60 Best Romance Novels of All Time
Here are the absolute best bodice-rippers and page-turners to get your heart racing. Warning: You won’t be able to put them down.
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Me Before You
If you’re a sucker for romance books, even sad ones (sniff!), you’ll love Jojo Moyes’ tender Me Before You. It was made into a movie with Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke—and warning! It’s a total tear-jerker. The story follows a man who needs a caregiver after an accident has confined him to a wheelchair. He ends up with headstrong Lou, who needs a job…but gets much more when she finds herself falling in love. If you like your novels cinematic, don’t miss these 18 books that are also hit movies.
Emily Brontë’s sweeping Gothic romance was published in 1847 under a pen name. It’s set on the windy, blustering moors near the estate where Catherine falls for Heathcliff, a stable hand of low birth. When Catherine chooses another man, Heathcliff’s ire erupts in angered, vengeful passion. Wuthering Heights is a true classic, just like these 100 books everyone should read before they die.
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli’s debut novel was acclaimed, beloved, and adapted into a hit film. It has an epistolary form, as Simon writes anonymous emails to another gay teen at his high school. Neither is ready to come out, but then Simon is blackmailed by a classmate and his secret may be exposed. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all. Looking for a true tale that will melt your heart? Check out the story behind this 51-foot-long love letter.
Lord of Scoundrels
As the back cover puts it, “Damn the minx for tempting him!” Lord Dain, a blackguard and scoundrel, can’t resist the wiles of Jessica, a headstrong woman who believes the baddie might have a good side within. She’ll undercover it, along with his passionate desire—and her own. Here are more of the most sizzling hot romance reads.
Eleanor & Park
Set in 1980s Nebraska, this young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell follows two outsiders who fall for each other on the bus. It’s a book that’s surprisingly poignant and touching, as it captures how it feels to be out of place at school. It seems like Eleanor and Park come from different worlds, but they each have what it takes to help the other survive. Who says you’re not still a young adult at age 50? Here are the 50 best books to read before you hit that milestone.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Teenager Lara writes letters to all the boys she’s ever loved and hides them in a box. To her surprise and embarrassment, the letters end up sent and delivered. Of course, things get awkward, especially when one of the letters is addressed to her sister’s ex-boyfriend. This novel was adapted into a hit movie on Netflix. And these are 10 more romantic movies you haven’t seen yet—but really should.
The Right Swipe
Meet Rhiannon, the creator of a hot dating app who tries to follow her own rules for hooking up. She’s ghosted by a hottie, but when he reemerges asking for a second chance, she has to revise her own rules. Readers love Alisha Rai’s latest novel for its modern, multicultural romance filled with wit and fire. Looking for your own whirlwind romance? Try these 8 ways to meet and attract new people, according to a dating expert.
Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston’s instant bestseller wows readers with its story about a young man whose mom becomes president, thrusting him into the national spotlight. Soon he’s caught in a scandal with the Prince of Wales. The two “royals” fall for each other but aren’t sure if they’re ready to take it to the world stage. Can long-distance relationships really work? Here’s what the surprising science says.
The Kiss Quotient
The heroine of Helen Hoang’s popular romance is a math whiz with Asperger’s who hires an escort to get her up to speed in the love department. The two try to keep it transactional, but that soon proves impossible in this witty, breezy read that’s filled with sizzle and heart. Speaking of smooching, don’t miss these hilarious first kiss stories that will make you so glad you’re not a teenager.
Tonight and Forever
A divorcée and a widower can’t seem to keep their hands off each other, despite the fact that each thought they were through with love. Tonight and Forever is one of best-selling romance author Brenda Jackson’s passion-filled love stories centered on finding the faith to love again after devastating loss.