Even with relationship challenges, hope can still burn bright, and in these marriage-in-trouble romance books, various couples navigate through betrayal, misunderstandings, and heartbreak, and ultimately work for their HFN/HEA.
From second chances to unexpected reunions, these stories capture the complexities of love and the resilience of the human spirit.
Here are 28 must-read contemporary marriage-in-trouble books:
1. Ever After Always by Chloe Leise.
Freya Bergman loves her husband Aiden, who has been her partner and best friend for twelve years. But their marriage is in trouble because they can’t have a baby, and Aiden is too anxious to share his feelings.
Freya feels lonely and hurt and eventually asks him to leave. They try to save their relationship with marriage counseling and a trip to an island with Freya’s parents and siblings. There, they reconnect and rediscover their passion.
2. Love Her Or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey.
Rosie and Dominic Vega have lost the spark in their marriage. Rosie wants to pursue her passion for cooking, but Dom is content with his routine.
They agree to try a marriage boot camp with a hippie guru who challenges them to reconnect and rediscover their love.
And, as they complete hilarious and heartfelt assignments, they grow closer than ever. Love Her Or Lose Her is frankly one of the best contemporary romance novels about troubled marriages that I’ve read in recent times and it’s amazing. I just know you’ll love it.
3. What He Doesn’t Know by Kandi Steiner.
Charlie Pierce used to live in a magical house with her husband and two birds, but something changed, and she left him one night.
She drove away from the house that holds her books, her mother’s china, and a man who still loves her, because she doesn’t know who she is anymore, or what she wants.
4. Nothing But This by Natasha Anders.
When Libby Lawson discovers she’s pregnant, she’s overjoyed. But her husband Greyson Chapman shocks her by saying he can’t be the father since he’s sterile. Hurt and angry, Libby ends their marriage and tries to move on.
Greyson, however, still loves Libby and regrets his mistake. He wants to win her back and be a part of their child’s life. But can he overcome Libby’s distrust and resentment? This is a contemporary romance novel about a troubled marriage and the power of love.
5. Untying The Knot by Meghan Quinn.
Ryot Bisley is a former baseball player and a hottie with a bad attitude.
He married Myla Bisley, a sweet and sassy woman, after a whirlwind romance. But after eleven years, their marriage has lost its spark.
Myla files for divorce, but Ryot is not ready to let her go. To win her over, he starts showing her his charming side and passionate sides, and he hopes this is enough to convince her to stay with him and give their marriage another chance.
6. Method by Kate Stewart.
Mila and Lucas are a perfect couple, until a tragic loss and a tempting role test their love. Mila watches Lucas transform into someone else for his movie, while she struggles to keep their bond alive. She knows he will come back to her, but this time it won’t be easy.
7. Love In A Sandstorm by Zoe York.
A war-torn romance, a devastating explosion, and a broken promise – That’s what Jenna Kowalczyk and Sean Foster have to overcome. Jenna is a loyal midwife who followed Sean to his hometown of Pine Harbour, hoping to rekindle their love.
Sean is a wounded soldier who wants to forget everything, including her. He pushes her away, but she stays by his side. She believes in their future, even if he doesn’t.
Love In A Sandstorm is a perfect book to read if you adore the marriage in trouble trope in contemporary romance novels. If you like a wonderfully sublime plot and complex and well-rounded characters, you’re going to enjoy this one.
8. Happy Place by Emily Henry.
Harriet and Wyn have a big secret: they’re no longer together. But they don’t want to ruin their friends’ last week at the Maine cottage they’ve been visiting for years.
So, they put on a show of being the perfect couple, while secretly nursing their wounds and desires. The cheese, wine, seafood, and coastal air only make it harder to resist each other.
Emily Henry is the veritable queen of romance and if you’re in the mood for a contemporary romance book that explores a marriage in crisis, then you’re going to enjoy this new title.
9. Is It Over Yet by L.A. Witt.
After years of mistakes and crossed lines, Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are ready to divorce. But they have to fake it for their daughter’s wedding, so they act like a happy couple one more time. On their way to the wedding, they remember the love and joy that brought them together.
10. Arouse by Nina Lane.
When Olivia Winter, a traumatized college student, meets Dean West, a charming professor with his problems, they find solace and passion in each other’s arms.
