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In Honor of Valentines, My Top 7 Love Stories

Feb 10, 2021

Ahhh, love is in the air as Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I felt like I should keep with my holiday tradition of sharing my favorite books. So, today I offer you my Top 7 Love Stories. Love and romance—it’s not only complicated in real life, but it’s also complicated as a genre, and where does one draw the line. Are all love stories considered to be romance novels? 

The best answer I found to that question was by Sarah Trompe on BookBrowse blog. Here’s a brief recapture of the differences between the two:

Plot
For a ROMANCE, the relationship is the plot, and point, of the story. The central tension is based around the question: How will they get together? 

In a LOVE STORY, there is a different story point and goal to be achieved--something besides love is at stake. The romantic relationship is a vehicle and/or complication to this story focus. Other relationships may be equally important to the main character. His or her growth and change is central, but the romantic relationship is part of that experience, not all of it.

Ending
ROMANCE stories guarantee the "Happily Ever After" ending. The two lovers need to end up together, and with an implied golden future. 

In LOVE STORIES, the two characters often are together and committed early in the storyline but circumstances will drive them apart to the point where they may or may not be together in the end.

Sometimes the best love stories are gut-wrenching because that is real life—remember, not all love stories end happily (think Romeo and Juliet). 

I discovered that Shakespeare and Jane Austen seem to have a corner on the historical romance market. And Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks have a corner on the more contemporary market.  

Here are my top 7 contemporary LOVE STORIES

  • A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. My number 1 favorite love story of all time. I could read it again and again.  If you’re going to watch it, get the Masterpiece Theater version. 
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. The movie doesn’t come close to capturing everything in the book but Lily James was perfect for the role of Juliet.
  • Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding. Hilarious book and movie. Loved them both.
  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Another Australian epic--it’s 54 years of the Cleary family in the Australian outback. Also, a TV mini-series was released in the 1980s. 
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The movie is in development as I write this.
  • The Winds of War by Herman Wouk. This was made into a TV mini-series. Way too long to watch on Valentine’s Day but worth watching.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Not really one of my favorite but I couldn’t have a love story list without adding this. And tied with Outlander is Princess Bride—the book, not the movie. Outlander is a movie and now on Netflix (be mindful of the sex scenes if your children are going to watch).

Do you love romance novels? Or do you gag and run at the thought of a romance novel? Or, like me, are you a fan of the love story with lots of historical research? 

What are your favorite swoon-ables? And which author do you think should be added to the list of best romance novel writers ever?

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