30 Best Romance Novels Ever [Expanded and Updated]
What is it that comes to your mind when someone says romance? Romance is not just a feeling of love or attraction between two people, but it is the intense mix of emotions that compels one to do the strangest things.
People from every country and culture have their way of expressing romance. Romance as a genre is as old as the world of entertainment itself. Readers tend to pick up a romantic novel or romedy book as it locks the readers with the same happiness and excitement as the main characters in the novel.
It is a common saying among readers everywhere that novels are why they can never find love in real life. First, novels are why many of us have unrealistically high expectations. The romance portrayed in these novels is so surreal, and the feelings experienced by readers are so raw that they end up fantasising about that world. Anything compared to that romantic world appears dull and bleak.
When it comes to the 30 best romance or romedy novels ever, I had a really tough time shortlisting them as there are many different types of romance novels out there, each with a unique and beautiful love story to tell. Despite this huge hurdle, I have managed to list down the 30 best romance or romedy novels which are as follows:
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is a classic love story told in the most real way, which is why it resonates so deeply with the audience. It is the story of how quick one is to make first impressions, something which we all are way too familiar with. People make snap judgments about others and then stand by them. The same happens with the lead characters of this novel, leading to an interesting and funny sequence of events. The book is also filled with riveting subplots that truly make it one of a kind.
2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat
2 States is a masterpiece of a book that beautifully portrays the diversity in India. It is not your everyday type of love story but instead shows the union of two completely different families that put their beliefs and traditions aside in the name of love. The novel truly takes on a ride of the struggle and emotions of each person. It is not the easiest thing for people to welcome someone from another culture, especially Indian family members, and this sentiment is shown beautifully in the novel. The best thing about the novel is that it is based on the actual love story of the author Chetan Bhagat.
3. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Everyone must have had the dream of spending their lives with the person they truly love at some point or another. The Notebook is a beautiful rendition of that very dream. If you aren’t living under a rock, you must have heard about this book or at least the movie adaptation of this book, as it is regarded as one of the most epic tales of love. The book also touches on Alzheimer’s and how loved ones are affected when an Alzheimer’s patient cannot ever recognise them. It’s a wonderful story about how true love perseveres and stands tall in the face of adversity.
With a fresh take on humour with romance, The Unproposed Guy is a book about the dating scenario in the present times. No matter how hard he pushes his luck, Kevin cannot seem to change his fate when it comes to his love life. Despite being a cool guy, he becomes increasingly nervous around women and starts acting creepy. The severity of the condition is such that he has earned the nickname the Unproposed Guy. Things take a turn for him when he realises he is going through an existential crisis. From there onwards, the book is all about the journey Kevin takes on to become a stand-up comedian and a rapper.
5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
If you are looking for a story that brings back your faith in love, then Me Before you is a must for you. It’s a story about how love makes a difference in someone’s life. It’s about how love can bring meaning and purpose in life, no matter how pointless existence feels. The book revolves around Louisa, who has been hired to take care of an angry young man who shows no interest in living. The way they both transform each other’s lives becomes a testament to true love. It is a novel that will give your new perspective and motivation to live your life to the fullest despite how grave your circumstances might seem.
6. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
This book forces the reader to come out of their fantasy world and face the harsh truth of life. Not everyone in this world gets to live a long, happy life. Not everyone gets to have their love recruited or live with their loved ones forever. It is a story about Hazel and Augustus and the beautiful journey they share during their battle against cancer. The love and courage shown by both of these characters are something to hold on to in the real world as well. Although this book leaves you with eyes full of tears, your heart is full of warmth for the love that bloomed between Hazel and Augustus.
7. The One You Cannot Have by Preeti Shenoy
If you are one of God’s favourites who never had to experience love failure or one-sided love, here is a book that lets you experience it. This book explores the world of unrecruited love and how one deal with the pain of tending to a wounded heart. Does the pain ever stop? Does the feelings for that one true person ever truly go away? These are the questions that haunt Aman as he tries to move on in his life after Shruti broke his heart without any reason and left. It is worth reading to get a new perspective on life about the world of love, failures and broken hearts.
