Curious about which rogue is most full of rascal, which heroine the sharpest, which love scene the steamiest?
Booktopia’s romance guru Haylee Nash rates the Top Ten Most Romantic Novels ever written.
From Mr. Darcy to Noah Calhoun, our Top Ten covers unmissable classics and contemporary hits.
Think the list is spot on? Or did we miss a crucial novel (too few Scottish highlanders)? Let us know what you think and your Top Tens in the comments bellow!
1) Pride & Prejudice
by Jane Austen
The original alpha hero, a heroine who follows naught but her own heart, and a double wedding ending.
Lizzy Bennet finds eligible bachelor Darcy arrogant the first time she meets him, and when she hears he has been meddling in her family’s affairs is determined to dislike him even more.
Darcy, however, finds himself increasingly attracted to her good looks and lively mind.
In the story of misunderstandings that follows, Lizzy is led to question everything she thought she knew.
With its sparkling wit, clever heroine and moving love story, Pride and Prejudice is an immaculate comedy of manners, and Jane Austen’s most popular novel.
by Margaret Mitchell
A fiesty, selfish but lovable heroine gets taught what real love is amongst one of the most turbulent periods of American history.
One of the most famous love stories of all time
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed.
Above all, it is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler…
by Kathleen Woodiwiss
This novel revolutionised the depiction of sexual intimacy in mainstream fiction and was the first romance to be published in paperback.
Doomed to a life of unending toil, Heather Simmons fears for her innocence–until a shocking, desperate act forces her to flee. . . and to seek refuge in the arms of a virile and dangerous stranger.
A lusty adventurer married to the sea, Captain Brandon Birmingham courts scorn and peril when he abducts the beautiful fugitive from the tumultuous London dockside. But no power on Earth can compel him to relinquish his exquisite prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed prize. For he is determined to make the sapphire-eyed lovely his woman. . .and to carry her off to far, uncharted realms of sensuous, passionate love.
by Paullina Simons
An impossible war-time romance featuring an officer and a love triangle in communist Russia.
The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army…
5) Born in Fire
by Nora Roberts
A passionate, dramatic yet realistic romance that explores the complexity of relationships.
Maggie and Brianna Concannon are two very different sisters. The calm and gentle Bri seems able to weather any storm, even the constant criticism that rains down on them both from their mother, but Maggie is a passionate and fiery artist whose temper is as bold as her art. Their mother’s bitterness is a mystery to Bri and Maggie, until secrets from the past challenge everything they’ve come to believe.
It’s Maggie’s skill as a glass blower that brings Rogan Sweeney, the international gallery owner, to her small cottage in County Clare. His interest in her is purely professional, until their personalities clash and sparks begin to fly…
by Jennifer Crusie
A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring two completely mismatched individuals brought together by two favourite romance tropes.
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again…
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A broken hero, a naive but lovable heroine and a marriage of convenience. While this may sound familiar, SEP does heartbreaking, compelling contemporary romance like none other.
How did pretty socialite Daisy Devereaux find herself in this fix? She can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her.
Alex Markov, however, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little heiress. As humourless as he is deadly handsome, he drags the irrepressible Daisy away from her uptown life and sets out to bring her down a peg or two.
Except it won’t be as easy as he thinks. This man without a soul has met a woman who’s nothing but heart. Will vows spoken in haste shatter or offer the promise of love everlasting?
by Julia Quinn
Witty dialogue, strong character development and thoroughly delightful conflict make this book, and The Bridgertons series, a fan favourite.
The town is shocked when Anthony Bridgerton, confirmed bachelor and consummate rake, actually chooses a bride.
The only obstacle is his intended′s stunning, meddlesome elder sibling, Kate. When Anthony closes his eyes at night, it′s Kate who haunts his increasingly erotic dreams. Kate is determined to protect her innocent sister from the handsome viscount whom all London considers the most wicked rogue of all.
But she fears how own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony′s lips touch hers, she′s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible cad.
by Nicholas Sparks
A love that overcomes obstacles of class, distance, time and family. A tearjerker for anyone with a heart.
Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other.
Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories…until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.
by Audrey Niffenegger
An inventive premise that explores ideas of fate, time and space, science and the concept of ‘The One’. While it may not be a traditional romance, the ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’ is so powerful a love story that it deserves a spot on the top ten list.
This extraordinary, magical novel is the story of Clare and Henry who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty.
Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences are alternately harrowing and amusing.