12 Best Authors Like Susan Mallery Who Lead Readers on Heartfelt Journeys

Discover our list of authors like Susan Mallery, whose heartwarming contemporary romance and women’s fiction novels evoke the same emotional depth.

The genres of contemporary romance and women’s fiction hold a special place in the hearts of many women readers, offering an escape into emotionally rich stories that explore the depths of human connection. The genre doesn’t only appeal to women, though. Publishers like Harlequin have long recognized the universal appeal of these stories that delve into the complex relationships between friends, family, and romantic partners while highlighting the power of love, forgiveness, and personal growth, something everyone can relate to. This is likely why this genre is so popular.

With numerous bestsellers and awards, Susan Mallery has become a leading voice in contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She has received various accolades, including the National Readers’ Choice Award and the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award. Some of her most successful novels include the Fool’s Gold series, the Happily Inc series, and the standalone novel, The Stepsisters. These stories showcase Mallery’s skill at writing deeply emotional narratives that resonate with readers. As we delve into our list of authors like Quinn Blackbird and Susan Mallery, prepare to discover captivating stories that will tug at your heartstrings.

Best Authors Like Susan Mallery Ranked

1. Robyn Carr, 1951 –

Robyn Carr
Virgin River book cover image

Robyn Carr is a famous American author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction, best known for her compelling stories set in small towns. She’s a New York Times bestselling author, having sold millions of copies of her books worldwide. Carr’s background as a nurse and her passion for writing has led her to create heartwarming and relatable stories that resonate with readers. Her Virgin River series has been adapted into a successful television series on Netflix, further solidifying her position as a prominent author in the genre.

The story of Virgin River follows Melinda Monroe, a nurse practitioner and midwife who moves to the remote town of Virgin River to start a new life after the tragic loss of her husband. As she adjusts to her new surroundings, Melinda is drawn to the town’s handsome and brooding bar owner, Jack Sheridan. 

“Concentrate on the good you can do and don’t gnaw on the hopeless cases. It’ll just make you sad.”

Robyn Carr, Virgin River


2. Debbie Macomber, 1948 –

Debbie Macomber
Photo of Debbie Macomber at a book signing

American author Debbie Macomber has made her mark with heartwarming contemporary romance novels and women’s fiction. With over 200 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Macomber has earned a spot on the New York Times bestseller list multiple times. Her novels, such as the Cedar Cove and the Rose Harbor series, have been adapted into successful television shows. Macomber’s ability to craft engaging, emotional stories has made her a favorite among readers.

One of Macomber’s hundreds of popular books is The Shop on Blossom Street, which tells the story of four women who come together to form an unlikely friendship through their shared love of knitting. As the women bond over their weekly knitting sessions, they find solace and support in one another, navigating the challenges of life and love together.

“You don’t have to be an expert in order to teach.”

Debbie Macomber, The Shop on Blossom Street


3. Jill Shalvis, 1966 –

Jill Shalvis
Book cover of Sweet Little Lies

Jill Shalvis is another prolific American author known for bestselling contemporary romance novels, often featuring strong, relatable heroines and charming, small-town settings. Shalvis is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with numerous awards and accolades. Her engaging, witty writing style and appealing characters have earned her a devoted fan base and made her a must-read author in the romance genre.

One of Shalvis’s most popular novels is the first in her Heartbreaker Bay series, Sweet Little Lies. The story follows Pru Harris, a woman who moves to San Francisco to atone for her past mistakes and falls for the charming pub owner, Finn O’Riley. As Pru and Finn’s relationship deepens, they must confront their secrets and insecurities to find happiness together.

“You can’t fix everything. Sometimes, you just have to let things be broken.”

Jill Shalvis, Sweet Little Lies


4. Nora Roberts, 1950 –

Nora Roberts
Photo of Nora Roberts smiling into the camera

Nora Roberts is an iconic American author synonymous with romance novels and women’s fiction. With over 200 books to her name and over 500 million copies sold worldwide, Roberts has impacted the genre. Her work has been translated into multiple languages and has earned a spot on the New York Times bestseller list countless times. In addition to her contemporary romance novels, Roberts also writes suspense and fantasy under the pseudonym J.D. Robb.

One of Roberts’s most beloved books is The Witness, a thrilling romantic suspense novel. The story follows Elizabeth Fitch, a brilliant computer hacker who hides after witnessing a Mafia murder. As she rebuilds her life under a new identity, Elizabeth falls in love with the local police chief, Brooks Gleason.

“In my experience, the people you care about let you down, but only if you let them.”

Nora Roberts, The Witness


5. RaeAnne Thayne, 1962 –

RaeAnne Thayne
Book cover of Snow Angel Cove

RaeAnne Thayne is an American author best known for her heartwarming contemporary romance novels set in small towns. As a USA Today bestselling author, Thayne has captured readers’ hearts with her engaging writing style and ability to create relatable, compelling characters. Many of her novels, like the Haven Point and Cold Creek series, showcase the beauty of life in tight-knit communities, with themes of love, friendship, and second chances.

One of Thayne’s standout novels is Snow Angel Cove, the first book in her Haven Point series. The story follows Eliza Hayward, a single mother who moves to the idyllic town of Haven Point in search of a fresh start. When a snowstorm leaves her stranded, Eliza finds help and an unexpected romance from tech millionaire Aidan Caine.

“It will be. You’re absolutely right. Not immediately, but things will eventually be okay.”

RaeAnne Thayne, Snow Angel Cove


6. Susan Wiggs, 1958 –

Susan Wiggs
Map of the Heart book cover image

Widely acclaimed for her bestselling contemporary romance novels and women’s fiction, Susan Wiggs is an award-winning American author. With a writing career spanning over three decades, Wiggs has more than proven her ability to create captivating, emotional stories that resonate with readers. Her novels, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series, often explore themes of love, family, and the power of second chances.

