4 Great Romance Novels (Because ‘Tis the Season)

My luck in the romance department has been shoddy at best, but unlike many super-single people, I don’t hate Valentine’s Day.  First of all, there’s usually a lot of chocolate involved, and it’s literally the only time of the year when it’s socially acceptable to read romance novels.  I know romance novels are infamous for their unrealistic portrayals, but I love them and don’t care what anyone thinks.  That being said, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite romance novels (with every occasion you'll need them for) because it’s that time of year.  

 

If You’re Sick of High School Romances:  Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

                

In her most recent novel, Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the largely untold (but true) love story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.  When Alex, an orphan immigrant trying to make a name for himself as a colonel in the Revolutionary War, and Eliza, a confident, patriarchy-smashing aristocrat, meet by chance at a party one fateful night, it’s love at first sight (sort of).  What sets this novel apart from other YA romances is not only its basis in history, but its more mature outlook on love.  Alex and Eliza are twenty-somethings as opposed to teenagers, and it’s not a story of first love, so their romance isn’t doomed to end in a break-up.  If you’re a fan of the Broadway musical Hamilton (which the novel is largely inspired by), a fan who is sick of angsty teen romances, or if you simply need a history fix, Alex and Eliza is a must-read.

If You’re Not Afraid to Cry: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

                     

My first foray into the romance genre was at the tender age of 15 with Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling novel, Eleanor and Park.  This is the first book I remember crying (okay, sobbing like a little baby) over, and for a good reason.  Rowell expertly captures the beauty and tragedy of first love.  Set over the course of their sophomore year of high school, the novel chronicles the development of a relationship between Park, a quintessential quiet kid, and Eleanor, the new girl from an abusive household.  Eleanor and Park are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but that won’t stop them from trying.  Even though the story ends tragically (which is why I cried), you’ll find yourself rooting for Eleanor and Park the whole way.  You’ll love this book if you’re a hopeless romantic, but it’s sure to warm even the coldest of hearts.

If You’re Proud to be Classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen is (in)famous for giving women unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships, and it’s not hard to see why.  Pride and Prejudice gave rise to one of the most swooned-over literary men of modern times: Mr. Darcy (unpopular opinion: I like Mr. Knightley from Emma more than Mr. Darcy, but that’s beside the point).  Let’s not forget the female lead, Elizabeth Bennet, with her wit, social savvy, and her truth-bombs about love and marriage.  Now, literally every novel Jane Austen ever wrote could easily have a spot on this list, but there’s no denying that Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s best (and most romantic) work.  If you’re an established Austen fan, it’s likely that you’ve read this already, but if you haven’t, then what are you waiting for?

If You’re a Movie Fan: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

            

The 2004 film The Notebook is one of the most iconic movies of our generation, but the Nicholas Sparks novel on which it was based doesn’t get quite as much love.  After the summer romance between Noah, a soldier in World War II, and Allie, a wealthy young woman, ends, Noah writes her reams of letters, which sets the stage for the tear-jerking novel.  Whether or not you’re a fan of romance movies, The Notebook is sure to move you.  

 

(All photos are from Amazon.com)