If you’re thinking of a social media detox, there’s no better way to relax and take a break from screen time than by reading a good book. Sure, it’s exciting to spend an afternoon watching series and movies, but after hours and hours of binge-watching them, even the best romantic films lose their charm. It’s time to fall into a great romance novel.

There’s nothing quite like a good book, and love stories make reading even appealing. If you were to ask any avid romance novel reader to name their most favorite book, it’s improbable you’ll get a direct answer. They’re comforting and fascinating — bound to make you feel good and keep you hooked. It’s difficult to beat the feeling of reading one of the bestselling romance novels of all time.

Given below is a list of the 24 bestselling romance novels everyone should read in their lifetime to get a fresh perspective on life and relationships.

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency.When Elizabeth Bennet meets Fitzwilliam Darcy for the first time at a ball, she writes him off as an arrogant and obnoxious man. He not only acts like an insufferable snob, but she also overhears him rejecting the very idea of asking her for a dance! Through this tale about two warring hearts, Austen weaves a witty satire about life in eighteenth century England. And though it was published more than two centuries ago, Pride and Prejudice continues to enthrall readers to this very day.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
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Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë

Determined to make her heroine “as poor and plain as myself,” Charlotte Brontë made a daring choice for her 1847 novel. Jane Eyre possesses neither the great beauty nor entrancing charm that her fictional predecessors used to make their way in the world. Instead, Jane relies upon her powers of diligence and perception, conducting herself with dignity animated by passion.
The instant and lasting success of Jane Eyre proved Brontë’s instincts correct. Readers of her era and ever after have taken the impoverished orphan girl into their hearts, following her from the custody of cruel relatives to a dangerously oppressive boarding school and onward through a troubled career as a governess. Jane’s first assignment at Thorn field, where the proud and cynical master of the house harbors a scandalous secret, draws readers ever deeper into a compelling exploration of the mysteries of the human heart.
A banquet of food for thought, this many-faceted tale invites a splendid variety of interpretations. The heroine’s insistence upon emotional equality with her lover suggests a feminist viewpoint, while her solitary status invokes a consideration of the problems of growing up as a social outsider. Some regard Jane’s attempts to reconcile her need for love with her search for moral rectitude as the story’s primary message, and lovers of gothic romance find the tale’s social and religious aspects secondary to its gripping elements of mystery and horror. This classic of English literature truly features something for every reader.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
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Shanna

By Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

From New York Times bestselling author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss comes one of her most iconic and beloved romances of all time…

A pact is sealed in secret behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison. In return for one night of unparalleled pleasure, a dashing condemned criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress, thereby rescuing her from an impending and abhorred arranged union.

But in the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a solemn promise is broken, as a sensuous free spirit takes flight to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the stranger she married to face the gallows unfulfilled.

Ruark Beauchamp’s destiny is now eternally intertwined with that of the tempestuous, intoxicating Shanna. He will be free . . . and he will find her. For no iron ever forged can imprison his resolute passion. And no hangman’s noose will keep Ruark from the bride— and ecstasy—that he craves.

Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (1977)
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Morning Glory

By Lavyrle Spencer

On the eve of World War II, two people are brought together by fate and discover an unexpected passion
Tall, dark and handsome Will Parker has served time for the killing of a Texas prostitute, but keeps losing jobs as his reputation becomes known. In the small town of Whitney, Ga., at the beginning of WW II, he answers the advertisement of a pregnant widow and mother of two, the abused and reclusive Eleanor Dinsmore, who is looking for a husband. Soon in love with ostensibly plain, bedraggled Ellie, Parker dotes on her two boys, and works to support the family. Fittingly for this sort of bucolic idyll, Will and Ellie, despite their rudimentary educations, love books and develop a special friendship with wise old Miss Beasley, the local librarian. Alas, brazen and rapacious Lula Peak, the town floozie, sets her sights on Will, waylaying him in the library; meantimes, Lula is blackmailing her lover, the cowardly Harley Overmire, who is no friend of Will. The clearly drawn characters fulfill their imperativesincluding Will, who becomes a war heroand all is neatly and pleasingly resolved. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates.

Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer
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Love in the Time of Cholera

By Gabriel Garcia Márquez

“A love story of astonishing power.” – Newsweek 

The International Bestseller and modern literary classic by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

love in the time of cholera by gabriel garcía márquez
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Indigo

By Beverly Jenkins

A historical romance from NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins…

Hester and Galen’s favorite Mud Pie Recipe included!

As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan’s Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn’t hesitate…even after she is told about the price on his head.

The man in question is the great conductor known as the “Black Daniel” a vital member of the North’s Underground railroad network. But Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.

When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester’s cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the South.

However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make this gorgeous and intelligent woman his own…

Yet…there are traitors to be discovered, slave catchers to be evaded and Hester’s heart to be won before she and Galen can find the freedom that only true love can bring.

Indigo by Beverly Jenkins
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The Viscount Who Loved Me

By Julia Quinn

New York Times Bestseller

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn comes the story of Anthony Bridgerton, in the second of her beloved Regency-set novels featuring the charming, powerful Bridgerton family, now a series created by Shondaland for Netflix.

ANTHONY’S STORY

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
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Vision in White

By Nora Roberts

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts presents a novel of love, friendship, and family in Book One in the Bride Quartet.

Wedding photographer Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera, but her focus is shattered moments before an important wedding rehearsal when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

A stable, safe English teacher, Carter Maguire is definitely not Mac’s type. But a casual fling might be just what she needs to take her mind off bridezillas. Of course, casual flings can turn into something more when you least expect it. And Mac will have to turn to her three best friends—and business partners—to see her way to her own happy ending.

Vision in White by Nora Roberts
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Emma

By Jane Austen

“Emma” is the story of Emma Woodhouse, a young girl from a good home that does not need the financial support of a husband and is determined not to marry. Emma however is not opposed to the idea of marriage for others and is determined to play matchmaker between several of the local citizens. In spite of Emma’s resolve not to marry she finds herself attracted to several men throughout the book and considers the prospect of marriage. “Emma” is the story of 19th century

Emma by Jane Austen
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Sense and Sensibility

By Jane Austen

Within the insular world of the English countryside, among struggling clerical families, husband-hunting mothers and daughters, country fools and snobs, Jane Austen found the raw material she needed to write brilliant novels widely admired for their satiric wit, subtlety and perfection of style. Sense and Sensibility is one of the best of these. It is the story of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who represent sense and sensibility, respectively. When both appear to be deserted by the young men they had intended to marry, the stage is set for a delicious comedy of manners that not only showcases Austen’s perception, humor and incomparable prose, but offers a splendid glimpse of upper and middle-class English society of the early 18th century.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
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Maurice

By E.M. Forster

Written in 1914 by the Nobel Prize–nominated author of Howard’s End, this intimate portrait of homosexual desire “seems as relevant as ever” (The Guardian).

From early adolescence to his college years at Cambridge and into professional life at his father’s firm, Maurice Hall plays the part of the conventional Englishman. All the while, he harbors a secret wish to lose himself from society and embrace who he truly is.

Maurice’s first love, Clive Durham, introduces him to the ancient Greeks who embraced same-sex attraction. But when Clive marries a woman, Maurice is distraught enough to seek a hypnotist who might “cure” him of his homosexuality. In his quest to accept his true self, Maurice must ultimately go against the grain of society’s unspoken rules of class, wealth, and politics.

Though Forster completed Maurice in 1914, he left instructions for it be published only after his death. Since its release in 1971, Maurice has been widely praised and adapted for major stage productions as well as the 1987 Oscar-nominated film adaptation starring Hugh Grant and James Wilby.

“The work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers.” —The New York Times

Maurice by E.M. Forster
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Tess of the D’Urbervilles

By Thomas Hardy

A classic novel that explores how the moral standards of Victorian England affected a young woman seeking her place in society.

Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is a masterpiece of late 19th-century literature, presenting the story of Tess, a poor girl from rural England who faces the challenges of modern society while carrying a moral burden that threatens her reputation. As she navigates the difficult path to adulthood, Tess encounters numerous setbacks, each moving her further away from who she was as a young girl. With themes such as humanity’s loss of its connection to the natural world and how Victorian morals oppress personal growth, Hardy’s novel is an essential read for all lovers of classic literature.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
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Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs. A somber tale of consuming passions and vengeance played out against the lonely moors of northern England, the book proved to be one of the most enduring classics of English literature.
The turbulent and tempestuous love story of Cathy and Heathcliff spans two generations — from the time Heathcliff, a strange, coarse young boy, is brought to live on the Earnshaws’ windswept estate, through Cathy’s marriage to Edgar Linton and Heathcliff’s plans for revenge, to Cathy’s death years later and the eventual union of the surviving Earnshaw and Linton heirs.
A masterpiece of imaginative fiction, Wuthering Heights (the author’s only novel) remains as poignant and compelling today as it was when first published in 1847.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers (That of Romeo, son of Montague and Juliet, daughter of the sworn enemy) whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime.In this death-filled setting, the movement from love at first sight to the lovers’ final union in death seems almost inevitable. And yet, this play set in an extraordinary world has become the quintessential story of young love.Romeo and Juliet has been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical, and opera venues.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
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Rebecca

By Daphne du Maurier

The classic Gothic suspense novel by Daphne du Maurier — winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century — is now a Netflix film starring Lily James and Armie Hammer. 

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our 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. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
“Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings.” –Stephen King

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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Gone with the Wind

By Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind-winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time was first published in 1936. Widely considered ‘The Great American Novel’, it explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
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Ross Poldark

By Winston Graham

As Seen on Masterpiece™ on PBS®: Book 1 of the beloved Poldark series

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth—believing Ross to be dead—is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
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A Walk to Remember

By Nicholas Sparks

A high school rebel and a minister’s daughter find strength in each other in this star-crossed tale of “young but everlasting love” (Chicago Sun-Times).

There was a time when the world was sweeter….when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats…. Every April, when the wind smells of both the sea and lilacs, Landon Carter remembers 1958, his last year at Beaufort High. Landon had dated a girl or two, and even once sworn that he’d been in love. Certainly the last person he thought he’d fall for was Jamie, the shy, almost ethereal daughter of the town’s Baptist minister….Jamie, who was destined to show him the depths of the human heart-and the joy and pain of living. The inspiration for this novel came from Nicholas Sparks’s sister: her life and her courage. From the internationally bestselling author Nicholas Sparks, comes his most moving story yet….

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
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Call Me by Your Name

By André Aciman

Now a Major Motion Picture from Director Luca Guadagnino, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and Written by Three-Time Oscar™ Nominee James Ivory

The Basis of the Oscar-Winning Best Adapted Screenplay

New York Times Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Vulture Book Club Pick

An Instant Classic and One of the Great Love Stories of Our Time

Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman
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Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes

USA Today‘s top 100 books to read while stuck at home social distancing

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars, discover the love story that captured over 20 million hearts in Me Before YouAfter You, and Still Me.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
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The Time Traveler’s Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger

A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love. “Niffenegger’s inventive and poignant writing is well worth a trip” (Entertainment Weekly).

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
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Normal People

By Sally Rooney

NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).

ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE—Entertainment Weekly

TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York TimesThe New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
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On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

By Ocean Vuong

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by VultureEntertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Oprah.com, Huffington Post, The A.V. Club, Nylon, The Week, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and more

Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
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The Notebook

By Nicholas Sparks

Experience the unforgettable, heartbreaking love story set in post-World War II North Carolina about a young socialite and the boy who once stole her heart — one of PBS’s “Great American Reads”.

Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that it becomes more than a story-it becomes an experience to remember forever. The Notebook is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again…

At thirty-one, Noah Calhoun, back in coastal North Carolina after World War II, is haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier. At twenty-nine, socialite Allie Nelson is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but she cannot stop thinking about the boy who long ago stole her heart. Thus begins the story of a love so enduring and deep it can turn tragedy into triumph, and may even have the power to create a miracle…

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
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