Classic Love Stories that Defy the Test of Time

There are times when a book’s love story fades because context changes. Jane Eyre may be a captivating novel centered on an intriguing protagonist, but Mr. Rochester’s secret in his attic does spoil any feeling I had to root for Jane's romantic storyline. And there are so many love stories in the world—not just romantic love—that can stand the test of time, and below we remember the ones that still hold up, and the new ones that will likely be considered classics soon.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is a classic in every sense of the word. There is something about Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett's romance that excites me every single time I have read this book. Darcy's line "In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" never fails to give me chills! The perfect Valentine's read. — Nicole

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

For a self-admitted cynicist, I find this book quite romantic, the classic line, “he is more myself than I am” is truly beautiful. Maybe I love this classic love story because it is quite dark and no one ends up entirely happy, but I cannot go past the undeniable love Cathy and Heathcliff have for one another. — Courtney

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I didn’t know that a borderline sappy and unrealistic romance between a president’s son and a prince would have me realizing that the real love story here is one of kindness and decency between human beings. It made me wistful. — Jessica Maria

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How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

This 2019 debut memoir is described as a coming of age story, but I found it to be a beautiful love letter from Saeed to his mother. It is gorgeously breathtaking and will stand the test of time. The ending turned me into a puddle on the floor and it made me immediately call my mother and tell her how much I miss her. — Maggie

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Census by Jesse Ball

In an odd and vague dystopian future, a man knows he is going to die. But he’s most worried about his son who has Down syndrome, and who will care for him once he passes. In this prose-rich novel, the love of a father for his son shines through all the dystopian elements, and by the end I was left weeping. The author based the son’s character on his own late brother, who also had Down syndrome. — Jessica Maria

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is my perfect love story. It is rare that a week will go by and I won’t think about this book. It will be heavy in my heart forever. — Courtney

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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I first read this novel ten years ago and I never stop thinking about it. I have since reread it, listened to the audio, and watched the movie multiple times. The relationship between the characters is full of desire but never strays from feeling realistic. The language Aciman uses to express love and longing is unlike any other writer I have read. — Alex

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Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

A historical fiction novel based on real events and places in Uruguay, this tale of five queer women who find friendship and more with each other in a remote beach town during dictatorship resonates with tragedy, but love above all else. Much like the men in A Little Life, I won’t soon forget these five women. — Jessica Maria

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