If you want to read a romantic book with Hassidic Jews in it, I recommend Jephte’s Daughter by Naomi Ragen. It’s a Jewish inspie/women’s fiction/romance hybrid.
As for romances or romantic books with more mainstream Jewish characters:
Alisa Kwitney’s chick lit is pretty romantic and usually has a least one Jewish main character. My favorite of her books is probably The Dominant Blonde, which has a Jewish heroine.
Megan Hart’s erotic novels frequently have at least one Jewish protagonist as well. I would start with Dirty, which has a Jewish hero.
Patricia Gaffney’s historical romance Crooked Hearts has a Jewish hero, though this fact doesn’t come out until late in the book.
Laura Leone’s contemporary romance, Fallen From Grace, mentioned above, has a Jewish heroine. The hero is a male prostitute.
I’ll also second Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuels, a historical romance which has a Jewish hero.
I hesitate to mention Meagan McKinney, an author who was convicted of hurricane Katrina fraud, but she has a couple of books with Jewish heroines as well. My favorite of these is A Man to Slay Dragons (romantic suspense).
I’ve heard good things about Nita Abrams’ spy series of historical romances but haven’t gotten around to trying them.
There’s also Eva Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift, with an Austrian Jewish heroine who escapes the Holocaust with the hero’s help. I wasn’t so keen on it but I know a lot of readers who loved it.]]>
I’d suggest going back to Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot. For me, it’s still the best romance with jewish characters out there. It also doesn’t shy away from exploring the characters’ jewishness and what that means to them in their (19th cent. British) world in a realistic manner, without resorting to cliches. I dislike the way contemporary romances with jewish characters tend to convey this jewishness through the apparently typically jewish overbearing family and/or jewish american princess tropes. It’s terribly tiresome, and begs the question of why the characters needed to be portrayed as jewish in the first place. George Eliot, on the other hand, has a whole range of jewish characters who act and think and relate to their jewishness in a variety of believable ways. It also has a very strong romance. I want more like this.
I’d also add that I’m ambivalent about using a Christian inspy as a book about Jews. Sure, the characters may be jewish…. but really, the point is that they’re Christian or end up as Christians.]]>