10 Romantic Books That Will Restore Your Faith in Love

Boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Well, it’s never quite that simple! Short and sweet stories are hardly ever memorable.

The following ten romantic books are epic tales of romance, passion, happiness, loss, tragedy and above all, painfully beautiful love. They may or may not have a happy ending, but each of these stories is a mix of classic and modern literature, and will leave a mark on your heart.

10. Love Story, by Erich Segal

First Published: 1970

What It’s About:

A classic love story that revolves around the adage ‘opposites attract’, its main protagonists are Jenny Cavilleri, a working-class girl with a good head on her shoulders and Oliver Barrett, a wealthy jock in line to inherit his family’s vast fortunes. Both these characters are the opposites of each other, but fall in love in college despite great resistance from Oliver’s father, who eventually cuts him off financially. What follows is a story of struggle, hard work, dedication, and love conquering all.

Why You Should Read It:

If you want to read a heartfelt story about love winning against all odds, this is the novel to pick. In a world full of cynicism and negativity, Jenny and Oliver manage to prove everyone wrong by building a life together. While the story is part-romance and part-tragedy, it ultimately leaves you with strong faith in the power of true love.

Best Quote:

“Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry…”

9. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

First Published: 1938

What It’s About:

Rebecca is one of 20th century’s foremost novels, a love story that is also a haunting thriller. The story is narrated by an unnamed heroine, a symbol of her place in the events that follow. She marries the wealthy and brooding Maxim, a widower whose first wife, Rebecca drowned to her death a year ago. The newlyweds move to Maxim’s ancestral estate, a sprawling mansion called Manderley. Rebecca is omnipresent at Manderley, from her portrait in the gallery to her initials embroidered on the pillowcases in the bedroom. Our heroine finds herself being compared to Rebecca at every turn, even being made to feel inadequate by the menacing housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers.

Why You Should Read It:

The suspense that builds through the storyline regarding Rebecca’s death, which seems to be shrouded in mystery, leads to an explosive finale that will leave the reader reeling in the enigma of Rebecca. At its heart, this novel is a masterpiece that explores the emotions of love, tragedy and jealousy.

Best Quote:

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

8. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

First Published: 1847

What It’s About:

Jane Eyre, the protagonist of this story, is a headstrong orphan who works as a governess at Thornfield Manor. At work, she meets the tall, dark and handsome Mr. Rochester. Jane soon falls in love with him and he proposes to her. Unfortunately, on the wedding day, Jane makes a discovery about her fiancé’s past, which leads to her running away from the man she once thought she would marry. Jane tries to move on, but something compels her to come back to him.

Why You Should Read It:

Jane Eyre is a timeless romance novel, but it is also much more than just a love story. Its heroine hopes to break the shackles of the traditional Victorian society that keep women from living life on their terms. The novel also takes a deep look at Jane, who since her childhood, is fierce, headstrong and not willing to conform to what society expects of her.

Best Quote:

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”

7. Holly, by Albert French

First Published: 1995

What It’s About:

Set in the American Southern belt towards the end of World War II, Holly is a love story involving two people who should not, or were not allowed to be together in that era. Elias, an educated black war veteran, and Holly, a young and lonely white girl are residents of the small town of North Carolina. The two fall in love despite coming from very different backgrounds and in doing so, set in motion a tragic chain of events that change both their lives forever.

Why You Should Read It:

The response of the small town to Holly and Elias’ love is truly vindictive. This novel is not only a story about how two people fall in love, but also about racial discrimination in the Southern belt post the Second World War. This heartbreaking novel resonates with many readers even today.

Best Quote:

“He ain’t no nigger, he’s a Negro.”

6. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

First Published: 1877

What It’s About:

The protagonist of one of the most celebrated novels ever written is Anna Karenina, an unhappily married socialite in St. Petersburg who begins an affair with Alexei Vronsky, a handsome soldier in the military. Anna and Vronsky’s relationship leads to her being ostracized by society, eventually leading to tragedy.

Why You Should Read It:

Anna Karenina touches upon the concept of constant search for happiness and fulfilment, something which everyone can relate to. The novel also explores the difficulties of an unstable family life, especially its effect on one’s independence. Another important topic that the plot focuses on is adultery. We see the characters worrying about how they will be perceived if their infidelity is exposed to the society. Ultimately, it is a tragic love story, but the way the author weaves the downfall of its protagonists is what makes this one of the greatest novels ever written.

