14 Great Romance Novels

Love or hate Valentines Day, we all love a love story. So what books should feature in the greatest love books list? In no particular order, from classics to modern tear-jerkers, here are the 14 Great Romance Novels.

Do you agree/disagree with this list – please let us know in the comments below.

#1. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

No love story collection could be complete without Wuthering Heights. First published in 1847, this haunting tale of uncontrolled, violent passion between the wilful Catherine Earnshaw and the wild, dark-natured Heathcliff has gripped readers ever since.

Buy NowWuthering Heights & Kindle Edition Wuthering Heights

#2. One Day (David Nicholls)

15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Buy NowOne Day & Kindle Edition One Day

#3. Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)

The great romance story that has charmed generation after generation! Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues!

Buy NowPride & Prejudice & Kindle Edition Pride & Prejudice

#4. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

The Thorn Birds is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.

Buy NowThe Thorn Birds (VMC)

#5. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin ( Louis De Bernieres)

1941 and Captain Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. He falls in love with the local doctor’s daugher. But can this fragile love survive as the war gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?

Buy NowCaptain Corelli’s Mandolin & Kindle Edition Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Vintage Classics)

#6. Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)

Lou Clark likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop. But she is about to lose her job. Will Traynor’s motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. Everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. Lou bursts into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Buy NowMe Before You & Kindle Edition Me Before You

#7. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

As WWII ends, Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories. The only clue to his past is a book, covered with hand-written notes describing a painful and ultimately tragic love affair.

Buy NowThe English Patient & Kindle Edition The English Patient (Special Edition)

#8. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is 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.

Buy NowGone With The Wind & Kindle Edition Gone with the Wind

#9. Water For Elephants (Sara Gruen) 

Jacob, a grieving veterinary student, jumps onto a passing train, carrying the Benzini Brothers Circus. There he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, and Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. This is a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds.

Buy Now :Water for Elephants: A Novel & Kindle Water for Elephants: A Novel

#10. Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca’s life looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man.

Buy NowRebecca (VMC) & Kindle Edition Rebecca (VMC)

#11. Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks)

Set before and during the great war, Birdsong is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. Over the course of the novel he suffers a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives, to the unprecedented experiences of the war itself.

Buy Now Birdsong & Kindle Edition Birdsong

#12. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)

Widely considered one of the best novels ever written, Anna Karenina is the tragic story of the aristocratic Anna’s doomed affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. Reflecting Russian morals of the time, Anna Karenina explores themes of passion and fidelity, and the ramifications of choosing a life outside of that deemed acceptable by society.

Buy NowAnna Karenina & Kindle Edition Anna Karenina

#13. Dear John (Nicholas Sparks)

John, always the angry rebel at school, has enlisted in the Army and now he’s ready to turn over a new leaf for the woman who has captured his heart, Savannah. Neither realise that the events of 9/11 will change everything. John is prompted to re-enlist and fulfil what he feels is his duty to his country.Can they survive the distance?

Buy NowDear John & Kindle Edition Dear John: Is duty enough reason to live a lie?

#14. The Shipping News (Annie Proulx)

Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working in New York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers – the remotest corner of far-flung Newfoundland. With ‘the aunt’ and his delinquent daughters in tow, Quoyle finds himself part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama.

Buy NowThe Shipping News & Kindle Edition The Shipping News


Related: What book would you take to a desert Island

What book would you add to or take away from this list?  Tell us in the comment box below.

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Jennifer, our Editor, has 1 son and admits to munching a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight now and again.


  1. Mamashell says:

    Water for Elephants is my favourite of the list. Thought the movie did the book great justice too.

  2. mary honer says:

    The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

  3. Una says:

    It always puzzles me how people could include Wuthering Heights in a list of romantic novels. Heathcliff is a monster with no redeeming features and his relationship with Cathy is all about control and possession and nothing to do with actual love. Why not include novels from the other Bronte sisters instead? Jane Eyre and Shirley both have very romantic stories as does The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Pride and Prejudice is my all time favourite but One Day was incredibly boring.

    1. Jill Holtz says:

      I enjoyed One Day but not a big fan of WH myself, but I guess all book choices are subjective Una 🙂