40 of the best romance novels of all time

From romance novels about the trials of modern love to must-read romantic classics, here's our edit of the best books to sweep you off your feet.

Searching for your next love story? We’ve curated our edit of the best romance books to help out. From star-crossed lovers facing impossible odds, to fantasy romances filled with magic and swoon-worthy classics, these are the most romantic books to fall in love with.

Cross the Line

by Simone Soltani

After a social media scandal, Formula 1 driver Dev Anderson is amidst a career crisis. Then, he encounters Willow Williams at a Monaco party, the one person who could mend his shattered image. However, she's not just any assistant — she's his best friend's sister, and the person Dev has been unable to forget since they shared a kiss. Willow and Dev are determined to keep things strictly professional, regardless of old feelings and the blazing chemistry between them, but in the glittering and high-stakes world of Formula 1, some lines are meant to be crossed.

In A New York Minute

by Kate Spencer

When Franny Doyle is rescued from outfit embarrassment by a mysterious stranger with a Gucci jacket who can’t escape her fast enough, she thinks nothing of it and gets on with her fateful day. Until she logs onto social media and sees that the meet-cute has gone viral and users are shipping her non-existent love story with her rescuer, Hayes Montgomery. When Franny and Hayes keep running into each other, it seems they may be meant to be, but can they get over their differences and give love a chance? 

Lovelight Farms

by B.K. Borison

Lovelight Farms is a wholesome rom-com featuring a handsome, freckled data analyst, a messy, optimistic Christmas tree farm owner, and a small town with the best hazelnut lattes on the east coast. In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a child, Stella enters a contest with insta-famous influencer Evelyn St. James. There’s just one problem; she lied on the application and said that she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only . . . there is no boyfriend. Enter best friend Luka Peters. Will their fake love affair save Lovelight Farms in time for Christmas?

When Grumpy Met Sunshine

by Charlotte Stein

Ex-footballer Alfie Harding, reluctant to reveal his past and emotions, gets pushed into selling his memoirs. Knowing he can't write them himself, in steps ghostwriter Mabel Willicker, skilled in bantering and bickering her way into extracting details from Alfie for his biography. When their professional partnership is misconstrued as romance, they play along to feed the public's hunger for a fairy-tale-like story. Now faced with the predicament, they must determine whether their faux relationship is a facade or a budding reality leading to their happy ending.

The Breakup Tour

by Emily Wibberley

Singer-songwriter Riley Wynn skyrockets to fame with her breakup concept and hit single. When her ex-husband falsely claims the song focuses on him, she reaches out to Max Harcourt, her college ex and the real song inspiration, after a decade. Max, managing his family's retirement home, misses his music-filled dream life. He consents to reveal himself as Riley's muse on a condition - to join her band tour. On tour, Riley and Max find their past errors may lead to a remarkable future, in a relationship that might kindle forever or burn out.

The Last Summer

by Karen Swan

Spirited Effie Gillies has always lived on the little Scottish island of St Kilda. When the island is visited by Lord Sholto, heir of the Earl of Dumfries, sparks fly between him and Effie. She shows the handsome stranger her island for a week, and then a storm hits and shatters her world. Three months later, and the islanders are being evacuated. Effie is offered a position on the Earl's estate, and now the differences between them seem impossible, especially when a terrible secret is uncovered back on the island. Based on the true story of St Kilda, this novel takes the reader back to both island life and high society in the 1930s.

Devotion

by Hannah Kent

This much-anticipated novel from the author of Burial Rites is set in Prussia, 1836. Teenage Hanne is a child of nature, but feels the pressure of domestic womanhood closing in on her. She yearns for the outdoors and shies away from friendship, until she meets kindred soul Thea. Hanne's family are Old Lutherans, granted passage to Australia which is their passport to freedom. On the long and dangerous ocean journey, Hanne and Thea's growing bond is put to the test.

The Man Who Didn't Call

by Rosie Walsh

The million-copy bestselling romantic novel The Man Who Didn't Call is the love story you won't want to miss. Imagine you meet the man of your dreams, spend a magical week together and fall head over heels in love. You're sure he feels the same, but then he leaves for a long-booked holiday – and never calls. Your friends tell you to forget him, but you're sure something's wrong. And maybe it is. Maybe he found out the truth . . .

One For My Enemy

by Olivie Blake

In New York City, two rival witch families fight for the upper hand in Olivie Blake's new romance fantasy fiction. The Antonova sisters and their mother, Baba Yaga, are the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants while the Fedorov brothers and their crime boss father, Koschei the Deathless, dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. For twelve years, the two families have been in stalemate, but that is about to change. While fate draws together a brother and sister from either side, the siblings still struggle for power, and internal conflicts could destroy each family from within. 

