It’s the season of fright, but for readers who don’t love horrors it’s a great time to catch up on the classics. These love stories are written by the best authors of their day and remain relevant today. Here are ten classic love stories to make you swoon.
1. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Possibly the most well-known love story of all time, Romeo & Juliet laid the foundation for future authors to craft their own tragic love stories. This is a tale of two love torn teenagers whose families’ feud makes their love forbidden. They would rather die than be apart and sadly their fate is sealed. Romeo & Juliet is more than required high school reading; it is the greatest love story in history.
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre is personally my favorite classic novel. Bronte was ahead of her time in writing this epic coming of age story. While the love story between Eyre and Rochester binds the book together, it is Eyre’s journey to womanhood that makes the tale epic. Not your traditional classic love story, Eyre and Rochester must overcome deceit, distance. and distrust to find their way back to one another.
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Labeled as the favorite novel by many Jane Austen fans, Pride and Prejudice is Austen’s most well-known novel. Her tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy has captured romantics for generations. This literary romance ultimately ends with a wedding but not without touching on the sensitive subject of the financial dependency of women of the time on marriage.
4. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
Written in 1973, this modern classic reached fame in the 1980’s with the release of the instant cult movie, The Princess Bride. The love story between Buttercup and Westley leads to an epic journey for Westley. Goldman’s book gave us a few of the best quotable lines in literature: first, when Westley uses the words, “as you wish” to mean I love you, and later when the character Inigo Montoya says, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
5. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Mostly famously known for the musical stage adaptation, The Phantom of the Opera was written in 1910 by Leroux. The gothic romance was inspired by real events at the Paris Opera. This novel is a beautifully written love story but also a dark portrayal of obsession that leads to madness.
6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s tome offers a great contrast in romance. First, we have the tragic affair between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky. Their tale is one I would classify as almost an anti-love story. Then Tolstoy gives us the sweet romance between Kitty and Levin that is the heart of the book.
7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With the Wind is one of the bestselling novels of all time. The novel is famed because of the telling of the Civil War south during the war and reconstruction. Yet, the novel offers one of literary history’s most powerful love stories between Scarlett and Rhett.
8.Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel, and yet it is considered a literary classic. This story of unrequited love due to classism is still beloved by readers. The story of Catherine and Heathcliff follows the characters from their childhood friendship until their burial beside each other.
9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is another tragic love story. This is a story of great love and yet none of the romantic love is mutual. Esmeralda is loved by both Quasimodo and Claude Frollo and yet, while she has appreciation and compassion for Quasimodo, she does not love him romantically. Instead, she is in love with Captain Phoebus whose intentions are impure.
10. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary is yet another tragic love story. This classic novel tells the story of Emma Bovary, an unhappy wife whose desire to fulfill her romanized fantasies leads to disaster. Bovary never finds the meaning to her life she desires and, despite her rebellious behavior, is honored after her death by her ever faithful husband, Charles.
What classic love stories are your favorites?
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