Ten Romance Novels I Love and Recommend

Ten Romance Novels I Love and Recommend

this post is part of Top Ten Tuesday – a weekly web event hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I know, I know. Lately it’s all ten this, ten that, around here. I KNOW. What can I say? I love lists. Also I’ve been afraid of full-fledged reviews (fellow movie bloggers, send help). Also I’ve got the flu, or something like that. In any case, this time I’m just doing my duty, as an active participant of the weekly book feature, Top Ten Tuesday. So yes, I’ve got another ten for you today.

Being the week of Valentine’s Day, the topic is – you guessed it! – romance. Can’t complain though – this is hands down my favourite genre. I already shared some movies (yes, ten) that would provide a good sobbing session this February 14th, to those of you who crave it. Now it’s time for some novels that will give you the feels. As I said, I’m kind of sick, so I couldn’t quite come up with a clever niche for this week’s topic. Hence why these romance novels are a bit all over the place: classic, contemporary, tragic, funny – something for everyone.

I did exclude my beloved erotic novels, mostly because I didn’t have the strength to go about it in a way that wouldn’t have you running for the hills, clamouring my incarceration. Also left out is the often frustrating, but sometimes thrilling, romantic suspense genre. Shoutout to pretty much every single book written by Penny Reid, and Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, and oh god so many other perfect love stories. For once, the ten book limit actually feels, well, limiting.

Ten Romance Novels I Love and Recommend

in random order!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Book Quote

Pride and Prejudice

written by Jane Austen

You can’t make a best of romance list without the mother of all romance authors: Jane Austen. I’m sure other novels from her could be featured here, but Pride and Prejudice is actually the only one I’ve read. What more can I say about it? It’s grand, witty, sad, exciting, and impossibly romantic. It features the ultimate brooding male, effectively inspiring thousands of subsequent romance writers. It could very well be the best of all time, and yet not at all your cup of tea. Either way, I love it.

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Outlander by DIana Gabaldon Book Quote


written by Diana Gabaldon

I can’t believe I owned Outlander for years and never picked it up. Granted, it was a Portuguese edition whose cover didn’t even resemble the original, and translations do make me cringe, but still. This time travel epic romance set in Scotland is the kind of all-consuming love story that leaves you sighing for days. And what sets it apart from so many highlander harlequin types, is its actual historical richness, and the amazing cast of characters you get. Guaranteed you’ll fall in love with Scotland an the highlander culture.

Spanning a massive eight novels (soon to be nine!), plus a few novellas and a spin-off series, you’ve got entertainment for years here, so better get on with it!

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë Quote

Jane Eyre

written by Charlotte Brontë

Ahh, Jane Eyre. The first classic romance that absolutely broke me. This story works on so many levels for me: it starts as a swooping romance, proceeds to something eerily dark, and ends in shattering, beautiful tragedy. If that’s not the perfect arch, I don’t what is. Fukunaga’s adaptation is as good as it will probably get on screen, so that’s another valentine’s reccomendation for you.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera Quote

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

written by Milan Kundera

I’ve mentioned this book and author twice in the Top Ten Tuesday series: first as an author I needed to read more from, and then as a book I could remember almost nothing about. So here I am, recommending to you, again, a book I can’t remember. But this time I did some research into my own writings on it, so I’m confident in the following plot decription:

Milan Kundera’s fifth novel is about three people (well, four, but the other guy I really can’t remember) – Tomas, Tereza, and Sabina. Tomas is a neurosurgeon who loves women. Tereza is the naive and insecure girl who falls in love with him. And Sabina is one of his lovers, who lives tormented by her mother’s scorn towards her. Three struggling characters in a struggling country (1968’s Czechoslovakia), each with their own definition of justice, love, existence. Relying heavily on its character’s thoughts and feelings, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a like an inward meditation on life, provoked by the chaos of an outward scenario.

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A Single Man

written by Christopher Isherwood

This is also a popular choice of mine for Top Ten Tuesday, and even one Thursday Movie Picks. At this point you probably think I’ve read only 10 books in my entire life, but the thing is, when I find something I love, I really hold on to it. I may not remember it entirely, but I never forget how it made me feel. And A Single Man, once again, wrecked me.

The main character in this novel, middle-aged George, is mourning the death of his lover. His will to live is wilting, the pain and loneliness so overwhelming, he has already planned his suicide. Hey, I never said this was a happy list. He goes through what could be his last day on earth noticing every detail, remembering every feeling and thought, all in exquisite, beautiful prose.

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The Ballroom Anna Hope Book Quote

The Ballroom

written by Anna Hope

Again… one I’ve featured before. And what I said still stands: The Ballroom is set in an asylum, in 1911 Yorkshire, where men were kept apart from women but for one night of the week, when dances were held in the great ballroom. It’s the love story of Ella and John, who meet on such a night. The setting is gloomy, which together with the challenges that come with it and the character’s states (madness, you would presume), make this story so unique. And it’s a nail bitter too, as the lovers try to be together against all rules and odds. Oh, and expect lots of tears.

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The Hating Game

written by Sally Thorne

I just read this one, so I might be a little biased at the moment, but one thing I know for certain right now: this book is hilarious. It’s an office romance (a publishing company – queue the bookworm sigh) that fully embraces the hate-to-love trope. She’s a bubble of quirky joyfulness, he’s sulky and handsome. They work opposite each other in every way, and play the funniest, silliest little games. The only sad news is that Thorne has yet to write another book.

