5. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
One of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated works and quite possibly the most influential love story of all time, how could the list not include this classic. This tale of “star-crossed lovers” has been told and interpreted time and time again. A story all lovers can relate to, Romeo and Juliet focuses on the tragedies that accompany the loss of true love. Lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, two of the most famed clans in literature, come from opposite sides of the Verona tracks and their family’s disapproval of their love eventually leads to their demise.
4. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
First published in 1936, many consider this novel historical more than romantic, however the Civil War romance between bad boy, Rhett, and Southern belle, Scarlett, is not to be missed. Torn apart by war, it’s a relationship that doesn’t seem possible until they’re reunited many years later. It’s a beautiful yet extensive Romance novel whose reputation lives on today with thanks to the Classic Academy Award-winning film adaptation.
3. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
Possibly the most heartbreakingly beautiful love story ever written, Wuthering Heights was initially called vulgar when it was published and it was criticised for its difficult characters. Of course, now we can recognise the complexity of this relationship, which showcases that societal standards shouldn’t dictate our happiness. This novel depicts the romance between Catherine and Heathcliff, whose love seems to both destroy them and keep them going throughout their lives.
2. Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook
I may be biased but this one had to make the list at some point since Nicholas Sparks has to be the most popular romance author of our time. While many of his novels could have made the list, The Notebook is the one that stands above the rest, perhaps in part thanks to the now-classic film adaptation. After a summer romance like no other, Noah and Allie are pulled apart by social class in the early 1900s. Years later, the two reconnect, but it might be too late since Allie is engaged.
1. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen is the icon for classic romance novels so it should come as no surprise that she holds the top spot. Not only is Pride and Prejudice one of the most popular books in the English language ever, it’s also one of the most romantic love stories you can find. Elizabeth Bennet is facing the prospect of marriage, along with her four sisters. An unpleasant relationship with a Mr. Darcy turns into a much more complicated relationship as the two play the dating game in the 19th century.
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