Good romance novels are hard to come by, but when we do, they melt our hearts into puddle. We love to escape into their worlds and fall in love with their characters. Sometimes we get our hearts broken too. But with so many options and so little time - how do you know which ones to read?
We've got the answer for you in this hand-selected list. After scouring the internet for the very best romance has to offer, we've found the most beloved love stories on the market. Here are diverse and unique romances that will surely leave you feeling giddy and whole.
And if you're still craving more after reading through this list, you can check out our buying guide below on how to find the perfect romance book for you!
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Table of Contents
Romance novels are the guilty pleasures of us all, right? There's nothing more snug than sitting down with a good love story and feeling that giddiness when the main characters finally get together. But finding that perfect novel is another story.
That's why we've made this list of the best romance novels you can read at the moment. Our list includes beloved classics as well as contemporary masterpieces. When it comes to romance, there is something for everyone - and we'll help you find it!
There are so many aspects to consider in the romance genre. Personalities, settings, representation, sub-genre - these are some of the things you can choose to look for.
Romance comes in different degrees. On one side there’s the young adult type romance, which is often sweet and innocent, and barely contains any mention of explicit content. On the other end of the spectrum there’s erotica, which often highlights the sexuality over the romance.
And then there’s plenty in between. Take a moment to think about what you’re looking for. Do you prefer the innocence of a John Green novel or the excitement of "Fifty Shades of Gray"?
Trope is key when it comes to romance. Almost every story will follow some sort of trope or cliche. That’s not a bad thing, you just have to pinpoint which trope you enjoy reading.
Do you like a Romeo and Juliet type story? Or would you rather read about enemies learning to love each other? Are love triangles your thing? There are many variations and cute twists on old romance tropes, so you can basically just pick and choose whatever you’re looking for!
Sometimes you want to read something new - or maybe you want to see yourself in the characters you’re reading about. It’s no secret that representation has a way to go in literature - but luckily it’s started!
These days you can find a lot of LGBT-friendly literature. Adam Silvera is one author out of many who writes about gay love. Other minorities see more and more representation in literature, so you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for books that are mainly romances, there aren’t that many sub-genres to consider. The main ones are historical, contemporary, and fantasy. These will be the backdrops of most literary romances.
However, in other genres you can find many stories that have romance in them, while still being about other things. If you’re willing to read about these other things, that opens up a lot of doors regarding your options.
Book covers are the enemies of romance novels. They can grossly misrepresent the books they cover. They can be off-putting.
But don’t let that deter you from picking up a book! Sometimes the most amazing stories hide behind the most unappealing faces. That’s why you should always read the blurb before dismissing a book completely.
There are so many resources online that can help you search for books. These are just a couple of them, but some we think are really effective!
On both Goodreads and Amazon, you can search for books by genre. Luckily, they have a myriad of sub-genre that can narrow down your search further. This is great if you’re looking for very specific sub-genres.
Goodreads also lets users create public lists, which can be a great way to discover new and interesting romances. Many people make incredibly pedantic lists, so you can definitely find something that suit your taste.
Reading reviews is another thing that will be very helpful. By seeing what other people have written about a certain book, you can better assess whether that book will be a good fit for you.
This is a great way to see what the general consensus about a book is. What aspects about a book works for others, and what could be better? This way, it’s easy to evaluate what you’ll appreciate in that book.
Word of mouth is powerful. If you have a friend who likes to read, ask them for a recommendation! They might know something you don’t. Likewise, if you’re in a book club, don’t hesitate to ask your fellow readers if they know any good romance books.
Of course, there are plenty of forums online where you can ask for recommendations, too. Reddit’s r/suggestmeabook and WhatShouldIReadNext.com come to mind. You can find the most obscure novels this way.
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Gone With the Wind
The Most Epic Romance of All Time
Pride and Prejudice
Fall in Love with its Victorian Characters
Root for Noah and Allie as They Retell Their Love Story
Take a Journey through Time to Discover a Love Story Unlike Any Other
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
See These Characters to the End in This Beautiful, Simple Adventure
The Novel That Will Make You Change Your Mind about Fanfiction
The To All the Boys I've Loved Before Paperback Collection
Follow Lara Jean as She Navigates Her Giddy and Awkward High School Life
Feel the Thrill and Fear as Jane Uncovers Mr. Rochester's Secrets and Falls in Love
Me Before You
See the Characters Come to Life by the Power of Love
Big Sexy Love
A True Romantic Comedy
Scarlett O’Hara is a beautiful but spoiled young woman plotting to get her dream man to marry her. But things get in the way, like the American Civil War, and the mysterious Rhett Butler. Scarlett will go through many trials before she can finalize her plans.
This novel has stood the test of time, and it comes out as one of the greatest stories ever told. In this historical drama you will find all the components that make a good love story, like conflict, war, jealousy, and more.
Reviewers say that despite its length, this is a book they have read multiple times. Used copies get slammed for their poor quality, but that doesn't take anything away from the contents of the novel.