Alone With You in the Ether

by Olivie Blake

From the no. 1 international bestselling author of The Atlas Six, comes the unmissable Alone With You in the Ether. Aldo and Charlotte meet in Chicago's Art Institute by chance. He is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. Once they meet, those things do not change. But everything else, is slightly different. Both obsessive, eccentric personalities they instantly struggle to be apart, and the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes . . .

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The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

by Kara Gnodde

Devoted siblings Mimi and Art Brotherton have always come as a pair, bound together by the tragic death of their parents. Art is a mathematical genius, and believes everything – even love –  can be boiled down to equations and algorithms. Then Mimi meets Frank, who definitely isn't algorithm approved and soon the siblings' relationship is pushed to breaking point. Something about Frank doesn't quite add up, and only Art can see it. This tale of love and loss is unique, funny and uplifting – true love, in all its forms, is more than a numbers game.  

Sorry, Bro

by Taleen Voskuni

When Nar’s boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her a San Francisco bar, she realises it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance. But her mother has other ideas. Armed with a spreadsheet of suitable Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend 'Explore Armenia', a month-long festival celebrating their heritage. Soon, Nar meets Erebuni, an intriguing young woman who helps her to see the beauty of their shared culture. However, there's one teeny problem: Nar's not out as bisexual. This funny, heartfelt and relatable romance beautifully explores themes of family, cultural identity, queer love and the process of self-discovery. 

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

by Casey McQuiston

Chloe Green wants to be a winner. Her moms have moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, and she has had to spend four years navigating gossips and the puritans who run Willowgrove Christian Academy. She is determined to win valedictorian, and only prom queen Shara Wheeler stands in her way. But, a month before they graduate, Shara kisses Chloe and disappears. Chloe launches an investigation with some fellow students –  quarterback Smith and bad boy Rory. Could it be there's more to Shara than meets the eye? 

Five Tuesdays in Winter

by Lily King

With Writers & Lovers, Lily King became one of our most acclaimed writers of contemporary fiction. And now, with Five Tuesdays in Winter, she gathers ten of her best short stories. These intimate literary stories tell of a bookseller who is filled with unspoken love for his employee, an abandoned teenage boy nurtured by a pair of housesitting students and a girl whose loss of innocence brings confident power. Romantic, hopeful, raw and occasionally surreal, these stories riff beautifully on the topic of love and romance.

The Love of My Life

by Rosie Walsh

This is a romantic novel with not just one twist, but several. Emma adores her husband Leo and their daughter Ruby – she would happily do anything for them. Except tell them who she really is. Her secret might have stayed buried, except that she becomes gravely ill. And Leo, to cope with his anxiety for his wife, uses his skill as an obituary writer to explore her outstanding career as a marine biologist. What he discovers leaves him shattered: his wife is – quite literally – not the person he thought she was. Emma's mission is to prove that her love for Leo is real, and that the love of her other life is over . . .

Begin Again

by Emma Lord

From YA romance veteran, Emma Lord, comes Begin Again — an unforgettable novel about love and starting again. After transferring to the competitive Blue Ridge State and pursuing her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure, everything in Andie Rose's life seems to be going according to plan. But then she meets Milo, who turns her ideas about love and relationships, and her world, upside-down. Her relationship with boyfriend Connor soon becomes increasingly complicated, and her plans fall apart. Sometimes, when all your plans are rubble at your feet, you find out what you're made of.

Fling

by J.F. Murray

Both heartfelt and hilarious, Joseph Murray's debut novel Fling is a rom-com not to be missed. Tara and Colin fell in love at first sight. They immediately knew they were right for each other. However, after six years and struggles with infertility, their marriage has started to crumble. Without the other knowing, they both turn to a controversial new dating app – Fling. But having an affair might not always mean being unfaithful, and sometimes what you're looking for might just be closer than you think. 

The Wedding Planner

by Danielle Steel

Faith Ferguson is one of New York’s most sought after wedding planners. Usually, she thrives on realizing dreams and making magic happen, but this year she faces both professional and personal challenges. And when the Alberts' showstopper wedding is nearly derailed by both a last minute invitee and the groom himself, Faith cannot avoid the warning signals. Desperate to provide the perfect day for all her clients, Faith has often neglected her own love life, but amidst planning –  and saving – this tumultuous wedding she will learn to 'never say never'.

