10 Exceptional Romance Books about Mental Health

Romance literature is always, at its core, about people – “the human condition” if you like – and about the journey each of us undertakes when trying to find fulfillment. That’s also why more and more Romance books focus on mental health!

The novels I want to recommend to you below aim to redefine traditional love narratives, presenting protagonists not as flawless beings but as relatable individuals navigating depression or anxiety, just as so many of us do in real life.

And these exceptional authors know that we don’t want to read about love as a “magical cure”. We want raw and real romantic tales that show that everyone deserves love and that everyone, no matter their personal hurdles and mental health struggles, can find their soulmate.

So, let’s check out ten exceptional Contemporary Romance books about mental health! And since we are on Lovely Audiobooks here, each of these novels also comes with a fantastic audio version that you can listen to.

I will list content warnings after each books. Please be aware that each of these books gives back experiences of book characters with depression and anxiety that might be triggering.

Make sure you talk to someone if you are struggling!

**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**

Weather Girl

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon (Author), Sarah Mollo-Christensen (Narrator)

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Ari has depression and doesn’t think someone can love the real her. She believes she constantly has to wear a cheerful mask to be palatable for her partner.

Russell is a single dad with a dad bod who doesn’t think he is a good catch for any woman. The two keep being thrown together in their job, and their friendship and attraction keep growing.

The romance between Ari and Russell unfolds slowly, and it feels incredibly real and relatable. It’s steamy and tender at the same time!

Ari and Russell both show their vulnerable sides, and it’s just so incredibly sweet! Sarah Mollo-Christensen did a wonderful narration with such amazing voices for all the characters.

Content Warnings: Sexual content, Abandonment, Fatphobia.

Related article: 45 of the Best Romance Audiobooks of all Time

First Love, Take Two

First Love Take Two by Sajni Patel

Sajni Patel (Author), Soneela Nankani (Narrator)

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This is a very emotional second chance Romance and the love story between Preeti and Daniel is so friggin romantic!

Sajni Patel centers mental health topics here, specifically anxiety and touch aversion, with the latter being something that you rarely find in Romance books.

First Love, Take Two is the second part in The Trouble with Hating You series. I loved the first book and the second one was just as wonderful! In this book, we also get to see some of the aftermath of what happened in the first book with Liya, which I found great. This author doesn’t shy away from very difficult topics.

Soneela Nankani is one of my favorite narrators and did such a great job bringing Preeti to life!

Content Warnings: Panic attacks, Racism and xenophobia (central part of the storyline) Sexual assault (off-page of a supporting character), Victim-blaming on-page, Miscarriage on-page (the female main character is the doctor in the scene).

Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date

a graphic of two white women, one with curly brown hair, one with long red hair

Ashley Herring Blake (Author), Kristen DiMercurio (Narrator)

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Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date has a beautiful mix of all our favorite tropes. We go from a one-night stand gone wrong to fake dating to a love coach thing. And it all works seamlessly!

I adored the setting at a queer community theatre where Stevie is the star who is torn about pursuing a bigger acting career. Then Iris enters the scene.

The author took such great care with the complexities of these two characters. Stevie has generalized anxiety disorder, and throughout the book, she tries to find a way so that other people will see her as her, not as her anxiety.

At the same time, the book stays very real in how anxiety is not something you can just “shake off” or that will magically disappear because something changes in your life – be it a new job or a new partner.

Kristen DiMercurio did an excellent narration for both Stevie and Iris that did them justice.

Content Warnings: Sexual content, Panic attacks, Vomit, Toxic relationship, Infidelity.

Stars in Your Eyes

A colored photo of a white man wearing sunglasses

Kacen Callender (Author), André Santana (Narrator), AJ Beckles (Narrator), Dani Martineck (Narrator), Hannah Church (Narrator), Avi Roque (Narrator), George Newbern (Narrator), Patryce Williams (Narrator), Sarah Mollo-Christensen (Narrator), VyVy Nguyen (Narrator)

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Logan and Mattie are both actors who meet on the set of a queer RomCom. Logan was a child star and deals with severe and untreated PTSD.

Mattie has a lot of shame surrounding his sexuality that makes it difficult for him to navigate romance. These two have a whole lot to overcome to build a healthy relationship!

Stars in Your Eyes is a very tender (but also steamy) love story, and the outstanding audio version makes this a must-listen!

