Romantic reads to get you where it hurts

Even if you’re not a romantic at heart, these romantic reads will get you where it hurts. Here’s my list of favourite tales of love, romance and relationships; some are bittersweet, some heart-warming, and some are simply practical.

Gigi

By Colette. Publisher: Vintage Classics. ISBN: 9780099422754

Gigi is a Belle Époque fairy tale that deals with “the honourable habits of women who have lost their honour”. Under the careful tutelage of aunt Alicia and madame Alvarez, Gigi is groomed for a career as a courtesan. Her world is turned on its head when she finds herself the object of affection by long-term family friend Gaston Lachaille, a millionaire playboy.

This expertly woven tale is rich in character and the dialogue so pithy, that the pages seem to turn unaided.  However, it is Gigi’s refreshing approach to love which gets me every time: “I would rather be miserable with you than without you”. Lose yourself in the heady thrill of the Belle Époque in that most romantic City of Light.

The Ladybird Book of Dating

By Jason Hazeley, Joel Morris. Publisher: Penguin. ISBN: 9780718183578

the Ladybird Book of Dating

This guide to dating, with useful explanatory pictures, gives valuable advice on how to deal with situations such as: The Third Date Quandary – do we break up or get married? It also provides charming insights into the different date preparation rituals utilised by men and women: “Chris has prepared by doing up most of the buttons on his shirt, and tidying his fringe with spit”. And that comforting reminder that your soulmate is likely to be found not on the other side of the world but: “fairly nearby, and reasonably drunk”.

Take heart people, Ladybird has got you covered, and failing that, it will certainly provide you with a really good giggle.

One Day

By David Nicholls.  Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton. ISBN: 9780340896983

One Day David Nicholls

Even now I still think this is an inspiring premise for a book; it’s 1988 and we bear witness to the first meeting of Dexter and Emma as they graduate from Edinburgh University, and then catch up with them on the same day, every year, for a lifetime. It’s an utterly brilliant romantic comedy, at points hilarious and others so poignant that tears of laughter and sadness will mingle on your cheeks. It’s also a bitingly witty commentary on our recent social history and a gorgeous tale of friendship and love.

Nicholls is a brilliant writer, the characterisation so vivid and the situations so beautifully observed, you will finish this book with two new best friends and an aching heart.

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen. Publisher: Vintage Classics. ISBN: 9780099511151

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I love this book, and images of Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy in a sodden and unbuttoned white shirt, courtesy of the BBC adaptation, had a strong influence on my romantic aspirations for a number of years. This Jane Austen classic details the lives of the Bennet family; five sisters looking for a good match not best aided by their neurotic mother and gently sardonic father. Although the book centres on the will they/ won’t they thrill of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, all love is here; sisterly, familial, platonic, practical, passionate, and true.

Love in the Time of Cholera

By Gabriel García Márquez. Publisher: Penguin Classics. ISBN: 9780141189208

love in the time of cholera

This decadent, richly descriptive novel captures the heady intensity of first love between the young Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, until Fermina ends it and marries someone else. With his exquisite skills of observation, García Márquez explores the full spectrum of relationships. Be it first love, where a casual glance can herald the “beginning of a cataclysm of love that still had not ended half a century later,” to the familiarity of married life and the trivial game playing which is one of the “many dangerous pleasures of domestic love”. This witty and intoxicating fiction, captures so well the charms, pitfalls, and variants of love and relationships.

What are your favourite romantic reads? Tell us in the comments below.

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Caroline Woodward-Court

Caroline is Khoollect's resident book reviewer. This lady has had her noses in books since she can r...

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If you’re an avid reader and want more great book recommendations, check out Caroline’s review of Happiness by Design, her books to curl up withand her all time favourite reads.

You can also find out more about Khoollect book reviewer Caroline Woodward-Court here.