21 Romance Books about Disability that aren’t like Me Before You

Romance books about Disability have a special place in my heart. But first things first, Me Before You is not a Romance novel! So, what are we looking for in Romance books with disabled characters? Well, most importantly, everybody lives!

… and gets a Happily Ever After!

Because people with disabilities and chronic illness find love, too!

Many Romance readers – me included – have some form of chronic illness or disability, and reading a love story is an even better experience when you can identify with the characters.

Romance as a genre offers the kind of hopeful escapism that many unwell readers crave.

During periods of time when I was home- or even bedbound, I needed positive and uplifting stories for my mental well-being. And I wanted to read about people who dealt with disabilities or chronic conditions and how they carried on with their lives and found happiness.

The following Audible books about disability have in common that one or both of the main characters deals with a physical disability or illness, as well as the consequences this has on their self-image and mental health.

The wonderful thing about the audiobook format is that you can enjoy these books about disability and love even when you can’t hold up a book or e-reader or when brain fog doesn’t quite play along with reading from a page.

Related article: Audiobooks vs Reading Ebooks and Print

Link Info

With every book, I will include links to Audible because we all use it. But I will add alternatives as well!
Libro.fm: If you buy an audiobook there, you actually own the mp3 and can listen to it in any app. Plus, you support indie bookstores with your purchase!
Audiobooks.com: A very solid audiobook service, and you can grab a book from the list below for free with a trial there.
Everand (formerly Scribd): A very budget-friendly option for listeners as you can borrow several of the audiobooks below for a flat monthly fee.

**The marked links and book covers on this page are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase something, I earn a fee at no additional cost for you. Disclosure**

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert (Author), Adjoa Andoh (Narrator)

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Get a Life, Chloe Brown if one of my favorite audiobooks of all time! It’s a wonderful Romantic Comedy with lots of great banter.

Chloe has fibromyalgia which left her mostly home-bound. But she’s determined to enjoy her life more fully. So she makes a list of rather adventurous things she wants to experience. And she enlists her neighbor into helping her.

Red seems like a rough biker type but he’s actually an artist and a genuinely great guy. I loved the dynamic between the rather grumpy heroine and the “everybody adores him” hero.

And it was so good to read a Romance novel about a woman with Fibromyalgia!

The audiobook is narrated by Adjoah Andoh. Yes, THE Adjoah Andoh you’ve adored in Netflix’s Bridgerton series! She is also absolutely amazing as an audiobook narrator and has the perfect voice for this story.

Get a Life Chloe Brown Book Quote: “He was probably the worst kind of monster because Chloe was sick, but he still thought she was unbelievably sexy. Then he remembered that she was always sick, so maybe poor health wasn’t something that should de-sex a person.”

Baking Me Crazy

Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen - Romance books about Disability - Heroine in a Wheelchair

Smartypants Romance (Author), Karla Sorensen (Author), Chris Brinkley (Narrator), Reba Buhr (Narrator)

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Baking Me Crazy is a wonderful Friends to Lovers Romance with a heroine in a wheelchair. It’s set in Penny Reid’s Green Valley universe but you can read it as a stand-alone.

Levi wants to be a good friend to Jocelyn because he believes she needs a friend more than a boyfriend. But when another guy is coming on to her, Levi has to get his act together and make his move!

I loved Levi and how concerned and loving he was towards Jocelyn. Such a beautiful, romantic story and yet also cute and funny.

The narration is done by Chris Brinkley whom you might know from the other Green Valley audiobooks and who has the sexiest accent, and Reba Buhr who was new to me and was great to listen to!

Related article: How to get Audible books cheaper

Always Only You

Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Chloe Liese (Author), CJ Bloom (Narrator), Nelson Hobbs (Narrator)

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The grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one in this adorable Sports Romance!

Frankie has rheumatoid arthritis and is autistic. Her kind-of-coworker Ren is a really happy dude and a pro hockey player.

I particularly liked that Frankie uses a cane, as you can see on the cover. Any form of mobility aid, but canes in particular, are so rare in Romance, even in Romance books about disability!

And it was so very heartwarming to hear Frankie’s and Ren’s Friends to Lovers story. CJ Bloom and Nelson Hobbs did a wonderful job narrating this audiobook!

