Anybody can read Romance. Yes, I am stating it outright. Got too much jittery energy and cannot sit through a book? Pick up a YA romance. A horror or mystery lover who absolutely needs a frustrating cliffhanger to like a book? A classic love story will charm you equally. It's the human condition, being in love, and one that everyone (book lover or not) can and will enjoy. And what better time to talk about our favourite romance books than in the month of love? Here are some amazing reads that are sure to keep you hooked on stories all month long.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
Starting off with a gothic vibe, this classic novel is set in the Yorkshire moors of England and revolves around the enigmatic Heathcliff and his intense love with Catherine Earnshaw. Whether you've known the horrors of obsessive love or not, the themes of revenge, social class, and the destructive power of love will keep you engaged. It's a bit unsettling, sometimes spooky and always heart wrenching to read this book. A timeless literary masterpiece, you'll be left wondering how the raw and wretched emotion of the book has not been able to be replicated in a more modern story!
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (2019)
Chances are you've already seen the images of the movie adaptation of this contemporary romance novel all over your FYP! The narrative follows the unexpected and politically charged romance between Alex Claremont-Diaz, the first son of the United States, and Prince Henry of Wales. It's a fast and easy read, with words superfluously flowing from page to page and the story unfolding in the most flawless manner. The experience is like hearing your friend talk about their relationship, but only one that's also got and under current international politics. It's a humorous, heartfelt and an oh so adorable read!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
NOT saving the steamiest pick of the lot for last, this one is yet another incredible romance story that has been adapted to the small screen. The story centers on Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, transported mysteriously from 1945 to 1743 Scotland, where she becomes entwined in a passionate love affair with Jamie Fraser, a young Scottish warrior. The kicker? Claire has left a most beloved husband behind in the present. The book is lauded for its engaging storytelling, well-developed characters, and the skillful fusion of historical and fantastical elements. Garnering fans from all over the world, Scotland has witnessed a rise in tourists flocking to see the sites mentioned in the story. And we can see why. Once you get to know Jamie, even you'd want to “accidentally” step into a stone henge and get transported to a time when making out in stables was completely acceptable!
I Too Had A Love Story by Ravinder Singh (2008)
We've got something for the non-fiction lovers too; well sort of! A semi-autobiographical work inspired by the author's real-life experiences, this book is narrated in the first person and follows the story of Ravin as he recounts the emotional journey of love and tragedy. Themes of love and loss are plenty and additional relatable elements in struck a chord with Indian readers. Acclaimed for its emotional depth and sincerity, the novel propelled its equally charming creator Ravinder Singh to success that led to a sequel Can Love Happen Twice?.
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden (1982)
When I first read this pioneering work in young adult literature, I wanted to jump inside the story and give the protagonists a big hug. Set in early 1980s New York City, the novel follows Liza Winthrop and Annie Kenyon as their friendship evolves into a romantic relationship, navigating the challenges of love amid societal expectations. The positive depiction of a lesbian relationship shaped my own understanding of LGBTQIA+ relationships, a feat the sex educators at my school could never achieve. It's a lovely story and might just restore your faith in the purity and innocence of love.
Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818)
Sure Pride and Prejudice is known as one of the greatest love stories ever written, my vote will go to Jane's posthumously published final novel. Set in Bath and Plymouth, it follows Anne Elliot's journey of rediscovering love and navigating familial expectations. Answering the question, “Does true love get a second chance?”, this novel the theme of persuasion, focusing on Anne's initial decision to break off an engagement and its repercussions. A mature exploration of love and societal pressures, our girl Anne will stay with you for years after you're done reading the book. She speaks to you directly, so don't be surprised if you find yourself talking back to her while you read the words on the page!
The Bridges Of Madison County by Robert James Waller (1992)
Okay this one might be breaking the trope of “But the book is so much better…” because the Meryl Streep starrer adaptation is one of the nest Romance movies of all time as well. The narrative centers on the intense four-day love affair between Italian-American housewife Francesca Johnson and National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid while her family is away at the state fair. And a particular scene that readers have claimed to be one of the best “Will she, won't she” moments put in a book, will leave you longing for a love that you've never even known!