They soon get married and vow to stay together no matter what. But a seemingly innocent question unleashes a cascade of secrets, lies, and betrayals that threaten to destroy their relationship.
11. The Ultimate Betrayal by Michelle Reid.
Rachel had a happy life with Daniel and their three kids. But everything changed when she found out that he was having an affair. She felt betrayed and hurt by his lies.
The Ultimate Betrayal is a heartbreaking and utterly realistic look at the nature of a troubled marriage, and if you’re in the mood for a contemporary romance novel that explores relationship conflicts, then you’re going to enjoy this book.
12. If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis.
DeShawn Franklin is a successful chef in DC, but his life changes when his grandmother reveals she has cancer and leaves half her estate to his ex-husband, Malik.
To make matters worse, DeShawn and Malik are still legally married but estranged and have to pretend to be in love to fight a lawsuit from DeShawn’s uncle.
As they reunite, they face the old problems and passions that tore them apart and brought them together.
This LGBTQ contemporary romance novel about a marriage in crisis is perfect reading if you’re in the mood for something poignant that leans into all-too-common relationship woes.
13. Strong, Silent Type by Lorelei James.
Separated for three months, Quinn and Libby McKay are a cowboy and his wife who can’t live without each other.
But they can’t live with each other either unless they learn to communicate and compromise.
So, they agree to a weekend of sensual indulgence, hoping to reignite their flame and sort out their issues.
14. The Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders.
Sandro De Lucci is a charming, Italian magnate who marries Theresa Noble, a timid, auburn-haired beauty. But because of his suspicions, he soon turns cold and demanding, wanting a son and hiding things from her.
When she asks for a divorce, Sandro refuses to let her go, and it’s only when she stands her ground that Sandro realizes he can’t live with her.
If you’re in the mood for a husband hates wife romance novel, then The Unwanted Wife is right up your alley. Sandro was downright mean and callous with the way he treated Theresa, and while I would have liked it if he groveled some more, I like that he came to his senses soon enough.
15. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
To save their marriage, Lauren and Ryan agree to live separately for a year and agree to not talk to each other at all.
During this period, Lauren learns more about herself and her views on marriage, while dealing with the expectations of her loved ones.
16. When Love Isn’t Enough by Kathleen Gilles Siedel.
Janet and Wiley had a dazzling marriage that impressed everyone. She was an innovative writer in an advertising agency, while he was a respected lawyer following his father’s footsteps.
But underneath the surface, they were growing apart because of their different desires. He wanted more fame and influence, and she dreamed of a loving and nurturing home.
Their clash of goals reached a breaking point when he agreed to work on a case that went against their morals and beliefs.
When Love Isn’t Enough has incredibly nuanced characters and the plotting was frankly superb. This marriage in trouble romance book was frank in its detail and the relationship issues were at the very core of the story.
17. Perfect by Delaney Diamond.
Daniella Barrett-Johnson has been trying to divorce her rich and powerful husband, Cyrus Johnson, for a long time.
But, he has been using his resources to stall the process and keep her under his thumb. Eventually, he makes one last demand that she has to accept if she wants to end their marriage. She agrees but fears that he will never let her go, and with Cyrus determined to win her back, she’s not sure she can stay away either.
18. Written In The Stars by Adriana Locke.
Ty and Elin Whitt had a fairy tale romance, but reality shattered their dreams. When Ty comes back to mend their broken marriage, Elin wonders if she can trust him again.
Their love has left them scars, but scars can fade or fester. This is a story of pain and finding love again.
This second chance contemporary romance novel was frankly the most beautiful thing. If you want a really heartfelt romance about a marriage in trouble with characters who aren’t afraid to walk the dark path together, then you’re going to love Written In The Stars.
19. Nothing in My Heart by Perry Elizabeth Scott.
Beckett Kilmer married Grace out of obligation, not love, so he treated her coldly, even though he desired her. And, Grace loved him but felt hurt by his attitude.
After losing their baby, she decided to leave him, and this was when Beckett realized his mistake and tried to win her back. When Grace got pregnant again, he doubled his efforts, and Grace found herself falling under his spell again.
20. Do I Know You by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegmund-Broka.
What if you could fall in love with your spouse all over again? That’s what Eliza and Graham try to do when they go to a romantic resort in Northern California for their fifth anniversary.