Getting Schooled

Getting Schooled by Christina C. Jones

Christina C. Jones (Author), Sean Crisden (Narrator), Adenrele Ojo (Narrator)

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Getting Schooled is a laugh-out-loud funny, wonderfully warm, and sexy Enemies to Lovers Romance that I’m sure you’ll love!

Jason has a prosthetic leg which makes him feel like his family is treating him differently than they used to. He is very attracted to Reese, the grad assistant for the college course he takes, even though she seems to hate him.

I absolutely loved this story and wholeheartedly recommend that you listen to all three books in the Wright Brothers series. Book two, Pulling Doubles, has a heroine with diabetes.

The narration is done by Sean Crisden and Adenrele Ojo, two fantastic narrator who I could listen to all day every day! If you are looking for a Romance novel with a disabled hero, I cannot recommend Getting Schooled enough to you.

Sick Kids in Love

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz - Romance novels with chronically ill characters

Hannah Moskowitz (Author), Amy Melissa Bentley (Narrator)

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Sick Kids in Love is perfect for you if you’re looking for a Young Adult Romance where nothing horrible happens to the kids and, instead, they find love and happiness!

Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis and has decided she better shouldn’t date because of it. Then she meets Sasha who has a rare disease and makes her feel so much more accepted than her healthy friends ever could. He just gets it.

This book is so on point with portraying the reality of people with chronic illness. Even if you don’t usually read Young Adult books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one!

Amy Melissa Bentley did a wonderful job at narrating this story and bringing Isabel and Sasha to life!

Sick Kids in Love book quote: “God, I’m tired. You know what will be fun?” “What?” When we can stop pretending that we’re interesting people who go out and do things and instead we can hang out and just do nothing.”

With You Forever

With You Forever by Chloe Liese: Audiobook recommendations October 2021

Chloe Liese (Author), CJ Bloom (Narrator), Nelson Hobbs (Narrator)

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Chloe Liese’s Bergman Brothers needed another mention here!

Chloe Liese always centers characters in her stories who don’t usually get a lot of representation in Romance and Rooney from With You Forever is another great example of that.

Rooney has a form of Inflamed Bowel Syndrome and is just going through a flare-up. The book is very real about her symptoms and everything that comes along with them. And it makes her love story with Axel all the more beautiful!

I loved this book and its representation of a heroine with a chronic illness and an autistic hero who enter a marriage of convenience. CJ Bloom and Nelson Hobbs brought it to life so well in the audio version!

What If You & Me

What if you & me by roni loren - audiobook cover

Roni Loren (Author), Desiree Ketchum (Narrator)

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The cover of What If You & Me didn’t make me think I’d find such a sweet and sexy Romance behind it. But, is it ever!

This is a wonderful neighbors to lovers story with a tiny bit of suspense and a fantastic narration by Desiree Ketchum.

Both protagonists struggle with mental health issues and I appreciated very much how it was represented here. Andi has anxiety and PTSD, Hill has depression after losing part of his leg.

The effects of this on their lives felt very real, and they still get to be complex, real people who are so much more than their diagnosis. This is such a heartwrenching, captivating, and witty book and one of my favorite Romance audiobooks ever!

If you are looking for a Romance with a disabled hero, I can’t recommend What If You & Me enough to you.

Fourth Wing

An intricate sigil in black lines with a small black dragon

Rebecca Yarros (Author), Rebecca Soler (Narrator), Teddy Hamilton (Narrator)

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Fourth Wing is a breathtakingly fast-paced, exciting Romance Fantasy adventure! It is not where you would expect a disabled heroine…

Violet is the youngest daughter of a dragon-riding general from a country that has created its entire identity from the war with its neighbors. She is pressured by her mother to join the dragon academy.

As the cover says, “Fly… or die”. This book has a truly huge body count. But Rebecca Yaros manages to keep the heroine hopeful and determined.

Her EDS (which isn’t named as such but described) does not hold her back, even though it does add an additional layer of strain to the physically and mentally exhausting training.

Fourth Wing did not feel like a dark book to me, even though many of its themes are dark. Rebecca Soler has a very fitting voice for Violet and did an excellent narration!

This is for me one of the best audiobooks of 2023 and a must-listen if you are looking for a book with a disabled heroine.

Would You Rather

Would You Rather audiobook cover shows a white woman and a white man sitting some distance apart, she is wearing a wedding dress

Allison Ashley (Author), Courtney Patterson (Narrator)

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Would You Rather by Allison Ashley has a chronically ill heroine who enters a marriage of convenience.

