Collection of books on a pink background.

Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

Love – a four-letter word that encompasses so many emotions and feelings, and that is at the centre of some of the greatest stories ever told.

For readers who love nothing better than feeling the heady rush of that first crush, or basking in the warmth of the love between family or friends, we have the perfect set of books.

From traditional love stories to some more unusual choices, these seven books should be on the bookshelves of all fans of love. 

Frederica by Georgette Heyer (1965)

English novelist Georgette Heyer is your go-to author for Regency romances, as any of her fans (all of them very ardent about how brilliant she is) will attest.

All of those fans will also recommend a different place to begin your Heyer reading journey, but we’re personally fans of Frederica, a classic tale of a rich and bored man finding himself challenged by a woman.

The darling of the ton, the Marquis of Alverstoke is selfish and sees no reason to put himself out for anyone. But then a distant connection appeals to him for help. There, in the chaotic and large Merriville family he finds himself with no time to be bored, especially when he meets Frederica, who is more concerned with her family’s welfare than his attentions.

Funny and full of insights about the human heart, Frederica will have all romance fans sighing into their handkerchiefs. 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (2018)

Love sometimes comes with heartbreak, and that’s what journalist Dolly Alderton addresses in her first book Everything I Know About Love. This collection of essays addresses bad dates, squalid flat-shares, heartache and humiliation. But mostly, it’s a book through which female friendship and love between friends shines through. Witty and warm, this book will show you that the best love stories aren’t always romantic. 

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (1993)

Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy is an epic love story, set in India and following four middle-class families. This is a book about how we can’t control who we fall in love with, and how love alone sometimes isn’t enough to fight against all the forces that don’t want you to be with your chosen one. Against a backdrop of post-Partition India, Seth explores family, friendship, politics and society. This full cast recording  is an award-winning BBC Radio 4 adaptation. 

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, trans by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel (2009-2012)

When you say “love story”, Haruki Murakami may not be the first author to spring to mind, but bear with us when we say that every fan of love should read the 1Q84 trilogy. Set in the year of its title, the world of the book takes place in a land where there are two moons in the sky. Under these moons, the fates of two people – Aeomame and her childhood love, Tengo  – are closely intertwined, and there seems no way to both to be saved. The story takes place over two volumes, split into three books. 

The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill (2020)

In poet Nikita Gill’s new book we follow Paro, a girl with a strong will and full heart born into a family reeling from the ruptures of Partition. The Girl and the Goddess is a story of her journey from childhood through teenage discovery and into adulthood. It’s a book about love lost and gained, fragmented family and healing from trauma. And it’s most a book about how it’s essential we love ourselves, so we can learn and grow into the person we’re meant to become. 

A Love Story for Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan (2019)

Emma Morgan’s book is not just one love story, it’s three. Grace, single and the envy of all her straight friends, meets a beautiful woman at a party and falls desperately in love. Also at the party is Annie, who meets the man of her dreams. And across the city is Violet, who is falling in love with a woman for the first time. A moving and funny novel about heartbreak, sex and, above all, love. 

You can add all the books featured here to your Amazon shopping basket by clicking here.

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