What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than curling up with a book — or three — featuring a fantastic romance? To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of love story books so moving that bestselling authors can’t help but sing their praises. No matter how you plan to spend your holiday, be sure to check out the following love stories recommended by bestselling authors, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach — an “outlander” — in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.
Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
Recommendation: George R.R. Martin says the STARZ show, based on Gabaldon’s series, “is one of the best shows on television, a wonderful blend of historical drama, science fiction, fantasy, and romance.”
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.
As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she navigates how to stay true to herself, while pushing to live boldly in her brave new world.
Recommendation: Sophie Kinsella calls Still Me “a huge treat, I loved it.”
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
The first sentence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is among the most quoted in literature, and sets up the humorous and ultimately timeless tale of proper English society, unspoken intentions, and true love acquired. Pride and Prejudice is a classic that adeptly traces the intricacies of social status, manners, and relationship rituals in nineteenth-century England, through which all the love between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy eventually blossoms.
Recommendation: Jodi Picoult praises Austen and explains why to Writer’s Digest: “Heroines with depth, wit and a wonderfully scathing commentary on society. Plus, I’ve always wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet.”
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history — performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.
So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher — the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages — and for the ages — about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.
Recommendation: Graeme Simsion says, “Compelling and full of life’s big questions, How to Stop Time is a book you will not be able to put down.”
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind 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.
Recommendation: Philippa Gregory calls Gone with the Wind “an irresistible whirlwind of a book with far more history of the defeat of the South in the American Civil War than the film credits.”
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century — or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
Recommendation: Roxane Gay says, “I love a good romance and this delivered from the first page to the last… One of the best books I’ve read in a while.”
White Houses by Amy Bloom
For readers of The Paris Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue comes a love story inspired by “one of the most intriguing relationships in history” — between Eleanor Roosevelt and “first friend” Lorena Hickok.
Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, “Hick,” as she’s known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick’s bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.
From Washington, D.C. to Hyde Park, from a little white house on Long Island to an apartment on Manhattan’s Washington Square, Amy Bloom’s new novel moves elegantly through fascinating places and times, written in compelling prose and with emotional depth, wit, and acuity.
Recommendation: Joyce Carol Oates describes White Houses as “a remarkably intimate and yet informative novel of the secret, scandalous love of Eleanor Roosevelt and her longtime friend and companion Lorena Hickok.”
My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton — a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before — not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal — but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.
A general’s daughter…
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.
A founding father’s wife…
But the union they create — in their marriage and the new nation — is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all — including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.
The last surviving light of the Revolution…
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle — to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…
Recommendation: Karen White says, “No study of Alexander Hamilton would be complete without reading this book… Full of history, engaging characters who shimmer on each page, and a tremendous love story, this is a book for everyone.”
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past…
Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South — to spy for the Union Army.
Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet — risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.
Two undercover agents who share a common cause — and an undeniable attraction — Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost — even if it means losing each other…
Recommendation: Deanna Raybourn says, “With its richly detailed setting, heart-stopping plot, and unforgettable characters, An Extraordinary Union is everything you can ask from historical fiction.”
Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
Everyone knows that all’s fair in love and war. But these two will learn that sabotage is a dish best served naked.
The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.
But when their two agencies merge — causing the pair to vie for the same position–all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals — so why can’t they act like it?
Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending, or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, hilarious story of romance in the modern world.
Recommendation: Jennifer L. Armentrout says, “Christina Lauren is my go-to author when I’m looking for sexy and sweet.”
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward — with hope and pain — into the future.
Recommendation: Jacqueline Woodson says, “Tayari’s novel is timely, thoughtful, and beautifully written. Reading it, I found myself angry as hell, laughing out loud, choking up, and cheering. A gem of a book.”
Snow Falling by Jane Gloriana Villanueva
It’s been a lifetime (and three seasons) in the making, but Jane Gloriana Villanueva is finally ready to make her much-anticipated literary debut!