I struggled a little bit with Mia’s view of herself and her kidney disease as a burden to everyone around her. That hit rather close to home and is an issue with me and not with the book. I loved Noah and Mia together, the way they talked and joked, their wonderful friendship.

I also particularly enjoyed how their marriage of convenience started and “ended” (for lack of a better word, you’ll probably know what I mean when you listen to the book).

Courtney Patterson did a fantastic narration with a great set of voices for the different characters!

Wait For It

Audiobook cover Wait for It by Jenn McKinley

Jenn McKinlay (Author), Eileen Stevens (Narrator), Andrew Eiden (Narrator)

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Annabelle is a free spirit. She’s an artist and a great friend with incredible people skills. She is sunshine!

Her new landlord, however, is grumpy. Nick had a stroke at a very young age, something he tries to keep secret by staying at home. And he deals with illness-induced PTSD.

From where I’m standing, the representation was very spot-on (oh, do I wish I couldn’t judge that).

I loved how everything comes together here for both Nick and Annabelle. Annabelle is genius at drawing Nick out and pushing his buttons in just the right way.

These two have the perfect grumpy/sunshine dynamic and I loved their talks. Wait For It is such a pleasure to listen to!

Andrew Eiden is one of my voice crushes and Eileen Stevens was simply brilliant as Annabelle.

Artfully Yours

The Artfully Yours audiobook cover shows a white woman in a white dress behind an easel and a white man in a tophat with a cane

Joanna Lowell (Author), Mary Jane Wells (Narrator)

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Artfully Yours is a Historical Romance about a woman who forges paintings by the old masters and the art critic who immediately recognizes the forgeries and sets out to solve the crime.

Things are very complicated for both the painter and the art critic, though. Nina loves her older brother, but he pressures her into continuing their crimes. Alan, the art critic, is the younger brother of a Lord who employed Nina as a maid and treated her badly. Alan comes to her rescue and, after his brother fires her, hires Nina as a form of assistant.

Alan has various chronic health issues with his lungs and leg, and is very concerned about his nephew, who he believes might not be as ill as his parents make him out to be. Alan probably has asthma and suffers from chronic pain due to a leg injury he got as a child.

Mary Jane Wells always does such utterly delightful narrations for Historical Romance books, and she perfectly brought out all the emotions here! I found this such a wonderful, captivating, and moving story.

Alan has to unpack so much baggage from his childhood and this is just the book you want if you are looking for Romance novels with disabled heroes. Nina also struggles to find the right path in life for herself. They are both such compelling characters you can’t help but root for!

Pin this List of Romance Books with Disabled Characters for later:

Books about Disability - Romance Books with Disabled and Chronically Ill Heroes and Heroines

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct by April White - Romance Books about Disability

Smartypants Romance (Author), April White (Author), Cornell Collins (Narrator), Anastasia Watley (Narrator)

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Code of Conduct is set in Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City universe but you can read it as a stand-alone. This is a sexy and suspenseful Contemporary Romance with an intriguing mystery in the center.

Shane is a P.I. and her investigation triggers an alert at Cipher Security. Gabriel works for the company and is tasked to find out what Shane is up to.

The heroine really is an absolute badass and I particularly enjoyed how her prosthetic leg is framed as making her almost superhuman with special abilities. This is probably one of the coolest Romance books with disabled characters!

Anastasia Watley was very fun to listen to and Cornell Collins is one of my favorite British narrators and a pleasure to listen to.

Falling from the Sky

Falling from the Sky by Sarina Bowen - Romance Novels with Hero in a Wheelchair

Sarina Bowen (Author), Tanya Eby (Narrator), Aiden Snow (Narrator)

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If you’re looking for a Romance hero in a wheelchair, Falling from the Sky is the perfect Contemporary Romance for you!

Sarina Bowen is not only willing to write Romance books with disabled characters, she’s also amazing at it.

Hank is a snowboarder but after a terrible accident, he needs a wheelchair. Callie is a doctor and his therapist. It was very moving to read how Hank tries to come to terms with his disability and figuring out how it would affect all areas of his life.

I loved how he bonds with other wheelchair users and how the guys talk openly about their relationships and their abilities in bed.

Aiden Snow did such an amazing job at narrating Hank! And Tanya Eby voiced a wonderful Callie.

Two Rogues Make a Right

Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian (Author), Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Two Rogues Make a Right is a Gay Historical Romance with a heartwarming Friends to Lovers theme.

