The 10 Best Romance Novels You Should Read

best romance novels

I think of you only twice a day: when I am alone and when I am with someone else. ~ Amit Kalantri (Tweet this)

It is a tough call, easily debatable, when discussing the best romance novels. Millions of  romance novels have been written over the course of time, and romance looks quite different from person to person. The best romance novels, however, are novels that overcome those factors.

Best romance novels one should read

Listed below (not in any specific order) are the best romance novels that almost anyone can read and find the true romance in those written words.

1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Austen created a story that has been told many times over the years. There have been books written based on the characters, there have been multiple movie retellings, and almost everyone at least knows something about the tale. The story weaves around Elizabeth and Darcy, telling a tale of class differences, stubborn women, and true love. Everyone loves a solid romance with a strong woman at the center.

My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. (Tweet this)

2. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

In Jane Eyre, Bronte explores the title character’s coming-of-age, including her spirituality, morality, and everything in between. What leaves the readers with such a strong sense of romance is the fact that, though Jane is expected to marry St. John, she refuses to do so. Jane’s true love Mr. Rochester invites complication—but what love story doesn’t have a bit of that?

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. (Tweet this)

3. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Flaubert’s novel has long been recognized as not only one of the best romance novels, but also one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. Following the characters of Charles Bovary and his soon-to-be-wife Emma, readers are taken on a long journey that encompasses all aspects of life, most particularly love and marriage.

Emma is bored of marriage and motherhood and finds herself attracted to various people she meets throughout her life. What rings so true about Madame Bovary is that love does not always mean marriage, and vice-versa. The novel is deep, at times very dark, and at times, incredibly relatable.

Love, [Emma] felt, ought to come at once, with great thunderclaps and flashes of lightning; it was like a storm bursting upon life from the sky, uprooting it, overwhelming the will and sweeping the heart into the abyss. (Tweet this)

4. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Though arguably better known for its film adaptation, Gone With the Wind is undoubtedly one of the most romantic love stories ever told—in either form. The love story takes place during the Civil War, following Scarlett O’Hara and her survival through the worst of times in American history. Like most great love stories, Scarlett has a bit of a choice to make with her heart.

You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how. (Tweet this)

5. Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak

Another great love story that has been re-told plenty of times in the cinematic world, Doctor Zhivago is one of the best romance novels. Following the journey of Yuri Zhivago, the novel focuses on love and humanity during the treacherous times of war. How romantic!

Most people experience love, without noticing that there is anything remarkable about it. (Tweet this)

6. Atonement, Ian McEwan

Since being made into an Academy-Award-nominated film, McEwan’s love story has been widely recognized. The whirlwind romantic drama follows Cecilia and Robbie, lovers torn apart by the protagonist’s younger sister. Robbie is imprisoned, Briony is ridden with guilt, and Cecilia is left without her love. Why is this such a famous love story? Tragedy mixed with love always makes for an interesting story.

…falling in love could be achieved in a single word—a glance. (Tweet this)

7. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

As Laszlo and Hana fall in love, the world is torn apart around them. A love story during World War II, as Hana helps to heal Laszlo, she in turn heals herself. The story is touching, emotional, historic, and absolutely romantic.

…the heart is an organ of fire. (Tweet this)

8. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Arguably one of the most romantic stories of all time, Shakespeare certainly created a romantic classic when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. The story of the most famous star-cross’d lovers has transcended generations. The teenagers—Romeo and Juliet—fall in love despite who their families are, and also despite the fact that they are at war with one another. Though the story ends tragically, the love is familiar and true.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite. (Tweet this)

9. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is possible that no one has ever been quite as infatuated as Jay Gatsby was with Daisy Buchanan. Though Daisy is married by the time Jay tracks her down again, the two are captivated with one another. It is clearly open for interpretation whether their love is mutual and true, but it is relatively clear that the millionaire Gatsby is crazy for Daisy.

There I was, way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute. (Tweet this)

10. The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks

Sparks has written countless romantic stories, but The Notebook still holds true as his best. Perhaps the most notable part of The Notebook is its originality. Told from the perspective of Noah to the love of his life Allie, the reimagining of their love is classic.

Allie—stricken with memory loss in her old age—begins to remember their love story as her husband reads it aloud to her. Though the end of the book differs from the end of the movie, there is nothing like true love, relived many times over, making this book a truly great ending to our list of the best romance novels.

You are, and always have been, my dream. (Tweet this)

Let us know what you think about our list by commenting below. Have we missed any of your favorites? We would want to know!

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About the Author

Jessica Tholmer has a degree in English Literature. Jessica is a full-time writer for a small company, but she writes for multiple other forums. Jessica writes about love, life, and everything in between for HelloGiggles, though her work has been featured on Nerve, The Gaggle, The Conversation, and The Siren as well.

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