Are you looking for a romantic book to read on Valentine’s day but the hold queue at the library for the most popular romantic reads is too long? Don’t fret! Remember the contemporary romance had to get their familiar tropes from somewhere, and most of the time, they evolved from the classics. So why not give those a try on this special day?!
Here I list great romantic classics you have immediate access to, meaning no waiting! All the links, except one, link to the website Project Gutenberg, a website where you can read and download books in the public domain for FREE! From Austen to Edgeworth, the listed books will provide you with your swoony needs:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The love and hate relationship between and Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy is an element that is used for most contemporary romance novels. Why not read where it originate from? But also, be entertained with wit and humor only Jane Austen can grace her readers with.
Evelina by Frances Burney
In it’s epistolary format, Evelina is not only a funny and sharp criticism of fashionable London society, it is an adorable coming of age love story but a young girl’s entry into the up and coming world and discovering love along the way.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
After reading Pride and Prejudice, North and South should definitely be the next one on your list! Margaret Hale is independent and opinionated, Mr. Thornton is harsh but misunderstood. Does that sound familiar? The love-hate relationship may be similar but this novel managed to not only capture the everyday rituals of people’s lives but provide a realistic view of Victorian England.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
This novel is not only displays lost loves returning or getting a second chance but it also displays what could happen when you follow your own heart and not listen to what other people have to say. If that doesn’t speak romance, I don’t know what does!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
While does this contain many romantic relationships ranging from Jo and Laurie and Meg and John and so on. But the love that I think is the most important in this book is the love between the sisters. Their love for one another has always endured with everything that is thrown their way and that is something we need to see for Valentine’s Day.
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn
When Prince Oroonoko’s passion for the virtuous Imoinda arouses the jealousy of his grandfather, the lovers are cast into slavery and transported from Africa to the colony of Surinam. Oroonoko’s noble bearing soon wins the respect of his English captors, but his struggle for freedom brings about his destruction. (Credit: Penguin Classics)
The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox
The Female Quixote, a vivacious and ironical novel parodying the style of Cervantes, portrays Arabella, the beautiful daughter of a marquis, whose passion for reading romances colors her approach to her own life and causes many comical and melodramatic misunderstandings among her relatives and admirers. (Credit: Oxford World’s Classics)
The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe
Want to read a gothic novel? Read one by the author who is crediting for starting the genre! Set in a Roman Catholic Europe of violent passions and extreme oppression, the novel follows the fate of its heroine Adeline, who is mysteriously placed under the protection of a family fleeing Paris for debt. They take refuge in a ruined abbey in south-eastern France, where sinister relics of the past – a skeleton, a manuscript, and a rusty dagger – are discovered in concealed rooms. Adeline finds herself at the mercy of the abbey’s proprietor, a libidinous Marquis whose attentions finally force her to contemplate escape to distant regions. (Credit: Oxford World’s Classics)
Helen by Maria Edgeworth
Jane Austen may have been more popular than her but Maria Edgeworth is not someone who should be counted out! And her creativity and expertise is wonderfully displayed in her writing, particularly in this one. Newly orphaned Helen Stanley is urged to share the home of her childhood friend Lady Cecilia. This charming socialite, however, is withholding secrets and soon Helen is drawn into a web of ‘white lies’ and evasions that threaten not only her hopes for marriage but her very place in society. (Credit: Sort of Books)
Marriage by Susan Ferrier
Considered to be the Scottish version of Austen, Marriage is seen as a “shrewdly observant tale of a young woman’s struggles with parental authority and courtship”. Any romance fan would want to read this delightful comedy of manners on Valentine’s Day.