I must confess that I don’t like cliche romantic books because I find them boring and predictable. However, I enjoy a good, realistic love tale. So because in a few days people will celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a list of 10 books about love which are not cheesy and I enjoyed reading them very much (even though some of them don’t have a happy ending):
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In the very beginning of “Love in the Time of Cholera“, you might say that Gabriel Garcia Marquez is talking about the same old love story: Florentina and Fermino fall immediately in love with each other, after lots of love letters and shy confessions. But Florentina’s father doesn’t agree with their relationship, as Fermino was very poor. So he obligates his daughter to marry doctor Juvenal, a young, respectable man.
The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love.
All this time, Fermino doesn’t give up and promises himself and Florentina to wait for her until she is a free woman again. Gabriel Garcia Marquez strews the wait of Fermino with physical delights, Fermino himself being proud of the many women he had in half a century (622)
Atonement – Ian McEwan
“Atonement” is that kind of book that will break your heart. The kind of story in which you will probably hate the main character, but you will keep reading it due to the fact it is so wonderfully written.
Find you, love you, marry you, and live without shame.
Briony Tallis is a 13 years old rich girl with a talent for writing and a very big imagination. Her older sister Cecilia, has a romantic involvement with Robbie, the housekeeper’s son. Briony doesn’t understand their relationship and thinks of Robbie as a rapist maniac. So when her cousin, Lola, is actually raped, Bryony stands and accuses Robbie of the crime even though she knows that she lies.
World War II starts and from here, till the end of the novel you will need a lot of napkins with you.
“Atonement” is a sad story. A tragic story you can say, but it is definitely a book about love, so this is why it has a very big place on my list
Anna Karenina – Lev Tolstoy
If you’ve read my previous article, you might be thinking that I use Tolstoy’s story repeatedly from lack of inspiration. I want to tell you that this is definitely not the case. I think that “Anna Karenina” is one of the most realistic and amazing love stories ever written.
Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.
In the beginning, we meet Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky (Stiva) who has been unfaithful to his wife, Princess Darya Alexandrovna (Dolly). To set things back between the married couple, Stiva’s sister Anna Arkadyevna Karenina comes to visit them.
At her arrival, she witnesses how a railway worker accidentally falls in front of a train and is killed. Anna considers this a very bad sign. Along with her brother, who waits for her, she also meets the young army officer, Vronsky, who is bewitched by the countess from the first second he lays eyes on her.
I could talk for hours about the love implications from this story, but I won’t because it is such a wonderful tale that it would be a shame to spoil the surprise of the discovery.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
I will say from the start that “Pride and Prejudice” is on this list due to my ultimate book crush on Mr. Darcy.
We are all fools in love
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five girls, but most of the action is about Lizzie who isn’t what could be called a typical young girl in the 1800s period. The plot is quite simple. When an eligible wealthy bachelor, Mr. Bingley, comes to town, Mrs. Bennet, decides that he has to choose one of her girls to marry. So, when he starts to fancy Jane, the older sister, everything looks to go on the right track. But of course, if all the novel would be around this love story it would have been cheesy and boring (especially for me). So when Lizzie, with her volcanic temperament, meets the dark and enigmatic Mr. Darcy everything becomes fascinating.
High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
First of all “High Fidelity” is a funny book. It happens to be around the main character’s love life and this is why I am mentioning it (although I must confess I did like the movie better).
Rob Fleming, who is in his mid-thirties, owns a record shop in Camden Town, London and has just been dumped. Along with Rob, you will find Dick and Barry, his employees with whom he creates “top-five” lists for everything.
Well, I’d like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song.
All the book, he talks about all the relationships he had and tries to win back his ex-girlfriend. On the tunes of the “Monday Morning tape” which states too much happiness for Rob, with “Walking on Sunshine.” as the first single, you will smile at each paragraph. So if you want a funny book about love, then this is the one for you.
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
I love all the books that I read by Charles Dickens, but “Great Expectation” is definitely my favorite one. So what is it about?
It’s about Pip, who is an orphan. Pip who at a very young age falls in love with Estella, the adopted daughter of the wealthy Miss Havisham whom he visits regularly at her request. However, Estella is hostile to Pip and doesn’t return his feelings. When he is old enough, Miss Havisham helps Pip to become an apprentice blacksmith and he no longer has reason to contact them.
Years pass, the two children who are now grown ups, meet again, but the feelings of neither of them had changed.
I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.
I remember how much I hated Estella when I read the book. I also remember that I was glad the story had a happy end. However, I wonder now as an adult if the ending was really happy or it was just my teenage way of thinking.
Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
I know that Murakami is not an author that everybody enjoys reading, but I think “Norwegian Wood” is a great love story if you want to read something deep and not cheesy.
I was always hungry for love. Just once, I wanted to know what it was like to get my fill of it — to be fed so much love I couldn’t take any more. Just once.
Haruki Murakami writes down the story of a Japanese guy, Toru Watanabe and his love for Naoko, the girlfriend of his dead friend. Their complicated student relationship takes place into the strange atmosphere of the ‘60s and it is accompanied by sexual scenes, musical soirees in the student’s hall, images of death, big hopes and hard disappointments.
The book is written as a journal, with pretty many descriptions, deep thoughts, and carefully chosen words
Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
“Master and Margarita” is definitely not a book you will see in most Valentine’s Day book suggestions, but I am positive it should be in mine.
Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar’s vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!
The story has as its central character the Devil who chooses the communist Moscow to throw his ball. The Devil presents himself to the world as a magician and has as assistants two weird men, a beautiful woman, and a big cat. The narrative is much to complex to be described in a short presentation, so I will let the readers discover themselves who are the Master and Margarita and what is their connection to the “Prince of Darkness.”
This is not an easy lecture, but if you manage to read it you will fill fuller. So, if you are looking for an iconic classic, or just for a book that gets you thinking about life and love, then this is a perfect story for you.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
“Jane Eyre” is another classic romantic story that I recommend. The protagonist, as the title says, is Jane. After a rough childhood, she advertises her services as a governess and she is offered a position to teach Adele Varens. The master of the house is Edward Rochester but is not clear to Jane if he is Adele’s father or not.
I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you
“Jane Eyre” is somehow a dark and mysterious story, but I still remember how much I enjoy reading it as a teenager, so I still think it is a perfect romantic book.
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
I can’t decide if this story is cheesy or not, but I appreciate its ending so this is why it has a place on my list.
I know this isn’t a conventional love story.
Louisa Clark lives with her family, has a relationship with a man with who she doesn’t have much in common and has an interesting taste in clothes.
When she loses her job at the local cafe, she receives an offer to work in the help care of Will Traynor, a young man who developed quadriplegia after an accident. Even though their relationship starts bad, the two soon become very close.
So if you are looking for a book that can be cheesy an also no be cheesy at the same time, put your hand on “Me Before You”.
Do you have a favorite romantic book that you read this time of year?