Top 10 Famous Romance Novels of All Time

Love, passion, feelings and relationships: all these are easy to experience but difficult to express in the written word. However, the following 10 love stories (in chronological order) have been able to accomplish this monumental task and thus allowed us to experience some the best romance novels of all time.

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen

Selling over 120 million copies and having numerous adaptations and imitations, it is needless to state that Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice has stood the test of time. When Elizabeth Bennet comes of a suitable age she has her own ideals of love, marriage, manners and relationships which clash with 19th century English society. Given her independent mindset she has a series of unpleasant encounters with many including Mr. Darcy-a proud and class conscious bachelor – with whom she gradually develops an odd chemistry. (Buy)

  1. Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë

Initially criticized and largely ignored for its inappropriate depiction of blind love, this romantic classic is today one of the best-known love stories ever written in English Literature. Brontë’s protagonist, Heathcliff is a foster child who develops an unconditional love for his foster sister, Catherine but a little rumor in town will soon destroy them both. (Buy)

  1. Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë

Largely acclaimed for attacking issues of sexuality, class, feminism and religion through a first-person narrative, Charlotte Brontë’s novel explores the life of its title character from childhood right up till her marriage to the man she falls in love with, Mr. Rochester. Jane Eyre compelled many critics to admit the persuasiveness with which the character Jane convinced audiences of her views which directly opposed the status quo of 19th century England. (Buy)

  1. Anna Karenina (1877) by Leo Tolstoy

Described by Times Magazine as the greatest novel ever written, Anna Karenina is Tolstoy’s masterpiece and according to him, his first true novel. Stuck in the societal reigns of 19th century Russian upper class society, Karenina falls in in love with Count Vronsky for whom she is willing to leave her marriage and be shunned by Russian society. However, her decision proves to be more life-altering than she may have expected. (Buy)

  1. Gone With the Wind (1936) by Margaret Mitchell

Second most favorite American book, this romantic classic is bildungsroman based on the character of Scarlett O’Hara, the pampered daughter of a rich plantation owner and her journey through marriage, love and the Civil War South. Being Mitchell’s only novel, Gone With the Wind sold over thirty million copies, won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and was adapted into a film two years later. (Buy)

  1. Doctor Zhivago (1957) by Boris Pasternak

Another epic love story intertwined with the after effects of the Russian Revolution was Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago that invited only rejection from the USSR itself. Dr. Yury Zhivago is a physician, philosopher and poet who is caught in between the love of two women: his wife Tonya and Lara, the wife of a political activist. (Buy)

  1. Love Story (1970) by Erich Segal

Often referred to as the Romeo and Juliet of the 20th century, Love Story was the bestselling romantic fiction when it was published, translated into over twenty languages and adapted several times. In it Segal tells the story of two lovers, Oliver and Jenifer who come from distinct backgrounds but their love intensifies until the point where they are forced to face unforeseen circumstances. (Buy)

  1. Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon

Though Gabaldon did not prefer romance as a theme in her novels, her 1991 publication, Outlander won the RITA Award for best romance the same year that it was published. Chair Randall, a nurse belonging to the 20th century mysteriously finds herself transported back to the 18th century. Now she is in love with two men from two very distinct periods of time. Outlander has been adapted into a series recently. (Buy)

  1. The Notebook (1996) by Nicholas Sparks

Based on a true story, The Notebook is a legendary novel that has been adapted by Hollywood and Bollywood. Moreover Nicholas Sparks has been renowned as the most popular romantic author of his time. Noah and Alllie are two lovers who share a brief summer together after they are torn apart because of World War II. Fourteen years later, they reunite but times have changed and Allie is engaged to be married to another man. (Buy)

  1. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) by Audrey Niffenegger

Largely applauded for its unique blend of science fiction and romance, Niffenegger’s debut novel describes the life of Henry and Clare. Henry has a disease that causes him time travel in his life and relationship with Clare. The novel provokes some deep existential questions and was the bestseller with over 2.5 million copies, the British Book Award, Exclusive Books Boeke Prize and a film adaptation in 2009. 


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