13 Romance Writers On Their Favorite Love Stories Of All Time
Looking for the best possible selection of romance novels to read this Valentine's Day? We had 13 romance writers recommend their favorite love stories, and they've picked everything from literary classics to brand-new releases.
For some, their favorite love stories came from non-romance novels. Casey McQuiston loved Evelyn and Celia's relationship in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Soniah Kamal can't get enough of Lata's romances with Kabir and Haresh in A Suitable Boy.
And if you just can't get enough romance, you'll be happy to know that several of the authors have new books of their own coming in 2020. You can get your hands on Rebekah Weatherspoon's latest release, A Cowboy to Remember, on Feb. 25. Sonya Lalli's new rom-com, Grown-Up Pose, is out on Mar. 24, and Sarah MacLean's forthcoming novel, Daring and the Duke, lands in stores on June 30.
Keep reading to see which romance writers recommended their favorite love stories and what they had to say about these great reads:
Casey McQuiston recommends The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Evelyn and Celia from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Of course there's the glamour and the drama of a secret old Hollywood love affair, but what really gets me about Evelyn and Celia is the way they always find their way back to each other. They're two people who are meant for each other despite all the odds, which is my favorite kind of love story.
Manda Collins recommends The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
One of the love stories I've reread again and again because it gets me every time is Corey Callihan and Adam Hartley's in The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. Like Corey, I started freshman year with a new disability and a determination to be just like every other college student. (Too bad I didn't have a hot hockey player across the hall in my dorm like she does!) I think at its best, romance can help us rewrite the negative stories we tell ourselves about who is worthy of romantic love. And for those days when I begin to doubt whether I — even if I'm not on the lookout at the moment — deserve that kind of love, I go back to the moment Adam tells Corey he loves her and I believe again.
Carla de Guzman recommends Kiss and Cry by Mina V. Esguerra
I'd like to recommend Kiss and Cry by Mina V. Esguerra. It's about a hockey player Ram and a former figure skater Calinda in the Philippines, on a three week only relationship because Ram is retiring and has to go back to the U.S.A. permanently. I love that Cal and Ram's relationship is always so open, and their valiant attempts at not factoring each other in (when clearly they want to). A love letter to Manila and all its complications, and with a conclusion that satisfies and makes you feel like things are only just beginning for them.
Helen Hoang recommends Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
My all-time favorite love story would have to be the one between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. But since everyone already knows everything about them, let's talk about Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon! It's a love story between earth woman Georgie and alien man Vektal. He's blue. He has a tail. And the only thing he wants in the entire world is to love and protect his mate. There's pure escapist joy in watching the two overcome their language and cultural barriers to connect. This (and the twenty or so books that follow in the series) are the romances that I didn't know I needed.
Soniah Kamal recommends A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
In Vikram Seth's novel, A Suitable Boy, I love protagonist Lata Mehra's love stories with Kabir and Haresh as she figures out which guy is the right one for her, what love/marriage means, and ultimately what happiness and duty is within that context. Lata's journey played a seminal role in my own marriage story and what could be more romantic than from "on the page" to "off the page."
Claire Kann recommends Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
The best love stories are ones in which I find myself falling in love with characters so fully realized I’d expect to pass them on the street. I can see us exchanging numbers, getting to know each other, and before long, I’m filling the role of know-it-all best friend (or cat in this case). It didn’t take long for me to fall completely in love with Chloe and Red — two perfectly adorable grumps who had to get over themselves to see each other properly — and finished their story with my heart impossibly full of happiness.
Sonya Lalli recommends Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
My favorite love story is Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, which is a fresh yet faithful spin on the Elizabeth and Darcy’s classic hate-to-love romance in Pride and Prejudice. Ayesha and Khalid are both fun, complex and completely loveable characters, which makes their romantic tension and blossoming love all the more satisfying.
Sarah MacLean recommends Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone
Naima Simone's Scoring off the Field is the perfect confection of a book. The story of two life-long friends — a star quarterback in the NFL who doesn't have time for love, and his personal assistant, who has been in love with him since they were children. Tenny, our heroine, realizes that she simply can't pine after Dominic any longer. She has a life to live, a career that she's always dreamed of starting, and a broken heart to mend, since he's never going to see her as anything other than his best friend. The book begins in a powerful moment of self-care, with her quitting her job as his assistant. And with that single event Dom, that professional, in-control unflappable QB, is in emotional chaos. You love to see it.
Jennifer Niven recommends The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick
I’m a sucker for romance and classic love stories, and one of my favorites is the otherworldly romance of Lucy Muir and Daniel Gregg in R.A. Dick’s The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Following the death of her super-controlling husband, widow Lucy rents a cottage by the sea that belonged to handsome late sea captain Gregg, now a ghostly inhabitant of his old home. They spar, they argue, sparks flying the whole while. She writes his memoir, she publishes a book, she comes into her own, and through it all he becomes her best friend and something more — the love of her life (as Lucy says, "They laugh in the same language.") It’s a love without boundaries, and — without spoilers — the ending makes me cry every time.
Michelle Osgood recommends The Art of Three by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese
My favorite love story from a romance novel is between Jamie, Callum, and Nerea in The Art of Three by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese — an age gap, polyamorous romance between an established older couple and one of their younger coworkers. The Art of Three takes care to depict a non-traditional, queer romance with compassion and authenticity, while highlighting the fact that women of a certain age are still captivating, passionate lovers, with as much right to pursue romance, sex, and joy as the rest of us.
EE Ottoman recommends A Taste of Honey by Rose Lerner
I love this honey sweet, sexy historical romance because it emphasizes how important good communication and owning our desires are in a relationship. Betsy and Robert talk, laugh and confront their needs, wants and insecurities frankly and directly. Who needs big misunderstandings in romance when good communication can lead to amazing hot kitchen sex!
Yolanda Wallace recommends Heart Block by Melissa Brayden
My favorite love story is the romance between business owner Emory Owen and hard-working single mom Sarah Matamoros in Melissa Brayden's Heart Block. The 'opposites attract' tale is sweet, funny, sexy, and touching at the same time. The characters stuck with me long after I finished reading the book and I often return to them whenever I need a literary escape from the real world.
Rebekah Weatherspoon recommends Captured by Beverly Jenkins
My favorite love story from a romance novel is the romance between Clare and Dominic in Beverly Jenkins' Captured. Captured was my first romance featuring Black central characters and I didn't realize what it would mean to me to read about a Black woman being loved so fully in the face of the dangers of slavery. Their love made me want more from the romances I was reading and writing. It made me want more for myself.