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Love and Literature: A Guide to the Best Romance Books

Love is in the air in these 10 terrific romance books. From classic stories of star-crossed lovers to contemporary swoon-worthy reads that have captured romance readers everywhere, this is the ultimate list of the best books to get your heart a-flutter. So, if you're a sucker for a love story then these are the books you need to add to your romantic to-be-read lists.

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1. Romeo and Juliet

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William Shakespeare

This story of two star-crossed lovers has been read, performed and retold countless times by people all over the world and it has a reputation for being the number one love story in literature. In this early Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet are two young lovers from rival families whose story ends in tragedy. If you need a good romantic classic this Valentine's Day, why not revisit this terrific play?


2. Wuthering Heights

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Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte's timeless story of lost love and betrayal is often considered to be one of the best works of literature ever written. When Lockwood finds himself lost on the moors one stormy night he seeks shelter at the gothic Wuthering Heights owned by his landlord, the ominous Heathcliff. That night Lockwood is visited by a ghost at his window and from then on he becomes determined to learn of the story of Heathcliff and Cathy and their tragic love. This moving and shocking classic is a must for every romantic fiction reading list.

3. Gone With The Wind

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Margaret Mitchell

This American classic sees two strong characters, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, fall in and out of love with one another during the time of the American Civil War. Scarlett and Rhett have a romance like no other and if you're a fan of the brilliant 1939 film adaptation then you'll love giving the fantastic book that inspired it a read.


4. Pride and Prejudice

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Jane Austen

No best romance books list would be complete without a Jane Austen book in the mix and Pride and Prejudice is often considered her best work. The strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet initially hates the rich and rude Mr Darcy but their prickly relationship soon turns into one of the most romantic in fiction when they eventually put aside their differences and realise their true feelings. So, whether you've never read any Jane Austen before or you're a long-time fan, this book is always worth a read (or reread) when you're in the mood for a good love story.

5. Doctor Zhivago

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Boris Pasternak

If you're looking for a really unique historical romance then this Russian novel is a must. Dr Yuri Zhivago's life is turned upside down during the Russian Civil War and as the unrest intensifies, he takes his family out of Moscow to distant safety. However he then finds himself in a complicated position when he falls in love with the beautiful Lara. Stuck between the love of two women and in the middle of this brutal conflict, Zhivago must face tough choices in this sweeping epic.


6. Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre is a story of strong women and a timeless romance. When Jane takes up the position of governess at Thornfield Hall she has no idea how much her new role and her new employer, Mr Rochester, are about to change her life. However everything is not as it seems at Thornfield and Jane knows Mr Rochester is hiding something. This classic novel is brilliant for anyone looking for a romance book with a compelling mystery woven throughout.

7. The Princess Bride

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William Goldman

The beautiful Buttercup falls in love with the farm boy Westley but the course of true love never did run smooth in this quirky fairy tale romance. There are giants and sword fights and lots of romantic moments for anyone who likes their love stories to come with a dash of humour and fantasy.

8. The Notebook

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Nicholas Sparks

This novel is Nicholas Sparks at his best, a romantic and moving book about love that lasts a lifetime. When Noah returns home after fighting in World War Two and starts a restoration project on an old plantation the last person he expects to run into is his old sweetheart Allie. Despite being engaged to another man, Allie can't help feeling drawn to Noah once more. Find out whether Allie and Noah will be together for good in this gorgeous novel.

9. Outlander

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Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander has become one of the most popular romantic reads in recent years. So, whether you're on the look-out for a racy new page-turner or are a huge fan of the TV show and want to read ahead, this book is a great choice. When Claire Randall goes on a second honeymoon to the Scottish Highlands with her husband after the Second World War she comes across some mysterious standing stones that send her back in time to 1743. There, she fights to stay alive and seeks safety with a tough but kind highlander called Jamie.


10. Anna Karenina

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Leo Tolstoy

In 19th century Russia, Anna Karenina is living an empty existence married to a man she doesn't love, that is until the young Count Vronsky comes into her life. Their love affair will surely lead her to ruin but with Vronsky she finally finds purpose to her life. This classic has been wowing readers for well over a century and now you can give this romantic classic a go.


Now you have plenty of books to swoon over, snuggle up with a fantastic love story soon.