Our editors handpick the products that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

The 27 Greatest Romance Novels to Read in Your Lifetime

Infinite happily-ever-afters await you.

Headshot of McKenzie Jean-Philippe

We pulled together a list of the best romance novels anyone should read in their lifetime to narrow in on the greats of the genre. The task is clearly a tall order, but we've done our best to compile the books and authors most often selected as favorites by our fellow readers in "Romancelandia." From forever classics like Jane Eyre to the queen of historical fiction, Beverly Jenkins , 21st-century darlings like The Kiss Quotient , and bestselling series-turned Netflix breakout hit Bridgerton , we know there are options here to fit all tastes. And if by book 28 you still haven't found your pick, check out the authors' Goodreads profiles—because they each have plenty more in their repertoire to explore.

Pride and Prejudice , by Jane Austen (1813)

Arguably the greatest romance novel of all time, Austen's Pride and Prejudice follows the opinionated heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, as she frequently finds herself at odds with her beau, the uptight Mr. Darcy. In 2006, Keira Knightley earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Bennet on the big screen.

Jane Eyre , by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

By exploring themes such as religion, sexuality, and classism, Jane Eyre was a groundbreaking novel during its 19th-century release. Still revered as one of the genre's first novels, Brontë's story of the titular character, Jane, and her maturing emotions and love for her broody boss, Mr. Rochester, is one that readers still have a hard time putting down.

Shanna , by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (1977)

A disclaimer—an OG bodice ripper, The Wolf and the Dove was written in the 1970s, and it shows. Readers today may find it a little too long at over 600 pages—and back then, the foundations of consent that are now commonplace in the 21st century were not at the forefront. But with that said, Woodiwiss's work is one of the original historical romance classics, providing a pathway for many of today's favorite reads. Shanna follows its heiress namesake as she escapes to a Caribbean island after being promised in marriage to the lustful criminal, Ruark Beauchamp.

Morning Glory , by Lavyrle Spencer (1993)

This classic tearjerker by Spencer takes place in small town Whitney, Georgia on the eve of World War II. Will Parker is trying to evade the bad luck that comes with his damning reputation. So when he sees a "Wanted" ad in the paper written by a young widowed mother of two (who's also pregnant with her third child) looking for a husband, it seems that Will finally has an answer to his troubles.

Lord of Scoundrels , by Loretta Chase (1995)

Notorious sinner Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain, revels in his reputation as an unapologetic scoundrel. And he's perfectly content to live as such—until he comes across Jessica Trent. She's smart and headstrong, determined to save her troubled brother from ruin, but she has to cross Sebastian to do so.

Indigo . by Beverly Jenkins (1996)

Years after escaping slavery as a child, Hester is a free woman living in Michigan as an essential worker on the Underground Railroad. One night she's charged with taking in an injured Galen Vachon, also known as "Black Daniel," one of the railroad's most valued conductors. As Hester nurses the handsome and arrogant man back to health, their time together proves to be the beginning of an epic romance. Indigo is one of Jenkins's earliest novels that kicked off a slew of rich historical romances that have elevated her to icon status.

The Viscount Who Loved Me , by Julia Quinn (2000)

While we have Daphne and Simon from The Duke and I to thank for starting off this bestselling eight-book series (and eventually, the Bridgerton Netflix craze) , it's The Viscount Who Loved Me that never fails to make us swoon. In the novel, shameless rake Anthony Bridgerton has finally decided it's time to find a wife. He has the perfect prospect in the beautiful Edwina, but it's her older half-sister Kate who proves to be too tempting.

Delaney’s Desert Sheikh , by Brenda Jackson (2002)

After graduating medical school, Delaney sets off for an escape at her cousin's luxurious secluded cabin. But it turns out she's not staying there alone, as it's occupied by a gorgeous stranger named Jamal—who also happens to be a sheikh determined to seduce Delaney. Delaney’s Desert Sheikh is the first of Jackson's 30 "The Westmorelands" novels.

Dark Lover , by J.R. Ward (2005)

The first of J.R. Ward's ongoing 19 novel series, Black Dagger Brotherhood follows purebred vampire leader Wrath as he unexpectedly falls in love with half-breed Beth, who's quickly introduced to an intriguing paranormal world.

Bet Me , by Jennifer Crusie (2005)

Winner of a 2005 RITA Award, the bestselling Bet Me follows Minerva and Calvin. She's jaded and completely convinced that true love is a fairy tale, and he asked her out to win a bet with her ex. Unbeknownst to Cal, Min is fully aware of his wager—and she uses it to her advantage.

A Hunger Like No Other , by Kresley Cole (2006)

Despite being tortured for years by vampires, werewolf Lachlain MacRieve discovers that his fated soul mate, Emmaline Troy, is a half-vampire. He whisks her away to his Scottish castle, seducing the innocent Emmaline and awakening her desires.

Slave to Sensation , by Nalini Singh (2006)

The first in an extensive repertoire of Singh's bestselling paranormal romance series, stand-alones, and short stories, Slave to Sensation is the introduction to her 15-book "Psy-Changeling" series. It follows Sascha and Lucas, who are on opposite sides of a looming war between their races. Sascha is a member of the Psy, a society that sees desire as a flaw, while Lucas is a Changeling, who proves to bring out the very emotion in Sascha that she's been forced to deny.

Devil In Winter , by Lisa Kleypas (2006)

In order to distance herself from her problematic family, the shy Evie is able to get London's most notorious playboy and viscount to agree to a marriage of convenience. And since their union wasn't exactly a love match, Evie is determined to win over Sebastian by agreeing to sleep with him, if he can just remain celibate for three months. What develops is a consuming connection that proves to be a worthy opponent when an enemy from Evie's past reappears. Though this is Kleypas's third book in her "The Wallflowers" series, it's the favorite among many of her fans.

Vision in White , by Nora Roberts (2009)

Written by popular novelist Nora Roberts, Vision in White is a highlight in her 200-plus story repertoire. In the first of the Bride Quartet novels, wedding photographer Mac Elliot finds herself falling for a bride-to-be's brother, English teacher Carter Maguire. What's supposed to be a "casual fling" turns into much more.

Avon Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake , by Sarah Maclean (2010)

Get a lesson in Regency-era rake-dom via Sarah Maclean's debut and her first book in the "Love By Numbers" series. We're introduced to Lady Calpurnia Hartwell, who after years of doing exactly as she's supposed to is finally ready to break the rules and indulge her whims. This is where Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston comes in. She enlists the famous playboy's help to assist her on her quest, but if she's not careful, she may fall in love.

The Duchess War , by Courtney Milan (2012)

In the first novel of Milan's popular historical series "The Brothers Sinister," Minnie is determined to maintain her wallflower status after events from her past led her to change her name. But then Robert, the Duke of Clermont, enters Minnie's life, and both of their secrets are at risk of being revealed.

The Magpie Lord , by KJ Charles (2013)

After being exiled out of the country for 20 years, Lucien returns to England once again upon the deaths of his father and brother. He's now an earl and must deal with the supernatural enemies and evil that threatened his family. He enlists the help of magician Stephen Day, who Lucien can't help but seduce as Stephen fights to save both of their lives.

Tangled , by Emma Chase (2013)

Goodreads' Choice Winner for romance in 2013, Tangled is a classic enemies-to-lovers tale in which rich, dashing businessman Drew finds his weakness in his new co-worker, the ambitious and beautiful Katherine.

Glitterland , by Alexis Hall (2013)

Ash Winters was once an acclaimed writer, but his clinical depression altered his life forever, ruining his self-esteem and taking away his belief in happiness. In comes the aspiring model Darian, whom Ash meets during a night out. It's Darian who may allow him to believe in love again—but trusting in himself is another story.

Ante Up , by Christina C. Jones (2017)

Growing up in a dysfunctional household, Asha is used to relying on herself in order to survive. Her past is exactly what primed her to become a poker player in Vegas, and it's also how she meets the privileged King. But a one-night stand turns into something more—and complicated. Because despite their vastly different backgrounds, their shared passion and sense of struggle is what connects them.

Headshot of McKenzie Jean-Philippe

McKenzie Jean-Philippe is the editorial assistant at OprahMag.com covering pop culture, TV, movies, celebrity, and lifestyle. She loves a great Oprah viral moment and all things Netflix—but come summertime, Big Brother has her heart. On a day off you'll find her curled up with a new juicy romance novel.

preview for Oprah Daily Entertainment

Valentine's Day 2023

rocky shores near bermuda's horseshoe bay

30 Easy and Creative Valentine’s Day Card Ideas

beauty, makeup and skincare portrait of beautiful woman female using cosmetic products for soft, smooth glowing skin and rosy cheeks closeup of healthy lady with wellness on copy space background

16 Valentine’s Day Makeup Looks Inspired by Celebs

female hands with red manicure nails, hearts design

30 Nail Art Ideas for Valentine’s Day

valentine's day movies collage

The Best Valentine’s Day Movies Ever

a gift basket of spa essentials

20 Valentine’s Day Gift Baskets Ideas

close up of roses bouquet

The Best Valentine’s Day Flowers

lastminute valentine's day gifts

36 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day O List

mixed race couple drinking wine together in a bar at night

How to Save Money on Date Night

valentine's day dresses

Dresses Perfect for Valentine’s Day Dates

valentine's day gifts for him

60 Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him

45 of the best romance novels of all time

From romance novels about the trials of modern love to must-read romantic classics, here's our edit of the best books to sweep you off your feet..

novels love stories

Searching for your next love story? We’ve curated our edit of the best romance books to help out. From star-crossed lovers facing impossible odds, to fantasy romances filled with magic and swoon-worthy classics, these are the most romantic books to fall in love with.

The best new romance books of 2023

In a new york minute, by kate spencer.

Book cover for In A New York Minute

When Franny Doyle is rescued from outfit embarrassment by a mysterious stranger with a Gucci jacket who can’t escape her fast enough, she thinks nothing of it and gets on with her fateful day. Until she logs onto social media and sees that the meet-cute has gone viral and users are shipping her non-existent love story with her rescuer, Hayes Montgomery. When Franny and Hayes keep running into each other, it seems they may be meant to be, but can they get over their differences and give love a chance? 

Lovelight Farms

By b. k. borison.

Book cover for Lovelight Farms

Lovelight Farms  is a wholesome rom-com featuring a handsome, freckled data analyst, a messy, optimistic Christmas tree farm owner, and a small town with the best hazelnut lattes on the east coast. In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a child, Stella enters a contest with insta-famous influencer Evelyn St. James. There’s just one problem; she lied on the application and said that she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only . . . there is no boyfriend. Enter best friend Luka Peters. Will their fake love affair save Lovelight Farms in time for Christmas?

One For My Enemy

By olivie blake.

Book cover for One For My Enemy

In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand in Olivie Blake's new romance fantasy fiction. The Antonova sisters and their mother, Baba Yaga, are the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants while the Fedorov brothers and their crime boss father, Koschei the Deathless, dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. For twelve years, the two families have been in stalemate, but that is about to change. While fate draws together a brother and sister from either side, the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. 

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

By kara gnodde.

Book cover for The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

Devoted siblings Mimi and Art Brotherton have always come as a pair, bound together by the tragic death of their parents. Art is a mathematical genius, and believes everything – even love –  can be boiled down to equations and algorithms. Then Mimi meets Frank, who definitely isn't algorithm approved and soon the siblings' relationship is pushed to breaking point. Something about Frank doesn't quite add up, and only Art can see it. This tale of love and loss is unique, funny and uplifting – true love, in all its forms, is more than a numbers game.  

The Last Summer

By karen swan.

Book cover for The Last Summer

Spirited Effie Gillies has always lived on the little Scottish island of St Kilda. When the island is visited by Lord Sholto, heir of the Earl of Dumfries, sparks fly between him and Effie. She shows the handsome stranger her island for a week, and then a storm hits and shatters her world. Three months later, and the islanders are being evacuated. Effie is offered a position on the Earl's estate, and now the differences between them seem impossible, especially when a terrible secret is uncovered back on the island. Based on the true story of St Kilda, this novel takes the reader back to both island life and high society in the 1930s.

by Taleen Voskuni

Book cover for Sorry, Bro

When Nar’s boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her a San Francisco bar, she realises it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance. But her mother has other ideas. Armed with a spreadsheet of suitable Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend 'Explore Armenia', a month-long festival celebrating their heritage. Soon, Nar meets Erebuni, an intriguing young woman who helps her to see the beauty of their shared culture. However, there's one teeny problem: Nar's not out as bisexual. This funny, heartfelt and relatable romance beautifully explores themes of family, cultural identity, queer love and the process of self-discovery. 