Jane the Virgin, the Golden Globe, AFI, and Peabody Award-winning The CW dramedy, has followed Jane’s telenovela-esque life–from her accidental artificial insemination and virgin birth to the infant kidnapping and murderous games of the villainous Sin Rostro to an enthralling who-will-she-choose love triangle. With these tumultuous events as inspiration, Jane’s breathtaking first novel adapts her story for a truly epic romance that captures the hope and the heartbreak that have made the television drama so beloved.
Snow Falling is a sweeping historical romance set in 1902 Miami–a time of railroad tycoons, hotel booms, and exciting expansion for the Magic City. Working at the lavish Regal Sol hotel and newly engaged to Pinkerton Detective Martin Cadden, Josephine Galena Valencia has big dreams for her future. Then, a figure from her past reemerges to change her life forever: the hotel’s dapper owner, railroad tycoon Rake Solvino.
The captivating robber baron sets her heart aflame once more, leading to a champagne-fueled night together. But when their indiscretion results in an unexpected complication, Josephine struggles to decide whether her heart truly belongs with heroic Martin or dashing Rake.
Meanwhile, in an effort to capture an elusive crime lord terrorizing the city, Detective Cadden scours the back alleys of the Magic City, tracking the nefarious villain to the Regal Sol and discovering a surprising connection to the Solvino family.
However, just when it looks like Josephine’s true heart’s desire is clear, danger strikes. Will her dreams for the future dissolve like so much falling snow or might Josephine finally get the happy ever after she’s been dreaming of for so long?
Recommendation: Caridad Piñeiro says, “Romance, adventure, intrigue! Jane’s novel is so much fun I wish I’d written it myself!”
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
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.
Recommendation: Nicole Krauss say, “If you are prepared to take a hard punch in your gut, and like brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane, and beautiful prose, then you’ve come to the right place.”
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
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.
Recommendation: Diana Gabaldon says, “Magic realism, long river voyages, prose you can sink into like an inner-tube and drift downstream. One of the less-likely but most appealing romances you’re likely to encounter.”
Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne
In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish — and one magical kiss — away…
Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized.
Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too…
Recommendation: Debbie Macomber calls Thayne’s books “wonderfully romantic, feel-good reads that end with me sighing over the last pages.”
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
Recommendation: Markus Zusak says, “A novel of life and death and the people caught in between, The Fault in Our Stars is John Green at his best. You laugh, you cry, and then you come back for more.”
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Bronte’s enduring classic — the story of a young woman’s quest for love and acceptance in Victorian England.
The young orphan Jane Eyre inhabits a fragile position. Born to a good family but with no wealth of her own, Jane is sent to live with her uncle’s family — an arrangement that turns sour when he dies — and then to Lowood, a punitive and tyrannically run boarding school for girls. As she matures into adulthood, Jane’s fiery spirit and independence grow more acute, as does her sensitivity to the world around her. Now governess of the secluded Thornfield Hall, the first place she has ever really felt at home, Jane falls in love with the passionate and impulsive Edward Rochester, master of the house. Just when it seems her luck has finally changed, Jane discovers the secret of the attic — a terrible revelation that threatens to destroy her dreams of happiness forever.
Narrated in the unforgettable voice of its remarkable heroine, Jane Eyre is a timeless tale of heartbreak, mystery, and romance that shines a brilliant light into the dark corners of Victorian society.
Recommendation: Nora Roberts says, “It simply has it all — a marvelous, compelling story told brilliantly, wonderfully realized characters, a gorgeous love story, evocative settings. And the madwoman in the attic. Hard to top it.”
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel and first major literary success, Far from the Madding Crowd tells the story of Gabriel Oak, a young shepherd, and Bathsheba Everdene, a proud and beautiful young woman. Their paths cross several times throughout their lives, helping one another even as they are plagued by misunderstandings and misfortunes, including bad marriages, secrets, and loss. Though the novel contains violence and tragedy, its overall themes and mood are more optimistic than many of Hardy’s later and darker novels.
Recommendation: Suzanne Collins says “Katniss Everdeen owes her last name to Bathsheba Everdene, the lead character in Far From the Madding Crowd. The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts.”
Which of these book will you read? Let us know in the comments!