When you look back over the romantic novels throughout time, each are completely different in their own way, from the classics of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, to the passionate story in The Great Gatsby. Then there is of course Erich Segals’ tragic Love Story, moving to the much more modern novels such as the Fifty Shades of Grey erotic romantic trilogy by E.L. James and vampire romance from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.
However, there are definitely some classic romantic novels which stick in our minds and can be read over and over again. Many of which have been turned into movies, from Dr Zhivago in 1965 which also won the Nobel Prize for Literature, to Jane Austen’s Emma in 1996.
We’ve scoured our bookshelves and e-book readers in the attempt to choose our top 5 best romantic novels of all time. Would these be your top books?
5. Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones is a story of a thirty something single woman in London, cleverly created by writer Helen Fielding. Although Bridget Jones initially started as a newspaper column, it was brought to life in 1996 as a novel, with a sequel in 1999 and a third book published in 2013. It was so popular that it was later made into a movie, staring top actors including Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Bridget Jones makes it into our top five not only because it is broadly based on the fabulous Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice, but because it wraps us up in the story, with a modern and sometimes comical take on love and romance.
Discover more about Bridget Jones here.
4. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
There are so many of Nicholas Sparks’ romantic novels that we could choose to go in our list. Not only has he written Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, The Last Song, Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember but also one of the most famous romantic novels of all time, The Notebook. Who wouldn’t be mesmerised by this story? It focuses on the true love between a couple from a young age and shows how that love can change to form something even stronger. We don’t want to give too much away, but this heart-wrenching film definitely has to be in our top 5 list of most romantic novels. However, you may need a box of tissues…
Discover more about The Notebook and Nicholas Sparks’ other romantic novels here.
3. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Gone with the Wind is an unforgettable love story, published in 1936 by one time author, Margaret Mitchell. It has since had two sequels written and was also adapted into a film in 1939. Gone with the Wind is a story set during the American Civil War and tells the tale of Scarlett, a women madly in love with a man who is to marry someone else. Scarlett does move on but finds it hard to realise her own feelings, until it is too late.
This story truly deserved its Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and also deserves 3rd place in our top 5 most romantic novels.
Find out more about Gone with the Wind here.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Austen is an outstanding writer with some of the most romantic classic novels of all time, including Emma and Sense and Sensibility. However, the well known 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice proudly gets our 2nd place for the enthralling story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. The plot follows Elizabeth Bennet’s life which deals with a number of issues including manners, education and marriage during early 19th century England. Elizabeth Bennet at first thinks of eligible bachelor ‘Mr Darcy’ as arrogant and conceited, however, she soon learns that there is a very different side to him after all.
Pride and Prejudice was later made into a film starring Colin Firth and is also among many lists which place it as one of the top books of all time. We definitely agree and can’t argue with the 20 million copies that it has sold worldwide!
Find out more about Pride and Prejudice.
1. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
All that is left now is our Number 1 spot! This of course has to be William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a tale of two star-crossed lovers, kept apart by their feuding families. Romeo and Juliet are instantly attracted, with a love so strong that they get married in secret. However, Romeo must leave the town before being punished for the death of Juliet’s cousin during a dual. To escape and be with her true love, Juliet fakes her own death. However, Romeo learns of her death and kills himself by her side. When Juliet awakens she feels she has nothing to live for and takes her own life. Their deep, hidden love for each other results in both of their deaths, creating one of the most tragic, but romantic stories of all time.
Find out more about Shakespeare’s tragic tale.
Of course, this is just our own opinions and so we would love to hear what your favourites are. Post your thoughts on what a list of the top 5 most romantic novels should include!