Will searches for his childhood friend Martin who went into hiding. Martin is very sick and doesn’t want to be a burden to the man he has loved his entire life.

Of course, the medical aspect is very different here than in Contemporary Romance books about disability, but the inner conflict is the same: How can I make my partner happy when I’m so limited in every way?

The audiobook is narrated by one of my absolute favorites: Joel Leslie! This is an absolute treat to listen to!

Something to Talk About

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Meryl Wilsner (Author), Jorjeana Marie (Narrator), Xe Sands (Narrator)

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Something to Talk About is a Lesbian Contemporary Romance about a Hollywood workplace lovestory.

The tabloids claim that producer Jo and her assistant Emma are a couple when, in fact, they aren’t even friends. But after being thrown together in this way their friendship and attraction keep growing.

This novel has a wonderful flow and I found it very touching and heartwarming how the tough Jo reacts after learning about Emma’s diabetes. Jo takes such good care of Emma and always looks out for her wellbeing, making her an amazing partner for Emma.

Xe Sands is a very established narrator. Jorjeana Marie was new to me and both of them are the perfect voices for Jo and Emma. This is a really enjoyable audiobook!

Intention

Intention by Ava Harrison

Ava Harrison (Author), Shane East (Narrator), Andi Arndt (Narrator)

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Intention is an absolutely heartbreaking Contemporary Romance novel. But don’t worry, the happy ending will fix your poor little heart right up again!

Madeline has a severe form of Endometriosis. Her intense struggles with chronic pain, her sacrifices, and the decisions she has to make for her health are the focus of this story.

She meets Nathaniel who has been floating through life and needs a fake girlfriend, of all things. The story is so insanely emotional! I was absolutely captivated and could fully identify with Madeline’s chronic pain journey.

If you’ve ever listened to Shane East and Andi Arndt before, you know how great they are. Andi Arndt is the queen of all the feels, and Shane East’s British accent will easily turn Nathaniel into one of your favorite Romance heroes.

The Year We Fell Down

The Year we Fell Down by Sarina Bowen - Romance books about Disability

written by Sarina Bowen, narrated by Nick Podehl and Saskia Maarleveld

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I am so in love with The Year We Fell Down! I read the ebook back in 2014 and it was one of my first Romance books about disability.

It simply blew my mind to read about people who don’t have perfectly functioning bodies and yet get to find love in a book!

Corey the heroine is in a wheelchair after a bad sports injury. When she’s trying to get her life back on track and start college, she meets Hartley, an athlete who has to use crutches after an accident.

What most touched me about this story was that it really nails the experience of a “before” and “after”, a “back when I was still healthy” and “now”.

I absolutely adore the love story of Corey and Hartley because it so beautifully makes room for their individual abilities. It’s so honest and raw, telling the story of finding a way to live your life the way you had always wanted to, even though something profound – your body – has completely changed.

Nick Podehl and Saskia Maarleveld are the perfect College Romance narrators. They have young sounding voices while still doing the kind of professional narration we love and appreciate.

The Year We Fell Down book quote: We’re all fragile. It’s just that most of our friends are lucky enough not to know it yet.

Hate Notes

Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Vi Keeland (Author), Penelope Ward (Author), Sebastian York (Narrator), Lynn Barrington (Narrator)

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Hate Notes is an absolute must-listen if you are looking for Romance books with disabled heroes! However, technically, having the book on this list is a total spoiler in itself. Sorry, not sorry 😉

Reed has Multiple Sclerosis. He comes off as this arrogant rich dick, but he actually tries to protect others from the pain he’s expecting in his future due to his health issues. He thinks he will be wheelchair-bound. I loved the epilogue!

Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward novels are a bit of a hit and miss for me because sometimes they have too much drama for my taste. Hate Notes, however, is wonderful!

Reed is this fascinating, complex person. And what brings him and Charlotte together is a fairytale that still feels relatable.

Sebastian York is his usual amazing self and one of the best male Romance narrators. Lynn Barrington was new to me and I enjoyed her voice and narration style.

Related article: How to listen to audiobooks with Kindle Unlimited

Archer’s Voice

Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan

Mia Sheridan (Author), Kris Koscheski (Narrator), Emily Durante (Narrator)

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What a beautiful, beautiful story! There’s a good reason Archer’s Voice has received the recognition it got (New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Top 100 Romance Novels of All Time on Goodreads), making it one of the best Romance books with disabled characters!