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

By casey mcquiston.

Book cover for I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Chloe Green wants to be a winner. Her moms have moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, and she has had to spend four years navigating gossips and the puritans who run Willowgrove Christian Academy. She is determined to win valedictorian, and only prom queen Shara Wheeler stands in her way. But, a month before they graduate, Shara kisses Chloe and disappears. Chloe launches an investigation with some fellow students –  quarterback Smith and bad boy Rory. Could it be there's more to Shara than meets the eye? 

Five Tuesdays in Winter

By lily king.

Book cover for Five Tuesdays in Winter

With Writers & Lovers , Lily King became one of our most acclaimed writers of contemporary fiction. And now, with Five Tuesdays in Winter , she gathers ten of her best short stories. These intimate literary stories tell of a bookseller who is filled with unspoken love for his employee, an abandoned teenage boy nurtured by a pair of housesitting students and a girl whose loss of innocence brings confident power. Romantic, hopeful, raw and occasionally surreal, these stories riff beautifully on the topic of love and romance.

The Love of My Life

By rosie walsh.

Book cover for The Love of My Life

This is a romantic novel with not just one twist, but several. Emma adores her husband Leo and their daughter Ruby – she would happily do anything for them. Except tell them who she really is. Her secret might have stayed buried, except that she becomes gravely ill. And Leo, to cope with his anxiety for his wife, uses his skill as an obituary writer to explore her outstanding career as a marine biologist. What he discovers leaves him shattered: his wife is – quite literally – not the person he thought she was. Emma's mission is to prove that her love for Leo is real, and that the love of her other life is over . . .

Begin Again

By emma lord.

Book cover for Begin Again

From YA romance veteran, Emma Lord, comes Begin Again — an unforgettable novel about love and starting again. After transferring to the competitive Blue Ridge State and pursuing her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure, everything in Andie Rose's life seems to be going according to plan. But then she meets Milo, who turns her ideas about love and relationships, and her world, upside-down. Her relationship with boyfriend Connor soon becomes increasingly complicated, and her plans fall apart. Sometimes, when all your plans are rubble at your feet, you find out what you're made of.

by J.F. Murray

Book cover for Fling

Both heartfelt and hilarious, Joseph Murray's debut novel Fling is a rom-com not to be missed. Tara and Colin fell in love at first sight. They immediately knew they were right for each other. However, after six years and struggles with infertility, their marriage has started to crumble. Without the other knowing, they both turn to a controversial new dating app – Fling. But having an affair might not always mean being unfaithful, and sometimes what you're looking for might just be closer than you think. 

The Wedding Planner

By danielle steel.

Book cover for The Wedding Planner

Faith Ferguson is one of New York’s most sought after wedding planners. Usually, she thrives on realizing dreams and making magic happen, but this year she faces both professional and personal challenges. And when the Alberts' showstopper wedding is nearly derailed by both a last minute invitee and the groom himself, Faith cannot avoid the warning signals. Desperate to provide the perfect day for all her clients, Faith has often neglected her own love life, but amidst planning –  and saving – this tumultuous wedding she will learn to 'never say never'.

The best romance books of 2022

Alone with you in the ether.

Book cover for Alone With You in the Ether

From the no. 1 international bestselling author of The Atlas Six , comes the unmissable Alone With You in the Ether. Aldo and Charlotte meet in Chicago's Art Institute by chance. He is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. Once they meet, those things do not change. But everything else, is slightly different. Both obsessive, eccentric personalities they instantly struggle to be apart, and the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes . . .

Emma Watson

By joan aiken.

Book cover for Emma Watson

Jane Austen gave life to the fictional Watson family in 1803, but sadly abandoned them five chapters in. Now, acclaimed author Joan Aiken completes the story in  Emma Watson . Emma has been brought up by her aunt, far removed from her widowed father and five siblings. She is wealthy, educated and refined – perfectly fitting the lifestyle she was born into. That is until her aunt enters into a second marriage and Emma is sent to join her sisters in their pursuit of a husband. Expertly narrated with confidence and skill, Aiken entwines themes of loss and love in this regency pastiche. 

Red, White & Royal Blue

Book cover for Red, White & Royal Blue

This New York Times instant bestseller and now an Amazon film is a royal romance with a twist, featuring Alex Claremont-Diaz who becomes the USA's first son when his mum becomes president, and his relationship with Henry, the remarkably un-stuck-up Prince of Wales. What starts as a transatlantic spat grows – through a PR-focussed intervention which was only ever meant to create a fake Instagram friendship – into something deeper and more dangerous, as Alex and Henry search for the courage to be their true selves and let their love shine through.

One Last Stop

Book cover for One Last Stop

Both hilarious and full of heart, Casey McQuiston brings us the story of cynical twenty-three-year-old August in her latest rom-com. August doesn't believe in magic and cinematic love stories, and she's sure her move to New York will prove her right. But then, on the train, she meets Jane. Instantly charmed by her swoopy hair and soft smile, August's subway crush becomes the best part of her day. There's just one problem: Jane is displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help Jane. 

You've Reached Sam

By dustin thao.

Book cover for You've Reached Sam

How do you move forward when everything you love in on the line? Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out: move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone.

A Taste of Gold and Iron

By alexandra rowland.

Book cover for A Taste of Gold and Iron

Kadou, the modest prince of Arasht, has no plans to wrestle for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he is in conflict with the father of queen's new child, who is a powerful ambassador at the court. Then a hunting expedition goes badly wrong, and Kadou finds himself accused of murder. The Ottoman-inspired setting is the perfect backdrop to this sensual tale of courtly intrigue, backstabbing politics and romance.

My Mechanical Romance

By alexene farol follmuth.

Book cover for My Mechanical Romance

When Bel accidentally reveals a talent for engineering at school, she’s forced into joining the robotics club. Enter Mateo Luna, perfect on paper – captain of the football team and the robotics club – who recognizes Bel as a potential asset, even if they couldn’t be more different. And as the nights of after–school work grow longer, Bel and Teo realize they've made more than just a combat–ready robot for the championship: they’ve made a connection themselves. But with graduation approaching, their differences and what they want for their futures, threatens what they’ve built together. 

Last Summer in the City

By gianfranco calligarich.

Book cover for Last Summer in the City

Back in the late sixties, Leo Gazzara left Milan and his family and shifted to Rome for work. Soon he finds himself unemployed and in a haze of romantic liaisons and alcohol. Leo drifts, aimless and alone. The night he turns thirty, Leo meets fragile Arianna, and they drive the streets in his Alfa Romeo, then escape to the sea together. What follows is the story of the year Leo fell in love and lost everything. This intense love story is a newly found classic of Italian writing, with echoes of The Great Gatsby.

Young Mungo

By douglas stuart.

Book cover for Young Mungo

Mungo is a Protestant and James is a Catholic, both inhabiting the hyper-masculine world of two Glasgow housing estates, split violently along sectarian lines. The two should be enemies but, finding sanctuary in the doocot James has created for his racing pigeons, they grow closer and closer. Dreaming of escape and under constant threat of discovery, Mungo and James attempt to navigate a dangerous and uncertain future together.

The Paris Secret

Book cover for The Paris Secret

In a cobbled back street in Paris an apartment sleeps, full of dust and thick with secrets, including astonishing artworks that have been stashed away for decades. Successful art agent Flora is called in from London to assess the treasure trove and begins to trace their long history and mysterious concealment. Thrown in with the glamorous Vermeil family, Flora begins to suspect there are more secrets to be discovered, as brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on closing her out of his family's affairs. Meanwhile, her family life back home is thrown into chaos, distracting Flora from the heady world of art and beauty . . .

by Hannah Kent

Book cover for Devotion

This much-anticipated novel from the author of Burial Rites is set in Prussia, 1836. Teenage Hanne is a child of nature, but feels the pressure of domestic womanhood closing in on her. She yearns for the outdoors and shies away from friendship, until she meets kindred soul Thea. Hanne's family are Old Lutherans, granted passage to Australia which is their passport to freedom. On the long and dangerous ocean journey, Hanne and Thea's growing bond is put to the test.

A Marvellous Light

By freya marske.

Book cover for A Marvellous Light

For fans of Bridgerton who'd like to welcome magic into their lives. Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance. Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he's actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, and he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his adversarial magical-society counterpart, as together they discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

The Redemption of Philip Thane

By lisa berne.

Book cover for The Redemption of Philip Thane

Meet Philip Thane: an unrepentant rogue and a scoundrel. He never wanted to come to little Whittlesey to make a speech, and he certainly didn't want to be stuck in a loop, living the same day over and over again. He takes the chance though to get close to Miss Margaret Allen, who is in town to research a book. Philip is astonished to find she can resist his charms. Maybe, just maybe, it's time for Philip to take a good look at himself and win her heart the right way. A must for fans of Bridgerton .

Alexa, what is there to know about love?

By brian bilston.

Book cover for Alexa, what is there to know about love?

If you’re looking for books about love for the poetry lover in your life, look no further than Brian Bilston’s poetry collection, Alexa, what is there to know about love? Full of poems about love in all its forms, from romantic love to familial love and even love on the internet, this is the perfect, witty gift book for Valentine’s Day. 

The best romance books of all time

The winter of second chances, by jenny bayliss.

Book cover for The Winter of Second Chances

Annie Sharpe has two fabulous grown-up sons and runs a successful restaurant with her handsome husband Max. But when there is one indiscretion too many, she decides she must escape her family life. So, Annie starts a new life as the caretaker of Saltwater Nook, a crumbling but charming beach house on the Kent coast. She reopens the village's seafront café, and embraces the traditions and eccentricities of her new home. Meanwhile, Max is intent on winning her back. Will she succumb to giving her first love a second chance, or step into the joys and uncertainties of a new life?

by Rainbow Rowell

Book cover for Carry On

Loved by young adults and older ones alike, Carry On  is a ghost tale, a romance, a mystery and a melodrama. Simon Snow is in his final year at the Watford School of Magicks, and he's finding it hard to relax: his girlfriend has dumped him, his best friend is annoying and he's worried about his vanished roommate and nemesis. Not to mention the resident ghosts and vampires. . .

How to Love a Jamaican

By alexia arthurs.

Book cover for How to Love a Jamaican

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret – Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection of short stories,  How to Love a Jamaican , about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Some stories ask big questions about the things that define a person, others explode small moments of deep significance and lasting effect. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and Midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

Noughts & Crosses

By malorie blackman.

Book cover for Noughts & Crosses

In the award-winning Noughts and Crosses sequence, Malorie Blackman creates a dystopian world in which the white Noughts are treated as an inferior race, while the black Crosses are born into privilege and perceived as superior in every sense. It follows Sephy and Callum, who, despite the friendship they have shared since they were children, are fated to be bitter enemies. Sephy is a Cross, dark-skinned, beautiful and the daughter of a powerful politician, while Callum is a Nought, white and poor, existing to serve Crosses and nothing more. But against all odds, star-crossed lovers Sephy and Callum choose each other. 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown

By talia hibbert.

Book cover for Act Your Age, Eve Brown

In the gorgeously witty conclusion of the Brown Sisters series, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner. After Eve's chaos ruins an expensive wedding, her parents draw the line – it's time for her to grow up. Meanwhile, Jacob Wayne is always in control and on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry. But, when Eve turns up to interview for his open chef position, and then hits him with her car, things turn upside-down. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. 

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

By sona charaipotra.

Book cover for Symptoms of a Heartbreak

Indian-American Saira discovers the true fragility of the human heart, in this medical rom-com, rollercoaster of a novel. Saira is a 16-year-old genius, who starts an internship at her mother's hospital. Despite the stress of battling to be taken seriously by her peers, she can't help but fall head over heels for a cancer patient on her ward. 

The Other Bennet Sister

By janice hadlow.

Book cover for The Other Bennet Sister

In Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel Pride and Prejudice , Mary is the plain, pious, overlooked middle sister. But in The Other Bennet Sister , Janice Hadlow shines a light on Mary. She’s an introvert in a family of extroverts, a disappointment to her mother and with little in common with her sisters. As she watches her sisters marry, it seems Mary is destined to be single forever. But will Mary find there is hope for her after all? This life-affirming, uplifting story of a woman finding her place in the world is a wonderfully warm and witty homage to Jane Austen.