Emma Watson

by Joan Aiken

Jane Austen gave life to the fictional Watson family in 1803, but sadly abandoned them five chapters in. Now, acclaimed author Joan Aiken completes the story in Emma Watson. Emma has been brought up by her aunt, far removed from her widowed father and five siblings. She is wealthy, educated and refined – perfectly fitting the lifestyle she was born into. That is until her aunt enters into a second marriage and Emma is sent to join her sisters in their pursuit of a husband. Expertly narrated with confidence and skill, Aiken entwines themes of loss and love in this regency pastiche. 

Red, White & Royal Blue

by Casey McQuiston

This New York Times instant bestseller and now an Amazon film is a royal romance with a twist, featuring Alex Claremont-Diaz who becomes the USA's first son when his mum becomes president, and his relationship with Henry, the remarkably un-stuck-up Prince of Wales. What starts as a transatlantic spat grows – through a PR-focussed intervention which was only ever meant to create a fake Instagram friendship – into something deeper and more dangerous, as Alex and Henry search for the courage to be their true selves and let their love shine through.

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One Last Stop

by Casey McQuiston

Both hilarious and full of heart, Casey McQuiston brings us the story of cynical twenty-three-year-old August in her latest rom-com. August doesn't believe in magic and cinematic love stories, and she's sure her move to New York will prove her right. But then, on the train, she meets Jane. Instantly charmed by her swoopy hair and soft smile, August's subway crush becomes the best part of her day. There's just one problem: Jane is displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help Jane. 

You've Reached Sam

by Dustin Thao

How do you move forward when everything you love in on the line? Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out: move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone.

A Taste of Gold and Iron

by Alexandra Rowland

Kadou, the modest prince of Arasht, has no plans to wrestle for imperial control with his sister, the queen. Yet he is in conflict with the father of queen's new child, who is a powerful ambassador at the court. Then a hunting expedition goes badly wrong, and Kadou finds himself accused of murder. The Ottoman-inspired setting is the perfect backdrop to this sensual tale of courtly intrigue, backstabbing politics and romance.

Last Summer in the City

by Gianfranco Calligarich

Back in the late sixties, Leo Gazzara left Milan and his family and shifted to Rome for work. Soon he finds himself unemployed and in a haze of romantic liaisons and alcohol. Leo drifts, aimless and alone. The night he turns thirty, Leo meets fragile Arianna, and they drive the streets in his Alfa Romeo, then escape to the sea together. What follows is the story of the year Leo fell in love and lost everything. This intense love story is a newly found classic of Italian writing, with echoes of The Great Gatsby.

The Paris Secret

by Karen Swan

In a cobbled back street in Paris an apartment sleeps, full of dust and thick with secrets, including astonishing artworks that have been stashed away for decades. Successful art agent Flora is called in from London to assess the treasure trove and begins to trace their long history and mysterious concealment. Thrown in with the glamorous Vermeil family, Flora begins to suspect there are more secrets to be discovered, as brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on closing her out of his family's affairs. Meanwhile, her family life back home is thrown into chaos, distracting Flora from the heady world of art and beauty . . .

A Marvellous Light

by Freya Marske

For fans of Bridgerton who'd like to welcome magic into their lives. Set in an alternative Edwardian England, this is a comedy of manners, manor houses, and hedge mazes: including a magic-infused murder mystery and a delightful queer romance. Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he's actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society, and he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his adversarial magical-society counterpart, as together they discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

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The Redemption of Philip Thane

by Lisa Berne

Meet Philip Thane: an unrepentant rogue and a scoundrel. He never wanted to come to little Whittlesey to make a speech, and he certainly didn't want to be stuck in a loop, living the same day over and over again. He takes the chance though to get close to Miss Margaret Allen, who is in town to research a book. Philip is astonished to find she can resist his charms. Maybe, just maybe, it's time for Philip to take a good look at himself and win her heart the right way. A must for fans of Bridgerton.

The Winter of Second Chances

by Jenny Bayliss

Annie Sharpe has two fabulous grown-up sons and runs a successful restaurant with her handsome husband Max. But when there is one indiscretion too many, she decides she must escape her family life. So, Annie starts a new life as the caretaker of Saltwater Nook, a crumbling but charming beach house on the Kent coast. She reopens the village's seafront café, and embraces the traditions and eccentricities of her new home. Meanwhile, Max is intent on winning her back. Will she succumb to giving her first love a second chance, or step into the joys and uncertainties of a new life?

