Romance Books You Won't Be Able to Put Down

Immerse yourself in these sumptuous romance novels, which are bursting with passion, poignancy, warmth, wit, happiness and heartbreak, guaranteed to grip you from first page to last. Whether you're looking for fiery sagas of lust and longing or touching tales of love and loss, check out this list of the best romance books you won't be able to put down.

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1. How to Stop Time

Matt Haig

This compelling new novel focuses on love, loss and living in the moment. Tom Hazard has a secret: he's older than you'd think. Due to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries, from the perils of Elizabethan England to the glamour of the Jazz Age in Paris. Tired of constantly changing his identity, he finds the perfect guise as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here, he can give students a unique insight into the wars and witch-hunts he has witnessed himself. Throughout these turbulent centuries, he has vowed never to fall in love - but for how long can he keep this up? This bittersweet read is sure to keep readers captivated.

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2. The Santangelos

Jackie Collins

Full of spark and sensuality, the late Jackie Collins's final book brilliantly showcases her incredible talent, and is unremittingly addictive. It features a vengeful enemy, a drug-addled Colombian club owner, and a passionate Italian family. Poor Lucky Santangelo is certainly kept busy trying to manage it all. But there are pressing problems in Lucky's own family, as her son Bobby is framed for a murder he didn't commit. Lucky and her husband must try to ensure that the Santangelos once again come out on top...

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3. The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

Full of poignant observations about life, death, illness and love, this book follows Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers who meet at a cancer support group. The two develop a friendship that 'slowly, and then all at once' becomes love, peaking with an eventful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this beautiful tale will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.

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4. The Notebook

Nicholas Sparks

This sumptuous book is uplifting and heart-breaking in equal measure. It follows Noah Calhoun, a man haunted by memories of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, Allie, whom he loved beyond compare. To his shock and amazement, Allie shows up in his town to see him, and this is when their story truly begins. Theirs is a tumultuous, fiery and passionate relationship, but one that ends with profound heartache. This stunning story will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

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5. Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen

Filled with romance, anguish and a sisterly bond, young Marianne and Elinor Dashwood must learn to mix sense with sensibility when it comes to finding personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. This wonderful novel will appeal to anyone who loves classic literature and romance.

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6. Me Before You

Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark leads a modest but comfortable life, working at the delightful Buttered Bun teashop, trying to find time to see her fitness-mad boyfriend, Patrick. But everything changes when the teashop closes down. Lou finds a new job supporting a quadriplegic man named Will, whom she initially finds utterly infuriating, his moods erratic, his comments cutting. But then she learns his shocking secret - and it seems it's up to her to save his life... This touching page-turner is amusing, striking, poignant and guaranteed to engross its readers.

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7. If You Go Away

Adele Parks

In this heartrending novel, set around the outbreak of World War I, young debutante Vivian has been rushed into a pedestrian marriage to cover up a scandal. When her husband enlists on their wedding day, she must take up the management and running of his estate - despite her lack of experience. Meanwhile, young playwright Howard has been hurried to the front to see the horrors of war for himself. When conscription becomes law in 1916, he refuses to join the ranks, and becomes a notorious conscientious objector. He narrowly avoids a death sentence and ultimately agrees to work on Vivian's farm - and it's not long before the two form a bond... Romance fans cannot miss this enthralling historical novel.

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8. Before You Go

Clare Swatman

After years of fumbling their way into adulthood together, working in dead-end jobs and enduring chaotic house-shares, Zoe's husband Ed suddenly dies, killed in a tragic road accident. She has no idea where to turn. Her only choice is to survive, but she isn't ready to let go of the memories. As she reminisces on their happy times, she decides she has to tell Ed everything she never got to say to him before - but also wonders if there's any way she can get him back... Tear-jerking and poignant, this beautiful novel will absorb you more with every page.

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9. Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Join young orphan Pip on all his adventures in this timeless classic. Pip couldn't imagine how a terrifying encounter with a convict would later transform his life. But he's even more troubled by his visits to the strange old Miss Havisham, whose house full of memories disturbs him, and the beautiful Estella, who makes him feel ashamed of his country manners and coarse hands. Surely a young blacksmith's apprentice could never dream of winning Estella - but Pip's future may not turn out quite as he expected...

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10. Noughts and Crosses

Malorie Blackman

This moving and powerful novel subverts social history to compelling effect. Callum is white, and a lowly Nought; Sephy is black, a privileged Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician. Despite their segregated society, they maintain a close friendship throughout their childhood, which inevitably blossoms into something more. But can their love endure hardship, heartbreak, loss and division? This story is filled with shocking twists and turns and riddled with gripping subplots.

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Looking for a wider selection of romantic page-turners? Check out our entire range of the best romance books.

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    Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again. Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.
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    Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
  • NUX2 12 years +
    12 years +
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    Malorie Blackman's bestselling dystopian novel Noughts & Crosses launches a superb young adult fiction trilogy.