Love is For Losers

By wibke brueggemann.

Book cover for Love is For Losers

This laugh-out-loud YA romantic novel is a life-affirming story of love and loss. As far as Phoebe is concerned, love should be avoided at all costs. Why would you spend your life worrying about something that turns you into a complete moron? She’s seen her friend Polly fall head over heels and forget about her friends, become obsessed with sex and talk constantly about the guy in question, and Phoebe definitely isn’t going to make the same mistake. But then she meets Emma . . . 

The Butterfly Room

By lucinda riley.

Book cover for The Butterfly Room

Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday and still lives in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood. But the house is crumbling around her, and the time has come to sell it. Then her first love, who broke her heart fifty years ago, comes back into her life. And he is hiding a devastating secret. Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, Lucinda Riley's spellbinding multi-generational romance novel is the perfect holiday read. 

The Man Who Didn't Call

Book cover for The Man Who Didn't Call

The million-copy bestselling romantic novel The Man Who Didn't Call is the love story you won't want to miss. Imagine you meet the man of your dreams, spend a magical week together and fall head over heels in love. You're sure he feels the same, but then he leaves for a long-booked holiday – and never calls. Your friends tell you to forget him, but you're sure something's wrong. And maybe it is. Maybe he found out the truth . . .

by Kate Eberlen

Book cover for Miss You

Perfect for fans of One Day , Miss You is the story of Tess and Gus, who are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet . . . Both on holiday in Florence, their paths cross for just one day. Over the next sixteen years, life and chance keeps them apart, but will fate eventually bring them together?

Pride and Prejudice

By jane austen.

Book cover for Pride and Prejudice

Probably Jane Austen’s best-loved and most romantic novel, this witty satirical look at society has a love story at its heart that has been charming readers for over 200 years. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennett is determined to marry for love, not money, but will she and Mr. Darcy be able to put aside their judgements of each other and realise they are the perfect match?

The Spanish Promise

Book cover for The Spanish Promise

This sizzling novel set in sunny Madrid is full of secrets and romance. When one of Spain's richest men leaves his fortune to a woman his family has never heard of, they're shocked and confused. Charlotte Fairfax is recruited to travel to Madrid to investigate, and though it's only a week before her wedding, she's sure she'll have time. But things aren't as straightforward as they seem, and as Charlotte digs into the family's history she discovers a dark secret of two people torn apart by conflict.

Wuthering Heights

By emily bronte.

Book cover for Wuthering Heights

A dark, haunting tale of passionate and destructive love, Wuthering Heights is one of the great romantic novels of the nineteenth century. Cathy and Heathcliff form an intense bond, but despite their love Cathy marries a rich suitor. But neither can forget the other, and while Cathy becomes increasingly unhappy, Heathcliff is driven by a lust for revenge that will echo through generations.

Call Me By Your Name

By andre aciman.

Book cover for Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is a coming of age story and a novel about the power of first love. In 1980s Italy, seventeen year old Elio’s quiet summer is turned upside down with the arrival of his father’s postdoc student Oliver. Aciman writes beautifully and powerfully on love found and lost.

by Charlotte Bronte

Book cover for Jane Eyre

When orphan Jane Eyre takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with the brooding master of the house. An enduring love story and undisputed classic, Jane Eyre is full of passion, mystery, tragedy, and a strong-willed and beloved heroine.

Alex and Eliza

By melissa de la cruz.

Book cover for Alex and Eliza

This YA romantic novel is based on the story that inspired the acclaimed musical Hamilton . The Schulyers, one of the country’s founding families, are preparing for their grand ball, and Eliza can barely hide her excitement when she hears of the arrival of General George Washington’s right-hand man. When they meet, an epic love story begins.

Our Souls at Night

By kent haruf.

Book cover for Our Souls at Night

Kent Haruf’s final novel is a beautiful and affecting love story which warms the heart. Addie Moore and Louis Waters have been neighbours for years, now both widowed and living alone. One evening Addie pays Louis a visit, and slowly happiness seeps back into their lives.

The Notebook

By nicholas sparks.

Book cover for The Notebook

Adapted into the hugely popular film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to shed a tear at the ending of Nicholas Sparks’ first novel. This is one of the most-loved romance novels in recent history and is a love story you won't forget. 

You may also like

Poems about love for all occasions, wedding readings for every kind of couple, the best fiction books of 2023 & all time.

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

30 Best Romance Novels No Matter What Kind of Love You're Looking For

From bestsellers to new gems.

Headshot of Lizz Schumer

Whether you salivate over historical fiction that follows the fluttering hearts of yesteryear, witchy paranormal romance that proves you don't need flesh and blood to get frisky, rom-coms that pair hilarious hijinks with the steamier stuff or the type of stories that might get sidelong glances on public transit, we've got a romance book you'll want to read over and over again.

And to those think romance is just for bored housewives picking up a bodice-ripper at the grocery store checkout counter, think again. The romance realm has a lot of romance-plus-other to offer that might surprise you — although we'd never turn down one of those fun, flirty grocery store standards either. Many of our favorite romance books also feature exciting adventure, LGBTQ+ love stories and lyrical prose. Add these to your TBR pile, and don't forget to check out the Good Housekeeping book club once you're done, for even more feel-good reads.

Colleen Hoover It Ends with Us (2023)

Colleen Hoover It Ends with Us (2023)

Grab the box set so you won't have to frantically order the second installment of this smash hit from Colleen Hoover. If you haven't read her books yet, start with these two and then work your way through the back catalogue.

RELATED: 15 Best BookTok-Recommended Books to Read Right Now

With Love, from Cold World by Alicia Thompson (2023)

With Love, from Cold World by Alicia Thompson (2023)

From the author of the hit Love in the Time of Serial Killers comes the perfect workplace romance for fans of a certain mouse-centric theme park. Lauren is a serious bookkeeper at a theme park where it's always winter, which doesn't get quite the crowds as its more famous counterparts. Asa is her fun-loving coworker who's always trying to spice things up around the office. Of course, their boss asks them to team up on a project. And naturally, sparks fly. Read to find out the rest.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (2019)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (2019)

After a health scare, Chloe Brown makes a list of things to do to help her "get a life," including doing something bad. Naughty doesn't come naturally to good-girl Chloe, so she enlists the help of rough-and-tumble handyman Red. But what she finds is more than meets the eye, in this first in an absolutely devour-able series.

Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (2023)

Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (2023)

Sage Flores has been running from her ability to commune with plants ever since her sister passed away. But after she's forced to return to her hometown and slips back into her old life — including reconnecting with a high school flame who broke her heart — she can't deny her gift or her family any longer. You could cut the tension here with a knife, or should we say, a pair of gardening shears.

Happy Place by Emily Henry (2023)

Happy Place by Emily Henry (2023)

Harriet and Wyn’s friend group has spent languorous summer days at the same Maine house for a decade, so when it goes up for sale, they’re determined to soak up one last week of memories. There’s just one problem: Harriet and Wyn haven’t told their crew they’re no longer engaged, so they’re stuck sharing a room to keep up the charade. But is it all really just for show, or are sparks flying? Read this one now while you wait for the queen of beach reads' next hit to drop.

RELATED: Summer Books to Add to Your Reading List

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood (2023)

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood (2023)

Rival physicists. Fake dating. Real love? Hazelwood's trio of STEM romances that sees her characters spar on both professional and personal fronts are definitely not homework. Did somebody leave a bunsen burner on, or are things heating up in here?

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012)

Look, we understand that a retelling of The Iliad sounds more like history class than a romantic read, but pick this one up and get ready to eat your words. It's an action-packed epic with one heck of a love story that will change the way you look at the classic tale forever.

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (2023)

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (2023)

If the title doesn't get your attention and you've somehow missed Sittenfeld's other star-tier books, the sizzling plot will do it. This one's about a late-night comedy writer who falls for a pop star with a rep for dating knockouts, which she definitely is not. If you've ever shipped Saturday Night Live stars, this one's for you.

RELATED: The Best and Most-Anticipated Books of 2023

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan (2023)

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan (2023)

Sports fans know how emotional a high-stakes game can get. Add actual romance into the mix, and all we can say is just remember to hydrate. This heartstring-tugger is all about missed connections, tarnished golden boys and the darkness that can lie beneath the most glittering exteriors.

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (2022)

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (2022)

Florence is a romance ghostwriter who no longer believes in love, which is kind of a problem for her career. But then, she returns home to bury her beloved father and finds a ghost (yes, an actual ghost) who might just change her mind.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018)

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (2018)

You really can't go wrong with any of Jasmine Guillory's fun, romantic romps, but this sporty love story is especially great. Freelance writer Nik's boyfriend proposes at a Dodger's game, and the dude can't even spell her name right. She says no (obviously), and the video goes viral. Handsome doctor Carlos sweeps her away from the frenzy, but he can't possibly be the real deal. Or can he?

RELATED: The 50 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time to Watch With Your Friends

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (2016)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (2016)

If you've ever carried a torch for a colleague (the scandal!) this novel will feel familiar. Coworkers Lucy Hutton and her sworn nemesis Joshua Templeman have a rivalry as bitter as they come, especially as they compete for the same promotion. At least, it starts out that way.

Vision In White by Nora Roberts (2012)

Vision In White by Nora Roberts (2012)

The prolific Nora Roberts has penned more than 200 romance novels, but this one earned top marks from her fans as the first installment in The Bride Quartet . Wedding photographer Mackensie "Mac" Elliot operates a wedding planning company with three friends. When a day on the job introduces her to sweet and stable English teacher Carter Maguire, their casual fling might lead to her own happy ending.

RELATED: The 25 Best Romantic Movies on Netflix to Put You in the Mood for Love

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (2018)

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (2018)

More nerdy storylines, please! In this novel from Helen Hoang, Stella Lane is the genius mathematician who puts herself in remedial romance — by hiring escort Michael Phan to teach her the ins and outs of sex. We consider it the perfect equation for a great read.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (2014)

Bared to You by Sylvia Day (2014)

If you like your romance in multiple installments, try the Crossfire series. Big city newbie Eva Tramell literally falls at the feet of billionaire tycoon Gideon Cross, kickstarting a steamy affair that reveals secrets from both their dark pasts. Sound familiar? There's a reason one Amazon reviewer called it the "soap opera version of Fifty Shades of Grey ."

St. Martin's Griffin Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019)

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019)

McQuiston has earned their place in the canon of contemporary romance, and this sexy royals romance is one of the reasons. Ever wonder what would happen if, say, a Kennedy fell in love with a Windsor? With this book, you don't have to.

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (1977)

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin (1977)

If you've never read Anaïs Nin and call yourself a romance fan , fix that right now. This vintage short story collection's erotic vibes still hold up. But don't take our word for it — turn off the lights, slip into something slinky and try it for yourself.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

This classic is so old, it's free if you have a Kindle! And you should definitely take advantage of that – it's basically the O.G. romance novel. If you're already a Jane Austen fan, check out Curtis Sittenfeld's reinterpretation Eligible , which sets Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in modern-day Cincinnati.

Love at First Like: A Novel by Hannah Orenstein (2019)

Love at First Like: A Novel by Hannah Orenstein (2019)

Eliza co-owns a jewelry shop with her sister, and accidentally posts an Instagram of herself wearing a diamond ring on you-know-which finger. The photo blows up, and she realizes even a fake engagement is good for the ol' bottom line. But then she meets Blake. He's great, except for one thing: Blake doesn't know about her ruse, and Eliza doesn't know how much longer she can keep it all up.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

They say you never forget your first love. Test that theory by taking a trip down memory lane with Eleanor and Park, two lovestruck misfit teens in 1986. They're smart enough to know young love never lasts, but brave enough to try anyway.

