Best Romance Novels So Far

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valentineRomance is threaded through our books, poetry and plays, from classic novels like Gone With the Wind to modern works like The Notebook. Literature is the perfect medium in which to talk about love; its big emotions, grand gestures and tiny flutters of the heart can all be perfectly summed up on the page. So, in light of that, here follows some of the best, beautifully written, and romantic novels from literature so far.

coverSince its first publication in 1936, Gone With The Wind has endured as a story for all our times. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell's magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed. Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O'Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

coverIt's hard to believe that the 25th anniversary edition is available this year. It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals but over time he proves himself to be civilised, humorous – and a consummate musician. When Pelagia, the local doctor's daughter, finds her letters to her fiancé go unanswered, Antonio and Pelagia draw close and the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer...

“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision."

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

coverAn older gentleman visits a woman with a fading memory every morning to read to her from a well-worn notebook. The Notebook contains the love story of Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson. Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other. Allie Nelson's quandary is whether to marry her fiancé or give it all up for Noah.

coverRebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The novel begins in Monte Carlo where the heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realises that in every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife. She casts a large a shadow over their lives – presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

coverTipping the Velvet is set in Victorian London. Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards. This is a story of their love and Nan's journey of self-discovery. A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance.

coverBrokeback Mountain is set in the beautiful, wild landscape of Wyoming where cowboys live as they have done for generations. Herding sheep together on Brokeback Mountain in the spring of 1963, Ennis and Jack's companionability gradually develops into an intense sexual intimacy, much to the apparent surprise of both men. Proulx presents a devastating study of Jack and Ennis' subsequent struggle with both their families and their work as they try to come to terms with their sexual relationship as it develops alongside their studiedly macho world of drinking, fighting, horses and rodeos, which are brought vividly, and often humorously to life.