Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Love Stories


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic, in honor of Valentine’s Day I’m assuming, is a Love Freebie.  I actually used to read quite a bit of romance, and I’ve already done a favorite couple’s post in the past.  You’ll probably see a few of the same couple’s here, but hopefully there are a couple new ones also.  I’m going with favorite love stories- so not everything here falls strictly into the romance category.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ll go ahead and get the easy one out of the way.  Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy don’t have quite an enemies to lovers romance, but it was probably a prototype for that.  It certainly doesn’t start out with googly eyes.

The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning – So it’s paranormal fantasy, but it’s also primarily a romance.  This has a “love is the path to redemption” trope, which feels a little outdated now, but Moning made it work in the best way.  Adam is an immortal Fae cast out from Faery.  Gabrielle is just a simple law student, and the only person who can see Adam.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – This is probably the only tragic romance I’ll ever read (knowingly anyway).  The relationship between Roxane Coss and Katsumi Hosokawa is devastating, and I was blubbering like a baby whale by the end of it.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – A historical fantasy romance.  Jamie and Claire’s relationship isn’t perfect, and sometimes it’s downright traumatizing, but these two just had some great chemistry on the page.  I’d keep reading these books, but they’re all like 800 pages long, and I’m not entirely confident the story is headed where I want it to since some future parts have been spoiled for me.  Either way- this was a great book.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – What I loved so much about this story was the obstacles each person had to overcome within themselves to be able to go on to love the other person.  That they accepted each other in the end as they were was just so uplifting to me.  Omat and Brandr quickly went on to be one of my favorite couples of all time. (Review here)

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys – This was another surprise favorite from last year.  It’s historical fiction more than it is even romance, but the romance between Ana and Daniel was one of my favorite parts.  Their story follows a “lovers from opposite sides of the tracks” trope. (Review here)


The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal – Including this is probably cheating, since it’s not even remotely a love story, and Elma and Nathaniel York are already very much in love when we “meet” them.  But they are still one of the cutest and most romantic couples in fiction.  I’m including a link to The Lady Astronaut of Mars because to me, it’s so important to their story, and made their romance in TCS that much sweeter. (Review here)

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory – I’m not actually the biggest fan of Philippa Gregory, but I did love this book.  I loved not ever knowing if Edward IV would return to Elizabeth or be turned against her by his family.  Their’s is definitely a tumultuous relationship.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – This is another historical romance.  I keep meaning to read more of Kearsley because this one is such a favorite but other books keep taking precedence.  This is probably one of the sweeter relationships portrayed, and it’s a slow burn sort of romance.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning – Mac and Barrons are probably my favorite romantic couple of all time. Their story follows an enemies to lovers trope for sure.  I kind of gave up reading these, because I think the author needed to end it after book five and lost her way, but the Fever novels are some of the few I’ve reread.

And that’s it!  What are your favorite love stories?

39 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Love Stories

  1. It seems like Pride and Prejudice is one of those few romantic novels liked by people who otherwise can’t stand them. That it was written by someone who can actually write and think through her implications counts for a lot.

    I’ve never heard of the other novels, but I can probably conclude they’re still better love stories than Twilight. How can I tell? They’re not Twilight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh yeah. I used to get really annoyed when Twilight was popular and people would see me reading and then try to pitch me Twilight as “the greatest book/romance/love story ever”.

      I read a sample of it once. It was not for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • To be fair, I don’t think they’re for anyone who doesn’t suffer from hybristophilia. I think it really says something that despite how popular they were, the Twilight novels don’t really get brought up much anymore. Almost as though they had no staying power or something.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been meaning to try Moning’s writing for years. The Immortal Highlander and Darkfever have been on my physical shelf for years but I still haven’t tried them. I’m going to bump them up the list now, thanks Sarah 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved them both! I do sort of recommend reading the highlander novels first, because some of the characters come into play in later Fever books, but it’s not a big deal if you don’t. Between the two series, I prefer the Fever books though.