Headshot of Lizz Schumer

Lizz (she/her) is a senior editor at Good Housekeeping , where she runs the GH Book Club, edits essays and long-form features and writes about pets, books and lifestyle topics. A journalist for almost two decades, she is the author of Biography of a Body and Buffalo Steel. She also teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at New York University's School of Professional Studies and creative nonfiction at the Muse Writing Center, and coaches with the New York Writing Room. 

preview for Good Housekeeping US Section: Life

@media(max-width: 64rem){.css-1yxmhzw:before{background-repeat:no-repeat;bottom:-0.2rem;color:#ffffff;content:'_';display:inline-block;height:1.25rem;line-height:1;margin-bottom:0.5rem;margin-right:0.625rem;position:relative;width:1.25rem;}.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.loaded .css-1yxmhzw:before{background-image:url(/_assets/design-tokens/goodhousekeeping/static/images/Clover.5c7a1a0.svg);}} All the Best Books to Read Next

midnight is the darkest hour book cover

How Women Deal With Sexism on the Open Seas

best fall books

20 Must-Read Fall Books You'll Tear Through

best books for 2 year olds

20 Must-Have Books for 2-Year-Olds

feel good book club reviews

A Full List of Our GH Book Club Picks

best relationship books

The Best Relationship Books

affectionate father reading book with adorable mixed race daughter

Expert-Picked Books for 4-Year-Olds

couple reading food recipe

The Best Healthy Cookbooks

reba mcentire book not that fancy interview

Read Our Reba McEntire Interview

kids' book awards

The Winners of Our 2023 Kids' Book Awards

banned books

18 Banned Books That Deserve a Spot on Your Shelf

15 best books by native authors

Best Books by Native American Authors

The 60 Best Romance Novels to Sweep You Off Your Feet

Join Discovery, the new community for book lovers

Trust book recommendations from real people, not robots 🤓

Blog – Posted on Tuesday, Nov 03

The 60 best romance novels to sweep you off your feet.

The 60 Best Romance Novels to Sweep You Off Your Feet

Romance is a perennial favorite for readers everywhere, and it isn’t hard to see why. A good love story has drama, intrigue, laughs, and, if you’re lucky, a little heat; while the very best romance novels can feel just like falling in love — intimate and personal, yet huge and life-changing all at once. 

We’ve compiled a list of our all-time favorite romance novels, from historical regency romance to contemporary novels tackling love in the digital age. So whether you’re searching for a how-to guide or cautionary tale (and there are plenty of those), you’re hungry to read the next rom-com blockbuster before it hits Netflix, or you just want to lose yourself in timeless romance tropes, we’ve got you covered! 💘

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the number of great romance novels out there, why not take our 30-second quiz to narrow it down quickly and get a personalized romance book recommendation?

Which romance novel should you read next?

Discover the perfect romance book for you. Takes 30 seconds!

The Classics

1. jane eyre by charlotte brontë.

Though Jane Eyre might be ‘poor, obscure, plain and little’, her love story is anything but. One of the authoritative classics of the genre, Jane Eyre’ s enduring popularity is testament to the power of its central romance. Jane, a destitute young orphan, arrives at the home of the mysterious Mr Rochester in search of employment, but finds far more than she bargained for. The naïve and uncertain Jane is magnetically drawn to her brooding employer, but will the twisted secrets lying at the heart of Thornfield Hall undermine their budding relationship? Written at a time when most romantic heroines were preternaturally pretty, the headstrong, wilful, yet utterly average Jane is a subversive breath of fresh air — or should we say Eyre?

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

A sprawling epic that takes readers across continents in the name of love, Anna Karenina is one of the longest books on this list, coming to an intimidating 800+ pages. But those who persevere with this colossus of a novel are richly rewarded. In what is considered by many to be the best romance novel of all time (and, we think, one of the best books to read in a lifetime ), Tolstoy tells the story of an extramarital affair and its fallout in Imperial Russian society.  When Anna runs away with the handsome Count Vronsky, excitement gives way to paranoia, isolation, and regret, as we witness the unravelling of their relationship, and of Anna herself. As much a cautionary tale as it is a romance novel, Anna Karenina is a richly imagined portrait of both the agonies and ecstasies of love.

3. Love in the Time of Cholera (Oprah's Book Club) by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Florentino Ariza has been waiting for 50 years for his true love to return. That’s not to say he’s been bored: he’s passed the time by having no fewer than 622 love affairs, which he has painstakingly recorded in his notebooks. Despite his dalliances and the passing of decades, when the man who married his childhood sweetheart dies, a now elderly Florentino seizes the opportunity to declare his love once more. An astonishing exploration of devotion and reunions, and the unrealistic expectations we place on those we love, Love in the Time of Cholera doesn’t just ask whether the hero will get the girl — it asks whether he should. They don’t just hand out the Nobel Prize for Literature to anyone, so it’s safe to say we’re in good hands with Gabriel Garcia Márquez.

4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This classic fish-out-of-water tale follows Margaret, a nineteen-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when her family relocates from a sleepy village to Darkshire — a rough and restless industrial town in the north of England. Margaret finds a new calling, advocating for the poor and disenfranchised, but it brings her into direct conflict with imposing mill owner John Thornton. Can the two find any common ground, or will misunderstanding keep them at odds? Heart-warming and ahead of its time, North and South isn’t just a beautiful romance, it also has a lot to say on politics, gender, and religion, so one for the history buffs, too!

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any list of the best romance novels must be in want of at least one Jane Austen title (we’ve gone for three!). And Pride and Prejudice is by far the English humorist’s most famous story. It’s a tale as old as time: boy meets girl; boy and girl bicker and declare their contempt for one another; boy and girl realise over time that there is, in fact, more to one another than meets the eye — but has this realisation come too late? It might now be a rom-com trope, but Pride and Prejudice is one of the oldest and greatest examples of the thin line between love and hate. Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance is as honest as it is unexpected, and Austen’s characters are so vividly realised and so utterly believable that you’ll be gasping, cringing, and crying along with them.

6. Emma by Jane Austen

Austen once set out in a letter the perfect subject for a novel — “Three or four families in a country village” — and the description fits Emma well. The glue that holds these families together (and our beloved heroine) is Emma Woodhouse. Clever, rich, beautiful, and utterly deluded, she’s determined to meddle with the hearts of her neighbours, but sees no need to find a husband herself. The novel bends narration through the distorting lens of our protagonist, making for a genius coming-of-age story and a work of comic brilliance. No matter who plays them, in what adaptation , her characters never fail to be laugh-out-loud funny!

7. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The third and final instalment in our ode to romance titan Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility is a novel of lies, secrets, and seduction. Following two sisters — one wild and impulsive, the other quiet and sensible — it brilliantly portrays a world of money and status, gossip and innuendo, where rigid social convention governs the impulses of the heart. Through their parallel experiences of love and heartbreak, will these two young women learn to strike a balance between wearing your heart on your sleeve and concealing your true feelings?

8. Maurice by E.M. Forster

The brave and passionate tale of a young man’s sexual awakening, this intensely personal novel was written by Forster in 1914, when homosexual relationships were not only stigmatised, but illegal. Languishing in a drawer for fifty-seven years, Maurice was published after the author’s death, and quickly celebrated as a powerful, moving, beautifully-written love story. It chronicles the experiences of a privileged but modest young man, who comes up against unrequited love, heartbreak, and society politics on his journey to self-discovery. If you’re scouring this list for brilliant LGBT books , look no further!

9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

As Goldman himself writes in the introduction, “dollars to donuts you’ve seen the movie”. But if you haven’t read the book that inspired the cult hit, you’ve missed a trick. A spoof fairy tale, a sharp satire, and a rocket-powered fantasy , all brilliantly disguised as a love story — there’s absolutely nothing fluffy about The Princess Bride . In fact, though there’s plenty to giggle about in the story of Buttercup and Prince Humperdink, you might also call this novel a tightly-plotted thriller. So if you’re of a nervous disposition, maybe stick to fairy tales meant for kids. 

10 . Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Reading Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles is an affecting experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Its heroine, Tess Durbyfield, is so beautifully and sympathetically drawn that you cannot help but feel crushed as the world conspires against her; betrayed by men who exploit her, a society that casts her out, and by the callousness of her religion. As the seasons change, and Tess changes with them, it’s clear that she identifies most with the natural world — and it is here that the intensity of Hardy’s imagination comes into its own. His lush and evocative descriptions, metaphors, and parallels make this tragic romance novel a poetic masterpiece. 

11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The first and only novel by an elusive icon, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights plunges headfirst into an exploration of the violence of doomed romance. Amid the bleak and feral atmosphere of the Yorkshire moors, the novel revolves obsessively around the tempestuous course of Cathy and Heathcliff’s self-destructive love affair. A gothic novel of intense passion, betrayal, and bitter vengeance — underpinned by the quiet beauty of Brontë’s lyricism — Wuthering Heights is an iconoclastic masterpiece that has inspired film-makers, novelists, poets, and song-writers for generations.

12. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The quintessential love story that has spawned countless retellings and inspired who knows how many writers, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet —  the story of two star-crossed lovers from rival houses — wrote many of the rules of tragic romance. From iconic scenes like the balcony soliloquy, to legendary one-liners (“A plague o’ both your houses”, anyone?), and the ending that defined the romantic tragedy genre, any aspiring romance connoisseur should get this one under their belt.

13. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A dark, twisted tale told almost exclusively as a flashback, Rebecca follows the nameless protagonist and her speedy marriage to a mysterious but charming stranger, Maxim de Winter, whom she meets on a business excursion. Things quickly become unsettling, as the protagonist learns of the troubling questions surrounding Maxim’s previous wife, Rebecca, whose spectre haunts their relationship. As Maxim’s carefully curated image — and their relationship — unravels further, the protagonist falls deeper into the shadow of Rebecca’s legacy. If you’re one who enjoys indulging in dark romance plots with thriller or mystery elements, du Maurier’s novel may be one for you. 

Looking for something new to read?

Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations.

Or sign up with an email address

Historical Romance

14. gone with the wind by margaret mitchell.

Spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara only ever had to worry about her love life, until poverty threatened to wipe out her family’s plantation. Doing everything she can to save their fortunes, Scarlett embarks on a series of unexpected adventures, traversing burning cities and bandit-filled forests. Despite her new priorities, Scarlett quickly finds that she cannot leave affairs of the heart behind completely, as she is torn between her beloved Ashley and the dashing but dangerous Rhett. A controversial presentation of Civil-War era America, Gone With the Wind explores the complexities of both romantic and platonic love. If you’ve seen the incomparable Vivien Leigh bring her to life on screen, it’s time to meet Scarlett on the page.

15. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Thorn Birds explores the tangled web of three generations of one Australian Outback family, carefully tracking their loves and losses over the course of 50 years. The emotional heart of the novel lies in the illicit relationship between Meggie, the daughter of the family, and Ralph, a priest in the local parish. Their attraction is dangerous, forbidden — and difficult to resist. Will they ever be together, or will the seemingly insurmountable obstacles between them keep them apart? This sweeping panorama of life in a rural sheep station from 1915 to 1969 is an Aussie cultural mainstay — it’s the best-selling book in Australian history!

16. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The story of Noah and Allie is captured in three intertwined snap-shots: their teens, their early thirties, and old age. As our mysterious, elderly narrator unpacks these nesting dolls, we gradually learn about the love affair between our protagonists. The universe appears to have conspired to keep these childhood sweethearts apart: with meddling families, possessive fiancés, and World War II thrown into the mix, will they ever find their way back together? Some might dismiss it as chick-lit, but The Notebook is a guaranteed tear-jerker — every time. Who would have thought the words "if you’re a bird, I’m a bird" could pack such an emotional punch?

17. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Popular and outgoing class president Landon doesn’t think he has much in common with the preacher’s daughter Jamie, until circumstance forces them together. A last-ditch effort to get a date to the high school dance leads to an unexpected romance in A Walk to Remember, Nicholas Sparks’ follow-up to smash hit The Notebook. As Landon and Jamie slowly find common ground, and an appreciation for one another, A Walk to Remember proves that love can be found in surprising places. It’s a charming and sweet read, but, be warned — it’s another Sparks tear-jerker. How does he always get us?

18. Indigo by Beverly Jenkins

A member of a wealthy, free Black family, Galen Vachon has a lot to lose when he decides to become a member of the Underground railroad network, and join the effort to free enslaved Southerners. His risky lifestyle catches up with him when, attacked and injured, he is forced to seek sanctuary in the basement of a stranger. That stranger is Hester Wyatt, a former slave. Despite agreeing to nurse Galen back to health, their clashing personalities lead Hester to wonder whether she can keep her promise — not to mention the hostile forces that have started to come looking for him. Equal parts history and romance, this novel from NAACP nominee Beverly Jenkins will keep you on the edge of your seat.

19. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

If you’re a die-hard fan of the television phenomenon Poldark , you’ll be delighted to hear that there are twelve (yes, twelve) novels to consume. A rich Cornish broth of love, rivalry, and discontent, Graham’s novels conjure up the lashing rains, the wild winds, and the crashing seas of 18th century Cornwall as his plots roar along the coastline. If you start with book one (a sensible choice) you’ll meet Ross Poldark as he returns from war in America. A Mr Darcy-come-Robin Hood hero, he rescues an urchin girl from a brawl and employs her as his maid — an act which will alter the course of his life for the next twelve books. Did I mention there are twelve?

20. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The best historical romance novels must all make great TV, because here’s another one that inspired a super sexy series. Before it became an epic costume drama, Gabaldon’s time-travelling novel introduced us to former British combat nurse, Claire Randall, and her roguish young love interest, Scotts warrior Jamie Fraser. There’s only one thing keeping this gorgeous couple apart…several centuries. On a trip to the Highlands with her husband Frank, Claire tumbles back in time to 1743, and finds herself caught between two very different lives, and two very different men. If you’re looking for a best-selling romance novel that’s got it all — passion, intrigue, danger, and time travel — Outlander is your one!

21. A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

A recent release that’s already considered vintage Allende, A Long Petal of the Sea is suffused with a vibrant sense of time and place as it traces its story through forty years of authoritarian rule in Spain. Allende’s novel begins when pregnant widow, Roser, and her brother-in-law, Victor, flee fascist Spain aboard a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda. Arriving in Chile, they immediately embroil themselves in a tangled web of characters connected by love and tragedy. A Long Petal of the Sea is a masterful historical romance novel, tinged with Allende’s hallmark magical realism . Don’t sleep on this one!

22. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Living a quiet life and working in her family’s seafood restaurant in late 19th century England, Nan King is happy just the way she is — that is until Kitty Butler, a male impersonator and performer, whirls into her line of sight. Enchanted by her performances, Nan finally manages to meet Kitty and ends up becoming her dresser. The two head for big cities that Nan has never even dreamed of — and a passionate romance unfurls backstage that rivals the action onstage. For fans of historical fiction and lesbian romance, this rollercoaster of a novel will take you on exhilarating ride, filled with titillating insight into the raunchy underbelly of 1890s England and the thrill of forbidden love.

23. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Beginning during WWI and spanning three generations, Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong is an epic novel about the power of war to strip everything from you, whether that be home, family, dignity — or love. With a few key couples dominating the pages in the style of Anna Karenina , we see the action through their eyes and feel their struggle to maintain hope after endless sacrifices. For those inspired by stories of love in the time of war, Birdsong evokes classics like War and Peace , wrapping wartime drama in a healthy coating of romance, intrigue, and sacrifices for the greater good.

Contemporary Romance

24. call me by your name by andré aciman.

A long, hot Italian summer provides the backdrop to an equally steamy romance in Call Me by Your Name , the story of a young man’s romance with his family’s lodger. As tender and heartfelt as it is intense and passionate, Elio and Oliver’s love affair begins awkwardly, slowly, and tacitly, before building to unprecedented heights as the summer draws to a close. A modern classic of LGBT+ literature, this exploration of first love and sexual awakening is vividly realised, and astonishingly honest. The second you’re through reading, you’re sure to be clamouring for more. Luckily for you, Aciman released a sequel last year — so you won’t have to say goodbye to Elio and Oliver just yet.

25. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

When Henry and Clare bump into one another at the local library, it’s a classic meet-cute. Except, it’s not. Because Clare and Henry have met each other before —  in fact, she’s known him her whole life. As it turns out, Henry’s a time traveler, and Clare is his future wife. A rare genetic condition causes Henry to jump uncontrollably along the timeline of Clare’s life. They decide to give things a shot after their ‘first meeting’, but, despite their deep love for one another, they face  lots of challenges along the way; after all, it’s hard to keep up a relationship when one party is constantly dropping in and out of reality. Niffenegger’s touching novel is sure to pull at your heartstrings, as she leads us to consider how free will and destiny combine to determine who we end up loving.

26. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Stella loves logic. The problem is, love isn’t logical. A highflying mathematician, she’s never put much thought into finding a romantic partner. But when she decides it’s finally time to settle down, Stella comes up with a characteristically pragmatic plan: she’ll hire someone to teach her how to do it. Enter Michael, a handsome escort, who usually doesn’t do repeat customers. When he agrees to give Stella lessons in love, he finds himself drawn deeper into her life; suddenly, Stella isn’t the only one who’s learning. A charming and affectionate portrayal of the love life of a neurodivergent woman, The Kiss Quotient is a breath of fresh air — we doubt you’ll have read a romance quite like this before.

27. When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

When Katie Met Cassidy is every inch the classic Nora Efron-style rom-com, with one simple difference — both our protagonists are women. Katie is a small town girl, reeling from the breakdown of her engagement. Cassidy is a high powered businesswoman, living and thriving in New York’s gay scene. A chance meeting is enough to cement their fate, and the two women are drawn uncontrollably to one another. Joyous, hilarious, and deeply sexy, Perri’s novel is not just an exploration of sexuality and gender nonconformity, but a sparkling subversion of the romantic comedy form.

28. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Will Traynor is living a lonely life. Recently left quadriplegic by a motorcycle accident, his formerly fast-paced life has ground to a halt. Enter Lou; bubbly, funny sunshine in human form. Will’s mother has hired her to help care for Will, in the hopes of lifting his perpetually dour mood, but the intrusion is not a welcome one — at least at first. Over time, the two come to understand one another a little better, though Will remains insistent on keeping Lou at arm’s length, while she struggles to understand what he’s so afraid of. Will she be able to break down his walls? You’ll shed a tear or two, but you won’t be able to resist falling in love with Me Before You.

29. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin’s best-selling romance novel is for every woman that’s been the sidekick in a lopsided friendship. In this story, it’s Rachel White: hard-working attorney, consummate good girl, and diligent maid of honour to her dazzling best friend Darcy — who happens to be marrying the man that Rachel is in love with. Yeah, that wasn’t part of the plan. ( Well , she did set them up, but what are best friends for?) Things start to spiral out of control when Rachel drunkenly confesses her feelings to Darcy’s fiancé, and is both delighted and devastated to hear he feels the same way. It might be a classic romance trope , but this knotty love triangle will have you on the edge of your seat to the very end.

30. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Probably the best romance novel of 2019, Casey McQuiston’s queer, royal love story didn’t just take the New York Times bestseller list by storm, it broke the internet. A kaleidoscope of popular influences, dripping in internet lingo, Ariana Grande references, and memes aplenty, Red, White & Royal Blue is the book we were screaming for. It’s set in an alternate reality where in 2016, a Democrat became the first female president of the US, and follows First Son Alex — a twenty-something, biracial, modern-day Kennedy. The action begins at a royal wedding, when Alex is told to play nice with his childhood nemesis, the Prince of Wales. As the famous pair fake a bromance for the cameras, behind the scenes… well , you know where this is going.

31. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Lucy Hutton doesn’t dislike Joshua Templeman. She doesn’t reluctantly tolerate him. She hates him. And she has to sit across from his joyless, infuriatingly handsome face every day . To be fair to Joshua, the feeling’s mutual. Lucy’s a people pleaser — the kind who wears yellow to work — and she pushes all his buttons. Now they’re up for the same promotion, and this bitter workplace rivalry is about to reach boiling point. But when tensions run high, you know what they say: there’s a thin line between love and hate. Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game is an unmissable treat for anyone who loves a rom-com about that undeniable spark between nemeses.

32. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney was recognised as both a gifted writer and a perceptive and nuanced observer, when she released her debut novel Conversations With Friends . In Normal People, she captures the zeitgeist with the same subtlety and skill. It’s an intimate love story of deceptive simplicity: Marianne and Connell are two mismatched young people —unlikely friends, unlikely lovers — who share a profound understanding. However, as their small town lives in rural Ireland are eclipsed by the heady and confusing world of student Dublin, the ways in which they mould each other reveal a universal truth about the lasting impact that one person can have on another. Dripping with longing and regret, and steered by two deeply vulnerable characters, this novel remains immensely readable — one of the best romance novels of the 21st century.

33. Beach Read by Emily Henry

Henry’s smart and steamy page-turner, Beach Read, gave us all a sizzling slice of the summer romance we missed out on in 2020. In an effort to crack a crippling case of writer’s block, January, a hopeless romantic, and Gus, who thinks happy endings are for fairy tales, don’t swap numbers, but genres. Before the summer is out, January must write the next great work of literary fiction , while Gus has to pen a bestselling romance novel. Two writers, two beach huts, and plenty of whipcrack banter — let’s hope Henry is an author with a soft spot for happily-ever-after.

34. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Everything in Lily’s life seems to be falling into place. She’s got a new place in Boston, her own business, and she’s convinced gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid to break his “no-dating” rule. Her old life in small-town Maine certainly seems a long way behind her. But as questions about her new relationship, and Ryle’s stubborn aversion to dating, begin to overwhelm her, Lily can’t help but wonder about Atlas Corrigan — her first love, and a link to the world she left behind. So when Atlas appears in Boston, everything she has with Ryle is suddenly thrown into question. This unforgettable tale is as heartbreaking as it is thrilling; prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

35. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

A New York Times bestselling romance novel and a favorite among book clubs and celebrity book-lovers alike, The Proposal is a fun and flirty novel about a second chance at love. Guillory kicks off with a man on one knee; it’s not the usual way to start a love story, but this proposal isn’t followed by happily ever after. When Nik’s boyfriend asks her to spend the rest of her life with him, saying no isn’t the hard part (the guy can’t even spell her name right!) — it’s doing it in front of a stadium full of disappointed baseball fans. Luckily, handsome doctor Carlos is there to sweep her away from the frenzy and into an epic rebound of food, fun, and fantastic sex. But how serious can their glorified hookups get before someone slams on the brakes?

36. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Part tragic romance, part coming-of-age, part war trauma — Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a heart-wrenching, expansive look at a lot of hard truths. Little Dog, a Vietnamese refugee in the U.S. and protagonist of this semi-autobiographical novel, tries to find solace in the small comforts of his life in the working class town of Hartford, Connecticut but realizes that he wants to grow beyond his current horizons. The reader follows Little Dog as he chases the American Dream, pursues a growing romance with a farm boy who’s struggling with his family’s homophobia, and questions how to be happy in the shadow of grief and trauma. A raw, poetic, and dark experience, if you enjoy a large helping of hardship and identity crises with your romance, this might be your cup of tea.

37. Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has set her up with — headstrong Daisy Devreaux chooses the latter. Her new husband, Alex Markov, is a deadpan grade-A jerk who seems to have no patience for Daisy’s bourgeois tastes and flights of fancy. But as they work on restoring a rundown traveling circus, their growing influence on each other becomes impossible to ignore. Fans of stubborn romantic leads (à la Annie and Frank from Annie Get Your Gun ), quirky settings, and the time-tested city-girl-in-the-country trope may find a winner in Kiss An Angel .

38. Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Mackensie Elliott is head of her own wedding planning business and firmly believes she’s better at capturing other people’s special days than she would be at experiencing her own. But when Mackensie hits it off with the seemingly humdrum Carter Maguire, a high school English teacher who’s definitely not her type, her friends encourage her to make the first move. What begins as a casual fling becomes something more, and Mackensie has to ask herself if she’s willing to step out from behind her cool and collected facade and seize her own happiness. Readers looking for a tentative slow burn and a strong female lead will find a perfect match in Roberts’ charming Vision in White .

Young Adult Romance

39. twilight by stephenie meyer.

It’s faced more than its fair share of backlash, derision, and parody, but it’s impossible to deny that few books have influenced the cultural zeitgeist as much as Twilight . It’s the book that led a generation of teenage girls to genuinely debate whether vampires or werewolves were hotter, and that launched an entire renaissance of paranormal romance books . No matter what the critics say, it’s the definitive high school romance turned struggle against a vampiric death cult — so why not revisit Twilight mania, and see what all the hype was about? Oh, and P.S., we’re totally team Edward.

40. Forever . . . by Judy Blume

‘Sybil Davison has a genius IQ and has been laid by at least six different guys’. So begins Judy Blume’s Forever… Is it any wonder that this YA book has been a favorite under-the-covers read ever since its release in the 70’s? This refreshingly honest presentation of teenage sexuality was deeply controversial because of its raunchy subject matter — it’s even been banned from several libraries — but it remains a classic. Katherine and Michael’s high school romance is a charming coming-of-age story that’s sure to have you laughing and cringing in equal parts.

41. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Imagine if all your high school crushes suddenly knew every embarrassing thought you’ve ever had about them. That’s what happens to Lara Jean, a sixteen-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when letters she’s written to all the boys she’s ever loved — letters that the recipients were never supposed to see — are sent. Naturally, the fallout is chaotic. Jenny Han’s sugary sweet novel not only spent 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, it was also adapted into a blockbusting movie. If there’s one thing you should take away from this one, it’s to keep your top secret love letters under lock and key.

42. The Selection by Kiera Cass

Fans of dystopian novels (think The Hunger Games ) will find a lot to love in The Selection, the first in Kiera Cass’ Selection series. After being selected to compete for the heart of a Prince, America is forced to leave behind her home and the boy she secretly loves but cannot be with. What she doesn’t expect is to start falling for the handsome prince. With a Netflix adaptation in the works, now’s your chance to get ahead of the hype and join this YA series’ cult following before it’s cool.

43. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

An internet phenomenon that has a special place in the hearts of superfans everywhere, Rainbow Rowell’s young adult romance is as charming as it is candid. Cath is a fanfiction-writing, premiere-attending, card-carrying fangirl. Her twin sister Wren used to be the same, But now they’re in college, Wren has lost interest in geeky pursuits — she’s far too busy partying, making friends, and being cool. She’s also lost interest in Cath. Without her sister for the first time, Cath is forced to navigate the confusion and loneliness of being a freshman all alone. Will the cute guy in her creative writing class be a welcome distraction? How about her new roommate’s friendly ex-boyfriend...?

44. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Another Rainbow Rowell novel met with critical acclaim, Eleanor & Park is an urgent, breathless, gut-punch of a love story about two teen misfits and one life-changing school year. It’s 1986 when Eleanor arrives in her new town, all chaotic red hair and mismatched clothes. She takes a seat on the school bus and finds herself next to Park — quiet, understated, and impossibly cool. Carefully yet wholeheartedly, over late night phone calls and countless mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. It’s that pure, fear-laced, heartbreaking kind of love you only experience when you’re sixteen — and trust us, your heart will melt.

45. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

When Anna’s father ships her off to boarding school in Paris, she’s less than thrilled to be leaving behind her friends in Atlanta — especially that cute guy she works with at the multiplex. But all is forgiven (and cute coworkers forgotten) when she meets Etienne St. Clair. He’s charming, smart, gorgeous...and tragically taken. But hearts have a way of coming together in the City of Love. So if Anna plays her cards right, her senior year might just end with the perfect first kiss. Relive the flutters of first love in Perkins’ wonderfully cheesy tale of crushes, complications, and croissants.

46. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

It’s 1987 and a hot summer’s day in El Paso, Texas, when Ari and Dante meet at a swimming pool. On the face of things, they have nothing in common. Ari is guarded, angry, and struggling to feel like he belongs. Dante is an open-hearted know-it-all, still figuring out who he is. But, as they spend the summer learning about each other, and discovering themselves, a friendship floods the lives of these two loners like a golden light. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a tender and lyrical reminder that love in all its many forms should be open, deep, and without shame.

47. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

High school junior Simon has a lot on his mind; but when a stray email falls into the wrong hands and he’s blackmailed by class clown Martin, he’s forced to play along — or he’ll be outed as gay, along with his increasingly flirtatious pen pal. As his friend group starts to fray and the situation becomes increasingly tenuous, Simon will have to keep up with the pace of change, or risk the life he knows crashing down around his ears. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a gay romance filled with warm fuzzies, dry humor, and supportive friendships. Albertalli’s feel-good novel is still able, however, to flirt with some bigger questions about homophobia and the experience of being a closeted teen in the American South.

48. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

In this romantic retelling of a perennial Classics favorite, Homer’s Iliad , Madeline Miller casts Patroclus as the awkward but lovable ancient Grecian nerd to Achilles’ jock. As the unlikely duo fight in battle, quarrel, and form a bond that grows deeper every day, their conflicting beliefs about the Trojan War threaten to tear them apart. Miller, a classics teacher herself, takes up Homer’s thread of lyrical prose while adding her own unique style and story elements. If you’re partial to Rick Riordan (who, incidentally, gave this book a glowing review !) and his ancient mythology series, but wished they had a more mature and romantic tone, look no further than The Song of Achilles.

49. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is trying to recover from a family tragedy, supported by his friends and his girlfriend Genevieve. But when Aaron starts spending his time almost exclusively with new boy Thomas, he quickly comes to a number of realizations that he’s not altogether thrilled with. At the same time, a slot opens up for a memory-alteration procedure at the Leteo Institute, and Aaron has the choice of wiping the things he’d rather not dwell on out of his head forever. A grittier take on young adult romance, More Happy Than Not goes deep into themes of depression, homophobia, and suicide, while exploring the scientific possibilities of the not-too-distant future .

50. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

For three years, Hazel’s life has been nothing but terminal. Diagnosed with incurable cancer at the age of thirteen, she’s never had the chance to experience the thrilling awkwardness of being a teenager. In an attempt to find kids who understand, Hazel’s mother forces her to attend a truly miserable cancer support group. Enter: Augustus Waters. A charming, and unremarkably handsome amputee with an alarming optimism for life, Gus is a much-needed plot twist in the story of Hazel Grace. Bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is a witty tour de force about the thrilling and tragic business of being alive, and a heartbreaking (but never depressing) story about a love that lasts ‘forever, within the numbered days.’

Regency Romance

51. the grand sophy by georgette heyer.

When Sophia Stanton-Lacy is dropped on her aunt’s doorstep by her diplomat father, she’s not quite what any of her extended family were expecting. Self-assured, confident, and more than a touch rebellious, the beautiful and charismatic Sophy sweeps through London like a breath of fresh air. In the opinion of her stern cousin Charles, however, that fresh air feels more like a hurricane. This witty, sophisticated tale of societal intrigue and domestic dramas has a lot to offer Austen fans, and Heyer’s pacy comedy-of-manners is served with a generous helping of heart-stopping romance.

52. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Annabelle needs a rich husband, and fast. Her family are in dire financial straits, and she must use every tool at her disposal to save them. There’s one major issue, however — her most tenacious suitor, entrepreneur Simon Hunt, has no interest in marrying her. As Annabelle struggles to resist his advances and keep her head in the game, Simon finds the chase even more exciting. This steamy regency romance is the first book in Kleypas’ mega-popular Wallflowers series, so once you’ve devoured this one (and we bet you will) there’s plenty left to enjoy.

53. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

A devilishly debonair womanizer is suddenly interred in an insane asylum, having suffered a stroke. The sheltered and naïve Maddy, fascinated by his scandalous reputation, is tasked with his care. Despite her Quaker upbringing and the brutality of their surroundings, the unlikely pair find themselves swept up in a passionate and intense love affair. As she grows closer to the Duke of Jervaux, Maddy begins to realise his playboy facade conceals hidden depths. New York Times bestseller Kinsale reminds us there’s often much more than meets the eye in this gripping, steamy, and desire-drenched novel.

54. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Lord of Scoundrels may be the third in its series, but we can’t resist including it on this list. One of the most well-known and well received historical romance novels of all time , this regency read has had readers seriously hot under the starched collar for 25 years. When the independent and beautiful Jessica Trent rolls into town to save her brother from the influence of the caddish Sebastian, the two engage in a fierce battle of wits. When the tension between them reaches fever pitch, they’re caught in a compromising situation at a society party. Will Sebastian do what’s right to save Jessica’s reputation, or is he really as unscrupulous as she always suspected?

Erotic Romance

55. fifty shades of grey by e. l. james.

You’ve probably already read Fifty Shades — it was the biggest selling book of the 2010’s, after all. But if the pop culture phenomenon somehow passed you by, it’s never too late to give this kinky thriller a try. The story of hunky, troubled billionaire Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, a naïve student who (quite literally) falls headfirst into his life, started out as self-published Twilight fanfiction. Who could have imagined that this steamier-than-a-sauna novel would go on to sell over 125 million copies!

56. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

If there’s one thing more exciting than erotic fiction, it’s vintage erotic fiction. If you’re looking for retro erotica with a disarming feminist twist , look no further than Delta of Venus, a collection of 15 short stories written by Anais Nin in the 1940s. In sexy bitesize chunks, Nin regales us with stories of torrid love affairs and passionate trysts, told in what Nin herself refers to as ‘women's language, seeing sexual experience from a woman's point of view’. It’s as gorgeous as it was groundbreaking.

57. Twice In A Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Would you take a second chance at first love? This is the dilemma that Sally and Harriet face in Twice in a Lifetime . Teenage sweethearts, they broke up when Harriet moved away to college, breaking Sally’s heart. But a chance luggage mix-up at the airport brings them crashing back together. The sexual tension is heavy — but the emotional baggage is, too. Is it worth another shot? Scorching sex scenes are balanced out by genuine warmth and deeply likeable main characters in this LGBTQ+ erotic novel.

58. Rush by Maya Banks

Forbidden desire takes center stage in Rush, the first book in bestselling author Maya Banks’ Breathless trilogy, which follows the exploits of three very handsome, very successful, and very debauched business partners. Rush focuses on Gabe, who finds himself in a tight spot when he lays eyes on his best friend’s younger sister for the first time in several years. The attraction is instant. But will he get what he wants, or will outside forces intervene? Raunchy and compulsively readable, you’ll be rushing (pun intended) to find out what happens next in this erotic page-turner.

59. Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Another self-publishing success story in the vein of Fifty Shades of Grey, Sylvia Day’s Bared to You boasts a similarly devoted fan base — and a similarly intense love story. It’s often heartwarming, and always hot, but Bared to You is much more than just titillating. The story of Eva, a sexual assault survivor navigating her way to a healthy romantic life is surprisingly heartfelt. You’ll find you can’t help but root for our heroine as she finds love with the charismatic and equally complicated Gideon.

60. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Scotland’s answer to Fifty Shades of Grey , this erotic romance novel is much more than just “innocent young graduate meets gorgeous billionaire and dot, dot, dot” . Jocelyn and Braden — the innocent young graduate and gorgeous billionaire, respectively — are exquisitely written characters, engaged in a captivating and bittersweet love story. They meet when Jocelyn moves to Edinburgh and takes up an apartment in a building owned by Braden. He immediately feels an intense attraction, but, knowing Jocelyn’s past has left her guarded, Braden proposes a ‘no-strings-attached’ arrangement. Witty dialogue and steamy sex scenes ensue, but how long can the fun last before they want more than just mind-blowing passion?

Developed a taste for fiery love stories? Why not check out our guide to New Adult books and their sleek, steamy collegiate romances?

Continue reading

More posts from across the blog.

30 Mythical Creatures (and Where to Find Them)

One of the beautiful things about genre fiction is how authors are able to bring mythical creatures to life on the page — whether that’s a demonic being in a horror novel or a winged sidekick in a

5 Daphne Du Maurier Books to Read After Watching Rebecca

If you loved Netflix's adaptation of du Maurier's timeless classic, why not read another? We've compiled a list of the best Daphne du Maurier books to make choosing easy.

70 Best Game of Thrones Quotes from the Books and TV Series

Well, whether you loved or hated the hotly contested final season of HBO's Game of Thrones series, we can bet on one thing: you're sad to say goodbye to Sunday nights spent watching the Seven Kingdoms battle it out for the Iron Throne. True, we do have <...

Heard about Reedsy Discovery?

Or sign up with an

Or sign up with your social account

  • Submit your book
  • Reviewer directory

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

romance novels

The best modern romance novels to read now

These sweet, sexy love stories are anything but conventional

Yet romance is not dead. Far from it. Despite still being a hugely commercially successful genre, it is also one that has been recently revamped and rejuvenated; with a roster of bright new voices adding complex and intriguing insights into the form and utterly reimagining our concept of romance. What is love, and how do we fall in it? Why, and with whom? And how do we get over it if it ends?

If you still find yourself clamouring for more to read, consider author Nicola Dinan's round-up of the most iconic queer love stories your ultimate reading list for romantic stories that centre LGBTQIA+ narratives, and revisit the classics (updated for the dating app generation) .

Here, we round up our favourite romance novels of the moment...

Big Swiss, Jen Beagin

big swiss

Love stories don't get much more unconventional than this. Already becoming the word-of-mouth, cult read of the summer, Big Swiss is a startlingly unique novel. It tells the tale of Greta, a transcriber for a sex therapist who becomes infatuated by a patient she has never met, but whom she dubs 'Big Swiss.' Once they encounter each other in real life, what follows is a twisted, quirky partnership centring two frustrating and not always-likeable protagonists. Smart and unusual, this is modern romance of the highest and most imaginative order.

