wedding
The Inheritance: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ross, JoAnn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 376 Pages - 09/07/2021 (Publication Date) - HQN Books (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best dark romance books!

Author

  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.