Instead of an over-priced dinner at a crowded restaurant, you may want to consider a quiet night at home for Valentine’s Day with a good book. Below are 6 excellent classic novels renowned for their passion and romance.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Elizabeth Bennet, literature’s most perfect heroine, and her Mr. Darcy banter and battle through this beloved romance. Elizabeth – clever, sensible and pretty – initially loathes the pompous Darcy, but eventually comes around to the realization that desire takes many forms.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
It’s hard for any lover to measure up to Yuri Zhivago – after all, he searches revolutionary Russia — during it’s notorious winter, to boot — in pursuit of lover Lara. Theirs is an illicit, forbidden love (both are married – he to cousin Tanya and she to the violent Bolshevik general Strelnikov), but also one deep and abiding.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The most recently published novel on our list, The English Patient is an exercise in control and abandon. Before the outbreak of World War II, main character Almasy’s disdain of boundaries (national and personal) leads him into an illicit affair with Katharine Clifton, the wife of an acquaintance. As their ardor grows, World War II breaks out and Katharine’s husband discovers the affair, with tragic consequences.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Mitchell’s saga of the tumultuous life of antebellum vixen Scarlett O’Hara is one of the most famous novels of the 20th century (sales top 30,000,000 copies). Before, during and after the American Civil War, Scarlett imagines herself in love with weak-kneed, Southern gentleman Ashley Wilkes, but it’s obvious to everyone else that Rhett Butler is the perfect man for her.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
When meek and lowly governess Jane Eyre falls in love with her surly employer, Mr. Rochester, she is convinced nothing will come of it. She is wrong. A great Gothic novel, Jane Eyre is chock-full of yearning, misfortune and mystery.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Charlotte’s little sister added her own classic to the romance canon with Wuthering Heights, the story of Heathcliff and Catherine – lovers separated by class, pride and circumstance. Heathcliff’s unrelenting longing for Catherine transcends even death, as he prowls the moors, angry and alone.
Though many of the novels above don’t have stereotypically “happy” endings, each demonstrates the power and passion of love. Oh, and if you feel like “cheating,” each novel above has a movie adaptation…
Which novels have we missed? Please let us know in the comments below.