10 of the Most Romantic Books in Classic Literature

10 Romantic Classic Novels

Do you like classics? Are you looking for a classic book with a romance that will make you swoon? The prefect love story that has lasted generations that you should check out for Valentine’s Day (or any other day of the year?) Here are 10 of our suggestions! (No, Jane Eyre is not on this list; Rochester is a creep.)

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Pride and Prejudice book cover Penguin edition

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

No list of romantic classic novels would be complete without a mention of Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett have captivated readers for centuries, in the original novel as well as in various adaptations, sequels, and retellings.

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Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

In this sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose Campbell is all grown up and returning home after two years of travel–and the would-be suitors are lining up.  Will she choose someone suave and debonair or a steady bookish fellow?  Also check out Alcott’s other books if you want to see more of her characters fall in love.

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë 

Young Caroline Helstone is in love with her cousin Robert Moore, but he is too busy attempting to publicly defend his decision to replace workers with more efficient machines in his Yorkshire mill to notice her affections. Caroline is sinking into depression when Shirley Keldar, a wealthy and independent landowner, returns to her estate and befriends Caroline.  But will Caroline lose Robert to her new friend?

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TROILUS AND CRISEYDE BY GEOFFREY CHAUCER

A classic love story that has been told and retold (Shakespeare wrote a play, too), featuring star-crossed lovers during the Siege of Troy. If you thought Chaucer only wrote The Canterbury Tales, you’ll be pleased and surprised by the nuance with which he tells the story of Troilus and Cressida and how they fall in love and experience tragedy.

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Camille by Alexandre Dumas

This is a very moving and beautiful love story between a pair of lovers who are perfect for each other but doomed by social expectations to be kept apart. When the story begins, their feelings seem as though they could be only infatuation. Armand is obsessed with Marguerite because he thinks she is beautiful. Marguerite tolerates Armand because he knows some of her friends, and then because he expresses pity for her in her sickness. Over time, however, the two develop a meaningful relationship and make sacrifices for each other’s happiness that express their love more strongly than words ever could.

BELINDA BY MARIA EDGEWORTH

Everyone knows about Jane Austen, but Maria Edgeworth was also quite popular during the Regency era! Her novel Belinda features a seventeen-year-old protagonist looking for marriage and was known by Jane Austen herself.

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Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery

Readers familiar with Anne of Green Gables will be familiar with Anne’s contentious relationship with Gilbert Blythe, but it isn’t until the third book in the Anne series that their relationship really begins to bloom. Montgomery writes a romance both sweet and a little bitter as it seems Anne might lose her chance at happiness, due to her own stubbornness.

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THE BLUE CASTLE BY L. M. MONTGOMERY

L. M. Montgomery may be best known for writing Anne of Green Gables (and book three, Anne of the Island, is pretty romantic, as well, as mentioned above!), but The Blue Castle is a beautiful, rather overlooked novel that anyone who wants a light story about unexpected love will enjoy.

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North and South book cover

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

While this book is largely about the relationship between employers and employees and worker’s right, when it’s not focused on labor issues, it’s a nuanced exploration of the relationship between the protagonist and a mill owner.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel

Readers might best associate this book with adventure (or know it for being a musical and a movie!), as it is set during the French Revolution, and there’s action and intrigue. However, there’s also a lot of romance!

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10 of the Most Romantic Young Adult Novels

10 of the Most Romantic YA Books

Looking for a good YA romance? A young adult novel to cuddle up with to read for Valentine’s Day? From slow-burn romances to swoon worthy love interests, there are some of the most romantic young adult books I have read:

Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

This is book 2 in the School for Unusual Girls series, and while Tess’s romance was simply hinted at previously, here it absolutely flowers, and I was smitten.  Love interest Lord Ravencross is a bit gruff but quite protective–yet Tess also pulls her own and never lets anyone treat her as too delicate or helpless. Baldwin excels at getting readers invested in the romances of her characters.

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Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Written in compellingly beautiful prose, The Star-Touched Queen brings readers to a world where fates are written in the stars and hints of magic drift throughout the human world. Protagonist Maya has never liked what the stars say about her, however, until a mysterious suitor teaches her to reinterpret their prophecy, rather than attempt to rebel against it.  Together the two have to trust it is their fate to belong to each other.  The Star-Touched Queen is fantasy romance nearly at its finest.

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My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

One of my favorite contemporary romances, this story is brimming with heart.  Jace and Samantha’s relationship grows slowly and naturally, leading to a romance in turns sweet and just a little bit sensual.  Additionally, readers are introduced to Jace’s large family, and his younger brothers and sisters will win readers’ hearts as easily as Jace does (especially George!).  A highly recommended read that offers just the right blend of fun and thought-provoking themes.

