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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Viscount Who Loved Me
By Julia Quinn
A 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.
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…
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.
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
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.
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
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.