Best Quote:

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

5. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

First Published: 1847

What It’s About:

This is a passionate love story and the main characters are Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. He was adopted by Catherine’s father at an early age and doesn’t realize that Catherine is in love with him. After being humiliated by Catherine’s brother, Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights, the place where they lived together for several years. What follows is a tragic tale of revenge and the inability to move on after experiencing great love.

Why You Should Read It:

Emily Brontë does an exceptional job of describing the haunting quality of the moorland, on which the story is set. Wuthering Heights is considered a masterpiece due to the atmosphere and the vision that this skilled author creates. Also, it is not a fairytale romance, but a violent outpouring of emotions ranging from obsession to undying, unending love that lasts a lifetime.

Best Quote:

“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

4. The Mill On The Floss, by George Eliot

First Published: 1860

What It’s About:

The story revolves around the Tulliver family, with the father, Mr. Tulliver trapped in various financial troubles. He owes money to several people in the provincial English town they live in and this has a chain reaction on the rest of his family, including his daughter Maggie Tulliver, a passionate, intelligent and resolute girl. Her brother Tom is her emotional confidante, on whom she relies for affection and happiness. This is a story of a family struggling to stay afloat during hardships and the tender relationship between siblings that goes far beyond childhood.

Why You Should Read It:

While this book does have a love triangle at the heart of its plot, what makes it stand out is the depth of love and the undying bond between the brother Tom and his sister Maggie that begins in idyllic childhood. The dramatic ending is spectacular and is sure to leave a lasting impact on the reader.

Best Quote:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

3. A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth

First Published: 1993

What It’s About:

Set in the 1950’s India, a newly independent country, this novel is essentially a love story which finds Lata Mehra and her mother Mrs. Rupa Mehra looking for a suitable match for Lata. The novel, one of the longest to be published in the English language, follows the lives of four extended families in India over a period of a year and a half. Through the course of the story, Lata is introduced to three suitors Kabir, Haresh and Amit, one of whom she must choose as her husband.

Why You Should Read It:

This novel gives the reader an insight into the political landscape of post-Independence India, which came with plenty of religious strife, especially between Hindus and Muslims, problems in the caste system, and other issues that impact the characters. This is a love story of epic proportions with its central characters, who are relatable, ordinary people, facing the trials and tribulations that marriage, religion and family bring with them.

Best Quote:

“God save us from people who mean well.”

2. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough

First Published: 1979

What It’s About:

Set in a fictional sheep station in the Australian Outback, The Thorn Birds deals with the plight of three generations in a family. The protagonist is Meggie Cleary, hopelessly in love with Ralph de Bricassart. Ralph, unfortunately, is a parish priest, who eventually goes on to work in the Vatican despite his heart belonging firmly to Meggie, whether or not he admits this to himself. The story deals with several other characters over three generations in its interwoven plot that explores themes of love, betrayal, tragedy and marriage.

Why You Should Read It:

For a multi-generational saga, The Thorn Birds is a great novel, at the heart of which lies a love story. It became one of the highest-rated television shows in the United States at the time due to the large following that the novel garnered. The story focuses on love and how true lovers eventually do unite, despite all odds.

Best Quote:

“There are no ambitions noble enough to justify breaking someone’s heart. ”

1. The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

First Published: 1996

What It’s About:

Noah and Allie meet and have a summer romance in the coastal southern town of North Carolina. Fourteen years later, Noah returns to the same town after fighting in World War II. While restoring a former plantation home, Noah finds himself thinking about the beautiful girl he fell in love with all those years ago. Miraculously, Allie, now 29 and on the verge of marrying a socialite, finds Noah and so begins a heart-stopping story of unconditional romance and the tough choices to be made in life.

Why You Should Read It:

One of the most celebrated romance novels in recent years, The Notebook will make the stoniest heart melt. Noah and Allie bring to life a love and an experience that anyone can relate to: giving someone a second chance. Read it to experience a love story that is full of passion and goes beyond frivolity, proving the power of everlasting love.

Best Quote:

“My daddy said, that the first time you fall in love, it changes you forever and no matter how hard you try, that feeling just never goes away.”

Conclusion

Whether it’s a classic tale of star-crossed lovers, or a modern, passionate tale of meant-to-be soulmates, some stories will make you come back for more and read them over and over again, restoring your faith in love.

These 10 romantic books are replete with heartfelt emotions, pure love, and other forms of human expression which are sure to enrapture readers.

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