By: Olivia Stephani | February 14, 2023
Valentine’s Day: a warm and loving holiday … for some. For others, who would rather curl up with a book and imagine their perfect partner, it’s just another Tuesday with unrealistic expectations. Whether you’re in a relationship or not this Valentine’s Day, these five romance books have the perfect balance of mature and realistic to young and heartfelt ratio. You’re bound to fall in love with them all.
Photo Credit: Simon and Schuster
1.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Photo Credit: Penguin Random House
Widely known as the OG romance novel, Pride and Prejudice is a true classic. Published in 1813, the book quickly rose to popularity in London and has continued to be one of the best-selling books to date. The author follows The Bennet Family: a mother, father, and five daughters. In an effort to marry off their daughters, the Bennet's attempt to find multiple eligible bachelors. Readers form close bonds with the eldest daughter, Jane, and the second eldest daughter, Elizabeth, as their love affairs are described in vivid detail. Here, Austen invents the enemies-to-lovers plot and shows the enticing relationship between the independent Elizabeth and the brooding Darcy. It is a must-read for literature lovers alike.
2.) The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
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The Notebook is the epitome of an epic love story. In the 1940s, Noah meets Allie at a local carnival, sparking an instant crush. Noah quickly pursues Allie for weeks, eventually gaining her interest. The two spend a magical summer together before they are forced to break up, but years later, the two reconnect. There’s only one catch: Allie is engaged to another man. Readers watch as the age-old second-chance romance unfolds at a painstakingly slow pace (be prepared for that slow burn). With a shocking, yet full-circle ending, this book will make and break your heart, so make sure you have tissues on standby.
3.) Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Photo Credit: Julia Quinn
I know that there are some of you out there who love a good historical romance. How could you not with the flowy dresses and fancy balls? Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you. This series by Julia Quinn follows the Bridgerton family, each book dedicated to a different family member. The Viscount Who Loved Me tells the story of the eldest son, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton, who has sworn off love (yeah, right). As Anthony begins to feel the pressures of his responsibilities, he searches for a bride. He stumbles across the soft and elegant Edwina Sharma, but her chaperone, her sister, comes along as a package deal. Her stubborn sister, Kate, sees through Anthony’s schemes and doesn’t make his match with her sister easy. Although Edwina seems perfect in every way for Anthony, something, or rather, someone, is holding Anthony back from fully committing to Edwina. This Bridgerton novel is a personal favorite from the series, as the lovable characters provide an excellent enemies-to-lovers read with plenty of playful banter, unlike the others.
4.) Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren
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My BookTok people have probably already heard of Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren. The two main characters, Macy and Elliot, were once childhood best friends, but years later they don’t even talk to each other. That is until they run into one another again. Set in two separate timelines, readers see the tumultuous lifelong friendship between the two, and witness what happens when you leave the past unresolved. This book is the perfect heartwarming, best friends-to-lovers plot, that won’t leave you feeling disgusted by the cheesiness.
5.) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Photo Credit: The Boston Globe
If you think The Notebook was the only cry-worthy book on this list, think again. In this beautiful retelling of one of the most famous Greek tragedies, The Iliad, ‘best friends’ *cough* Patroclus and Achilles meet after Patroclus had been exiled by his father. After forming a close bond, the two are forced to enter the Trojan War together, fighting alongside the Greeks. Will they both make it out of the war safe? Only those who have read The Iliad know. This list would not be complete without this wonderful retelling of the classic Greek myth, and neither will your heart by the time you are finished reading.