But instead of rekindling their old flame, they end up playing a new game: pretend to be strangers who meet for the first time. They flirt, text, and have fun like never before, and rediscover what made them fall in love in the first place.
This author-couple duo is my favorite YA writer, and I absolutely rushed to pick up this title. I was definitely not disappointed. If you’re in the mood to read a marriage-in-trouble contemporary romance novel in which the protagonists are proactive about stopping the decline, you’ll love this book.
21. Living in Secret by Jackie Ashenden.
Victoria’s secret ruined her marriage to Connor, a hotshot lawyer. She’s ready to move on, but he has a proposal: one week of no limits before they divorce.
They unleash their darkest desires, but they also discover new feelings. However, Connor has a secret too, one that could change everything.
22. Turning up the Heat by Laura Florand.
Léa and Daniel Laurier had a perfect marriage for eleven years. He was a world-famous chef, and she was his loving wife and supporter.
But Léa felt tired and restless, and bogged down by the ennui, so she decided to escape to a remote island for a break.
Daniel was shocked and confused by her sudden departure, but he knew he loved her and wanted her back. So, he followed her to the island, determined to spice up their relationship and win her heart again.
This interesting steamy contemporary romance about a troubled marriage is perfect for a quick read that will have you in your feelings.
23. One Last Weekend by Linda Lael Miller.
Teague and Joanna Darby used to be madly in love, but their careers have driven them apart.
Now they are ready to divorce, but a friend suggests they spend a final weekend together at their beach cottage, hoping they can part amicably.
But fate has other plans: a ferry strike traps them on the island, forcing them to face their feelings and their past.
24. A Heartless Marriage by Helen Brooks.
Raoul de Chevnair was a charming and wealthy bachelor who married Leigh, a young and naive bride. But he soon betrayed her trust by having an affair with another woman. So, Leigh left him and moved on with her life.
Five years later, Raoul realized his mistake and decided to win her back. He whisked her away to a tropical paradise, hoping to reignite their passion. But Leigh was not the same girl he married. She had become a strong and independent woman who demanded respect and loyalty – things he was ready to give her in abundance.
25. Marriage Games by CD Reiss.
Diana wants to end her marriage with Adam and take over their company. Adam offers her a challenge: live with him for a month in a secluded cottage, where he will be her master.
He hopes to revive their passion and exert his dominance. She accepts his proposal, but only for the company, and decides to give him her body, not her heart.
This is another steamy contemporary romance novel about a marriage in crisis that you’re absolutely going to gobble up. Adam and Diana’s past was fraught with misunderstandings and problems, and he was determined to rescue their troubled marriage.
26. Take Me Back by Meghan March.
After two years of marriage, Dane and Kat are barely holding on. They decide to go back to where it all began – the tropical island that witnessed their love.
And, while Dane is ready to risk it all for Kat, he has to face their secrets and wounds. You’ll love this heartfelt portrayal of a couple’s struggle for happiness amid their troubles and how walking together is at once exhilarating and impossible.
27. It’s Not Over by Kaylee Ryan and Lacey Black.
After their divorce, Gwen thought she had lost Harrison forever. But Harrison realized he made a mistake and came back to fight for their marriage. He showed Gwen how much he still loved her and why they belonged together.
And, while Gwen was conflicted between her heart and her head, she was certain that she still loved Harrison, but there was also the possibility of getting hurt again.
It’s Not Over Yet is a story of second chances, forgiveness, and passion, and this marriage-in-trouble novel is a perfect read if you want the feels and the romance, and the almost heartbreaking journey to a rediscovery of love.
28. Frayed Silk by Ella Fields.
Lia and Leo had a fairy-tale marriage until it started to fall apart. Lia didn’t know why Leo changed so much in seven months, and he didn’t seem to care. She decided to end their relationship, but he didn’t try to stop her.
Suddenly faced with a sharply disintegrating relationship, they finally realized that they needed to put in the work to make their issues stop festering.
In the end, these marriage-in-trouble romance books have left me with a sense of hope and renewed belief in the power of love.
And, as these couples confront their demons, face their fears, and rebuild their relationships, I’m reminded that love is a force that can overcome even the darkest of moments.
If you’re in the mood for some more romance reads, here’s a list with more amazing recommendations:
- 21 Marriage In Crisis Historical Romance Novels To Stir Your Heart