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Me Before You Jojo Moyes Book Quote

Me Before You

written by Jojo Moyes

Readers, we’ve reached sobfest territory. Sure I may have shed a tear or two for the previous books, but the following three had me bawling so hard, you’d be shocked. Unless you’ve read them, in which case, I’m sure you’re still not okay. Now, Me Before You. I know you know about this book. Maybe you’ve read it and didn’t like it, maybe you don’t care enough to even give it a try. It’s okay. I won’t judge you, so please don’t judge me for what I’m about to say.

I truly did love the characters and romance, everything about it. The fact that it is based on real life events makes it all the more heartbreaking. But even if it were pure fiction, it would be devastating. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, but more than that, it’s a whirlwind of questions. On life, pain, freedom, dignity. I hated the ending. Hated it. The truth of it, it’s crushing. But what I loved, and made me truly respect Moyes, is how the book doesn’t try to convince you on the matter, in any way, of whatever opinion. It merely tells the story, dives into the feelings of everyone involved, and asks you to consider everything.

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After I Do Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Quote

After I Do

written by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Truth be told, any Taylor Jenkins Reid novel has the potential to make you cry. Often right in the first chapter (never forget Forever, Interrupted). And that’s not because sad things happen. You get those in plenty books. It’s because Jenkins Reid has a way with characters. She can make them feel real with just one scene – a realness that has you rooting for them, wholeheartedly.

In After I Do, we meet a couple at the end of their relationship. Lauren and Ryan, college sweethearts, have seemingly fallen out of love. They decide to spend a year apart, to either put an end to marriage or salvage it. It was the first book I read from Jenkins Reid, and remains one of my favourites. It’s an unconventional love story, that captures sweet, sad, but real moments.

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Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid Book Quote

Beauty and the Mustache

written by Penny Reid

You know it, and I’ve accepted it – I’m pretty obsessed with Penny Reid’s books. Not just because they’re great, but also because she’s the nicest person, fully connecting with her fans – and make no mistake, we are the best fans. But, the books. They’re funny, sweet, romantic – yes. They’re relatable, with flawed characters and awkward scenes. But they also touch on serious, often overlooked and, most likely, nerdy subjects.

I think that started with this one, still my favourite: Beauty and the Moustache, third in the Knitting in the City Series. It’s small nature-y town setting (which I always adore), with a fierce woman and as you’d expect, a brooding male. His poetry does irk my mostly uncorny heart, but I can’t blame him for that. More than a near-perfect romance, this book deals with family and loss. It has a fantastic cast of characters and such a picturesque setting, that a whole other series blossomed from it – The Winston Brothers Series. And that’s what made me love it the most.

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Do you like romance novels? Tell me some of your favourites in the comments!


  1. February 14, 2018 / 2:07 PM

    The Ballroom sounds magnificent! I’ll have to add it to my TBR. I adore a lot of these books. I was actually surprised when I reread Jane Eyre a year ago and fell in love with it. I read it first in high school and was not sold, but now, it is one of my favorite books. I might even like it more than Pride and Prejudice–which is something that would shock my younger self.

    • February 15, 2018 / 11:59 PM

      The Ballroom is such a little known gem! Hope you like it.

      Hmmm, I like Jane Eyre more than Pride and Prejudice… ? The darkness of Jane Eyre is more appealing to me. I should probably reread Pride and Prejudice though, I think I’d get the humour better now that I’m older.

    • February 16, 2018 / 12:02 AM

      Emma Thompson reading Pride and Prejudice sounds so lovely 🙂

  2. February 14, 2018 / 4:58 PM

    Great list! I would add Gone With the Wind and The Forsyte Saga to this list, but both are very *emotional* romantic tales – nothing that would put anyone in a good mood lol

    • February 16, 2018 / 12:03 AM

      Emotional reads are honestly my favourite! I love humour (and a scare), but a good sobbing is so nice, too ?

      I’ve never read Gone With The Wind and keep forgetting to, adding it to my TBR ASAP!

  3. February 15, 2018 / 12:54 PM

    I adored Me before You. Normally I don`t like romance books, but that one was amazing. The love story was so genuine, and Louisa was such a loveable main character. I also love Elizabeth and Mr Darcy as a couple. I can`t say that Pride and Prejudice is my favourite classic book, but the interactions between those two were the highlight of the book.

    Carmen`s Reading Corner

    • February 16, 2018 / 12:07 AM

      Me Before You touched a lot of people and with good reason. You’re right, Louisa is so loveable! I’ll never forget I was reading it around New Year’s a few years ago, came home at like 5AM but still had to pick it up! I loved it way more than I expected to.

      Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are definitely the highlight!

  4. February 15, 2018 / 1:55 PM

    So many books I need to TBR like.. most of them. I have read The Hating Game though and I loved it too! Though a few things in that book rubbed me the wrong way in the end, I’m always a little weird about the endings in romance novels. They just.. sometimes they just don’t work! 😀

    • February 16, 2018 / 12:16 AM

      I get that, too! Romance novels are the hardest to end imo. More often than not I like the book, then get to the end and it’s like eh. Most of the times because it turns cheesy and clichéd. But oh well! The Hating Game is such a fun read though

  5. February 15, 2018 / 4:03 PM

    I have yet to read A Single Man, but I love love love that cover. After I Do was a good book. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a hit or miss for me, but that book was memorable for me.

    • February 16, 2018 / 12:20 AM

      Oh man I love that cover, too! I only have the epub, but always sigh at this paperback edition on my Book Depository wishlist ?

      I’ve read five books by Taylor Jenkins Reid – loved four, but the last one, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo… not for me :/

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