Map of the Heart, one of Wiggs’s most celebrated novels, tells the story of widow Camille Palmer and her teenage daughter, Julie, as they journey to uncover long-buried family secrets in the south of France. The novel weaves a contemporary love story with a historical mystery, showcasing Wiggs’s skill at crafting intricate, emotionally resonant narratives that transport readers to another world.

“When you can’t see the future, all you can do is take a step, and then another, and then another.”

Susan Wiggs, Map of the Heart


7. Kristan Higgins, 1965 –

Kristan Higgins
The Best Man book cover image

Kristan Higgins is a versatile American author favored for her heartwarming contemporary romance novels and women’s fiction. Before becoming a full-time writer, Higgins worked in advertising and public relations, experiences that have undoubtedly influenced her engaging writing style. A New York Times bestselling author, she has received numerous awards for her work, including the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Higgins’s novels are characterized by their wit, humor, and memorable characters, making her a favorite among all kinds of readers.

One of Higgins’s most popular novels is The Best Man, the first book in her Blue Heron series. The story follows Faith Holland, who returns to her small hometown in upstate New York after being left at the altar. As she works to rebuild her life, Faith unexpectedly falls for the local police chief, Levi Cooper, who also happens to be the man who broke up her wedding.

“Happiness wasn’t a mystical, mysterious gift from the universe…Happiness was a choice.”

Kristan Higgins, The Best Man


8. Sherryl Woods, 1944 –

Sherryl Woods
Stealing Home book cover image

American author Sherryl Woods is famous for engaging contemporary romance novels and women’s fiction. Before becoming a full-time writer, Woods had a successful career as a journalist, no doubt gaining valuable insight into human relationships. With a prolific body of work, Woods has written over 100 novels, earning her recognition and admiration from readers worldwide.

One of Woods’s notable novels is Stealing Home, the first installment in her Sweet Magnolias series. Set in the fictional small town of Serenity, South Carolina, the book follows Maddie Townsend as she navigates life after her marriage falls apart. As Maddie starts anew, she finds support in her two best friends and unexpectedly discovers love with Serenity’s high school baseball coach, Cal Maddox.

“Smart people don’t wallow in self-pity. They find a new dream.”

Sherryl Woods, Stealing Home


9. Linda Lael Miller, 1949 –

Linda Lael Miller
The Man From Stone Creek book cover image

Linda Lael Miller is another popular author whose work resembles Susan Mallery’s. With a deep appreciation for the American West, Miller’s novels often feature strong, independent heroines and rugged heroes set against picturesque landscapes. Her background as a teacher has likely also contributed to her ability to create vivid, engaging stories that captivate readers.

One of Miller’s most popular novels is The Man from Stone Creek, the first book in her Stone Creek series. Set in Arizona Territory in 1903, the story follows schoolteacher Maddie Chancelor and undercover lawman Sam O’Ballivan as they navigate the challenges of frontier life and unexpected love.

“Sometimes, love doesn’t come softly on little cat feet, sneaking up on you. Sometimes, it comes barreling in on the heels of a raging storm.”

Linda Lael Miller, The Man from Stone Creek


10. Lori Foster, 1958 –

Lori Foster
Photo of Lori Foster standing outdoors

Lori Foster began her career in human resources, which shows in her writing, where she creates complex characters and relationships that resonate with her broad readership base. She’s earned numerous accolades, including the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, and her novels have consistently appeared on bestseller lists.

One of Foster’s standout books is When You Dare, the first novel in her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. The story follows professional mercenary Dare Macintosh as he rescues Molly Alexander, a victim of human trafficking, and becomes entangled in a dangerous web of lies and intrigue. As Dare and Molly work together to unravel the truth, they are drawn to each other in a thrilling romance.

“For certain, she wasn’t the typical woman kidnapped for the growing sex trade.”

Lori Foster, When You Dare


11. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, 1948 –

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Photo of Susan Elizabeth Phillips at an event

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a highly-regarded American author who has made a name for herself with her contemporary romance novels. Her stories are often sprinkled with humor, have engaging characters, and always include heartfelt moments. Phillips’s background in theater has contributed to her ability to paint captivating, emotionally-rich stories with words. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award.

One of Phillips’s best-loved novels is It Had to Be You, the first book in her Chicago Stars series. The story follows Phoebe Somerville, who unexpectedly inherits a football team and finds herself clashing with the team’s head coach, Dan Calebow. Phoebe and Dan’s relationship evolves into a passionate romance as they navigate the world of professional sports and their challenges. Phillips’s talent for combining humor and emotional depth in her storytelling shines through in this delightful and engaging novel.

“The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, even when the reason is very reasonable indeed.”

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, It Had to Be You


12. Brenda Novak, 1964 –

Brenda Novak
When Lightening Strikes book cover image

Brenda Novak is a popular American author who writes contemporary romance and suspense novels similar to Susan Mallery’s books. Before becoming a successful writer, Novak worked in various roles, including as a loan officer and a daycare provider. Her diverse professional background has helped her to create realistic characters. Novak has received numerous accolades for her work, including multiple National Readers’ Choice Awards.

One of Novak’s standout novels is When Lightning Strikes, the first entry in her Whiskey Creek series. The story follows Gail DeMarco, a PR specialist who gets involved with a notorious bad-boy actor, Simon O’Neal, to save her business. As Gail and Simon work together to restore his tarnished image, they find themselves drawn to each other in an emotionally charged romance. Novak’s engaging storytelling and well-developed characters make this novel a captivating and memorable read.

“Sometimes it takes a storm to clear the air.”

Brenda Novak, When Lightning Strikes


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