In the world of books and novels, romance is a genre that just like it’s cinema counterpart, has a huge number of classic texts that have gone on to become cult classics and fan favourites, such that every new generation of readers is encouraged to get into them at one point or the other.
Today, we’re taking a look at some of the greatest love story novels ever written in the English language, with both Indian and foreign authored romance novels included in our top 23 picks. So, buckle up and get ready for what isThe Bridal Box’s official list of the best love story novels ever!
23. Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
Clocking in at number 23 on our list is this masterpiece by Jane Austen that also happens to be one of the most popular novels of all time, with the courtship between characters Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet being the stuff of legends. The appeal for Pride and Prejudice lies in the fact that upon reading it, readers of all backgrounds and ages often wonder, “Why did I not read this sooner?”
22. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Romance, rare and incurable genetic disorders and a dedication and devotion only to be found in the classics, The Time Traveler’s Wife will surely produce a roller-coaster of emotions in you as you devour the entire thing before you even realize it, and will have you back for more sooner than you think.
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21. Few Things Left Unsaid – Sudeep Nagarkar
One of those books that is a ‘must read’ for everyone in college, Few Things Left Unsaid is the debut novel of Sudeep Nagarkar, and the simplicity of prose and plot is offset by the memorable narration and of course, that wonderful ending.
20. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Perhaps overshadowed by it’s movie namesake, which went on to become one of the most celebrated and loved movies of all time, Gone With the Wind is an epic tale of romance expertly retold by a master storyteller. Even if you have seen and love the movie, this is a most worthwhile read.
19. The Host – Stephenie Meyer
What do you get when you mix science fiction and romance? An instant classic of course, if Stephanie Meyer’s thrilling account of the invasion of the earth is to be taken into account. A must-read for fans of both genres.
18. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
Another book that has a wildly popular movie attached to its name, The Fault In Our Stars is nothing short of a masterpiece, albeit a sad one that goes on to show that whether the ending is perfect or not, life and love is all about the journey, the hope that we inspire in one another as people and what we do with the limited time that we have to spend in our short lives.
17. Memoirs Of A Geisha – Arthur Golden
Arthur Golden’s account of the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated Geishas is a eye opening, exciting and enthralling account of the life of a Geisha, and it has gone one to become an international bestseller. This is one of those book you’re not likely to put down until you’re done reading it, and one that you’re not likely to forget for long after.
16. A Walk To Remember – Nicholas Sparks
While the movie version of Nicholas Sparks’ epic saga of a boy discovering who he was on his way to becoming a man gets a lot of praise (and rightly so), it is the book which is an absolute tour de force when it comes to romantic fiction, and is a must include on any such list of best romantic novels ever.
15. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
You always get the idea that Twilight is a book that seems to have a lot of critics; critics who haven’t themselves ever read the book. That’s fine, but the fact remains that hate it or love it, Twilight remains one of the most beloved love stories of our time, and is an automatic inclusion on our list.
14. 2 States: The Story Of My Marriage – Chetan Bhagat
Another author who always seems to polarize opinion is Chetan Bhagat, who has been described as among India’s finest contemporary authors as well as an author who is taking the English language into directions that we’d not rather venture into. We know what choice we’ve made by including 2 States in our list.
13. Love Story – Erich Segal
If we had to pick one book as being representative of what love is really like in the everyday world we live in, Erich Segal’s Love Story would be it. Written in 1970, Love Story has lost none of its appeal as it continues to be in the must read section of anyone who hasn’t already done so.
12. The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
New York Times best-selling author Sarah Dessen shows us the importance of venturing out of our shells and exploring a little in her 2004 masterpiece. But lessons aside, The Truth About Forever is an excellent read for anyone looking to see what meeting a few new people could do to them.
11. Flat Out Love – Jessica Park
Flat Out Love makes no bones about what it is, or how it goes about telling a story. That’s not to say that the prose is not excellent, because it is, but that what you get is simply an unapologetic love story. That’s all.
