Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Romantic Books That Aren’t Romance


Happy Valentine’s Day, Readers!

I know this can be a bit of a charged holiday for some, so I’m sorry that you’re probably being inundated with red hearts and roses but hey, at least it’s nearly over.

As for me, I love everything about this holiday and feel the cheesier the better. Even though this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, we won’t be going out. On the first Valentine’s Day my husband and I spent together, we had just moved in with each other and had nothing left over after deposits and moving costs. I know he felt bad about it, but honestly it ended up being a really nice night.

He splurged on some steaks and cooked a very romantic meal for us to have by candlelight at home. So that’s become our tradition! While the steaks have gotten a bit better in quality, the theme stays the same. I’ll be covering our dining room in hearts and flowers while he’ll cook us up some steaks. It’s always a perfectly intimate and chill night. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And that brings us to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I don’t read what would normally be classed as romance novels, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t read books with some incredible love stories. This week is a Love Freebie so I decided to list the books I’ve read with love stories that got me right in the feels.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


My favorite book of all time which also happens to be my mother’s favorite book, too. She bought me a copy in high school and I devoured it. I don’t re-read books often, but I’ve read this one a few times. And I love the Alfred Hitchcock adaptation!

Our poor unnamed narrator is brought back to the manor home of her new husband after a whirlwind romance in Europe, only to find that there are many dark secrets hidden within the manor’s halls. Part horror, part mystery, and part romance, this story is absolutely perfect with some of the greatest literary villains ever created.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


It took me so long to finally read this revered classic. I read it a couple of years ago and could have kicked myself for not reading it sooner. Even though Mr. Rochester was a bit of a monster, I fell for Jane’s romance with him out on the misty moors. When I got to that iconic line toward the end my heart swooned.

I feel it’s also important to note that for the time, Jane was a bit of a badass. She went out into the world alone and stood up for herself in a society that would see her be meek and acquiescent. That man seriously had to earn her.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


Set during the peak of the French Revolution, romance isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the era. Even though it wasn’t necessarily the central theme of the book, it was an integral part. Because of the power of love (unrequited at that), a man makes the greatest sacrifice a person can make. The famous lines, “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done: it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known,” made me ugly cry.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence


Originally privately published in the 1920’s, it wasn’t until the uncensored version was published in 1960 that this book came into the spotlight. Penguin Books was put on trial for obscenity after its publication, a trial that they ultimately won and led to millions of copies of the book being sold.

Even though it’s unique in its depiction of sexual encounters, that really isn’t the main takeaway you should have from Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It is about personal fulfillment and satisfaction both mind and body, and also recognizing that you deserve to be fully appreciated and respected.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


A tragic story about the realities of marriage and status in provincial France. Emma Bovary expected her marriage to a doctor to instantly make her feel eternally happy and raise her up in the world, but she soon realizes married life is not what she expected. Bored and feeling unfulfilled, she begins an affair and starts to wildly spend money on extravagances, hoping she’ll finally feel complete.

Spoiler alert: She doesn’t.

Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare


What list of love stories would be complete without Romeo and Juliet? Sure, it’s a little problematic that a three day relationship between two teenagers ended up with the deaths of so many people, but it’s still a staple in romantic literary tales.

Persuasion by Jane Austen


Another one given to me by my mother, this is the Jane Austen novel both of us enjoyed the most. The last fully written novel Austen wrote before her death, it’s much more mature than her other novels. The main character Anne Elliot is much older than Austen’s previous heroines and is rapidly approaching the age where society would deem her too old for marriage.

Is it too late for her to find love and keep afloat amidst the precarious balancing act that is Georgian society? As if! Not if this strong woman has anything to say about it.

For an interesting take on the novel that compares it to Kung Fu, take a peek at this Guardian article.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman


Despite the movie being utterly phenomenal, the book is even better. It’s one of the few books that had me laughing hysterically out loud. It definitely deserves a re-read.

Black Sun by Edward Abbey


A book I read in college that really stuck with me. Set in the Grand Canyon and influenced by Abbey’s time as a park ranger, this story is more than the relationship he develops with a hiker. It’s also about the beauty and majesty of the American southwest and the love and connection a person can have in such a raw, awe-inspiring place.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows


I totally read this on a whim not expecting to like it. Boy was I wrong! It was sooo delightful. It also taught me about a period of WWII I had never given much thought to, the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.

Yes, there was a satisfying romance in it, but there was also another theme bursting from the pages: that you can make the most meaningful of human connections in the oddest and most brutal of circumstances.

Have you read any of these? And which books made it to your TTT? Any plans for Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Romantic Books That Aren’t Romance”

  1. Lots of classics! And for good reasons. I have read 5 of them and Rebecca has been on my list forever. Madame Bovary was so incredible, especially considering it was translated. The Princess Bride and The Guernsey etc are favourites of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both are awesome books. As for Persuasion, that article I linked above had a quote in it that really makes me want to go to Lyme Regis even more now haha:

      ‘..the famous (if possibly apocryphal) story of Lord Tennyson interrupting his friends on a visit to Lyme Regis when they started talking about the 1685 rebellion and demanding: “Don’t talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth, show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell.” It’s exactly what I’ll be trying to picture next time I visit Lyme Regis.’


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