57 Best Romance Books Ever Written

Best Romance Books Ever Written

Romance books have a unique ability to transport readers into a world of love, passion, and emotional depth. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or simply looking for a great story, there’s something undeniably captivating about a well-written romance novel. 

In this list, I have compiled a list of some of the best romance books ever written, spanning various sub-genres and time periods. 

These novels have left an indelible mark on the literary world and continue to capture the hearts of readers worldwide. From classic tales of love to contemporary stories of modern romance, this list has something for every avid romance reader.

Let’s begin exploring them one at a time. 

57 Best Romance Books Ever Written

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen 

This classic novel, set in 19th century England, explores themes of love, marriage, and social standing through the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Their relationship evolves from mutual disdain to deep affection, with Austen’s witty and incisive commentary on societal norms of the time.

“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë 

A novel that combines romance with elements of gothic fiction, it tells the story of Jane Eyre, an orphaned girl who becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall.

There, she falls in love with the mysterious Mr. Rochester, uncovering his dark secrets while asserting her own independence and moral convictions.

“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë 

This is a tale of passionate and tragic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, set against the moody backdrop of the Yorkshire moors.

The novel explores themes of revenge, social class, and the destructive power of love and obsession.

“Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell 

An epic romance set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara, a headstrong Southern belle, and her turbulent love affair with the charismatic Rhett Butler, against a backdrop of war and societal change.

“The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks 

This modern romance narrates the enduring love between Allie and Noah, who fall in love during early adulthood.

Framed through the reading of a notebook in a nursing home, the story beautifully captures themes of enduring love, memory, and the impact of life choices.

“Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon 

A unique blend of historical fiction, romance, and time travel, this novel follows Claire Randall, a nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743 Scotland. There, she meets and falls in love with the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser.

“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger 

This unconventional love story centers around Henry, who involuntarily time travels, and his wife Clare. Their relationship is marked by Henry’s unpredictable disappearances and reappearances, creating a tale of love that transcends time and challenges.

“A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks 

Set in a small North Carolina town, this novel tells the story of Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. It’s a moving tale of teenage love that evolves from friendship to deep affection, marked by challenges, transformations, and ultimately, heartbreak.

“Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes 

This contemporary novel is a heart-wrenching love story between Louisa Clark, a quirky and cheerful woman, and Will Traynor, a once-active man who became wheelchair-bound and cynical after an accident. It explores themes of life, choice, and the capacity of love to transform lives.

“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion 

This novel introduces Don Tillman, a genetics professor with social challenges, who designs the Wife Project to find a suitable partner. His life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Rosie, who is seeking her biological father.

The story is a charming and humorous exploration of love, compatibility, and the unpredictability of human relationships.

“Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell 

Set in the 1980s, this young adult novel tells the story of two sixteen-year-olds, Eleanor, a misfit struggling with her family life, and Park, a half-Korean boy who feels out of place.

Their love story begins on a school bus and blossoms through shared comic books and mixtapes, exploring themes of first love, acceptance, and the challenges of teenage life.

“Brida” by Paulo Coelho 

This novel explores the journey of a young Irish woman named Brida in her quest for knowledge and self-discovery. Brida is interested in magic and seeks out a Magus to learn more.

The story delves into themes of destiny, spirituality, and the intertwining of love and self-discovery.

“Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez 

A profound exploration of love in various forms, this novel tells the story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, who fall passionately in love in their youth.

A rich narrative unfolds, illustrating how true love can persist and evolve over a lifetime, set against the backdrop of numerous cholera epidemics in a South American city.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

This classic American novel, set in the roaring 1920s, centers on the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It’s a story of love, wealth, and idealism, ultimately revealing the darker side of the American Dream.

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy 

A landmark in world literature, this novel explores a range of human emotions through two main storylines: the tragic love affair between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky, and the story of Konstantin Levin, a man searching for meaning in his life.

The novel examines themes of love, infidelity, the rural idyllic life versus city living, and the search for happiness.

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare 

This enduring tragic play tells the story of two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. Set in Verona, Italy, it explores themes of young love, family conflict, and fate.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green 

This contemporary novel is about Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager with thyroid cancer, and Augustus Waters, a boy she meets in a cancer support group. It’s a poignant and heartfelt story exploring love, mortality, and the meaning of life.

“Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak 

Set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution and Civil War, this novel follows the life and loves of Yuri Zhivago, a physician and poet. It’s an epic tale of love, war, and loss, with a deep focus on the personal effects of historical events.

“Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier 

This gothic novel tells the story of a young woman who marries a wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter, and moves to his large estate, Manderley. There, she encounters the lingering presence of his first wife, Rebecca, and unravels the mysteries and secrets held within the house.

“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen 

This novel follows the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who, after the death of their father, must navigate the challenges of love and life with a drastically reduced income.

The novel contrasts Elinor’s sense and restraint with Marianne’s sensibility and impulsiveness, exploring themes of love, romance, and economic security in 19th-century England.

“The Bridgertons” series by Julia Quinn 

This series of historical romance novels is set in the Regency era and follows the Bridgerton family, particularly focusing on each of the eight Bridgerton siblings finding love.

