Best Romance Books of All Time

Writing a list of the best romantic novels of all time is a pretty bold move.

Especially with so many genres to choose from!

If you love this genre, chances are you've read everything from the best vampire romance books & werewolf romance books all the way up and through the more modern & realistic choices on the market.

That’s why we decided to follow a criteria, so you know exactly why we’re suggesting these specific books are the top of their class, and not just some cheap promotional endeavor.

Alright, how are we rating these?

It’s simple.

The book must have at least a 4.0 star rating on Goodreads.

After that, it simply comes down to the total number of reviews on Goodreads at the time of writing this article.

For time sake, we’ll focus on books with over a million ratings. The fans don’t lie!

Got it? 

Here's our List of the Top Romantic Novels

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book is John Green’s sixth novel and was published in 2012. The successful book laid the foundation for the film adaptation that had similar success. This book is a rollercoaster of emotion, given its told from the perspective of a teen battling cancer. The Fault in Our Stars caters to a young adult audience. Not for the faint of heart - you will cry!

The book was received very well by fans, and it has sat on multiple bestseller lists. These lists include, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and others. This electrifying read has humor, romance & tragedy. 

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813, and is still picked up and read to this day. It has a huge following, and the romantic novel takes place in the British Regency era. The book has been reviewed throughout the last 200 years and there’s one simple common thread: people love it! (Spoiler alert: we have another Jane Austen classic on this list.) 

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones is a paranormal urban fantasy from Cassandra Clare. Cassandra is a New York Times Best Selling author, and City of Bones peaked at #8 on the list. If you love fantasy worlds, this book is a great jump off into a new and exciting series filled with otherworldly creatures. This paranormal romance series is completed with six books, however there are offshoots, prequels and sequels you can pick up. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This old classic was published in 1847 & finds itself in 19th century England. The book has received consistent praise, and employs a first person narrative from the perspective of the heroine Jane Eyre. The novel became known for its approach on topics such as religion, class, feminism and sexuality. This is a wonderful read where classes collide & romance ensues. 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Published in 2013, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is a romantic story about two 16-year old misfits – red-haired, chubby cheeked Eleanor and Asian-American Park. Both of them live in Nebraska. This is a great young adult romance that takes place in a high school setting.

Eleanor wears large, ill-fitting clothes and feels like an outcast. Park on the other hand is short and tries hard to go unnoticed at school. On Eleanor’s first day to school, their paths cross on the school bus. A gradual connection starts to develop between them via 80’s music mixtapes and comic books, eventually leading to love. 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Initially called Elinor and Marianne, this three-volume classic was first published in 1811 in London. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen is an old classic in the romance genre. This book preceded Pride and Prejudice, another bestseller from Jane Austen.

Having sold 750 copies by 1813, this book was considered a bestseller. At first, it was published anonymously, with “By A Lady” appearing where the name of the author should have been. The first draft of this romance was written in 1795 or 1797 depending on whom you ask. It was written in the style of a novel.

In Sense and Sensibility, we encounter two sisters: 19-year old Elinor Dashwood and 16-year old Marianne Dashwood, two of the five main characters in the book. Elinor is sensible, and feels obligated to care for others. Her sister Marianne is the exact opposite. She is quite emotional, and follows her heart irrespective of what the societal norms may be.

This is a wonderful classical romance book that takes the reader back in the ages to a different time. There’s a reason this book has been adapted into so many other mediums such as film & theatre - it’s a good read!

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Many stories have been written about pure, unadulterated and unending love, but none of them strike a chord and leave a lasting impression like The Notebook. Written by Nicholas Sparks and published in 1996, this is a romantic read through and through. The Notebook is the first of the Calhoun Family series. It is followed by Message In A Bottle.

The Notebook was the first novel that Sparks published after the first two – The Passing and The Loyal Murders went unpublished. Theresa Park, a literary agent, discovered the book after picking through her agency’s slush pile. Sparks got the inspiration to write this book about unending love from his wife’s grandparents. They had been married for more than 60 years.

The story follows Allie and Noah throughout their first passionate summer, and then followed up - forteen years later. This is a tender read, and is sure to make you gush. If you loved the movie, you’ll like the book even more.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Published in 2012 by Harper Collins, The Selection by Kiera Cass is a dystopian young adult romance. This is the first book in The Selection series of five books that include The Elite - 2013, The One - 2014, The Heir – 2015 and The Crown – 2016. Four novellas have been spun off this series and they have then been collected into the Happily Ever After volume.

The story is set far in the future in a Kingdom called Illea - which just so happens to be the former United States. In the story, one of the characters is Illean Prince Maxon Schreave who has come of age and is holding the Selection Process where he will choose his bride. Thirty-five girls are chosen at random to compete for the heart of the prince. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that all girls look forward to participating.

Following the Prince’s announcement of the Selection Process, America’s mother wants her to try her hand in the process. Unbeknownst to her mother, America has a secret lover named Aspen. Will Aspen and America live happily ever after, or is the clutch of what could be too much to resist? Read the book and find out! 

Alright, that's our list of the best romance books of all time!

What'd we miss? What doesn't belong? Let us know below!