This blog was originally posted on here: Katerina Zissouli’s Literature Website
For so many, reading a great book is a means of transporting yourself to a world where possibilities are endless, exciting, and seemingly unknown. When it comes to novels with romantic themes, the best books are those that make you feel a wide range of emotions, taking you on a journey alongside their characters. If you’re a true romantic and looking for a great list of reads that capture your heart, it’s best to go back to the basics.
Whether you’ve had your heart broken and you need to escape to a world where love wins, or you’re just a masochist looking to wallow in love’s tragedies, these 10 classic novels will cure whatever ails you.
1) Jane Eyre
Talk about a journey. This novel by Charlotte Bronte has all of the makings of a great melodrama. With themes of forgiveness, perseverance, and devotion, this story follows Jane as she takes on a governess role and falls in love with her new estate’s owner, Mr. Rochester. As Jane’s discovery of love grows, she finds herself engulfed in a mystery that changes her and Mr. Rochester’s lives forever.
2) Pride & Prejudice
Jane Austen expertly creates a palpable tension between this novel’s leading lovers, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It’s this relentless uphill climb to true love that keeps readers coming back to this novel time and time again. Pride & Prejudice is a story of finding what the heart wants, even if what the heart wants is unexpected.
3) Romeo & Juliet
Although you might think you know this classic tale of tragic love, Romeo & Juliet will surprise you. With layered themes of love, war, violence, power, and stature, this heartbreaking story of young love is rarely overlooked when considering the greatest romance novels of all time.
4) Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is a complicated story that delves into themes of love and revenge. This page turner details the painful journey that love can lead you on, if that love is not believed to be returned.
5) The Notebook
Not to be chuckled at, The Notebook reimagines the classic themes of love’s tragedies and triumphs in a more modern setting. Nicholas Sparks’ novel is perfect for a true romantic, showing that love can survive whatever it faces, albeit time, a stubborn mother, and societal pressures.
6) Doctor Zhivago
Boris Pasternik channels his alter-ego, Dr. Yury Zhivago, in this complicated telling of love reaching across party lines. As Dr. Zhivago, a poet, finds himself falling for the wife of a revolutionary, the reader is taken on a wild ride showing the effects of love’s struggle during a time of chaos and fear.
7) The Great Gatsby
Parties, intrigue, a bachelor, and the roaring twenties – what more could you ask for? F. Scott Fitzgerald’s telling of love between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan will have you wondering what the price of love is actually worth.
8) Gone With the Wind
Although the movie adaptation of Gone With the Wind is so iconic, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel deserves a read. Following Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler as they make sense of life during and after the Civil War, this historic read reveals the pain and suffering that can accompany love.
9) The Time Traveler’s Wife
This untraditional love story penned by Audrey Niffenegger discovers what love is like when the concept of time is taken away. Doomed from the start, Clare Abshire and Henry DeTamble stay devoted to each other even as Henry unwillingly crosses dimensions of time and space, leaving Clare stuck in the present without him.
10) Little Women
Perhaps the greatest “sisterhood” novel of all time, Little Women is a story that tackles the difficulties and wonders in many different types of love. Although this novel revolves around a family of women and the journey that sisterhood can lead you on, the heartbreaking evolutions of each sister’s path to love cultivate in a beautiful coming of age story that will touch the heart of any reader.