Classics and Old Chestnuts
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh. Charles plans to divorce his wife so that he can marry Julia.
The Charioteer, by Mary Renault. A gay classic, published in the white-hot umbrage of the ’50s.
Dr. Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak. As one reader said, “Those Russians know how to steam it up.”
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, by Giorgio Bassani. Hopeless infatuation in an era of gathering doom.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. He parties, hoping to lure back an old love.
Middlemarch, by George Eliot. Love and lovelessness among the upper classes.
The Painted Veil, by Somerset Maugham. He cares for her so much that he will accept all humiliation.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Realism meets irony in this novel of love and manners.
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. Inspired by Jane Eyre, a story about a beleaguered bride.
Villette, by Charlotte Bronte. A teacher finds love at an all girls’ school.
The Chesapeake Series, by Nora Roberts. Three men, three women and a difficult, sea-swept past.
Girls Night, by Stef Ann Holm. A single mother, a failing coffee shop and Vince.
Heaven, Texas, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Mousy girl meets incorrigible playboy.
Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, by Marian Keyes. Unlucky in love, she’s told she’s heading for the altar.
The Monk Downstairs, by Tim Farrington. A disillusioned divorcee meets an ex-monk who flips burgers at McDonald’s.
Paradise, by Judith McNaught. A department store heiress gets pregnant far too soon.
Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Two scholars discover an ancient love affair.
Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. Three intertwined lives in the ecological muddle of Appalachia.
Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Crusie. A modern feminist romp turns into serious drama.
Ashes in the Wind, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. A Southern belle fleeing the Civil War falls for a Yankee surgeon.
The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery. A romance by the author of Anne of Green Gables.
Desiree, by Annemarie Selinko. A merchant’s daughter becomes Napoleon’s first love.
Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas. A rakish viscount, an arranged marriage, a surprising love.
Faro’s Daughter, by Georgette Heyer. A rich mother does what she can to stop her son from marrying a cardsharp.
Flowers From the Storm, by Laura Kinsale. The quiet daughter of a mathematician meets a brilliant, dangerous duke.
The Foxes of Harrow, by Frank Yerby. An orphan triumphs in early New Orleans.
Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L. Sayers. As one reader said, “It changes all standards for the ideal man.”
If His Kiss Is Wicked, by Jo Goodman. A sleuth falls for the woman he is supposed to protect.
Katherine, by Anya Seton. It’s the 14th century, and the king’s son is in love with a married woman.
Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase. The ultimate in reformed bad boys.
No Angel, by Penny Vincenzi. Lady Celia knows what she wants and will stoop to conquer.
The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. Anne’s sister Mary loves Henry VIII, too.
The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon. She has a husband in one century and a lover in another.
Random Harvest, by James Hilton. According to one reader, “the most romantic literary book ever.”
Reforming Lord Ragsdale, by Carla Kelly. A brash Irish servant transforms her boss’s life.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton, by Julia Quinn. She’s in love with her best friend’s brother.
The Roselynde Chronicles, by Roberta Gellis. When the queen makes her a royal ward, the suitors line up.
The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne. Love during the Napoleonic wars.
Sweet Everlasting, by Patricia Gaffney. A high-born doctor and a lovely, but lowly mute.
Through a Glass Darkly, by Karleen Koen. A young wife, an older husband, in 18th-century Paris and London.
A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute. She survives a Japanese death march to fall in love with an Australian.
The Wedding Officer, by Anthony Capella. His job is to stop English army officers from marrying Italian women.
The Windflower, by Laura London. An innocent girl is kidnapped by pirates.
Yours Until Dawn, by Teresa Medeiros. A young nurse; a wounded, tortured hero.