The Travelling Companions, 1862. Artist: Augustus Leopold Egg

Best Books for Hopeless Romantics

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Romantic novels to fall in love with

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From Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook to Jane Austen’s definitive Pride & Prejudice, we guarantee you’ll fall hard for these timeless romantic novels.

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  • Everything I Know About Love

    Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

    Highly relatable if you’re a hopeless romantic who once grew up in the suburbs and flirted via MSN. Dolly Alderton’s personal memoir offers a funny, uplifting and comforting take on love and growing up, featuring romantic flings, Rod Stewart-themed parties (yes, really) and the ever-lasting importance of friendship.

    Favourite Quote: “Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.”

    Penguin Books Ltd, £7.49, Waterstones

  • The Notebook

    The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

    What now conjures images of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (we all know about that romantic rowing scene) first began as a Nicholas Sparks novel. The Notebook is the epitome of the romantic genre; a warm-hearted and emotive tale of ever-lasting love.

    Favourite Quote: “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give you forever.”

    Little, Brown Book Group, £8.99, Waterstones

  • Jane Eyre

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    Set in the early 19th century, Charlotte Bronte’s world-renowned novel details the life of Jane Eyre, from her turbulent childhood to her time spent as governess for the discourteous Mr. Rochester. Though not entirely branded as a romance novel, Jane and Mr. Rochester’s unlikely relationship lies undeniably at its core and continues to move readers today.

    Favourite Quote: “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”

    Penguin Classics, £5.39, WH Smith

  • Me-before-you

    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

    The first in a series of heartfelt romance novels, Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You follows quirky and extroverted Lou Clarke as she finds herself caring for a successful former banker, severely paralysed following a motorcycle accident. Romance soon flourishes as Moyes tenderly details the life-changing impact Lou and Will both have on each other.

    Favourite Quote: “I thought, briefly, that I would never feel as intensely connected to the world, to another human being, as I did at that moment.”

    Penguin Books Ltd, £8.99, Waterstones

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Written in 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has certainly stood the test of time with over 20 million copies sold. Filled with colourful characters, romance (of course) and witty commentary on 19th century society, the novel has gained stature as one of the best-loved romantic books of all time.

    Favourite Quote: “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”

    Penguin Books Ltd, £5.99, Waterstones

  • Beach Read

    Beach Read by Emily Henry

    Hopeless romantics will love this contemporary romance novel, given that the protagonist, January is herself a hopeless romantic. More than just an ideal ‘beach read’, this uplifting and humorous tale from Emily Henry pulls at the heart strings and lightly touches on some darker topics too.

    Favourite quote: “Again and again he told me I wasn’t myself. But he was wrong. I was the same me I’d always been. I’d just stopped trying to glow in the dark for him, or anyone else.”

    Penguin Books Ltd, £6.49, Waterstones

  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    A wholly charming and comic novel, Audrey Niffenegger injects a dose of science fiction into the traditional boy-meets-girl romance. How does one maintain a normal loving relationship when one has the ability to time travel? An unconventional love story which has won the hearts of millions of readers.

    Favourite quote: “Do you worry sometimes that all the really great stuff has already happened?”

    Vintage Publishing, £7.37, WH Smith

  • Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    Published in 1847, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a literary romance classic. Enticingly dark and endearing, the novel transports readers to the wild and evocative Yorkshire moors, exploring characters Cathy and Heathcliff’s turbulent and impassioned relationship.

    Favourite quote: “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”

    Penguin Books Ltd, £5.99, Waterstones

  • The Flatshare

    The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

    The antidote to heart-rending love stories, The Flatshare offers sparkling romantic escapism at its best. A tale of two flat mates’ budding romance (amongst psycho ex-boyfriends, a weighty court case and cutesy post-it notes), Beth O’Leary’s debut novel features all the ingredients necessary for a delicious contemporary love story.

    Favourite quote: “Have never thought this hard about notes before. Was much easier when I was just scribbling random thoughts to friend who I had not met. Now am carefully crafting messages to woman who has taken up residence in most of my waking thoughts.”

    Quercus Publishing, £7.49, Waterstones

  • Normal People

    Normal People by Sally Rooney

    A best-selling novel based on the profound relationship between two young people, the popularity of Sally Rooney’s second novel spans worldwide (with thanks also to a majorly successful TV series adaptation), making it one of the most pre-eminent love stories of today. A must read if you haven’t already.

    Favourite quote: “I’m not a religious person but I do sometimes think God made you for me.”

    Faber & Faber, £7.49, Waterstones

Featured image: The Travelling Companions, 1862. Artist: Augustus Leopold Egg. Courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

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