  3. Uh oh. I haven’t read Bel Canto yet, but it sounds like it’s going to require a whole box of tissues.

    I’ve actually been having trouble coming up with a list of my favorite love stories (which is why I didn’t do a TTT this week). I mean, I like reading them. I’m just drawing a blank when it comes to favorites, and that’s just odd. I think I’m going to blame it on not re-reading many books lately. That’s usually where my favorite love stories are, in my comfort read books.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s a lot of love stories, Sarah! I’d never be able to come up with so many good ones even at a gun point 😉 I see Bel Canto getting all the love though – never read it, so I’ll definitely keep this one in mind!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ugh. I love Bel Canto- but really, it’s depressing and I’ll never read it again. Get the tissues out. If you’re okay with that, go for it! It’s definitely worthy of the love it’s getting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Wolf and the Whale is one of the books I har earmarked for reading and have not managed to get to – yet. While I’m not very sanguine about love stories, I like what you say of the characters there, that they have to go on an inner journey before being able to form a bond. It sounds like a narrative thread I could enjoy. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

    • So- I loved The Wolf in the Whale. I read 500 pages all in one sitting and it has been a very long time since I had done that (and I haven’t done it since). It became a group read for my online book club and some readers loved it, and others felt it had problems. (Some felt that Brodsky was maybe not the right voice to tell this story since she is not Native American.)

      Another blogger, (I’ll see if I can dig up the review) felt that one of the characters was being portrayed as too sympathetic when in fact he was an awful person. I commented that I didn’t think it was intended to be read that way, but that I completely understood their side of it, and immediately felt bad that I hadn’t done my due diligence in warning them or others.

      So. There are content warnings. If you want to know them I’m happy to leave them in a comment. The book was a little divisive. But if you are truly looking for that sort of character arc, where the character has to accept themselves before they can accept the other person, then please do absolutely read it. It’s a book I will cherish forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I saw, in the various reviews I read, that this book did not receive unanimous comments, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been curious about it since then. When a story divides the audience in such a way, it usually means there is a huge “eye of the beholder” element factoring in, and that’s an incentive, rather than a deterrent to me 🙂
        Now let’s see when I can fit this book in my reading queue…. (((huge sigh of frustration))) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s one of my all time favorites too! If you’re looking for something specifically Scottish- that might not be the best one to start with since The Immortal Highlander is something else, but any of the other books in the Highlander series are well worth reading. I liked all of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I added Mary Robinette Kowal’s books to my TBR after I read this lengthy Twitter thread she created declaring why this who idea about creating space suits for women is so hard because they don’t pee like me is utter garbage. I was like, “Hey, this lady is dedicated to clearing the air around pee in space, and that’s for me.”

    Goodreads really, really wants me to read some Highlander book because I read the first couple of novels in The DescentVerse. I just can’t get past those meaty-man covers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL. This made me smile after a crappy day so thanks for that :). I mean… the meaty man covers probably give you a clue as to the content behind them. They aren’t misrepresenting anything. I prefer these at least to the colorful bodice ripper style covers. Those ones are the ones I can’t get past.

      Please do read Kowal!! I included a link to her short story above and its free to read. If that doesn’t move you/hook you nothing will. One of the best short stories I’ve ever read.


      • I’m not sure what about a romance novel hooks me. Some are squishy and I love them, some are tortured and I love them. It all depends, but I’m not sure on what it depends. If you’ve ever read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or watched the Hitchcock movie, you might wonder why people find it so romantic, but we really do!

        I’ve also read this post-modern book in which characters don’t have names, they’re just called their occupation, like “Mechanic.” Something happens and every starts doing the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. This book is NOT romance in the least, but one character left another a little pile of artistic dirt outside this guy’s door every day, and when he figured out what it meant, I cried like a doofus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve read books like that! I feel like it creates some distance between the story and reader though. One that I recent enjoyed that was very surreal and employed that trick was The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Was it called To Tame a Highland Warrior or something? Because it was her debut and it wasnt as good as the rest! It’s also the only one that feels completely independent of the other books. Definitely try some of the others. They follow mostly the same family of druids back and forth across time.

      Liked by 1 person

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