The books are known for their wit, engaging characters, and romantic entanglements, blending historical details with modern sensibilities.

“Persuasion” by Jane Austen 

This novel tells the story of Anne Elliot, who, years after breaking off her engagement with Frederick Wentworth due to societal pressures, encounters him again.

Now a successful naval officer, Wentworth’s return challenges Anne’s feelings as they navigate societal expectations and past misunderstandings.

“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne 

A contemporary romantic comedy, this novel follows Lucy Hutton and her office nemesis, Joshua Templeman.

Engaged in a continuous battle of wits at work, their dynamic takes a turn as they compete for a promotion, leading to a complex mix of rivalry and attraction.

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang 

This novel presents a unique romance where Stella Lane, a woman with Asperger’s, hires escort Michael Phan to help her gain experience in romantic relationships. What starts as a transactional arrangement evolves into deeper understanding and genuine connection.

“It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover 

This contemporary romance delves into more serious themes, exploring the complexities of love, resilience, and survival.

The protagonist, Lily Bloom, navigates her past and present relationships, facing tough decisions that challenge her understanding of love and self-worth.

“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller 

A reimagining of the Greek legend of Achilles and the Trojan War, this novel focuses on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

Told from Patroclus’s perspective, it’s a tale of love, destiny, and war, weaving mythological grandeur with a deeply personal love story.

“P.S. I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern 

This novel explores grief and healing through Holly, a widow, who discovers her late husband has left her a series of letters to help her move on. Each letter, signed “P.S. I Love You,” guides her through her grief and encourages her to embrace life anew.

“The Light We Lost” by Jill Santopolo 

This poignant novel tracks the love story of Lucy and Gabe, who meet at Columbia University on September 11, 2001. Their relationship, marked by that impactful day, spans years and continents, exploring choices, sacrifices, and the enduring impact of first love.

“Beautiful Disaster” by Jamie McGuire 

A story of intense attraction and love, this novel follows Abby Abernathy as she navigates her relationship with Travis Maddox, who’s known for his fighting prowess and playboy demeanor. Their relationship tests the boundaries between love and obsession, passion and tumult.

“Call Me By Your Name” by André Aciman 

Set in the Italian Riviera, this novel narrates the summer romance between Elio, a 17-year-old living in Italy, and Oliver, a visiting American scholar. It’s a coming-of-age story that captures the intensity of first love and the pain of its inevitable end, marked by beautiful, evocative prose.

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern 

This novel is a magical, atmospheric tale about a mysterious circus that only operates at night. It’s also the setting for a competition between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who are bound to a lifelong challenge set by their guardians.

The story evolves into a complex love affair that is intricately tied to the enchanting circus.

“The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough 

An epic saga spanning several generations, this novel is set primarily on an Australian sheep station.

It focuses on the forbidden love affair between Meggie Cleary, a young girl from a large, impoverished family, and Father Ralph de Bricassart, an ambitious priest. The story also explores themes of ambition, family, and sacrifice.

“North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell 

This novel contrasts the lifestyle in the industrial north of England with the wealthier south.

The protagonist, Margaret Hale, moves from the south to a northern industrial town, where she meets and clashes with John Thornton, a mill owner. The story delves into their evolving relationship against the backdrop of social and economic tension of the era.

“Emma” by Jane Austen 

A comedy of manners, this novel follows Emma Woodhouse, a young woman who prides herself on her matchmaking abilities.

Despite her confidence, Emma’s interventions in others’ romantic lives often lead to misunderstandings and complications, including her own romantic misadventures.

“The Selection” series by Kiera Cass 

This series is set in a dystopian world and revolves around America Singer, who is chosen to compete in the Selection—a competition to win the heart of Prince Maxon and become the future queen.

The story combines elements of romance, drama, and political intrigue in a royal setting.

“The Princess Bride” by William Goldman 

A cult classic, this novel is framed as a “good parts version” of an older story. It’s a whimsical, adventurous, and deeply romantic tale about the beautiful Buttercup and her true love, Westley.

The story is filled with memorable characters, swashbuckling action, and a lot of heart.

“Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer 

This series of four books follows the story of Bella Swan, a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen.

Their unconventional relationship faces numerous challenges, including threats from other vampires and werewolves. The series explores themes of love, trust, and the nature of desire.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” series by E.L. James 

A trilogy that began as fan fiction for the “Twilight” series, it traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey.

Known for its explicitly erotic scenes, the series explores themes of vulnerability, power dynamics, and emotional healing.

“Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston 

This contemporary romance novel features Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States, and his unexpected relationship with Prince Henry of Wales.

Initially rivals, their relationship evolves into a secret romance that could have significant political ramifications.

It’s a story of identity, love, and duty.

“The Sun Is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon 

This young adult novel follows Natasha, a Jamaican-American girl facing her family’s impending deportation, and Daniel, a Korean-American boy struggling with his family’s expectations.

They meet and fall in love over the course of a single day in New York City, exploring themes of fate, destiny, and the interconnectedness of lives.