Call It What You Want, Alissa DeRogatis

call it what you want

There are some loves that don't seem to qualify as worthy of the name in their length, commitment or title – but they certainly feel like great loves at the time. Call It What You Want is an ode to those 'almost love' stories, told through the narrative of Sloane Hart, a hopeless romantic whose dreams of finding lasting love are shattered by her parents' divorce. When she starts dating Ethan – without labels – she may have to learn the hard way that relationships are far more complex than they seem.

The Rachel Incident, Caroline O'Donaghue

the rachel incident

The beloved author and podcaster Caroline O'Donaghue is back with another of her signature dark and inspired reads. The Rachel Incident is an all-consuming love story – unexpected, messy, inappropriate. It is a paean to the turmoil and joy of young love and the formative relationships of our early dating years. When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, and recruits her best friend James to help her seduce him, it sets in motion a sequence of events which cannot be undone...

The List, Yomi Adegoke

the list

A blistering examination of the messy, knotted and contradictory intersection of social media and our private lives, Yomi Adegoke's novel is a love story for our times. It tells the story of Ola and her fiancé Michael, a seemingly perfect couple whose ideal life is exploded by scorching allegations posted about Michael on 'The List' – a viral inventory of men who have been accused of wrongdoing. Normally, Ola would be the first to call for the man to be fired. But it's not so simple this time...

Tom Lake, Ann Patchett

tom lake

Trust the prolific, award-winning Ann Patchett to take the pandemic as a setting and turn it into a sweeping and unconventional romance novel. Lara's grown-up daughters have returned home to the family cherry orchard, to wait out the 'stay at home' order. While they assist with cherry picking during the day, at night they listen to their mother recount the romance she once had with a now famous actor in her youth. What unravels is a twinned narrative of a past young love , a present day nostalgia and the complex, intertwined connections between mothers and daughters. Enchanting and bittersweet, it is another tour de force from Patchett.

Hello Beautiful, Ann Napolitano

hello beautiful, ann napolitano

It's easy to see why Hello Beautiful is a New York Times bestseller. Best friends and sisters, the four Padavano girls bring loving chaos to their close-knit, Italian American neighbourhood and family. When Julia Padavano meets William Waters, a boy who grew up in the shadow of tragedy, she lights up his world. But when William's past begins to overshadow their future together, it is Julia's sister to whom he turns – causing a catastrophic rift that leaves the family broken. A powerful novel that addresses deep romantic love, family ties and the devastation of betrayal.

Trespasses, Louise Kennedy


Shortlisted for the 2023 Women's Prize for Fiction , Trespasses is a moving and powerfully compelling love story set during 'The Troubles' in the 1970s. Cushla, a school teacher from Belfast, has the quietly ordinary life she tries to lead upturned by the arrival of married man Michael, in the pub owned by her family. It invites her into a world of intrigue, violence and heartbreak, which pushes her to the limits of what she thought herself capable of. Moving and brilliantly constructed, this is a masterful examination of how love sinks or swims in dangerous and uncharted waters.

We Could Be So Good, Cat Sebastian

we could be so good, cat sebastian

A midcentury, queer historical novel about two New York reporters who meet at work and fall in love, We Could Be So Good is so touching in the way it deals with everyday decisions, from who buys the groceries to who feeds the cat. This is a classic friends-to-lovers story in many ways, but set against the backdrop of an America that criminalised homosexuality, it's also a heart-wrenching narrative that unpacks so much more than just love: class, ambition, intolerance and queer joy are all explored here.

The Dead Romantics, Ashley Poston

the dead romantics, ashley poston

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most successful romance authors in the industry, but she's got a problem – after an awful break-up, she no longer believes in love. Preparing to search for a new career, her father suddenly dies, and she must go home for the first time in a decade. What she finds when she gets there, however, isn't your normal romance novel fodder. An inventive, light-hearted and even funny take on love, life and death, this is both a touching and entertaining read.

Romantic Comedy, Curtis Sittenfeld

romantic comedy

A writer on a late-night comedy show finds herself involved in an improbable romance with a major pop star. That's the premise of Curtis Sittenfeld's wildly entertaining new novel. Funny, sharp and unapologetically created as a rom com in finely tuned narrative prose, it is both a smart satire of gender norms in dating and a compelling modern take on an epistolary novel. Perfect for witty summer reading.

Rose and the Burma Sky, Rosanna Amaka

burma sky

Set in a Nigerian village in 1939, Rose and the Burma Sky is an ambitious period piece that tackles love, war and colonialism through the eyes of a young man named Obi. His infatuation with his childhood sweetheart Rose becomes a north star in Obi's life as he joins the army in the war effort, but he will soon have his heart shattered by disturbing revelations which will begin a catastrophic chain of events. Riveting and unusual, Rosanna Amaka's stunning prose will transport and mesmerise you, in this touching coming-of-age romance.

The Three of Us, Ore Agbaje-Williams

the three of us

What would you do if you hated your best friend's husband? That's the gambit of Ore Agbaje-William's clever and endlessly witty new novel. Told from the perspective of, in turns, 'The Wife,' 'The Friend,' and 'The Husband,' it is a sharply observed depiction of the intertwined nature of platonic relationships and romance, of who really knows you best, and how love can triumph over the bonds of friendship. Full of twists and beautiful, funny prose, this is a masterpiece of a modern love story.

Sugar Baby, Celine Saintclare

sugar baby

A bold, daring take on a conventional romance novel, Sugar Baby takes a look at the wild and controversial world of sugar babies and sugar daddies. It asks probing questions about love and lifestyle, belonging and yearning and what we are prepared to sacrifice for what we want. It follows the journey of 21-year-old Agnes, as she embarks on a journey into a world beyond her wildest dreams – one that she will soon learn comes at an unimaginable cost.

All The Right Notes, Dominic Lim

all the right notes, dominic lim

Dominic Lim's first novel, All the Right Notes , is built on two major foundations: his experiences as a queer Filipino performer, and his love of musical theatre. Quito Cruz dreams of writing big Broadway musicals, but he actually works in a piano bar – until his father calls and asks him to put on a concert in his family's hometown to celebrate his retirement. What's more, Quito's father wants his son's old schoolfriend (now a film star, with whom Quito hasn't spoken in years) to perform. The dual narrative timeline of this heart-warming, unlikely tale expertly details feelings past and present, for a thoroughly modern love story.

Happy Place, Emily Henry

happy place, emily henry

All of Emily Henry's novels are reliably frothy, fluffy and fun (which explains why she's won praise from the likes of Taylor Jenkins Reid) and Happy Place is no different. Golden couple Harriet and Wyn are heading off on their annual holiday to Maine with their friends, but this time, they have a secret: they actually broke up six months ago. A wonderfully funny, bittersweet break-up novel with an upbeat, pacy plot, this is another hit from the bestselling author.

So Late in the Day, Claire Keegan

so late in the day

Short and sweet, Claire Keegan's latest work is just 64 pages but packs a punch far beyond its length. It follows the yearnings and reminiscences of Cathal, an older man on his way home from work one uneventful day in Dublin. During this time, he ponders what might have been, had he ended up with a woman he loved long ago. Smart, simple and affecting; it is a wonderful portrait of lost love and nostalgia.

preview for Featured Videos from Harpers Bazaar UK


the white lotus

'The Crown' season six – what you need to know

a group of people posing for a photo

Your TV watchlist for November is here

sustainable tips, sustainable fashion, how to be sustainable

The best female-led sustainability podcasts

past lives movie studio canal ella alexander

What if? How one choice can change everything

nicole ocran in a black top, skirt and boots today, alongside a picture of her as a baby with her aunt

The summer I fell in love with my childhood friend

editorial use only no book cover usagemandatory credit photo by warner bros tvkobalshutterstock 5885983drachel bilson, adam brody, mischa barton, benjamin mckenziethe oc 2003warner bros tvusatelevisiondocumentarythe orange county the oc

The best nostalgic TV shows of all time

original caption still from the mary tyler moore show showing moore standing, smiling, inside of the wjm newsroom moore is shown from the waist up, holding a cup of coffee, circa 1975

Who was Mary Tyler Moore?


The real story of Barbie

best thrillers

The 10 best absorbing thrillers to read now

autobiographies and memoirs

The 10 best memoirs and autobiographies

best new fiction books

The 10 best fiction books to read this summer

Authors & Events


New Releases

  • New & Noteworthy
  • Bestsellers
  • Popular Series
  • The Must-Read Books of 2023
  • Popular Books in Spanish
  • Coming Soon
  • Literary Fiction
  • Mystery & Thriller
  • Science Fiction
  • Spanish Language Fiction
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Spanish Language Nonfiction
  • Dark Star Trilogy
  • Ramses the Damned
  • Penguin Classics
  • Award Winners
  • The Parenting Book Guide
  • Books to Read Before Bed
  • Books for Middle Graders
  • Trending Series
  • Magic Tree House
  • The Last Kids on Earth
  • Planet Omar
  • Beloved Characters
  • The World of Eric Carle
  • Llama Llama
  • Junie B. Jones
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Board Books
  • Picture Books
  • Guided Reading Levels
  • Middle Grade
  • Activity Books
  • Trending This Week
  • Top Must-Read Romances
  • Page-Turning Series To Start Now
  • Books to Cope With Anxiety
  • Short Reads
  • Anti-Racist Resources
  • Staff Picks
  • Memoir & Fiction
  • Features & Interviews
  • Emma Brodie Interview
  • James Ellroy Interview
  • Nicola Yoon Interview
  • Qian Julie Wang Interview
  • Deepak Chopra Essay
  • How Can I Get Published?
  • For Book Clubs
  • Reese's Book Club
  • Oprah’s Book Club
  • happy place " data-category="popular" data-location="header">Guide: Happy Place
  • the last white man " data-category="popular" data-location="header">Guide: The Last White Man
  • Authors & Events >
  • Our Authors
  • Michelle Obama
  • Zadie Smith
  • Emily Henry
  • Cormac McCarthy
  • Colson Whitehead
  • In Their Own Words
  • Qian Julie Wang
  • Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Phoebe Robinson
  • Emma Brodie
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Laura Hankin
  • Recommendations >
  • Holiday Cozy Mysteries for the Festive Season
  • Books With New TV and Movie Adaptations
  • Wine and Cocktail Books for Holiday Hosting
  • Historical Fiction With Female Protagonists
  • Best Thrillers of All Time
  • Manga and Graphic Novels
  • happy place " data-category="recommendations" data-location="header">Start Reading Happy Place
  • How to Make Reading a Habit with James Clear
  • Why Reading Is Good for Your Health
  • Vallery Lomas’ Blueberry Buckle Recipe
  • New Releases
  • Memoirs Read by the Author
  • Our Most Soothing Narrators
  • Press Play for Inspiration
  • Audiobooks You Just Can't Pause
  • Listen With the Whole Family

Penguin Random House

Unforgettable Love Stories in Fiction

Books take us into their world, and sometimes, they make us fall in love. get lost in one of these vibrant and memorable love stories.   and if you’re looking for even more swoon-worthy reads, discover these romance books by black authors .

Love in the Time of Cholera (Illustrated Edition) Book Cover Picture

Love in the Time of Cholera

By gabriel garcía márquez, paperback $25.00, buy from other retailers:.

The Last Letter from Your Lover (Movie Tie-In) Book Cover Picture

The Last Letter from Your Lover (Movie Tie-In)

By jojo moyes, paperback $17.00.

Anna and the French Kiss Collector's Edition Book Cover Picture

Anna and the French Kiss Collector’s Edition

By stephanie perkins, hardcover $22.99.

When Katie Met Cassidy Book Cover Picture

When Katie Met Cassidy

By camille perri, paperback $16.00.

Atonement Book Cover Picture

by Ian McEwan

Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Picture

Pride and Prejudice

By jane austen, hardcover $27.00.

Jane Eyre Book Cover Picture

by Charlotte Bronte

Paperback $9.00.

Before We Were Wicked Book Cover Picture

Before We Were Wicked

By eric jerome dickey.

Royal Holiday Book Cover Picture

Royal Holiday

By jasmine guillory.

The Great Gatsby Book Cover Picture

The Great Gatsby

By f. scott fitzgerald.

One Day in December Book Cover Picture

One Day in December

By josie silver.

