The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, 30 to 21 – Your votes counted.

February is the month of love at Booktopia, and to celebrate we’re counting down the 50 Greatest Love Stories Ever Told, as voted by you.

After thousands of votes, the poll closed on Sunday and we’ll be counting down the top 50, with the top 10 being announced at Midday on Valentine’s Day.

So sit back and enjoy the great works that made it to 30-21 in your voting. And don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom to see the huge sales and collections of books on love we have for you.


30. Cold Mountain

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic returns, reissued by Grove Press to coincide with the publication of Frazier’s eagerly-anticipated second novel, Thirteen Moons.

Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign. At the same time, the intrepid Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning to survive in a world where the old certainties have been swept away.

As it interweaves their stories, Cold Mountain asserts itself as an authentic odyssey, hugely powerful, majestically lovely, and keenly moving.

Click here to buy Cold Mountain


29. Tristan and Isolde

The immortal tale of the doomed love between a knight and a princess.

The heroic Tristan, nephew and champion of King Mark of Cornwall, journeys to Ireland to bring home his uncle’s betrothed, the fair Isolde.

Their shipboard voyage takes a tumultuous turn with a misunderstanding and a magic potion, and the lovers quickly find that there’s no turning back.

Click here to buy Tristan and Isolde


28. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

One of the most extraordinary literary works of the twentieth century, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in England and the United States after its initial publication in 1928. The unexpurgated edition did not appear in America until 1959, after one of the most spectacular legal battles in publishing history.

With her soft brown hair, lithe figure and big, wondering eyes, Constance Chatterley is possessed of a certain vitality. Yet she is deeply unhappy; married to an invalid, she is almost as inwardly paralyzed as her husband Clifford is paralyzed below the waist. It is not until she finds refuge in the arms of Mellors the game-keeper, a solitary man of a class apart, that she feels regenerated. Together they move from an outer world of chaos towards an inner world of fulfillment.

Click here to buy Lady Chatterley’s Lover


27. The Bridges of Madison County

The legendary love story, the bestselling hardcover novel of all time, and the major motion picture starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.

This is the story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for fulfillment of a girlhood dream.

A blinding portrait of what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again.

Click here to buy The Bridges of Madison County


26. Memoirs of a Geisha

A seductive and evocative epic on an intimate scale, that tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan’s most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation.

From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the glamorous and decadent heart of Kyoto in the 1930s, where a young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York; it exquisitely evokes another culture, a different time and the details of an extraordinary way of life.

It conjures up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha – dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the most powerful men.

Click here to buy Memoirs of a Geisha


25. Much Ado About Nothing

‘Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.’

One of Shakespeare’s most witty and enjoyable comedies, Much Ado About Nothing is a play that explores courtship, romance and marriage through a number of relationships.

Most famously, that of the irrepressible Beatrice and Benedick as they trade their wits against one another, criticising the notion or marriage, yet slowly falling in love with one another as they do so.

Click here to buy Much Ado About Nothing


24. Little Women

Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – four ‘little women’ enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England The charming story of the March sisters, Little Women has been adored by generations.

Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo’s hand, cried over little Beth’s death, and dreamed of traveling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy.

Future writers have found inspiration in Jo’s devotion to her writing.

In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature’s most beloved women.

Click here to buy Little Women


23. Love in the Time of Cholera

‘It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.’

Florentino Ariza is a hopeless romantic who falls passionately for the beautiful Fermina Daza. Instead Fermina marries a distinguished doctor, while Florentino can only wait silently for her. He can never forget his first and only true love.

Then, fifty-one years, nine months and four days later, Fermina’s husband dies unexpectedly. At last Florentino has another chance to declare his feelings and discovers if a passion that has endured for half a century will remain unrequited, in a rich, fantastic and humane celebration of love in all its many forms.

Click here to buy Love in the Time of Cholera


22. One Day

Twenty years. Two people. One day.

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met.

But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year.

Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Click here to buy One Day


21. A Farewell To Arms

In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the ‘war to end all wars’.

He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell To Arms. Hemingway’s description of war is unforgettable.

He recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteer and the men and women he meets in Italy with total conviction.

But A Farewell To Arms is not only a novel of war. In it Hemingway has also created a love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion.

Click here to buy A Farewell To Arms


Don’t forget to come back at midday tomorrow as we continue to countdown the 50 Greatest Love Stories Ever Told as voted by you.

You can also see our great offers for this month, both on Lavish Love, and our Valentine’s Day celebration specials.

All this month we’re featuring the Love in Print at Booktopia. Click on the banner below to see the huge range of books on love we’re featuring all this month at Booktopia, Australia’s Local Bookstore.

Love in the Time of Cholera – Love for Singles: Let Me Count the Ways – Part Two

Singles! The darkest day in the calender is nearly upon you.

Valentine’s Day!

The day when you are forced to look into the dusty heart of your singledom, the day when that brave smile will not come, when all your claims of happiness are exposed as lies, the day when Valentine cards from well meaning friends serve only to remind you of your large bottom or your wonky eye or your hideous fashion sense or your awkward walk or your venomous tongue or your dull, dull mind…

Valentine’s Day.

It will soon be here. There is no escape, but there is hope.

Love is adaptable, love is varied and love is as kind as it is cruel.

I am here to offer you a chance at love this Valentine’s Day…

I present :

Unrequited Love!

(Now don’t knock it before you have really given it a go.)

Once you have experienced the exquisite heart strain of an unrequited love, where the joy of loving cannot quite overcome the knowledge that you are not loved in return, you will recognise that such painful pleasures come with benefits.

What possible benefits are there to having a one-sided love affair?

For one, you are no longer technically single.

I know it’s only a technicality but it does serve as a buffer – if your friends know you are hopelessly in love with the woman/man of your dreams they can hardly set you up with someone from accounts.

Two, it fills up hours of your day. Even if you don’t turn into a stalker, even if you restrain yourself and turn it into a harmless hobby, unrequited love will give you something to do. Exquisite pleasure or pain – and trust me, sometimes you won’t know the difference – takes time.

And lastly, though I could go on and on, unrequited love is Romantic. So, without having to make any commitments, or sign any papers, without dull dates and awkward sexual encounters, without even having to leave your house, you can experience two separate kinds of love – both Unrequited Love and Romantic Love.

That’s a two for one deal you weren’t expecting!

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Tune in tomorrow when we explore the social impediment that is Forbidden Love: exemplified by the ever criminal Humbert Humbert but also glorified by the exemplary Mr Knightly in Jane Austen’s Emma who says -

The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least.


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