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

The romance–and the two characters in it–is really the high point of A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It’s been a while since I read a novel where I was so invested in the romance, captivated as I watched the two characters come closer together slowly but surely, hesitant to trust each other but hoping they could–and then that the trust would turn into something more. This is a lovely, slow burn romance that builds over the course of the novel and brings the readers right along with it.

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Echo North book cover

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

A slow-burn fairy tale retelling that had me riveted and is one of those rare books that reminds of me of exactly how compelling and original retellings can be. This is a uniquely beautiful story featuring characters who fall in love with each other’s best qualities.

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I put the whole series instead of picking just one book because, starting with Cinder, they are ALL pretty romantic, And while the books are often predicable, that’s what sort of lovely about them; one can’t wait to see one’s favorite couples get together (and, uh, defeat evil, etc. and all that other stuff going on in the plot….)

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola Nolan is happy.  She has a fun job at the local movie theatre, a hot rocker boyfriend, and a blooming talent for creating clothes (or, in her words, costumes).  Her peace is shattered, however, when the Bells move back in next door.  Lola would love to keep hating Cricket Bell for leaving her two years ago, but with his growth spurt, his sense of style, and his determination to charm her, she might find that difficult.

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Kissing in America

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

A provocative, thoughtful story about what it means to love and what it means to be a friend, Kissing in America follows sixteen-year-old Eva as she journeys across the country to pursue a romantic relationship.  She quickly learns, however, that real life is both unlike and yet unexpectedly similar to the steamy romance novels she likes to read.

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Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds

Reynolds’s debut asks readers what they would do and what they would sacrifice for the people they love–and also shows the magic of reliving one’s love against from the first butterflies. (Full review coming on the blog Feb. 2021.)

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Can two people really fall in love in the course of a single day? I would generally say no, but Yoon does a great job of convincing me it could happen, as she brings her characters on whirlwind adventures throughout New York City.


Looking for more? Check out 14 Adorable YA Romances to Read for Valentines Day! Or try our flow chart to see Which Romantic Classic You Should Read Next.

14 Adorable YA Romances to Read This Valentine’s Day

14 YA Books to Read for Valentine's Day-min

Looking for a cute romance to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Look no further!


LoVE, Lies And SPies by Cindy Anstey

Love Lies and Spies

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

A Regency romance perfect for fans of Jane Austen!

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A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls

Welcome to Stranje House.

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle them in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…

This book isn’t primarily a romance, but the whole series has such swoonworthy romances that I have to include them on the list.

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Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Four stars from Krysta, who praised the “sensitively drawn” characters.

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Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen

waterfall by lisa t bergen

Gabriella Betarrini is used to spending her summers in Italy.  The daughters of archaeologists, Gabi and her sister equate vacation with hovering outside old Etruscan tombs, desperately waiting for something exciting to happen.  One day, while peeking into one of the tombs, they find more adventure than they bargain for.  Two handprints, which inexplicably match their own, are printed on the wall.  Touching them activates a mysterious time vortex, which transports Gabi to medieval Italy, on the fridge of a battle.  She immediately finds herself in the midst of territorial wars and political intrigue, fighting for her own life while trying to find Lia, who never appeared beside her in the 14th century.

Time travel and romance make a wonderful fluffy read.

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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite writers of contemporary YA. She writes beautiful romances and complicated families and seems to really get teens.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Read the book behind the breakout Netflix adaptation!

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LETTERS TO THE LOST BY BRIGID KEMMERER

letters to the lost

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

What could be cuter for Valentine’s Day than a book focused all around planning a wedding?

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Perkins may be better known for Anna and the French Kiss, but Lola is my favorite of her books.

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Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Kissing in America

In the years following her father’s death, sixteen-year-old Eva has sought the comfort of poetry and romance novels to assuage her grief.  Then he meets Will, and through their connection, Eva is able to escape the pain of her dad’s death and her difficult relationship with her mom.  But then Will suddenly picks up and moves to California—and just like that, Eva is right back where she started.

With the help of her best friend Annie, Eva concocts a plan to leave New York City for the first time in her life and travel across the country to see Will.  From cowboys to kudzu, and the endless roads in between, Eva and Annie learn the truth about love and all of its complexities.

This book is criminally overlooked when YA romance is discussed.

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Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Love a la Mode

Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . 

Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn’t all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent’s school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie’s growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

Perfect for lovers of Chopped Teen Tournament and Kids Baking Championship, as well as anyone who dreams of a romantic trip to France, Love la Mode follows Rosie and Henry as they fall in love with food, with Paris, and ultimately, with each other.

A book about cooking and romance IN PARIS. Sign me up!

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STAY SWEET BY SIOBHAN VIVIAN

Stay Sweet

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Desserts seem to be a theme on this list, but they’re definitely romantic, right?

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LOVE AND GELATO BY JENNA EVANS WELCH

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Again, European travel and desserts!

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

PS I Like You

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Letters are also a recurring theme in YA romance.


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