“One Day” by David Nicholls 

This novel spans the 20-year relationship between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, revisiting their lives on the same day, July 15, each year.

It’s a story of friendship and missed opportunities, showcasing how timing impacts relationships and how people change over time.

“Atonement” by Ian McEwan 

Set in three time periods — 1935 England, World War II, and present-day England — this novel focuses on Briony Tallis and her misinterpretation of a moment she witnesses between her sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, which leads to a tragic accusation.

It’s a profound exploration of guilt, love, and the desire for atonement.

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney 

This contemporary novel delves into the complex relationship between two teenagers, Marianne and Connell, as they navigate adulthood from their final school days through university.

It’s a story about how deeply intertwined lives can shape identity, love, and belonging.

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover 

A departure from Hoover’s typical romance novels, “Verity” is a thrilling, romantic, and somewhat disturbing story about a struggling writer, Lowen Ashleigh, who is hired to complete the remaining books in a successful series by incapacitated author Verity Crawford.

The novel blends elements of romance, psychological suspense, and mystery.

“Beach Read” by Emily Henry 

This novel is about two authors, January Andrews, a romance writer, and Augustus Everett, a literary fiction writer.

Both suffer from writer’s block and decide to challenge each other by writing in the other’s genre. It’s a light-hearted, witty romance about the struggles of writing and finding love.

“The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn 

The first book in the Bridgerton series, this historical romance is set in Regency-era London. It follows the romance between Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings.

They initially engage in a fake courtship, but it soon evolves into real love, peppered with witty dialogue and societal drama.

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” series by Jenny Han 

This young adult romance series starts with the story of Lara Jean Covey, who writes secret love letters to her crushes.

Her life turns upside down when the letters are accidentally sent out. It’s a charming tale of teenage romance, family dynamics, and self-discovery.

“Crescent City” series by Sarah J. Maas 

Blending elements of fantasy and romance, this series starts with “House of Earth and Blood” and is set in a complex world filled with magic, power, and intrigue.

The story revolves around Bryce Quinlan as she seeks to avenge her friend’s murder, with themes of friendship, love, and resilience.

“After” series by Anna Todd 

Originating as One Direction fan fiction, this series follows Tessa Young, a college freshman, and her turbulent relationship with bad boy Hardin Scott.

It’s a roller-coaster story of intense emotions, exploring themes of love, betrayal, and the complexities of relationships.

“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren 

This romantic comedy novel is about Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas, who end up on a non-refundable honeymoon trip originally meant for their respective sibling and sibling’s spouse.

The catch?

They have to pretend to be newlyweds. The novel is a delightful take on the enemies-to-lovers trope with a tropical backdrop.

“The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary 

This contemporary romance novel explores the unique relationship between Tiffy and Leon, who share a flat but have never met due to opposite work schedules.

The story is charming and quirky, focusing on how they communicate through notes left around the apartment and gradually develop feelings for each other.

It’s a heartwarming tale of love, trust, and overcoming personal obstacles.

“The Song of the Lark” by Willa Cather 

This novel, part of Cather’s Prairie Trilogy, follows the life of Thea Kronborg, a talented young woman from a small town in Colorado who aspires to become a great opera singer.

Set in the early 20th century, it’s a story of personal growth, artistic ambition, and the pursuit of one’s dreams, exploring themes of identity, resilience, and the relationship between art and life.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence 

Considered scandalous at the time of its publication, this novel tells the story of Constance (Lady Chatterley), who finds herself in a loveless marriage with her paralyzed husband.

She engages in a passionate affair with Oliver Mellors, the estate gamekeeper. The novel is known for its frank portrayal of physical and emotional relationships and its exploration of class, love, and human sexuality.

“Gentle Rogue” by Johanna Lindsey 

This is a historical romance set in the Regency era, part of Lindsey’s Malory series.

It features the spirited Georgina Anderson and the notorious rake, Captain James Malory.

Their adventurous and humorous love story begins on the high seas and is filled with witty banter, mistaken identities, and the excitement of a pirate-like setting.

“Wallbanger” by Alice Clayton 

A contemporary romance with a comedic twist, this novel tells the story of Caroline Reynolds, who is kept awake by the sounds of her neighbor’s active love life.

When she finally confronts her neighbor, Simon Parker, it sparks a funny, sexy, and endearing relationship.

The novel is known for its humor, steamy scenes, and the development of a romance that starts with annoyance and leads to deeper feelings.

“You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria 

This modern romance focuses on Jasmine Lin Rodriguez, a soap opera star, and Ashton Suarez, a telenovela actor.

They are cast as leads in a new bilingual romantic comedy for streaming television.

The story delves into the world of TV production, with a focus on the personal and professional challenges they face, the pressures of celebrity life, and the development of a passionate romance off-screen.

“Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell 

Set in 1999, this novel follows Lincoln, an IT guy who monitors employee emails as part of his job. He finds himself captivated by the email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer, two friends working at the newspaper.

The story is a blend of humor, nostalgia, and romance, exploring the themes of love, ethics, and the complexities of human connections in the digital age.

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