Carry On

by Rainbow Rowell

Loved by young adults and older ones alike, Carry On is a ghost tale, a romance, a mystery and a melodrama. Simon Snow is in his final year at the Watford School of Magicks, and he's finding it hard to relax: his girlfriend has dumped him, his best friend is annoying and he's worried about his vanished roommate and nemesis. Not to mention the resident ghosts and vampires. . .

Noughts & Crosses

by Malorie Blackman

Book cover for Noughts & Crosses

In the award-winning Noughts and Crosses sequence, Malorie Blackman creates a dystopian world in which the white Noughts are treated as an inferior race, while the black Crosses are born into privilege and perceived as superior in every sense. It follows Sephy and Callum, who, despite the friendship they have shared since they were children, are fated to be bitter enemies. Sephy is a Cross, dark-skinned, beautiful and the daughter of a powerful politician, while Callum is a Nought, white and poor, existing to serve Crosses and nothing more. But against all odds, star-crossed lovers Sephy and Callum choose each other. 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown

by Talia Hibbert

Book cover for Act Your Age, Eve Brown

In the gorgeously witty conclusion of the Brown Sisters series, Eve Brown the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner. After Eve's chaos ruins an expensive wedding, her parents draw the line – it's time for her to grow up. Meanwhile, Jacob Wayne is always in control and on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry. But, when Eve turns up to interview for his open chef position, and then hits him with her car, things turn upside-down. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. 

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Symptoms of a Heartbreak

by Sona Charaipotra

Book cover for Symptoms of a Heartbreak

Indian-American Saira discovers the true fragility of the human heart, in this medical rom-com, rollercoaster of a novel. Saira is a 16-year-old genius, who starts an internship at her mother's hospital. Despite the stress of battling to be taken seriously by her peers, she can't help but fall head over heels for a cancer patient on her ward. 

The Other Bennet Sister

by Janice Hadlow

In Jane Austen’s classic romantic novel Pride and Prejudice, Mary is the plain, pious, overlooked middle sister. But in The Other Bennet Sister, Janice Hadlow shines a light on Mary. She’s an introvert in a family of extroverts, a disappointment to her mother and with little in common with her sisters. As she watches her sisters marry, it seems Mary is destined to be single forever. But will Mary find there is hope for her after all? This life-affirming, uplifting story of a woman finding her place in the world is a wonderfully warm and witty homage to Jane Austen.

Love is For Losers

by Wibke Brueggemann

This laugh-out-loud YA romantic novel is a life-affirming story of love and loss. As far as Phoebe is concerned, love should be avoided at all costs. Why would you spend your life worrying about something that turns you into a complete moron? She’s seen her friend Polly fall head over heels and forget about her friends, become obsessed with sex and talk constantly about the guy in question, and Phoebe definitely isn’t going to make the same mistake. But then she meets Emma . . . 

The Butterfly Room

by Lucinda Riley

Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday and still lives in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood. But the house is crumbling around her, and the time has come to sell it. Then her first love, who broke her heart fifty years ago, comes back into her life. And he is hiding a devastating secret. Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, Lucinda Riley's spellbinding multi-generational romance novel is the perfect holiday read. 

Miss You

by Kate Eberlen

Perfect for fans of One Day, Miss You is the story of Tess and Gus, who are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet . . . Both on holiday in Florence, their paths cross for just one day. Over the next sixteen years, life and chance keeps them apart, but will fate eventually bring them together?

The Spanish Promise

by Karen Swan

This sizzling novel set in sunny Madrid is full of secrets and romance. When one of Spain's richest men leaves his fortune to a woman his family has never heard of, they're shocked and confused. Charlotte Fairfax is recruited to travel to Madrid to investigate, and though it's only a week before her wedding, she's sure she'll have time. But things aren't as straightforward as they seem, and as Charlotte digs into the family's history she discovers a dark secret of two people torn apart by conflict.

Call Me By Your Name

by Andre Aciman

Book cover for Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is a coming of age story and a novel about the power of first love. In 1980s Italy, seventeen year old Elio’s quiet summer is turned upside down with the arrival of his father’s postdoc student Oliver. Aciman writes beautifully and powerfully on love found and lost.

Alex and Eliza

by Melissa de la Cruz

This YA romantic novel is based on the story that inspired the acclaimed musical Hamilton. The Schulyers, one of the country’s founding families, are preparing for their grand ball, and Eliza can barely hide her excitement when she hears of the arrival of General George Washington’s right-hand man. When they meet, an epic love story begins.

The Notebook

by Nicholas Sparks

Book cover for The Notebook

Adapted into the hugely popular film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to shed a tear at the ending of Nicholas Sparks’ first novel. This is one of the most-loved romance novels in recent history and is a love story you won't forget.