50 Greatest Romances

It's February... Spring will soon be in the air and thoughts turn to Romance. As part of our Valentine's Day special, we take a look at 50 of the greatest romantic novels of all time.

Le Grand Meaulnes - Alain-Fournier

When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house - and his love for the beautiful girl hidden within it, Yvonne de Galais - his life has been changed forever.

The Swimming-Pool Library - Alan Hollinghurst

Young, gay, William Beckwith spends his time, and his trust fund, idly cruising London for erotic encounters. When he saves the life of an elderly man in a public convenience an unlikely job opportunity presents itself

Foreign Affairs - Alison Lurie

Virginia Miner, a fifty-something, unmarried tenured professor, is in London to work on her new book about children’s folk rhymes. Despite carrying a U.S. passport, Vinnie feels essentially English and rather looks down on her fellow Americans. But in spite of that, she is drawn into a mortifying and oddly satisfying affair with an Oklahoman

Taken Back - Alyna Amorosi

Dmitri Veselov has the looks of a model... well, except for his scars and prison tattoos. He's as heartless in dating as he is vicious in handling his business. And this big motorcycle-riding stud already has every stripper at Sultan's Palace squirming in their G-strings.

Heavy Influence - Ann Marie Frohoff

Where love makes and breaks the music. Heavy Influence takes you on a heart thumping journey through the trials and tribulations of a rising rockstar who reaches unimaginable fame, yet the only thing his heart desires is having the love of his life by his side

Possession - AS Byatt

The tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.


Check out our extra Romance Feature on Book Hub.

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems.

Doctor Zhivago - Boris Pasternak

Banned in the Soviet Union until 1988, Doctor Zhivago is the epic story of the life and loves of a poet-physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to shelter in the Ural Mountains, Yuri Zhivago finds himself embroiled in a battle between the Whites and the Reds, and in love with the beautiful nurse Lara.

The Graduate - Charles Webb

As far as Benjamin Braddock's parents are concerned, his future is sewn up. Now he has graduated from college, he will go to Yale or Harvard, get a good job and enjoy a life of money, cocktails and pool parties in the suburbs, just like them.

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses - Choderlos de Laclos

The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature.

Some Kind of Superstar - Clint Greagen

When Joel agrees to a new 24/7 erotic game with his successful, corporate wife, he knows it will be just what their sex life needs. But when an accidental posting to his parenting blog D-D-Dad? makes their private game public, he is shocked by just how far he and his social media enemies are prepared to go.

Delicious - Cybill Cain

James Draven is a handsome successful billionaire, and the driving force behind the Chimera Club. He's at the top of his game when he sees the woman he's been waiting for across a crowded restaurant.

Fireworks - Denise Alicea

After Sarah’s grandfather passes away, it’s up to Sarah to pack up a lifetime’s worth of his possessions as she comes to terms with her grief. As she goes through his possessions, she finds a picture. The faded black and white picture seems innocuous at first, but something draws her towards it.

Women in Love - DH Lawrence

Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen are sisters living in The Midlands in England in the 1910s. Ursula is a schoolteacher, Gudrun a painter. They meet two men who live nearby, school inspector Rupert Birkin and Gerald Crich, heir to a coal-mine, and the four become friends. Ursula and Birkin begin a romantic friendship, while Gudrun and Gerald eventually begin a love affair.

The Yankee Years - Dianne Trimble

After the Allied troops arrived in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland during the Second World War, life in the quiet, rural county would never be the same again.

The Piano Teacher - Elfriede Jelinek

The novel follows protagonist Erika Kohut [ˈeːʀika ˈkoːhʊt], a sexually and emotionally repressed piano teacher, as she enters into a sadomasochistic relationship with her student, Walter Klemmer [ˈvaltɐ ˈklɛmɐ], the results of which are disastrous.

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept - Elizabeth Smart

One day, while browsing in a London bookshop, Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker - and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. 

Mastering The Marchioness - Em Brown

The last person Vale Montressor Aubrey, the Marquess of Dunnesford, expects to see walking into Madam Botreaux's Cavern of Pleasures is his wife. Fortunately, she does not recognize him behind his mask

A Room with a View - EM Forster

Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini:

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

A wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man.

Bonjour Tristesse - Françoise Sagan

The French Riviera: home to the Beautiful People. And none are more beautiful than Cécile, a precocious seventeen-year-old, and her father Raymond, a vivacious libertine. Charming, decadent and irresponsible, the golden-skinned duo are dedicated to a life of free love, fast cars and hedonistic pleasures. 

The End of the Affair - Graham Greene

The love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. After a chance meeting rekindles his love and jealousy two years later, Bendrix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.

Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

One day, Charles visits a local farm to set the owner's broken leg and meets his patient's daughter, Emma Rouault. Emma is a beautiful, daintily dressed young woman

A Charming Cavalryman for Clementine - Hanna Hamilton

On the cusp of the war that would change the fate of empires, Clementine, the daughter of an earl, finds herself in the lush English countryside attending her younger sister’s wedding.

Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire

The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James

Isabel Archer's main aim in life is to protect her independence. She is not interested in settling down and compromising her freedom for the sake of marriage. However, on a trip around Europe with her aunt, she finds herself captivated by the charming Gilbert Osmond

Atonement - Ian McEwan

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her too is Robbie Turner who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever, as Briony commits a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever

The Passion - Jeanette Winterson

Henri had a passion for Napoleon and Napoleon had a passion for chicken. From Boulogne to Moscow Henri butchered for his Emperor and never killed a single man. Meanwhile, in Venice, the city of chance and disguises, Villanelle was born with the webbed feet of her boatman father - but in the casinos she gambled her heart and lost.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman - John Fowles

An epic love story of two people of insight and imagination seeking escape from the cant and tyranny of their age. To the last detail of dress, idiom and manners, John Fowles immaculately recreates Victorian England in the greatest of his novels, which has been the subject of universal acclaim since its first publication.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English countryside and into his past.

The Go-Between - LP Hartley

Leo Colston chances upon a diary from 1900, the year of his thirteenth birthday, and gradually pieces together a memory that he has suppressed. Under its influence, and from the viewpoint of what he has become by the midpoint of “this hideous century”, Leo relives the events of what had once seemed to him its hopeful beginning.

Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell

An unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

The Lover - Marguerite Duras

Set in pre-war Indochina, it's a haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her wealthy Chinese lover, living life on the margins in the waning days of France's colonial empire, and the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts.

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje

The final curtain is closing on the Second World War, and Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued by Bedouins from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories of passion and betrayal.

The Far Pavilions - MM Kaye

Ashton Pelham-Martyn (Ash) is the son of a British botanist travelling through India, who is born on the road shortly before the Sepoy uprising of 1857. His mother dies from childbed fever shortly after his birth and his father dies of cholera a few years later. 

Chateau of Longing - Monica Bentley

Chateau Brionde has survived an attack, but the Lord of the castle did not. Lela’s now at the mercy of the King. He could marry her off to anyone using her property for a political alliance. She doesn’t have a say in the matter. But she’s in love with John, the gruff, muscular Master of the Guard. If only he were nobility!

Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford

Groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, fearsome Lady Montdore, Polly instead scandalises society by declaring her love for her uncle 'Boy' Dougdale, the Lecherous Lecturer, and promptly eloping to France. But the consequences of this union no one could quite expect

Queen's Training - Noelle Riches

Betrothed to the King of Oran, Soriana must undergo a year of training to learn all that’s expected of her before the wedding, but when the king’s second in command, an unreachable man marred by scars, takes over her training, she’s finally rocked by the passion necessary to fulfill her new role as queen.

The Blue Flower - Penelope Fitzgerald

The year is 1794 and Fritz, passionate, idealistic and brilliant, is seeking his father’s permission to announce his engagement to his heart’s desire: twelve-year-old Sophie. His astounded family and friends are amused and disturbed by his betrothal. What can he be thinking?

Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey

The undeclared love between clergyman Oscar Hopkins and the heiress Lucinda Leplastrier is both a moving and beautiful love story and a historical tour de force set in Victorian times. Made for each other, the two are gamblers - one obsessive, the other compulsive - incapable of winning at the game of love.

More - Rachel De Lune

Miserable and dejected in her marriage, Isabel Fields encounters a stranger in a bar promising an opportunity to change her life.

Hawaiian Masquerade - Rachelle Christensen

When Lexi Burke escaped the remnants of a cold winter in Chicago for the beaches of Kauai, it wasn't a random vacation. She left the hectic pace of Burke Enterprises behind with enough money to retire at age thirty-two, intent on settling into the idyllic existence of island life.

The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall

Stephen is an ideal child of aristocratic parents – a fencer, a horse rider and a keen scholar. Stephen grows to be a war hero, a bestselling writer and a loyal, protective lover. But Stephen is a woman, and her lovers are women. As her ambitions drive her, and society confines her, Stephen is forced into desperate actions.

Music & Silence - RoseTremain

A young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realises that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Claire understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil, are waging war to the death.

The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness - Tabitha Barret

Lucifer wants his prize, the woman promised to him long ago. He fears that she will learn the truth about who she is and what she is destined to become. He will do whatever it takes to keep her, even if it means lying to her.

Death in Venice - Thomas Mann

Death in Venice tells how Gustave von Aschenbach, a writer utterly absorbed in his work, arrives in Venice as the result of a 'youthfully ardent thirst for distant scenes', and meets a young boy by whose beauty he becomes obsessed, his pitiful pursuit of the object of his affection and its inevitable and pathetic climax.

Acadia's Law - Tracy Ellen

Acadia King is a young widow about to discover her inner warrior when she is suddenly faced with answering this question, in ways she could have never dreamed possible at the start of her evening.

All of the above books are available on amazon.

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