The two main characters in this Contemporary M/M Romance are read by André Santana and AJ Beckles, who are both perfectly cast. They are supported by a full cast with Dani Martineck, Hannah Church, Avi Roque, George Newbern, Patryce Williams, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, and VyVy Nguyen.

There are also some light sound effects included in the audio production, which I found very enjoyable.

Content Warnings: Sexual assault, Child abuse, Rape, Biphobia, Homophobia, Suicidal thoughts, Drug use.

Related article: 20 of the Best Romance Audiobooks of 2023

Save this list of wonderful Romance Books with Mental Health Representation for later:

Romance Books with Mental Health Representation

Incense and Sensibility

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev audiobook

Sonali Dev (Author), Soneela Nankani (Narrator)

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Incense and Sensibility is the story of high-strung politician Yash who needs yoga teacher India’s help after surviving a traumatic event.

But the two have history and there are a lot of pitfalls to navigate between that, their families, and Yash’s campaign.

I enjoyed this audiobook very much. India is a truly inspiring and wonderful protagonists! And, of cizrse, I always love listening to Soneela Nankani.

Content Warnings: Gun violence, Panic attacks, Hate crime, Rape, Sexual assault, Racism, Car accident.

What If You & Me

What if you & me by roni loren - audiobook cover

Roni Loren (Author), Desiree Ketchum (Narrator)

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What If You & Me is a sweet and sexy neighbors to lovers story with a tiny bit of suspense and a fantastic narration by Desiree Ketchum.

Both protagonists struggle with their physical and mental health.

Andi has anxiety and PTSD, Hill has depressions after losing part of his leg. The effects of this on their lives felt very real, and they still get to be 3-dimensional people who are so much more than their diagnosis.

Content Warnings: Emotional abuse, Sexual content, Panic attacks, Murder, Fire/Fire injury

While We Were Dating

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory audiobook

Jasmine Guillory (Author), Janina Edwards (Narrator)

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While We Were Dating is so beautiful!

Anna is a movie star and deals with anxiety. She meets Ben when they are working on an ad campaign together. Ben has dealt with depression in the past and can relate to Anna’s wishes and needs.

I absolutely loved how Anna and Ben talked, opened up to one another, became friends (with benefits)… And the narration really brought out their vulnerabilities.

This is such a tender love story!

Content Warnings: Sexual content, Panic attacks, Abandonment, Fatphobia, Racism, Body shaming.

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. 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.

Content Warnings: Panic attacks, Sexual content, Abandonment, Child abuse, Addiction, Drug abuse, Death of parent, Death, Alcoholism

Related article: Romance Books with disabled Protagonists

Twice Shy

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Sarah Hogle (Author), Dorothy Dillingham Blue (Narrator)

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Wesley has severe social anxiety and hasn’t dated a woman before. When Maybell literally moves into his house, he doesn’t know what to do.

But over time, the two grow closer. And they are so, so incredibly sweet together!

Maybell is a bit quirky and awkward, and the two make a heartwarming match. They grow so much together, and this is a wonderful, light-hearted book that is truly delightful!

Content Warnings Panic attacks, Toxic friendship, Sexual content, Grief, Death, Animal death, Racism.

Related article: Romance Books with Unusual Heroes


Glitterland by Alexis Hall has an illustrated cover, the right side has a white background, the left side a starry night background. on each side stands a man hugging the one from the other side.

Alexis Hall (Author), Nicholas Boulton (Narrator)

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Ash is the archetypical depressed author with a narrative voice you’d encounter in Literary Fiction. He is struggling with an enormous writer’s block and has crippling anxiety and panic attacks that often keep him from leaving his house.

But then the most unlikely of potential partners shows up, a ridiculous glitter pirate!

Alexis Hall has quickly become one of my absolute favorite authors. And Glitterland is simply one of the best Romance audiobooks of all time!

The complex characters, the unexpected match that unfolds so beautifully, the emotions, the struggle… This book will move you and touch you and make you feel all the feelings! Nicholas Boulton brought all of this out so perfectly and I cannot recommend this book enough.

Content Warnings: Panic attacks, Suicidal thoughts, Suicide attempt, Self harm, Homophobia, Drug use, Alcohol.

If you want to know more about the audiobook stores I have linked here, check out my comparison of the best audiobook apps!

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