Isn’t winter that perfect time of the year when you can cuddle with your partner all day long under a ton of blankets and indulge in reading while sipping warm cocoa from a huge mug? These 20 romantic books will make you inspired by the astonishing power of love, true happiness and the perfect ever after endings. Nothing cheesy, but strong raw emotions and empowering stories to make you cherish one another even more!
1. Guillaume Musso – “Girl on Paper“
How would you react if one of your fiction characters turned up in your house one evening? Tom Boyd – a multi-million-dollar selling author, alcoholic and absolute wreck thought he had gone absolutely insane when his young, beautiful heroine, Billie, stood in his living room, demanding that he write another novel, so she could return back to her fictional world. No matter how crazy her story sounds, Tom eventually believes in the girl’s story and here, the real adventures begin.
You should read it together if you feel like you ever made up the person you love, and then actually met them.
2. Haruki Murakami – “Norwegian Wood“
A beautiful melancholic story told by 37-year-old Toru Watanabe who suddenly heard a few accords of the Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood” in Hamburg Airport. That simple tune made him reminiscent of his college years when a few crucial turns had happened in his life. The story constantly shifts from misty, calm episodes at a remote rehab center in the mountainss where Watanabe – a former girlfriend of his best friend, who committed suicide at his 17th birthday – visits Naoko, to the times of civil unrest and student revolution in the Tokyo University where Watanabe meets Midori – a girl being an absolute opposite to Naoko.
You should read it together if you have doubts whether you have made the right love choices.
3. Boris Vian – “Froth on the Daydream“
A surreal love story where a young rich boy, Colin, meets beautiful young Chloé, and falls desperately in love with her and marries her in an insane grand wedding, all in just few days. Their love is more than their hearts can endure, yet after a fabulous honeymoon Chloé gets a terrible disease – a water lily has grown in her lung. To save her, Colin spends all of his money on doctors and treatments, yet the only thing that can make Chloé better is to constantly surround her with flowers and care.
You should read it together as the story is so beautifully painful that you’ll both need a good hug at the end.
4. Mario Vargas Llosa – “The Bad Girl“
In colorful language, Llosa tells a beguiling romantic story of how a man spends his whole life chasing one woman. Ricardo meets his femme fatale who calls herself “Lily” when he is still a poor boy from Lima. After a hot summer fling, she disappears from his life for 10 years. Their paths suddenly cross again in Paris, where Lily is now called Mrs. Richardson and married to a wealthy Englishman, yet still purposely toys with Ricardo’s heart. In a few short years, he has found his bad girl again in Tokyo where she’s now a mistress to a Japanese businessman. The more she tosses his heart in the mud, the more the hero falls for her.
You should read it together if you love twisted mind games and powerfully raw emotions.
5. Bernhard Schlink – “The Reader“
A mesmerizing story set at the backdrop of gloomy postwar landscapes in Germany. 15-year-old Michael is saved from dying by Hanna – a common woman twice his age. Michael carries his gratitude for years until he finally gets a chance to thank Hanna by defending her on a trial. The charges pressed are severe, yet seem absolutely unbelievable to Michael. Does Hanna have a secret she’d rather die for than give away?
You should read it together if you believe that you should not be judged for who you love.
6. Gabriel García Márquez – “Love in the Time of Cholera“
An epic saga about the incredible lives of two lovers, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, who have lived their lives next to each other, yet separated as Fermina was forced to marry a prospering doctor, instead of her true sweetheart. Deeply heartbroken for over 50 years, Florentino still never gives up hope of being together and proposes to Fermina on the day her husband dies – 50 years, nine months, and four days after he first said, “I love you”.
You should read it together if you believe that true love will wait as long as needed.
7. Jenny Downham – “Before I Die“
I have serious doubts that you can find more romantic book than this! “Before I Die” is somewhat sad, yet inspiring and life-asserting. Tessa knows she has only five months left to live, yet instead of drowning in the void of her despair, the girl decides to spend the time left living, laughing and loving as much as she can.
You should read it to cherish each and every minute you spend together.
8. Anna Gavalda – “I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere“
If you are looking for a light, yet profound read, Anna Gavalda seems to be a perfect choice. This book is a charming collection of short simple stories, conveying deep, twisted mixes of love, longing and a tiny bit of loneliness.
You should read if you seek a simple tale for the evening that will leave you wanting to get lost in fiction.
9. Cecelia Ahern – “Where Rainbows End“
The story does not sound new – a boy and girl grew up next door, became close friends and never dared to cross this fragile line between love and friendship. How many letters, broken relationships and years does it take to admit to yourself that you have always been in love with your best friend?
You should read if you used to be friends for years before dating (and just crave an old-fashioned romantic and amusing story to unwind).
