Books

30 essential books about love

The theme of love is integral to literature and countless examples can be found in many well-loved classic novels. The books on this list have one thing in common - love. That's not to say these stories always end well with everyone living happily ever after. There's plenty of heartbreak, adultery, break-ups and loss, but the thread that ties these classic romance books together is passion, amour, all-consuming love.

You'll see some familiar titles that often make the cut for the must-read romance books, such as Pride and Prejudice, Love in the Time of Cholera, Doctor Zhivago and of course Outlander, but we hope that you, lovers of literature, will be delighted with this full selection of 30 essential books about love.

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Books about love

By Jane Austen
Jane Austen's last completed novel and her most optimistic and romantic work, Persuasion gives full scope to Austen's artistic powers, blending sharp wit and warm sympathy, stylistic brilliance and matchless insight.
By Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina is the heart-wrenching tale of a woman who recklessly throws away everything she has for a passionate affair with a young soldier.
By Louis de Bernieres
This is the story of a beautiful young woman and her two suitors: a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerrilla, and the charming mandolin-playing head of the Italian garrison on the island.
By Charles Frazier
Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains and to Ada, the woman he loved there years before.
By Boris Pasternak
The classic story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
By Boris Pasternak
Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning best seller lyrically portrays the convergence of four damaged lives in a bomb-riddled Italian villa in the last days of the war.
By Thomas Hardy
The story of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of the elusive Bathsheba Everdene, whose wayward nature leads her to both tragedy and true love.
By Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse.
By John Fowles
Tells the story of Charles Smithson's infatuation with the unusual Sarah Woodruff, whilst being engaged to a young lady of a good family and a considerable dowry.
By Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell's magnificent historical epic is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and a people forever changed.
By Georgette Heyer
Sophy arrives at her aunt's house just in time to save her mixed-up family from itself. Everyone is hanging out with the absolute wrong person, and the whole place is in an uproar. Luckily, Sophy knows the shocking tricks to straighten things out, and it starts with throwing a really grand party...
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
The mysterious Jay Gatsby uses his fabulous wealth to create an enchanted world fit for his former love, Daisy Buchanan, now married to Tom. Daisy, though, is a romanticised figment of his own imagination, and the extraordinary world that he creates is equally illusory.
By Annie Proulx
In gorgeous and haunting prose, Proulx describes the difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys that survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.
By Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is a poor young teacher who goes to work for the rich Mr Rochester. She loves him and wants to marry him. He loves Jane too but he has a terrible secret which will bring them both great sadness.
By D.H. Lawrence
Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband's estate.
By Diana Gabaldon
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another.
By Elfriede Jelinek
A shocking, searing, aching portrait of a woman bound between a repressive society and her darkest desires.
By A.S. Byatt
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story.
By Jane Austen
Features splendidly civilised sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of 18th century drawing-room intrigues.
By Bernhard Schlink
For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused.
By Daphne du Maurier
At the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, Maxim de Winter and his frightened new wife try to live with the haunting legacy of Maxim's first wife, the beautiful and cold Rebecca.
By Kazuo Ishiguro
During the summer of 1956, Stevens, the aging butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely motoring holiday that will take him deep into the heart of the English countryside and thence into his past.
By William Shakespeare
A young man and woman meet by chance and fall instantly in love, but their families are bitter enemies, and in order to be together the two lovers must be prepared to risk everything.
By E.M. Forster
This Edwardian social comedy explores love and prim propriety among an eccentric cast of characters assembled in an Italian pensione and in a corner of Surrey, England.
By Emmuska Orczy
A timeless novel of adventure, intrigue, and romance is sparked by one man's defiance in the face of authority.
By Colleen McCullough
Colleen McCullough's sweeping saga of dreams, struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback has enthralled readers the world over.
By Audrey Niffenegger
This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty.
By Nevile Shute
A Town Like Alice tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese death march in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her - even at the cost of his life.
By Ha Jin
For more than seventeen years, Lin Kong, a devoted and ambitious doctor, has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in his traditional home village lives the humble, loyal wife his family chose for him years ago.
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.

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