9 of the Greatest Love Stories Ever Written
Some people use Valentine’s as an excuse to binge on chocolate or romantic comedies, but we’re partial to rereading some of our favorite love stories. Notably these nine, which will never, ever get old.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
It’s been imitated a million times, but Austen’s classic about Elizabeth Bennet (and Mr. Darcy, of course) is not to be missed in its original form. There’s a reason there are so many knockoffs.
“Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Fermina and Florentino fall in and out of love about a zillion times over half a century in this passionate story set in an unnamed city in Colombia. Read it for the magical realism (we’re talking frequent jumps in time and place and a parrot that speaks French) and the reminder that finding love in old age is totally possible.
“Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak
It’s not light reading by any means (hi, 600-page novel set in post-revolution Russia), but Pasternak’s epic love story about a doctor who falls hard for another man’s wife is deeply passionate and worth the effort.
“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë
It’s kind of funny to think now that when it was published, Brontë’s story (her only novel) about the intense and magnetic attraction between Catherine and Heathcliff was considered vulgar and lurid, mostly because the protagonists eschewed the proper social graces and were highly unlikable. Also, it acknowledged the existence of sex—and was written by a woman.
“Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda
This collection of poems, widely considered Nobel Prize-winner Neruda’s best work, are so sexually charged, we’re blushing just thinking about them. One of our favorite, tamer lines is, "My love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine." Swoon.
“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
The title character is trapped in a loveless marriage when she gives in to the temptation of the handsome Count Vronsky. Their secret and dangerous affair, set to the backdrop of 19th-century Russia, is equal parts thrilling and tragic.
“Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell
Yes, it’s technically a YA book, but anyone who had a high school crush will relate to the title characters’ adorable young love, set in Omaha in the late 1980s.
“Americanah” by CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship will relate to the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, who fall in love in Nigeria as teenagers and then become separated when Ifemelu emigrates to America and Obinze is denied a visa post-9/11.
“Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet might be Shakespeare's best known lovers, but we're partial to Beatrice and Benedick, whose love-hate relationship, whip-smart insults and razor-sharp banter make their romance oh so Aaron Sorkin-ready.
“50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James