    Callum, a lowly Nought, and Sephy, a Cross and the daughter of a powerful politician, are childhood friends who eventually fall in love. Increasing animosity between the two families leads Callum and Sephy to see each other in secret. But for how long? Written alternately in the voices of Sephy and Callum, this is a powerful and perfectly paced novel with a provocative plot line to keep readers on tenterhooks.

    Suitable for those aged 12 and over, Noughts and Crosses was chosen as a World Book Night book in 2013.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
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    "The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!" Jane Austen's novel tells the story of Marianne Dashwood, who wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. The Penguin English Library includes 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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    Book People favourite Adele Parks returns with If You Go Away, a story set around the outbreak of World War I that combines glamorous debutantes with themes of heartbreak and discovering just what it is that is really worth fighting for...

    Young debutante Vivian has been hurried into a pedestrian marriage to cover up a scandal, but when her husband enlists on their wedding day she is left with no choice but to take up the management and running of his estate - despite her lack of experience in this field...

    Meanwhile, young playwright Howard has rushed to the front to see the horrors of war for himself - and to observe both the best and worst of humanity. When conscription becomes law in 1916, he steadfastly refuses to join the ranks and becomes one of the most notorious conscientious objectors of all time...

    Handsome, famous and seen as a threat to the government, he narrowly escapes a death sentence and agrees to work on Vivian's farm - when the two meet, they quickly form a bond...

    This is a lovely slice of historical romance!
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    Considered by many to be Dickens' finest novel, Great Expectations traces the growth of the book's narrator, Philip Pirrip (Pip), from a boy of shallow dreams to a man with depth of character. From its famous dramatic opening on the bleak Kentish marshes, the story abounds with some of Dickens' most memorable characters. Among them are the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, the mysterious convict Abel Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Haversham and her beautiful ward Estella, Pip's good-hearted room-mate Herbert Pocket and the pompous Pumblechook. As Pip unravels the truth behind his own 'great expectations' in his quest to become a gentleman, the mysteries of the past and the convolutions of fate through a series of thrilling adventures serve to steer him towards maturity and his most important discovery of all - the truth about himself.
  • THES
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    The sadly missed author Jackie Collins' final book is full of the spark, sensation and sauciness that made her so beloved around the world. Focusing on the legendary Santangelo family, it's not long until scandal hits again...

    There's a vicious hit, a vengeful enemy, a drug-addled Colombian club owner and an Italian family obsessed with sex. And Lucky Santangelo has her hands full having to deal with it all.

    There are also plenty of problems in Lucky's own family: her teenage daughter Max is making a name for herself as a model in Europe, while son Bobby is being set up for a murder he didn't commit. Luckily, Lucky and husband Lennie have the nous to make sure the Santangelos always come out on top, no matter what the consequences.

    A mob story full of love, passion, revenge and plenty of shocks, this is gloriously addictive.
  • FUL2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, is one of the most popular voices in contemporary young adult fiction and The Fault in Our Stars became an instant classic.

    You will probably have been in tears watching the big-screen adaptation that starred Shailene Woodley and Ansel Engort as the devoted teenage lovers Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters and the book is just as heart-wrenching and poignant, but keeps a fine line in self-depreciating humour - especially from the wise-beyond-her-years Hazel.

    After meeting at a cancer support group, the cynical sufferer Hazel unexpectedly finds herself falling for the charms of Augustus and the novel follows the two as their relationship develops - taking in a romantic trip to Amsterdam in the process.

    Full of wit, sensitivity and observations about life and illness, this profound book will make readers of any age (especially teens) laugh and cry in equal measure.
  • HTST
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    Matt Haig, the bestselling author of The Humans and Reasons to Stay Alive, returns to fiction with a compelling new novel all about love, loss and living in the moment.

    Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret - he's older than you would think. Due to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries and has seen it all, from Elizabethan England to the Jazz Age in Paris.

    Tiring of always having to change his identity, he finds the perfect cover as he starts work as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the students all about wars and witch hunts that he lived through without revealing that fact. But the past is starting to catch up with him - and he still has to completely avoid falling in love...

    With its intriguing premise, this is a bittersweet read from a very talented and popular author that explains how sometimes it can take a lifetime to really learn how to live.
  • Before You Go - Hardback - 9781509824809 - Clare Swatman
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    Zoe's husband has died and she's not sure where to turn. She and Ed had fumbled their way into adulthood, and although they were on different paths they were always heading in the same direction.

    Eventually after working in dead-end jobs and enduring chaotic house shares over the years, romance finally blossomed - but then the tragic accident happened. While cycling to work, Ed was knocked off his bike and dies. Zoe is left with no choice but to survive, but she's not yet ready to let go of her memories.

    As she reminisces about all their happy times, she decides she has to tell Ed everything she never got round to saying. At the same time, she wonders if there's a way she can get him back...

    Heartbreaking and poignant, Clare Swatman's debut novel Before You Go will leave you in tears and completely absorb you from the very first page.