8. I, Too Had a Love Story by Ravinder Singh
This is the story of modern-era romance that takes place through cell phones and technology. But the question is whether or not true love can be found online. It tells the story of Ravin, who sets his heart on the girl he meets online without ever meeting her in real life. But suddenly, out of nowhere, his dream is cut short, and the love of his life is gone. Yet, Ravin feels that despite his tale of romance ending too soon, it is worth remembering. This book is truly a must-read in this fast-dating culture where people do not even give each other a proper chance. After all, love doesn’t need a beautiful face or a successful career; love just happens with a person that resonates with us, even if that person is only virtually present.
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is a book that many are afraid to pick despite its notable acclaim and popularity amongst readers. It is a classic tale of romance between Catherine and Heathcliff that is set in the mid-nineteenth century. The author shows an exemplary talent in portraying the feelings of each character, giving them more meaning and depth. She also indulges in mental health, domestic violence and manipulation and roots this book in real life.
Set against the backdrop of two land gentry families that do not go along, Wuthering Heights is a must-read book.
10. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
This is the innocent yet beautiful love story of Jamie and Landon that leaves the readers with eyes full of tears. This story is proof of how love can happen anywhere at any time to anyone. Love doesn’t look at status or age or any other factor, but true love just happens with no conceivable explanation. This is what happens in this star-crossed tale of Jamie, who is the sweet innocent daughter of the town’s Baptist and Landon, who is the rebellious kid that finds himself clashing with the authorities and finds himself in trouble. The way love brews between them is an intriguing journey that the author has beautifully portrayed.
11. Five Feet Apart by Mikki Daughtry, Rachel Lippincott and Tobias Iaconis
This is a book that redefines the notions of love and shows you how love transcends every challenge to last in the end. What is it that one wants to do when one loves someone? A person wants to spend all of their time with their loved one. But what if you physically cannot get nearer than six inches to that person? This is what Stella and Will face as they cannot get close to each other without endangering each other’s lives. They chose to abandon the six-foot-apart rule and get close to each other by one foot. This would come across as reckless abandonment of logic, but for them, this was the only option to go with. This book explores the possibilities of a tragic romance that still found a way to sprout and fully bloom.
12. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
This book is perfect for those who are looking for a fresh take on romance, as it has a perfect blend of science fiction and romance in it. But just because it has elements of time travel, those do not take away the feeling of warmth or heartache that one feels while reading a romance novel. It’s the story of Henry, who has a rare genetic disorder that causes him to suddenly time travel without any control over the time or location he arrives in. He meets with his wife, Claire but their meeting each other happens in a haphazard fashion that does not follow the linear flow of time. As time unravels, things get complicated even further to the point where nothing is normal about their story. This book is a one-of-a-kind in the world of romance, and you do not want to miss out on this absurd yet beautiful journey.
13. Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
When it comes to best friends, there are not any boundaries that set apart each other’s things. But what happens if the boundaries of friendship are extended to the point where you borrow the lover of your best friend? This is what happens to Rachel when she realises that she has fallen in love with Dex, who is the fiance of her best friend, Darcy. Things become painfully complicated as she has to choose between friendship and the love of her life. It is a modern tale of love, yet it just hits all the spots that a classic romance novel does.
14. Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin
It is a story of intense romance that comes between two people who love each other but are not able to unite. The yearning and the anticipation of each other is something even the reader starts feeling. This novel beautifully touches on the problems and struggles of life and how love somehow makes it all better. The story is not a tragedy or one-of-a-kind classic, but its beauty lies in its simplicity. Sometimes all one needs to read is a simple old-fashioned love story with a happy ending, and Chasing Red offers exactly that, but also with a pinch of excitement.
15. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
What is the worst fear that people have about their crushes? It is the fear of having to admit your feelings to them and getting rejected. This fear is so strong that it prevents many of us from ever confessing our feelings to our crushes. But what happens if you wrote these feelings in a letter, one for every crush you’ve had and out of nowhere, these letters get posted to them? This is what happens to Lara Jean when suddenly all of her crushes confront her about her feelings for them. Things get even more complicated when one of her crushes is none other than her sister’s ex-boyfriend. But despite this chaos, something good comes out of confronting her feelings as one of her crushes reciprocates the feelings back.
16. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is the story of a girl named Cath who is a big fan of the Simon Snow series to the point where it is an integral part of her life. She and her twin sister Wren started watching this show as a coping mechanism after their mother left them. But things seem to change for her as she is suddenly out in the world for college without the support of her sister or the Simon Snow series that she so dearly held onto. With new love prospects in her life, she has to make choices that are going to decide her future. Take this journey about growth, independence and youth along with Cath in this romantic novel Fangirl.
17. The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
This is the story of a ghostwriter called Florence, who does not believe in the concept of love at all. The irony is that this book features the love story of Florence with a ghost, something that in itself is unbelievable. Florence has faced a bad breakup in her past to the extent that she does not believe in love, yet she is a ghostwriter for a famous romance author. Things are so south for her when she has to go back to her hometown, which she has always hated, for her father’s funeral. This is where she meets the ghost, which is just as shocked at what is happening. It is a modern, breezy and fresh take on romance that one should read.
18. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Guys have bro code, and girls have sis code when it comes to the rules of friendship. Each gender tried their best to help their fellow mate when it came to relationship trouble. Similarly, a group of alpha men create the Bromance Club to help each other in their marriage. The main character of this book is Gavin who is facing the threat of a divorce after him losing his cool after discovering his wife has been faking things in the marriage. This book is a breath of fresh air that shows the efforts and struggles that friends take to help their friends out in troubled relationships. The book is hilarious yet also very romantic as Gavin tries his very best to win his wife back and save his marriage.
19. How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway
This book gives a glimpse into the dating culture and the problems one faces during the era of online dating. Even though the technology is here to make life easier, dating has never been more complicated. Only after swiping and matching through a long list of jerk guys does one find someone compatible with them. This is what Mel is also seen facing in this book. She decides she has had enough after one too many below-average dates. Mel takes things into her own hands and creates a dating app that allows people to report creepy behaviour. The success of the app blows out of proportion leading to a point where Mel is at crossroads about life. Does she choose her career, life or love? One can only find out what she chose by reading this book.
20. Call me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
These days it has become increasingly difficult for our generation to understand what love truly is with each passing day. Call me By Your Name is a beautiful rendition of love that has resonated with thousands of people. It narrates the tale of an intelligent young boy called Elio and Oliver, who is a grad student about to pursue medicine. The love that kindles between them is short-lived as they part ways after six weeks only. The story then shifts to twenty years later, only to find out that their feelings for each other are true love. It is truly a life-changing book that has beautifully portrayed the LGBT community and is a must-read.
21. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Princess Bride is a rendition of the works of S Morgenstern in which he omitted the boring parts to create an adventure fantasy that is full of fights, challenges, mysteries and so on. The Princess Bride appears to start with a grandfather telling a story to his grandson, similar to how the author used to listen to his dad tell this story. It is an epic tale of romance between Princess Buttercup and Wesley and involves the journey that they have to take and the hurdles they have to cross to unite with each other. It is a classic novel that also has a very famous movie adaptation that one should not miss to read.
22. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
It is a book known for its unique writing style in the form of a personalised diary. The diary records the daily thoughts of Bridget Jones, who decides to change her life after a fateful encounter with Mar,k who blatantly bad-mouths her. She also writes about her struggle with losing weight as well as smoking and drinking. Her life witnesses the entrance of two romantic interests in the form of Daniel, her boss and Mark, who is her childhood friend. The story of the romance that Bridget experiences is something that the reader gets to experience as well.
