Whether you are gearing up for a romantic date night with your significant other or if you prefer to celebrate galentines or brotines instead, I have a list of some wonderful romances in honor of Valentines Day!
I never met a romance I didn’t like and with the release of Bridgerton on Netflix, I think more and more people are embracing romance novels and HEA like never before. I know thatI have been reading all the romances I can get my hands on lately. I love romance and I love watching my favorite heroines get their HEA.
However the road to HEA isn’t always easy, direct or simple. Sometimes there isn’t a HEA but somehow the ending fits the characters perfectly (Wuthering Heights I am looking at you!). So today I picked some of my top 10 favorite romances of all time to share here with you guys! Please drop your favorite romance in the comments below since I am always looking for new romances! My list is in no particular order either, I have loved all of these books for different reasons.
10. The Seven Sisters Series by Lucinda Riley
All of the books in this series are wonderful but in their own ways. Some are better than others but the romances woven in the pages are epic and worthy of swooning. Each book is a duel timeline story and some have a lot more romance than others but the heroes and heroines of each book have well developed romances for the most part. My personal favorites in this seres are The Seven Sisters (book 1, Maia’s story) and The Pearl Sister (book4, CeCe’s story). I loved Maia’s modern romance and the historical romance in CeCe’s story (swoon for Drummond!). I would recommend starting this series in order though because there are lots of nuances to the larger narrative that play into this series as a whole.
9. Emma by Jane Austen
There is a reason this is one of Austen’s most adaptive works. In my mind it’s the first true rom-com. It’s funny and easy to follow with great characters and a charming friends to lovers romance. While it’s not my favorite Austen novel, it’s my go to recommend for people wanting to try a classic or Austen and just aren’t sure where to start. Pride and Prejudice is another great option, but Emma has the easier plot in my opinion. Match making is always a tedious game and Emma’s matchmaking efforts make a wonderful story. Plus if you have seen Clueless then you basically know how this one is going to play out!
8. The Pink Carnation Series by Lauren Willig
Here is another series that has consistently delivered well done romance and adventure. There are 12 books in the series and I have enjoyed each and every one. As with every series, some are more interesting than others but for me, this series is hands down a must read. There is a modern day romance throughout all the books but it’s the historical figures and their respective romances that are truly stunning. These books should also be read in order but they all read quick. If you love spies and dashing, swashbuckling heroes then this series is an absolute must! I think my favorites in the series are The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (book 1), The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (book 4), and The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (book 11).
7. The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
This one should come at no surprise, I just finished the Bridgerton series and adored every single second of each book! The dialogue is witty, the heroes swoon worthy, and the heroines nuanced and quirky! I simply loved this series and if you like your romances with a little more heat then this is one you don’t want to miss! You could easily skip around in the series but I personally would read beginning to end for the full Bridgerton effect. I have been recommending this series to all of my Jane Austen fan friends because this series is basically Jane Austen with sex. My favorite books in the series are When He Was Wicked and The Viscount Who Loved Me.
6. Wuthering Height by Emily Bronte
This is my absolute favorite classic. I know a lot of people don’t care for this darker, angsty romance but nothing says tragic hero like Heathcliff. Heathcliff and Cathy have some serious issues but there is no denying their love for each other. This book is full of atmosphere, tragedy, and so many wonderful lines that stick with you long after the book is done. While Heathcliff might not get his HEA, the ending is so fit for both Cathy and Heathcliff. I used to re-read this one every year, nothing say brooding romance like this book! Heathcliff’s heartbreak and Cathy’s pettiness leaves readers with a lot to unpack and discuss even if the ending is a tragic one.
5. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (A League of Extraordinary Woman series)
While still in its infancy, this series is a show stopper. I have read the two books in this series so far, with a third coming out this fall. I loved Bringing Down the Duke the best of the two books I’ve read so far but the series is promising to be strong. I love how Dunmore has created this group of suffragettes who are working to further ‘the cause’ which does not include falling in love. The heroines are strong, independent, cause driven individuals and the heroes are dashing, charming, and debonaire. The dialogue is also great and snappy, I usually recommend this one to people just getting into historical romances but long time fans of the genre will find much to love here.
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This is one of the greatest examples of the power and destruction of desire. Who would have thought this old Russian man could have captured the angst and complexity of desire in the Victorian era! This is a classic for a reason and one of my absolute favorites. It sets the bar for ‘epic’ romance as it comes in at around 800 pages. The story of Count Vronsky and the very married Anna Karenina is full of tragic choices but undeniable desire and romance. Again the ending is terribly sad but the complexity of their romance is layered with so much feeling that will leave readers reeling. But set aside some time to savor this one, it’s a long read but so satisfying and fitting in how it wraps up.
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Again no surprise here, Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s most recognized romance. The famous Mr Darcy has captured the hearts of women throughout history. Aside from Emma, this is probably the easiest romance of Austen’s to read. There have been a number of films of this romance and if you have seen the films then reading the book is super easy. In this classic enemies to lovers story, readers will find Darcy arrogant and dismissive but as the story goes on, readers watch as his layers are peeled back revealing a worthy heartthrob. This is the original friends to lovers troupe and it will not disappoint!
2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Rhett Butler will be my forever book boyfriend. I have been a Rhett Butler fan since I watched Gone with the Wind as a little girl. He was arrogant, rude, but yet charming and swoon worthy. I love his confidence and his arrogance oozes sex appeal for me. When I finally read the book as an adult, I fell in love with him all over again as an adult. The books shows off his flaws and charm in a whole new way, not to mention we get to see more of him and Scarlett interacting in different ways. As always, the book offers so much in the way of character development and romance then the movie can ever hope to achieve. This is one of my all time favorite books and if you love enemies to lovers this is the ultimate book for you.
1 Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Jamie Fraser makes a skirt—oops a kit—look good. He is the ultimate heart throb and this series is as epic as they come and it’s still going strong! There is nothing like the first book though. Jamie and Claire are on fire and the love scenes in this book are elegant, rich, and satisfying. As the series has gone on, watching the romance evolve between Claire and Jamie has been incredible. Gabaldon has kept the romance alive between the two over the course of 9 books which is no easy task. With every book, I find myself falling in love with Jamie all over again. Read this series in order, you simply cannot read it out of order. The first book is still my favorite, but Drums of Autumn (book 4) and The Fiery Cross (book 5) are my other favorites.
Well friends that concludes my short top 10 romances list. There are so many book couples that I love and I tried to limit my choices to actual romances rather than historical mysteries with some romance etc. but know that I have many more recommendations where these came from so if you are looking for more romance selections then hit me up or drop a comment below!