10. Colleen McCullough – “The Thorn Birds“
A classic love story set in the wild fields of recently settled Australia, where a girl falls in love with a beautiful young priest who torn between his duty and eternal temptation for love. The story is simple, yet absolutely enchanting, making you flip through over 600 pages in no time.
You should read it together if you are ready to stay up late laughing, crying and worrying about the twists and turns of the heroes.
11. Luanne Rice – “Follow the Stars Home“
Compelling, beautiful story of tough choices and all the difficulties you face after making a few wrong turns in life. Dianne is absolutely miserable in her marriage and thinks it’s too late for her to truly have a taste of life and follow her heart. We all know that best love stories tend to have a happy ending, yet the book keeps you hooked until the very last page!
You should read it together if you know what it’s like to make bad love choices and fight for your happiness.
12. F. Scott Fitzgerald – “The Great Gatsby“
Obviously, no list would be complete without this brilliant novel soaked with the roaring twenties, jazz and pure decadence. Jay Gatsby literary grows from rags to riches within a few years, only to make the charming Daisy fall in love with him. Even if you have seen the movie with the unsurpassed DiCaprio, I would still recommend reading the book for even more incredible details and story lines that were left out.
You should read it together to remember what toxic relationships look like.
13. Pierre Choderlos De Laclos – “Dangerous Liaisons“
Two ex-lovers Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont – bored French aristocrats – decide to play a wicked game of seduction with a simple convent girl, a virtuous married woman and one another along the way. Quoting “the guardian“, the book is “foppish, French, and ferocious.”
You should read it together if you’d like to add a bit of spice and devilish seduction into your everyday life.
14. Leo Tolstoy – “Anna Karenina“
The best of the Russian classics, this novel is still one of the most powerful, yet catastrophic love stories of all time and is often referred to as “the greatest novel ever written.” A sophisticated tale of forbidden love and adultery, Tolstoy perfectly portraits the deepest fears, doubts and heart-break of his heroine Anna – a married aristocrat, falling in love with Count Vronsky while visiting her brother in Moscow (and struggling to help him with his broken marriage). Don’t be tempted to watch the movie. The story isn’t nearly as brilliant as the written words.
You should read it together at least once in your life.
15. Raymond Carver – “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love“
Dazzling, spellbinding and absolutely compelling stories of simple people who talk of one thing they know the most and nothing about – love.
You should read it if you know what love is in all of its forms.
16. Françoise Sagan – “Bonjour Tristesse“
This light, coming of age novel made Sagan famous overnight when she was only 18 years old! The young heroine, Cecile, spends her summer watching the endless swirl of young women going in and out of her father’s life and bed. She finds this lifestyle perfectly acceptable and even tries to set up a casual love affair of her own, but fails miserably. It all changes suddenly, when Anne – an old friend of her mother – arrives. She’s nothing like the young, fun and careless mistress whom Cecile adores. It’s hard to call the story is a typical love triangle though, as Cecile fights with Anna for her father’s attention, while setting him up with his mistress Elsa again and making numerous cruel plots to get back the libertine life they used to have.
You should read it if you love unexpected plot twists and can have the tissues ready for the ending.
17. John Keats – “Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne“
The best love stories are the actual love stories, right? These are actual love letters and poems that the fabulous John Keats dedicated to his sweetheart Fanny Brawne, containing one of the most heart-melting and romantic lines I have ever read in my life. What would you give to receive a letter with the lines like, “My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you”?
You should read it together and practice writing love letters afterwards, but that’s just one of the super romantic things you can do!
18. Kazuo Ishiguro – “The Remains of the Day“
This is a perfect book for those who hate cliched romance books. Ishiguro tells his amazingly romantic story with the least of romantic phrases ever used. Instead, he creates a magical atmosphere of half-shades and cues, earning the author a Man Booker Prize in 1989 for this incredibly beautiful story of a man reconsidering all of his life values during one long drive to a woman he thinks he may be in love with.
You should read it together if you feel like you are tired of typical love stories.
19. John Brandon – “Citrus County“
Now, how far will you go for love? Do you think it’s acceptable to kidnap your love’s sister and hide her away in the woods, just so you could get closer to her? Somehow, Toby thinks this may be the way to bond with his high school mate Shelby.
You should read it to remember how complicated teenage love can be (but not that complicated of course!).
20. Marguerite Duras – “The Lover“
A beautiful story set in the French Colonial Vietnam where an adolescent french girl from a poverty-stricken family meets an older Chinese businessman, only to gradually fall deeply in love with him. Don’t get tricked by this simple story plot though, as the novel is way smarter and intriguing than you may think! A bit sassy, plenty vivid and absolutely romantic, this autobiographical novel was sold with over 1 million copies from the first print.
You should read it together if you would like to be swooned by the mystical Indochina.
Featured photo credit: A young couple is reading and relaxing on a park bench in autumn via shutterstock.com