I’m not a frequenter of the romance aisle, but there’s no better time to start than on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’ve got a significant other this year or not, reading a classic romance novel is sure to get you in the loving mood. I recommend stocking up on some pink and red cupcakes, sugar cookies, and a box of chocolates before your dive into your new read — you’re sure to need them when the tears start flowing. I’ve got five recommendations for you to add to your list. Let’s get started!
1. “The Last Song” by Nicholas Sparks
This was the first book I ever read by the famous, modern day romance novelist, and I loved it. To this day, it’s my favorite book to read when I’m feeling down about love even though it leaves me in tears every time I read it. It’s about a rebellious teenage daughter, Ronnie, who goes to live at the beach with her dad and younger brother for a summer. Of course, she meets a handsome boy whom she falls in love with who she soon finds out is rich beyond her wildest dreams (but, of course, he wants nothing to do with the life his family has planned out for him). There are trials and tribulations with the new relationship as well as her father, but the story is incredibly sweet and reminds readers to cherish every moment spent with the people we love.
2. “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
If you’re looking to cry your eyes out on Valentine’s Day, Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is for you. The main romance is between a man, Henry, who has a gift that causes him to time travel unexpectedly and his wife, Clare. Henry has no control over when he time travels, where he travels to, or how long he will be there. This leads to large gaps in his life with Clare and dangerous situations that put his life on the line. Despite all the struggles they face in life, Henry and Clare are able to face them with the love they have for each other. Even though this is a heartbreaking story, it also teaches readers important lessons about patience and acceptance.
3. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Austen is a classic romance writer, who could forget her? “Pride and Prejudice” is probably her most famous novel with romantic partners like Mr. Darcy and Charles Bingley. Admittedly, I didn’t read this classic until a year ago, but I still rank it as one of the most romantic books to read during the season of love. Austen was known for writing female characters that challenged societal roles, and Elizabeth Bennet does not disappoint. A blend of wit and romance, “Pride and Prejudice” is the perfect Valentine’s read for all the single people out there.
4. “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell
This highly rated YA read is worth your time on Valentine’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of Rowell’s writing (unpopular opinion, I know), but I read this particular piece for a YA lit class I took in college, and I really loved dissecting it. Rowell creates two unique characters that feel like outsiders but find acceptance in each other. Though they have their own struggles, Eleanor and Park rely on each other for support during their tough times. It’s more than just a romance novel — it holds important messages about abuse, friendship, safety, and body image.
5. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K Rowling
I warned you that I don’t read a lot of romance novels! While not technically a love story, I think “The Half-Blood Prince” holds some of the most romantic scenes of the whole series. My absolute favorite moment is between Harry and Ginny when he finally kisses her in the middle of the Gryffindor common room after winning the Quidditch Cup. But Rowling also touches upon the other side of love — heartbreak. This is seen when Hermione realizes her feelings for Ron after he gets together with Lavender Brown, but it’s okay because they end up together in the final book. This is my favorite novel in the series despite Harry being overall pretty annoying (but ultimately right) about Malfoy. Harry Potter is never a bad option.
Whether you’ve got a beau or not, I hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day doing what you like to do best. Let me know your favorite romantic reads in the comments below.