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Romantic novels. Even the most adamant of all self proclaimed cynics to love have, at one point of time, sneakily read, even liked a few. Some of us like them sappy, some of us like them tongue in cheek, some of us are suckers for a happy ending, others relish in the melancholy of tragic love stories.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is the ultimate tale of doomed love. Spanning across generations, with the thwarted love of Heathcliff and Cathy at its center, this is a dark tale of the sinister potentials of passion. A true classic, this is a romance that has fascinated readers across time.
2.Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Contrary to Emily Bronte’s portrayal of a wild heroine who cannot be confined by the mores of society, her sister Charlotte’s novel features a prim, docile governess who falls in love with her employer. Replete with tropes of the dark Gothic genre, underlined with tones of moral complexity, this is one of the classic love stories everybody should read.
3.Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a chronicler of love stories in possession of any sense, must be considering the inclusion of this classic. The phenomenally popular novel that has been adopted repeatedly into movies and inspired further literature, from P.D. James to Bridget Jones, it is the love story of Elizabeth Bennett and the initially cold Mr Darcy.
4. Emma by Jane Austen
Emma is another exemplary work by Austen-the story of the heroine who is so busy forming matches among her acquaintances that she is negligent of love blossoming in her own quarters. This is a story that has been both adapted into movies and reimagined over and over again, in the 90s film Clueless as well as closer home, in Sonam Kapoor starrer Aisha.
5.Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
A classic by Tolstoy, this features two parallel love stories- a married socialite’s with Count Vronsky and that of a certain Konstantin Levin’s wooing of his beloved Kitty. Sharp on social commentary and deeply subversive, this is a classic that uses romance to inaugurate discourses on a wide variety of topics.
6.Love Story by Eric Segal
This is a love story characterized by a charming simplicity of narration. A tale on love that is doomed- but infinite in the potentials of redemption and upliftment that it offers, this is one of the most beautifully crafted, bittersweet love stories.
7.Love In The Time Of Cholera
A novel originally in Spanish and perhaps the most iconic of Marquez’s many masterpieces, this is the story of a timeless, unchanging love. A tale of reunited lovers, and of a love that withstands distance and time, this is a story rendered all the more beautiful by Marquez’s simple lyricism.
8.The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton
A critique of American high society in the late 19th century, this is a tragic tale of love never consummated- the story of a man’s love for her fiancee’s divorced cousin. Subtle yet poignant, this is a story that has been sustained in its hold on the popular imagination- evoked, for example, in Gossip Girl to highlight the continued hypocrisy of high society.
9.Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
At the heart of the collection of Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories is the story from which the compilation derives its title. A story of a tourist guide’s attraction towards a married woman in a family vacationing in their native country, this is a story on the impossibility of love and a study on class, culture and other social divides- a story on the confluences and tensions between the diasporic and the resident Indian identities.
10.Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables is a coming of age story, and the subsequent novels in the series chronicle the journey of the lead, Anne Shirley, through life as she takes on the world. Set in the fictional village of Avonlea in the Prince Edward Islands, this is a book rendered immensely enjoyable by Montgomery’s wit, her finesse at bringing to life the grandeur of the Canadian landscape and the endearing character that is Anne Shirley. Spanning across the books is also one of the loveliest love stories ever told- Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe maturing into friendship from enmity, and subsequently, into love.