The chilly February weather, and Valentine’s season, make it the perfect time to read a love story. Romances are fodder for the big drama on one hand and (sometimes unintentionally) hilarious comedy on the other. These ten books range from classic love stories to steamy contemporary romance novels. So whether you’re in the mood for an underrated literary classic or a true story about one of the most iconic couples of the 20th century, these ten books cover romance and many of its endearing tropes.
Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s most popular book, but Persuasion is a deeply romantic story about second chances. Eight years in the past, Anne Elliot called off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth at the request of her wealthy family. Now the tables turn and her family has lost their good fortune, whereas Captain Wentworth is the wealthy one. He ends up renting their family estate when the Elliots can no longer afford it. While Anne spent years regretting her choice, it’s uncertain whether Captain Wentworth will ever forgive her.
In this memoir, artist Patti Smith looks back on the early days of her relationship with the iconic photographer Robert Maplethorpe as they moved through the art scene of New York City in the sixties and seventies. It is a love story between Patti and Robert within a love story between them and the city. It’s an ode to friendship and meaningful relationships and a manifesto to finding the exact right person at the exact right time.
Get ready to swoon bigtime while reading this romantic fake dating story. Luc is the son of a famous rockstar and has grown up tangentially famous. When his dad relaunches his career and Luc makes some publicly bad romantic decisions, Luc decides he needs to find a nice, normal boyfriend to fool the media with. This leads him to Oliver, a respectable barrister who needs a date to an upcoming event. The two have little in common, but they embark on a fake relationship that suits both of their needs. But even in fake relationships, feelings can feel very very real.
This interwoven story revolves around a book Leo Gursky wrote 60 years ago in Poland about the love of his life — and the story he has no idea survived his migration to America. It’s a book that 14-year-old Alma is named after and one that her mother is translating. Their stories combine when Alma sets out to find the author of the book. In each of their journeys, this story explores the many different sides of love.
Chloe Brown’s chronic illness and anxiety have gotten in the way of her fully living life. When she wants to make a change, Chloe creates a step-by-step plan to escape her sheltered life and start living outside her comfort zone. It starts with moving out of her family’s home and includes riding on a motorcycle, going camping, and having a one-night stand. Red, the handyman at her new apartment building, is the perfect person to help her check goals off her list. He even has a motorcycle! But the more time they spend together, the more Chloe wonders if real feelings could develop.
In this truly bizarre, provocative graphic novel, Suzie’s life is normal except for one thing. When she has sex, she can stop time. She’s spent her life thinking she is the only one with this power, until she meets Jon who has the exact same ability. So they do what anyone would — they decide to start robbing banks to support the severely underfunded local library. Things get complicated when the two start to fall in love in the middle of their philanthropic crime spree.
In this magical classic love story, Tita is forbidden to marry because she’s the youngest daughter in her family. When she and Pedro fall in love over her cooking, her family refuses to give up the family tradition. In desperation, Pedro marries her older sister Rosaura to stay close to Tita. The two must move through daily life and family tragedies consumed by their unrequited love. The only way Tita can communicate her feelings is through her mystical cooking abilities.
When Grace goes on a Las Vegas girls trip to celebrate completing her PhD, she drunkenly marries a woman who’s name she doesn’t even know. Rather than face the disappointment and anger of her strict family, she decides to spend the summer in New York City with her new wife. In the city, she’s able to ignore all the questions she has about her future, but at some point her new life and old life collide, leaving Grace to decide what she truly wants.
For a classic, cozy romance try The Blue Castle. At 29, Valancy considers herself a spinster doomed to a small, quiet life living under her strict family’s rules. But when she gets a letter from a doctor saying she has less than a year to live, she makes some big changes. She moves out of the family home and gives up on being proper. With her new confidence, Valancy finds true love and follows all of her dreams. Written in the 1920s, this love story is old-fashioned, but also full of romantic wish fulfillment.
This romance novel’s title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this steamy romance novel. Dr. Sloan Copeland is a single mom who just moved to a new town. When her nanny quits, leaving her twin daughters alone, Sloan is in the middle of a true childcare emergency. Rafe isn’t who people consider a typical nanny, but he loves working with kids and has years of experience. As he becomes part of the family, Rafe and Sloan’s mutual attraction grows stronger and stronger.
About the Author: Alison Doherty
Alison is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on her way to work, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.