Romance novels are sexy, fun-to-read, and incredibly popular. With more than 9,000 titles published in 2013 in the U.S., it can be a tad difficult to find the best ones or know where to begin with the genre. It means that even though the titles and plots of many of these novels may look similar, they usually have something that sets them apart. It may also sound daunting to dive in, but you may want to make the effort considering that good romance novels can provide some real life love advice and even rev up your sex drive – or at least they serve as a fun beach read.
Romance junkies always make their mushy-gushy flag fly within the pages of a great romance book. It is true that a romantic novel with longing, love, and a bit of tragedy can always change your mind and even make you believe that true love exists and never dies.
If you are a fan of the romance genre, or you want to dip your toes into the genre, here some of the best romance books of all time; that is, those romantic novels that will sweep you off your feet and keep you coming back to the genre for more!
Nicolas Sparks’ “The Notebook”
Telling the touching story of Allie and Noah, pulled apart by social class, this one has to be on the list because it is one of best creations of Sparks, who is definitely amongst the best romance authors of all time. The book stands above the rest and is more popular, partly because of the classic 2004 film adaptation.
Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”
This 1957 masterpiece by Pasternak is what you should go for when you are in the mood for love. It received the Nobel Prize for Literature in1958. You will love the way Pasternak tells the story of the rich son of an industrialist who has to make touch life choices between family, career and the woman he meets during the Russian Revolution. Thanks to all the twists and turns, you just cannot put it down until you finish it. It is certainly one impressive read!
Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife”
Are you looking for one unique love story to satisfy your hunger for a romantic classic? Try “The Time Traveler’s Wife” that shares the story of a time traveler, Henry, whose relationship with his wife, Clare, evolves whenever he revisits his past. This page-turner is sure to keep you interested through the end.
Jojo Moyes’s “Me Before You”
The story is about Lou Clark who believes she knows everything about how the world works and Will Traynor who has no desire to live after being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. It all changes until Lou loses her job and agrees to take another one – a job that involves taking care of paralyzed Will. How they both end up changing each other for good makes this book a must-read for all romance junkies. There is a movie adaptation of the book out now, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin.
Nicole Krauss’s “The History of Love”
Who would not want to read a book that promises to tell you the “history of love”? The story is even more beautiful than the title is and unfolds in a breathtaking way. Do not expect it to be a boring “history” book – it is something way beyond that. It tells the story of Alma and Leo who are years apart but still find a connection between them. It definitely deserves to be in your book collection.
Loretta Chase’s “Lord Perfect”
Loretta Chase is among the finest romance novelists, and “Lord Perfect” is without doubt her best work. The book tells the story of highly reserved and perfectly controlled man and a sharp, smart, and stubbornly independent woman. If you call yourself an independent woman, you will find a lot in this book to relate to and that is definitely one reason why the book sits great with romance junkies. You should start reading it, especially if you also want a dose of love and lust along the way.
Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”
If you love romantic novels, the chances are you already have “Pride and Prejudice” in your collection. In case you have not yet read it, you should. It is one of the very best works of Jane Austen. The book tells you how important it is to give everyone a second chance and never pay a lot of attention to first impressions. The book shares the story of Elizabeth Bennet who faces the prospect of marriage along with her four sisters. It tells a lot about the dating game back in the 19th century and highlights how important it is for prejudice to disappear when you are in love.
Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”
If you are into 19th century classics, you should go get this novel today. It is a must-read for women who love this genre. It shares the story of four sisters and touches on topics like family love, sibling rivalries, poverty, priorities in life, and female independence. It is so amazing to read how a young woman manages to break the stereotype of females not competing with males. The book entertains you and definitely inspires your to put your thinking cap on to decide about your future.
Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”
It is Margaret Mitchell’s best work on war and love that even brought her the Pulitzer Prize. You can find a number of novels about the Civil War and its effects, but this novel takes you right into the burning cities and fields of the American South. The way she has portrayed her characters and everything about the war, you may find the book a bit more on the historical side, but there is still a lot about southern belle Scarlett and bad boy Rhett in the book. You are going to love the way the author has handled characters and situations throughout the book.
Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor & Park”
Reading “Eleanor & Park” shows how heart-wrenching young-adult romance can be. The story is about two odd kids, Eleanor and Park. The stage is set in 1986 Nebraska where Eleanor with her red hair and wrong clothes is in love with Park. Rowell approaches this sweet tale of young love in such exceptional way that it gets you in the feels right from the word go. Caution: the book may make you feel a bit nostalgic and make you remember all those fleeting first-love moments that you had in your teen years. Still, it is a great read and makes you smile while reading the way two star-crossed 16-year-olds fall in love despite being aware of the fact that first love almost never lasts.
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s “Shanna”
The plot is rather unique but is still romantic and somewhat lustful too. It is about Shanna who seals a pact behind the walls of Newgate Prison with a prisoner, Ruark Beauchamp. She ties the knot with Beauchamp because she only needs a husband in name and does this all just for a night of unparalleled pleasure. The romance takes place in the Caribbean, America, and England and the way Kathleen has handled the plot is what makes it a true classic. Be ready to witness some explicit love scenes that are sure to make your love life spicier than ever.
Lisa Kleypas’s “Devil in Winter”
The story is about Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, who even played villain in a previous book, and that makes things a lot more exciting for those who have read Lisa Kleypas before. While one might wonder how Klepas could redeem such a wicked character, you would certainly be surprised to read it. Amazingly, she manages to pull it off with style and expertly tells the story of Sebastian who embarks on a marriage of convenience with Evangeline Jenner, who is shy and is entitled to receive a fortune if she can somehow escape her deceitful relatives. You will love every minute of reading this book and enjoy how an unrepentant rogue finds confidence and strength from love for total transformation.
Cecelia Ahern’s “P.S., I Love You’
If you are looking for a novel about letting go, holding on, and learning to love again, this is it. The story is about Holly and the way she copes the world after the death of her soul mate, Gerry. Just when she starting to believe that she cannot move on, she finds a bundle of notes Gerry wrote before his death. These notes were for Holly – one for each month, lasting a year. It is so amazing to read how Holly reads those notes and learns that love, live, and the pursuit of happiness is a never-ending journey. It is a great read and is nothing less than a captivating love letter to the world!
Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight”
It is one of the very best books written on paranormal Young-Adult romance. Twilight was actually an effort by Meyer to bring back paranormal YA romance and it certainly worked. The book shares the whirlwind tales of vampires that deserves your attention. Love it or hate it, you just cannot argue the fact that the book has staying power. Check it out and be part of a fascinating love story of Bella, an ordinary girl, who falls in love with Edward, a vampire.
If you want even more romance recommendations, here area a few good romance book resources that will give you some great suggestions:
NPR’s Romance List – a large, publicly compiled romantic books list
Best Romance Books – a collection of romance best lists
BuzzFeed’s Romantic List – BuzzFeed’s own list