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Game of Hearts: 14 Best Romance Books for Valentine’s Day

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Game of Hearts: 14 Best Romance Books for Valentine’s Day Love Stories and Romantic Novels From charming fairy tales and unrequited love to fateful tragedies and the wonderfully contentious, love stories and romantic themes are as old as time itself. To celebrate the genre in all its warts-and-all permutations, we rounded up 14 of the best romance books. PS: Not everyone lives happily ever after.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
We know, we know – so predictable. But considering it’s one of the best romance books of all time, we would probably have our library card revoked if we didn’t include Elizabeth, Darcy, and their sigh-inducing pursuits.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
You already know all the famous lines – “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and “After all, tomorrow is another day” – now fall in love with the sparring push-pull of feisty Scarlett O’Hara and roguish Rhett Butler.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Oh, sure. She’s got terrible taste in men – oof, that scoundrel Mr. Rochester – but Miss Jane becomes stronger for it and lays the prototype groundwork for spirited, driven women in literature.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Do unto others, what goes around comes around, the devil you know, keep it in the family – we could throw out many a wink-wink idiom in describing this ghostly and ghastly tale of a doomed family trapped (some literally, some figuratively) in an English manse called Wuthering Heights.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Like a bit of fantasy and historical backdrop in your romance novels? Then put Outlander’s time-traveling WWII nurse and 18th-century Scottish highlander at the top of your list.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The romantic dalliances of poet-physician Zhivago and the temptress-nurse Lara sit at the center of this sweeping Russian Revolution-set drama.

Anna-Karenina-Leo-Tolstoy-Best-Romance-Books-Textbookscom-Blog Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Another sweeping Russian epic, another affair. Several of them, in fact. The otherwise betrothed Karenina takes up with Count Vrosky then…. well, we don’t want to spill the spoilers, do we?

Atonement-Ian-McEwan-Best-Romance-Books-Textbookscom-Blog Atonement by Ian McEwan
There’s upper class Cecilia, the maid’s son Robbie, meddling younger sister Briony, a cursed letter, and a tear-jerking ending. Cue the Kleenex.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry Best Romance Books Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Everyone in this epic Western is trying to escape. Escape small-town life, their past, their dead-end future, their dead-end relationships. Be sure to save a few tissues for this one, too.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks Best Romance Books The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Faith and fate – and a newspaper clipping – bring an old summer fling full circle in this story that gave us one of the most famous on-screen kisses of all time.

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
Where better to discover love, yourself, and another world than in Florence, Italy? If “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat Pray Love” are among your favorite books, you’ll appreciate Lucy Honeychurch’s Edwardian awakening.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
The heart and the mind, art and politics, philosophy and psychology – this Prague Spring-set novel beautifully captures the inherent contradictions of the human spirit.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Did we already use “push-pull”? Because that is the perfect (and only) way to describe strike sympathizer Margaret Hale and mill owner John Thorton’s eventual courtship.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The most scintillating Lifetime movie has nothing on Emma Bovary. Adulterous affairs, stolen money, secrets and lies, and suicide by poisoning – this masterful tragedy has it all. Except no commercials.

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