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10. Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
What is there left to say about this book? The Notre Dame Cathedral, the kind soul of Quasimodo and the beautiful Esmeralda. When Quasimodo faces trial for a botched attempt to kidnap Esmeralda, the beautiful lady has pity on the deformed bell ringer. But when Quasimodo ends up saving Esmeralda from near certain death, can she find Quasimodo bearable to be with? Will true love prevail? The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a very worthy read to find the answer.
9. Sense And Sensibility – Jane Austen
How big a part does society play in your love life? Many would argue that in most cultures the world over, and most certainly in India, society has a direct impact on who you decide to date and eventually marry to a varying degree, but a significant one nonetheless. Jane Austen’s second addition to this list sees two sisters struggling to balance their love lives and perceptions of them by society, to find happiness in their lives.
8. Dangerous Liaisons – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
A classic, and one of the more unreserved entries on our list, Dangerous Liaisons tells the story of how avarice, lust, and romance can combine into one fiery tale where you’re just about able to keep up with all that is going on in this rather dark of romantic novels.
7. Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Doctor Zhivago is a Nobel prize winning novel, so to say it’s a good read is a bit of an understatement. Moving past that though, we have on our hands one of the most classic scenarios in love, a person caught between two lovers. Yuri Zhivago’s choices and dilemmas are as relatable now as they were at the time of writing.
6. Hopeless – Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover has a style that seems to invoke emotion in you without you ever realizing; it’s not forced, it is merely suggested in a whisper. And that is exactly the kind of writing that was needed to explain the kind of emotions one goes through when they go through new emotions at the first time. Or something like that. Go read the book.
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5. Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
When the ultimate good girl meets the ultimate bad boy, sparks are going to fly, and that’s what happens in James McGuire’s exceptional piece of romance fiction. Abby Abernathy and Travis Maddox are poles apart, it could be said that they’re living two entirely opposite lives, and when they first cross paths, they have exactly the opposite reaction to each other that the other person had. But when you’ve got the ultimate playboy and a good girl with a past to hide, things cannot be that straightforward, if not exciting.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James
It’s been called pornography in book form, and it’s also been called one of the most exciting books to come out in years. It is however intended for mature audiences, as a little warning on certain editions of the book claims, Fifty Shades is quite simply a masterpiece. Ana and Christian admit that they have a thing for each other but the man wants her only just the way he likes it. Fifty Shades explores the darker sides of sexuality and the latent desires that lurk beneath the surface.
3. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
I’m not sure how much we can say that hasn’t been said much better before. Tolstoy’s magnum opus features consistently in lists of the best books ever, never mind romance novels. Circumstance, desires, acceptance – all of the cornerstones and most often the major stumbling blocks to most relationships are explored in excellent style. The ending is in itself classic, and the emotions that you are left with upon reading this book would be futile to try and explain; it’s better that you just take the time to read the book.
2. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
The New York Times best-selling author Diana Gabaldon prefers her books not be labelled under the romance category, as she says her work isn’t strictly confined to one area; but upon reading this excellent romantic novel, there will be one part of the story that will have all of your attention all of the time, and you can guess what that part is. An excellent read that features some of the best writing on relations we have read.
1. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
I know what you’re thinking, a book from 1856 as the best romance novel of all time? But bear with us here, for Flaubert’s classic is more than just your average tale of love. It may not be the perfect escape for those looking for such a thing, but in its exploration of a simple doctor marrying a woman who has been affected by reading too many romance novels, Madame Bovary explores a major part of any and every relationship in any era – the expectations. This is a classic piece of text for anyone looking for a masterpiece with a simple takeaway.
There it is.
Let us know if you absolutely hate every single one of our picks with a passion, and if you make a highly compelling case… Nah, our minds are made up. This is our list of top 23 love story novels ever, for now.