Archer is unable to speak and has withdrawn from the world. Until Bree finds him. She deals with Post Traumatic Stress and is fleeing to his quiet little town to find rest.

This love story is so warm and romantic and goes right for the feels, while the general storyline is suspenseful and captivating.

I absolutely love small-town romance and this one didn’t disappoint in that regard either. The book is very atmospheric and played out like a movie in my mind.

And I love Emily Durante’s voice! It stands out and she’s such a great voice actor. Kris Koscheski sounds hot. Period. In its quiet and understated way, this is actually a very steamy book!

Cinder & Ella

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram - Romance books with disabled characters

Kelly Oram (Author), Kirsten Leigh (Narrator)

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Cinder & Ella is a wonderful retelling! There is just the right amount of similarities to Cinderella to feel the magic, yet enough differences for it to feel modern and… possible!

Ella was hurt in a car accident and has to deal with scars and physical disabilities, as well as the trauma of the event: The loss of her mother and the loss of her body as it was before.

I could relate to Ella’s struggles, the feeling of “who I was before” and “this now isn’t really me, or is it?”. And I loved the little tidbit of Ella being a book blogger, being a total fangirl, and feeling so strongly about her favorite Fantasy series.

I also appreciated how she has a strong support network, something that is so often missing in Young Adult books.

Kirsten Leigh did a great narration! I generally prefer two narrators for a dual point of view story, but she handled this really nicely with a great range of voices.

Brooklynaire

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen (Author), Zachary Webber (Narrator), Virginia Rose (Narrator), Joe Hempel (Narrator)

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Brooklynaire is everything you expect from a Billionaire Romance, but with its super nerdy hero, it also feels very unique and different.

When Rebecca suffers a head injury and is impaired longer than expected, her boss acts on his secret crush for the first time and wants to be there for her. During the story, Rebecca recovers mostly, with a good chance of a full recovery. But her condition is a focus of the book.

I loved Nate so much! He isn’t your typical romance hero. He isn’t brooding or particularly alpha but an all-around awesome, good guy with lots of strengths and a few weaknesses and I thoroughly enjoyed Brooklynaire.

Overall, Rebecca takes her illness in stride. But her worries about it, as well as her reaction to receiving a diagnosis, resonated with me.

Joe Hempel is the narrator for the in-between third-person chapters. Zachary Webber narrates Nate and Virginia Rose is Rebecca. All three are well-known and popular romance narrators and this is an all-around entertaining listening experience!

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Romance Books / , , , , , / 17 Comments

17 thoughts on “21 Romance Books about Disability that aren’t like Me Before You”

  1. Love “Archer’s Voice”. I’m very happy to see you also recommend books/audiobooks with LGBTQ+ characters. I enjoy MM romance and own so many that include ‘wounded heroes’ that I had to start separating them in my library. E.M. Lindsey writes MM and does a great job with disabilities among her characters. (But you probably knew this already.) Please keep up the amazing suggestions and thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I hadn’t actually heard of E.M. Lindsey before, I’ll look up this author right away 🙂 Can you recommend any specific audiobook to start with?

      1. Definitely “Free Hand” which begins a series and was the first book I read by her. I don’t own the audiobook yet. Two more favorites of mine, that she has audiobooks for, are “Stick and Poke” and “Renegades”. She has many more ebooks than audiobooks at this time but I do see several of her “Irons and Works” series books are in also available in audiobooks. That was the first series of hers that I read and I’m slowly buying the audiobooks.

        There are so many amazing romance stories about people with disabilities that aren’t in audiobooks. Annabelle Costa writes M/F romances and many of her characters have very different types of disabilities. I only found 1 of her books in audio format, though. You might give hers a try just for the enjoyment of her stories. “Crazy in Love”, “The Best Man” and “Love is Blind” are 3 of her books that I own and really liked.

        1. I will check these out! Thank you for the reply and your email 🙂

          The first Romance book about chronic illness I ever read also doesn’t have an audiobook, sadly. I loved it so much because it was the first time I encountered a heroine who wasn’t perfectly healthy. L.H. Cosway, The Nature of Cruelty.

  2. “Kiwi Rules” by Rosalind James features a military hero with a new leg. Lovely romance with strong characters set in New Zealand. And the audiobook is on Audible!

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