The clash between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy is perhaps an ironic sign of things to come. As they suffer their respective flaws, they’ll have to look past their assumptions about one another if they want to find true love.
You won’t find a more iconic romance novel than this. Despite its age, it’s still one of the most popular love stories on the market. It has even been retold in many different variations. Austen is known for writing excellent characters, and this book is no exception.
The paperback is praised for having a clean font and comfortable text size, although the darker page color might be a turn-off for some.
After spending a summer together, Noah and Allie are separated by the Second World War. But they have not given up on finding their way back to each other. 14 years later they are reunited. Many things have changed, but what about their feelings?
Widely regarded as one of the best romances there is, this book will not let you down. It’s known for making people cry, so you may want have some tissues on hand when you read it.
Many readers say this book took them on an emotional roller-coaster, although for some it gets too sappy towards the end.
In 1945, Claire Randall is reunited with her husband after World War II. While on their second honeymoon, Claire is transported back in time - to the 1700s. There, she is caught up in many dangers, but finds safety in a young Scots soldier, Jamie.
This is an incredibly unique love story that combines sub-genres you’d never think would work together. It’s been a fan favorite since its publication in 1991, and fans are eagerly waiting for the final two books to conclude this epic adventure.
Readers love the vivid characters and romantic narrative. Some say there’s a little too much violence in this book, though.
When Aristotle and Dante first meet, they seem to have nothing in common. Aristotle is an angry teen and Dante a know-it-all. Over time they build a special friendship, and learn important truths about themselves.
Having won awards and received a lot of critical acclaim, this is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love. While its target readership is young adults, anyone can enjoy this heartfelt and human story about two misplaced teenagers.
Many reviewers highlight how gut-wrenching and emotional this book is. While some mention its short chapters and simple prose may make for a lackluster read, most agree that the novel deserved every single award.
The worst Chosen One, Simon Snow, has a really hard time during his last year at Watford School of Magicks. When everything goes wrong there’s one person missing from the equation - his roommate Baz.
This is a great book for young adult readers. What started as a "Harry Potter" fanfiction in another novel has now become its own universe. "Carry On" differs from its inspiration in a lot of ways, though, especially in its diversity.
Fans are crazy about this novel. They find it witty, endearing, and brilliant. They love the world-building and characters. Criticism mostly revolves around the clinical writing style, which ultimately comes down to personal taste.
Instead of actually confessing her feelings, Lara Jean writes secret letters to her crushes. She doesn’t send them, but keeps them hidden in her closet. That is, until the letters are stolen and mailed to all her former crushes, who are now demanding an explanation.
This young adult novel is so simple yet beautiful in its delivery. As a New York Times Best-seller, its light themes can be very refreshing on this list of heavy and serious narratives.
Reviewers adore this trilogy. They praise it for being down to earth, and insist even people who aren’t fans of young adult novels will enjoy this one. The box set, however, has received some negative feedback for poor packaging and missing books.
The outcast Jane Eyre gets hired by the brooding Edward Rochester to care for his ward. While they have a rocky start, soon enough Jane’s feelings develop and she faces the fear of being abandoned once again.
Surprisingly modern, this novel tells its story dramatically and passionately. Its gothic writing is constantly referred to by scholars. And at its heart, there’s a strong and moving romance that will surely have your heart swooning.
Reviewers say they adore the story, but some admit to having a hard time with the language. Thanks to the novel’s age, some word will have to be looked up. That’s why this is book might be better suited for the experienced reader.
Louisa Clark lives an excruciatingly ordinary life, until she takes a job for the rich and moody Will Traynor. After an accident left him in a wheelchair, he struggles to find joy in his everyday life, and it’s up to Louisa to show him how to re-discover that.
This is a great love story that brings together two people who couldn’t have less in common. It pulls at your heartstrings and you may find yourself with a mild case of teary eyes after reading this.
Most reviewers adore the emotional range this book shows them. Some, however, are offended by its message at the end.
When Olive’s best friend Birdie is about to die, it becomes her mission to travel across the Atlantic to deliver a letter to the man who broke Birdie’s heart. But for a scaredy-cat like Olive, New York is intimidating and difficult to navigate - until she meets Seth.
This novel is filled to the brim with humor. Its jokes are timely, and this very much feels like a contemporary love story. Not only is it funny, but you’ll fall in love with the characters too.
Reviewers say they loved to escape into this book. It allowed them to forget about the real world and just have a good laugh. Not everyone finds the book that funny, although humor is of course highly subjective.
Maybe romance isn't what you're looking for today. Good thing we've picked out some other great reads for you!
No. 1: Margaret Mitchell | Gone With the Wind
No. 2: Jane Austen | Pride and Prejudice
No. 3: Nicholas Sparks | The Notebook
No. 4: Diana Gabaldon | Outlander
No. 5: Benjamin Alire Sáenz | Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
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