Just Like You Book Cover Picture

Just Like You

By nick hornby.

Bridget Jones's Diary Book Cover Picture

Bridget Jones’s Diary

By helen fielding, paperback $18.00.

The Kiss Quotient Book Cover Picture

The Kiss Quotient

By helen hoang.

Crazy Rich Asians (Movie Tie-In Edition) Book Cover Picture

Crazy Rich Asians (Movie Tie-In Edition)

By kevin kwan.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Tumblr

Visit other sites in the Penguin Random House Network

Raise kids who love to read

Today's Top Books

Want to know what people are actually reading right now?

An online magazine for today’s home cook

Stay in Touch

By clicking "Sign Up", I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy . You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.

Become a Member

Just for joining you’ll get personalized recommendations on your dashboard daily and features only for members.

Point Status This is where you’ll see your current point status and your earned rewards. To redeem, copy and paste the code during the checkout process. See Account Overview

14 Sweeping Literary Love Stories

novels love stories

A great love story evokes big emotions, capturing the highs and lows of a romantic partnership while drawing on deeper issues of hope, devotion, and betrayal. From cherished classics to swoon-worthy new novels, here are a selection of literary love stories that we absolutely adore.

novels love stories

Beyond That, the Sea

By laura spence-ash.

Laura Spence-Ash’s gorgeous coming-of-age debut is more than a typical literary love story; it’s a moving meditation on loss, forgiveness, intimacy, and the very idea of home. At the heart of the narrative, which begins during WWII, is Beatrix Thompson, an 11-year-old from England whose working-class parents send her to America to escape the Blitz. At first Bea is hurt by the separation, yet she soon grows to treasure her new life in the States and develops deepening connections with her host family, the Gregorys. But when the war in Europe ends, Bea is summoned back to England, where she finds her loyalties tested in her quest for love and belonging. Beautifully told as it moves across the years, Beyond That, the Sea is a “marvel” (bestselling author Ann Packer).

novels love stories

The Four Winds

By kristin hannah.

Kristin Hannah's tour de force  The Four Winds  is a love story, but not in the way you think. As we follow protagonist Elsa Martinelli through the trials and tribulations of the Dust Bowl era, her story of struggle is one also marked by the strong bonds of love that keep her family going as outside forces seek to fracture them. After all, love is what remains when everything else is gone. 

novels love stories

Like Water for Chocolate

By laura esquivel.

Laura Esquivel’s acclaimed Like Water for Chocolate is a delectable literary treat that every book lover deserves. The magical realism novel is set in Mexico, on the De la Garza ranch, where domineering matriarch Mama Elena runs a tight ship as she awaits the birth of her baby. But Elena’s daughter, Tita, is born early, just as Elana is chopping up onions for soup. The unexpected birth creates an enchanting connection between Tita and food; she grows into a master chef who expresses her heart’s desires through the meals she cooks. Such a culinary gift comes in handy when Tita falls in love with a man named Pedro — but Mama Elena demands that Pedro marry Tita’s sister instead.

novels love stories

Love in the Time of Cholera

By gabriel garcía márquez.

While the title may not scream romance, we promise that Love in the Time of Cholera is an exquisite literary love story. Written by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, the novel centers on three individuals bound together by passion:  the enchanting Fermina Daza, the lovesick Florentino Ariza, and Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Florentino yearns to be with Fermina; Dr. Urbino is the suitor who won Fermina’s hand in marriage many years ago. Spanning over 50 years, Love in the Time of Cholera reminds us of the sacrifices we make in matters of the heart and the undying power of true love.

novels love stories

The Time Traveler's Wife

By audrey niffenegger.

Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife has been made into both a movie and a television show, but the novel is definitely worth a read even if you’ve seen both book-to-screen adaptations . The bestselling narrative centers on Henry DeTamble, a librarian in Chicago who can travel through time but has no control over when or where it happens. Henry falls for a woman named Clare Abshire, and, as you can imagine, their relationship is complicated by Henry’s tendency to jump through time to different points of their affair. A dizzying literary love story with a dash of speculative fiction magic thrown in for good measure, The Time Traveler’s Wife is sure to please.

novels love stories

The Other Boleyn Girl

By philippa gregory.

We conclude our list with Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, a sumptuous historical fiction novel about love, ambition, power, betrayal, jealousy, and so much more. The narrative centers on Mary Boleyn, who falls hard for King Henry VIII after meeting him at court. Soon, however, Mary finds herself at the center of a high-stakes power play when her family demands that she step aside so that her sister, Anne, can take her place in Henry’s bed. This bestselling novel is a love story, of course, but it’s also a twisted royal family drama , a commentary on power and status, and a deeply engaging reimagining of history.

novels love stories

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In this national bestseller, award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivers an “epic love story” that “pulls no punches with regard to race, class, and the high-risk, heart-tearing struggle for belonging in a fractured world” ( O, The Oprah Magazine ). Americanah follows Ifemelu and Obinze, two lovers in Nigeria who escape the military rule of their home country and head for the West. It’s here, however, that their paths diverge: Ifemelu settles in America, where she reckons with new racial realities and the false promises of the American dream, while Obinze ends up in England, striving to stay afloat as an undocumented immigrant. Many years later, the pair reunite in Nigeria. They’re now two very different people — but do they still yearn to be as one?

novels love stories

The Light Over London

By julia kelly.

Julia Kelly’s The Light Over London is an entrancing tale of heartbreak and triumph that stretches across the decades. The book begins with Cara Hargraves, a young woman in the present who finds an old tin in the antique shop where she works. Inside the tin are a diary and a photograph, which lead Car (and us) back to wartime London, 1941. As German bombs rain down on the city, 19-year-old Louise Keene enlists in the British Army’s “Gunner Girl” anti-aircraft unit after her lover, a flight lieutenant, is deployed into battle. Will Louise reunite with her love? Our lips are sealed. But half the fun is experiencing it all through Cara’s eyes.

novels love stories

Tipping the Velvet

By sarah waters.

In her acclaimed debut, Sarah Waters delivers an “erotic and absorbing” ( New York Times Book Review ) queer romance set in the raucous music halls of Victorian England. Tipping the Velvet centers on Nan King, an oyster girl who becomes enamored with Kitty Butler, a male impersonator. Nan attends all of Kitty’s shows, arranges a meeting, and eventually joins her as a double act. As the story progresses, Nan and Kitty’s friendship blossoms into love, but they must keep their passion hidden in an era when same-sex attraction is forbidden.

novels love stories

By Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín created “one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” ( Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ) in this beloved work of literary fiction . Set in the early 1950s, Brooklyn follows Eilis Lacey, a young woman from Ireland who leaves her homeland for New York City thanks to the sponsorship of a priest. Eilis hopes to find good work in the States, though it means leaving behind her mother and sister. Upon her arrival, Eilis falls for Tony, an Italian American with a big family that’s very different from her own. But when Eilis gets devastating news from back home, she must return to Ireland, threatening the future she has begun to build in America.

novels love stories

The English Patient

By michael ondaatje.

The English Patient, written by Michael Ondaatje, is another sweeping love story that we come back to time and time again. The Booker Prize–winning novel follows four people brought together in a battered Italian villa at the end of World War II. There’s Hana, a Canadian Army nurse, Caravaggio, a thief with a distressing past, Kip, a Sikh British Army soldier, and a mysterious patient who has been burned beyond recognition. Over the course of the epic novel, we hear their stories, including the English patient’s passionate adventures in the North African desert, and discover how they intersect.

novels love stories

If Beale Street Could Talk

By james baldwin.

From the incomparable James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk is a powerful story of love and injustice in contemporary America. Set in Harlem in the 1970s, the novel follows Tish and Fonny, two young lovers who grew up together and are now set to be married. The couple are expecting their first child, but their dreams are dashed when Fonny is charged with a crime he didn’t commit. As both families strive to clear Fonny’s name, Fonny and Tish fight to keep their love alive in the face of an uncertain future.

novels love stories

North and South

By elizabeth gaskell.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South is a timeless literary romance that also tackles issues of class, poverty, and workplace inequality. The historical love story is set around the time of the Industrial Revolution and is influenced by the author’s own experiences during that period. When Margaret Hope moves from bucolic southern England to an industrial center in the north, she quickly regrets it. The air is filthy and the din of the factories unbearable. She also dislikes John Thornton, the charismatic owner of the local cotton mill. Yet as simmering tensions within the town threaten to boil over, Margaret and John find themselves drawn together by matters of conscience as well as of the heart.

novels love stories

By A.S. Byatt

Calling all historical fiction fans: In Possession, A.S. Byatt’s Booker Prize–winning novel, a pair of young academics discover a steamy affair between two poets from the Victorian era. Together the scholars trace the hidden romance from London to Yorkshire through unearthed letters and clues hidden within poems. As details about the liaison come to light, both scholars also discover fiery truths within their own hearts that draw them closer together.

Share with your friends

Related articles.

novels love stories

What We’re Giving: Holiday 2023

novels love stories

13 Entertaining Audiobooks to Brighten Your Holidays

novels love stories

13 Dazzling and Delightful Celebrity Memoirs

Celadon delivered.

Subscribe to get articles about writing, adding to your TBR pile, and simply content we feel is worth sharing. And yes, also sign up to be the first to hear about giveaways, our acquisitions, and exclusives!

" * " indicates required fields

Connect with

Sign up for our newsletter to see book giveaways, news, and more.


  1. Love Story

    novels love stories

  2. The 10 best romance novels of 2018

    novels love stories

  3. The Best Romance Novels of 2021 that Every Romance Book Lover Must Read

    novels love stories

  4. 😂 Best love novels by indian authors. Top 10 Best Selling Indian Novels

    novels love stories

  5. 9 Truly Heartbreaking Books About Love And Loss For Readers Who Prefer

    novels love stories

  6. 20 Best Romance Novels in 2019

    novels love stories


  1. Is “The Lovely Bones” Based on a True Story?

    The novel “The Lovely Bones” is based on the true story of a 14-year-old girl from Norristown, Penn., who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1973. Written by Alice Sebold, this novel was published in 2002.

  2. What Is the Summary of “The Story of Griselda”?

    “The Story of Griselda” from Giovanni Boccaccio’s novel “Decameron” is about a woman whose husband tests her loyalty by convincing her that he killed their children and by kicking her out of their home.

  3. What Are the Defining Characteristics of the Novel Genre?

    The defining characteristics of the novel genre include a long, fictional story comprised of characters, events and actions that have a definite beginning and an eventual end. The novel genre has several sub-categories that include historic...

  4. Best Romance Novels of All Time

    The 27 Greatest Romance Novels to Read in Your Lifetime · Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813) · Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813).

  5. 45 of the best romance novels of all time

    The best romance books of all time · The Winter of Second Chances · Carry On · How to Love a Jamaican · Noughts & Crosses · Act Your Age, Eve Brown.

  6. 30 Best Romance Novels and Most Romantic Stories 2023

    30 Best Romance Novels No Matter What Kind of Love You're Looking For · Colleen Hoover It Ends with Us (2023) · Colleen Hoover It Ends with Us (

  7. The 60 Best Romance Novels of All Time

    Though Jane Eyre might be 'poor, obscure, plain and little', her love story is anything but. One of the authoritative classics of the genre

  8. Greatest Love Stories of All Time (140 books)

    Greatest Love Stories Of All Time · 1. Pride and Prejudice · 2. Jane Eyre · 3. Wuthering Heights · 4. Romeo and Juliet · 5. Gone with the Wind · 6. Outlander (

  9. Popular Best Love Stories Books

    Popular Best Love Stories Books · Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Want to Read · Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre. Want to Read · The

  10. The best modern romance novels to read now

    Our edit of the best romantic books to read now includes novels by Curtis Sittenfeld, Caroline O'Donoghue and Yomi Adegoke.

  11. Unforgettable Love Stories in Fiction

    Books take us into their world, and sometimes, they make us fall in love. · Love in the Time of Cholera · by Gabriel García Márquez · The Last Letter from Your

  12. 14 Sweeping Literary Love Stories

    While the title may not scream romance, we promise that Love in the Time of Cholera is an exquisite literary love story. Written by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel

  13. Romance books FREE to read

    Romance Books · Create New List. Her Unanswered Love (Short Story) · Create New List. Devil's Fire MC · Create New List. When bitter&sweet meet · Create New

  14. 16 of the All-Time Best Love Stories to Read

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen's 1813 novel is one of the most beloved books in the English language. A middle class