1. When you think of a great romance novel, Jane Austen's name will inevitably come up. And Pride and Prejudice will, too. First published in 1813, but now one of the most popular novels in English literature that has been made into countless movies, it's the story of Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters with a witty and sarcastic sense of humor that her father is trying to marry off. She meets and develops a complicated relationship with Mr. Darcy and both must learn to overcome their differences before they can ultimately be together.
Written more than 100 years ago, Anna Karenina is still considered to be one of the greatest love stories of all time. It is the story of Anna Karenina, a married aristocrat and socialite, and her affair with Count Vronsky. The Count wants her to leave her husband so he can marry her. But once she does walk away from her loveless marriage she becomes paranoid and jealous that he will leave her. Usually a book assigned to read in school, this is one you should add to your list just because you want the experience of reading a book that many think is the best ever written.
This novel, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, was first published in 1936 and was also made into a movie that subsequently won an Academy Award. Set during the Civil War and Reconstruction in the South, many consider it to be more of a historical novel than a romantic one. But still, it includes a devastating love story between Rhett, with a reputation as a "bad boy" and Scarlett, a Southern belle who don't end up together for many years.
Bella and Edward — human versus vampire — are the most unlikely of lovers, but still are brought together by forces they themselves don't even understand. But even Bella isn't safe from Edward who preys on humans, but still, they fall in love. This love story unfolds over several books in a series written by Stephenie Meyer.
The Notebook is the story Noah and Allie who meet and fall in love as teenagers and then don't cross paths again for almost 15 years. Letters from Noah to Allie are kept from her by her mother and when Noah returns, Allie is set to marry someone else. Eventually, they do get together and so begins one of the most emotional love stories ever written. Be prepared to cry!
One of the most unique love stories I've read, The Time Traveler's Wife, is the story of Henry, a librarian who can travel through time and Clare, the woman he falls in love with. Henry can't control when he leaves or when he comes back — he can end up in the past, present or future — so their love story takes place at all different stages in Clare's life, sometimes even her childhood. An impossible romance that still stands the test of time, it's a page-turner until the very end.
Gerry and Holly are soul mates who can't imagine life without each other until the day that Gerry dies. After Gerry is gone, Holly is, of course, devastated, and then Holly discovers a bundle of notes. Letters that Gerry wrote to Holly before he passed away, one for each of the months after his death. And as the ultimate act of love, Gerry's notes teach Holly that life, and love, must go on. This novel was also made into a movie starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.
The title itself tells you it will be a story that tugs at the heart. This best-selling novel by Nicole Krauss, that takes place over 60 years, is the story of a locksmith named Leo who immigrates to New York after escaping Poland and is desperately missing the woman he has always loved. It also tells the story of a young girl named Alma. What ties Leo and Alma's story together is a novel that Leo has written called The History of Love. Alma is looking for a man to love her mother and discovers that she was named after the only woman Leo ever loved. As the story unfolds, the two main characters move closer and closer to meeting, until they finally do.
Jane Eyre is the story of Jane, an orphan raised by her cruel aunt. Then Jane is later sent away to school, but the headmaster also turns out to be an abusive man. Jane stays at the school and eventually becomes a teacher. After two years of working as a teacher, she yearns for new experiences, so she accepts a job as a governess and it is there she meets Mr. Rochester, who she falls in love with and marries. Only after, does Jane discover Mr. Rochester was already married to a woman in Jamaica. Jane immediately flees and finds herself penniless and hungry but is eventually taken in by three siblings. Jane soon learns that these three are her cousins. One of them, St. John, wants to marry Jane, but she refuses and she returns to her true love, Mr. Rochester, from whom she realizes she cannot stay apart.
Message in a Bottle is the story of newly divorced Theresa, who is jogging on the beach and finds a bottle with a letter inside addressed to Catherine and signed by Garrett. For reasons she doesn't understand, Theresa wants to find the lovers who are in this letter, which ultimately leads Theresa to finding her own love.