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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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