23. The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
Who doesn’t love a grand proposal? A big grand gesture in romantic scenery with loved ones around is the way many go when it comes to proposing. But for Nikole, this grand gesture for the proposal comes in the form of a stadium screen proposal with thousands of people watching them. The proposal is quite shocking for her as it has been only five months since they started dating, and he couldn’t even bother to get the name her spelling right. But there was no way that she could say no to him in a stadium full of people. This is when she gets rescued by Carlos, who helps her get out of there and handle social media when her proposal rejection video goes viral. Things start brewing between these two, but there’s no way of finding out what happens until you pick up the book and read for yourself.
24. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
Dear John is yet another classic tale of love and heartbreak by Nicholas Sparks that makes one wonder about the cruelty of life. In this book, John, who is in the military and Savannah, who is a graduate, cross paths one day only to fall helplessly in love with each other. Despite their strong bond, they get separated due to the dispatching of John to the army base. They promise to keep in touch in the form of a letter. One fine day, Savannah writes a letter to John saying she loves him dearly but has decided to get married to someone else that she has feelings for. This letter is so iconic that people refer to the Dear John letter as slang for a breakup letter. What follows after this letter is a journey of heartbreak, longing and unrecruited feelings that one had to read to understand.
25. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is one of the most famous classic love stories from the Victorian Era. It is the tale of a simple girl named Jane who has always felt like an outsider as she was orphaned at a very young age. Despite her grim conditions, she manages to overcome her situation with great resilience and strength. She shows courage and wisdom during an era where it wasn’t expected from a woman to make her destiny. It is a simple love story set against the backdrop of hardships that one has to endure to move forward in life. If you have not yet read this beautiful novel, then leave all your other books to read this magnificent piece of writing.
26. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Stardust is a one-of-a-kind book that transports you to the land of Faeries and fantasy. It is a romantic story blended with adventure and mystery. This is the story of Tristran who is so infatuated with a girl named Victoria that he promises to bring back the fallen star for her. He sets out on a journey of adventure, the first step of which is to cross the ancient wall that protects their tiny village. Once he crossed over the wall, the world he thought to be true was nothing like what he saw. This novel is worth reading if you are someone who likes fantasy and romance in one book.
27. Emma by Jane Austen
This is the story of Emma who is a happy, cheerful and spoiled girl who often likes to play matchmaker with people in the village. But this innocent act of hers turns into a very bad decision as unforeseen consequences start arising because of it. Things go wrong for Emma because she is oblivious to the feelings of people and does the absolute worst job of matchmaking people. There is a lot of character development in her by the end of the book owing to Mr Knightly. This book has all the best characteristics of a Jane Austen novel and does not shy away from showing the courtship between different people.
28. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
This is probably the first book that comes to one’s book at the mention of romance. It is such a famous book that many omit reading it as almost everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet. But many miss to understand that this book is a masterpiece by William Shakespeare that needs to be read by everyone. It is the tragic story of two young lovers set against the backdrop of their families that are in a blood feud against each other. In such grim circumstances, only death seems like the option where they can finally be united. It is a classic tale of romance that is well-respected by critics for a reason. So, definitely give the most famous book of romance a read before dismissing it so quickly.
29. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
It is set during the American Civil War and does a wonderful job of portraying the challenges faced by people during that time. It is a story that doesn’t just talk about love but touches so many aspects of reality. The book shows the struggles faced by Scarlett O’Hara who lost everything owing to the Civil War. She works hard with an incredible drive to become successful while harbouring unrequited feelings for a married man. You get to witness her journey as she tries to become successful while also finding love with her true love.
30. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
What happens when your past and future love lives collide in the present? This is what happens to Lily when her first love Atlas comes back into her life just as she was about to start her future with her current love Ryle. Lily is the kind of person who has worked hard to get everything good in her life. Yet just when things are looking good with Ryle, a wonderful neurosurgeon, things start going south for her. What would you do if you were in her place? Would you go back to your first love as it will always have a special place in your heart or go with your current love that you are so deeply in love with? The only way to find out what Lily chose is to pick up the book and start reading it.
These were the 30 best romance or romedy novels ever. All that is left to do is pick up an actual book and get lost in the world of romance, humour, fantasy and adventure. Happy reading!