Top Ten Timeless Love Stories

Reader’s Digest came up with a list of the top ten “favorite, timeless love stories that go above and beyond basic romance.” Have you read any of the books or watched the movies on this list and can you pick a favorite? My favorite is Outlander and as much as I’m loving the TV series I believe the book was better.


  1. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1977) Set in 1915 Australia, this remarkable saga chronicles the forbidden love between a beautiful, headstrong young girl and a priest. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll stay up way too late reading this fabulous story.


  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë/Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (both 1847) Really, how can you pick one Brontë over the other? Who is more romantic, Heathcliff or Mr. Rochester? Whose moors are mistier, whose foggy English countryside is more moody, whose manor house is more creepy? It’s a tie — both timeless romances are not to be missed.


  1. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (1992) Haunting and beautiful, Ondaatje’s award-winning novel tells the story of four war-damaged souls living in an Italian monastery at the end of WWII, and the love story between two of them, the exhausted nurse Hana, and the severely burned unnamed English patient. Unforgettably unique.


  1. True Believers by Nicholas Sparks (2005) The latest 4-hanky love story by the master of sweet, heartwarming romantic tales. This one features a hotshot New York journalist and a plain-speaking Southern librarian, both of whom have been hurt by love before. Their differences are forgotten when love blossoms in this wonderfully escapist romantic read.


  1. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (1969) A Victorian gentleman is engaged to a wealthy and suitable woman, but when he encounters a beautiful, mysterious woman rumored to be the forsaken lover of a French lieutenant, he becomes utterly smitten. Truly magnificent entertainment.


6. Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts (2002) Passion abounds in this romance set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where the rough-hewn Seth Quinn wins over Drusilla, the town’s icy beauty. Great characters, great dialogue, fun and steamy scenes. True, Roberts has written a gazillion love stories, but this one is a real standout.


7. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) An aging butler named Stevens, who has performed his job to perfection for more than three decades, reflects on his life. But underneath his controlled exterior lurks a passionate and romantic soul that has been quashed during his years of unblemished service. In the twilight of his life, Stevens learns what love is all about. A fine literary novel.


8. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877) Trapped in a loveless marriage, Anna Karenina succumbs to temptation and embarks on a dangerous affair with the handsome Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds amid the canvas of 19th-century Russia, in the most famous of doomed love stories. A memorable and enduring classic.


9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991) A powerhouse time-travel romance, this is the first in Gabaldon’s hugely successful series. Strong, beautiful Claire Randall leads a double life, married to a man in one century, with a lover in another century. Filled with humor, passion, wit and wonderful Scottish scenery, this is one fast read for a 600-plus page book. Enjoy the wallow!


  1. Follow the Stars Home by Luanne Rice (2000) If you choose the wrong love, can you save your life from ruin? Years ago, thirtysomething Dianne married the wrong man — the sexy lobster fisherman — and not his kindly pediatrician brother. Years later, after tragedy strikes, can she reverse her bad fortune? Grab your tissues and find out in this touching weeper.

Happy Reading,



16 thoughts on “Top Ten Timeless Love Stories

  1. I read Anna Karenina for a World Lit class in HS ( a long time ago!). I remember it being tragic, but not much else. I have that Nora book & series, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I have read a bunch of Sparks books, but not this one. They make me nervous because a lot of his books don’t have a happy outcome. If this does, I would give it a shot. I have read The Thorn Birds & Wuthering Heights. I did pull an all nighter reading The Thorn Birds. I would never read it again, though. I watched the movie fro The English Patient – hated it! Overall, since I require a HEA, probably Nora’s book is the one I would most likely read.

  2. I loved The Thorn Birds I also loved Wuthering Heights, I had to read it in high school and I loved it so much. I have also read The English Patient and True Believer both good books. All great love stories!!

  3. My mom thought she didn’t like reading a book until my aunt talked her into reading THE THORN BIRDS. After that, Mom became an avid reader. On the other hand, I’ve always been an avid reader. By the way, my mom was one of your devoted fans!

    • Caroline–my mother gave me The Thorn Birds years ago and told me I needed to read it 🙂 Funny how one book can change a person’s life and turn them into a “reader”. That’s sweet of you to tell me your mother enjoyed my books. My mother passed away in 2006 so she hadn’t ready very many of my books–I like to imagine that I’m in her TBR pile up in Heaven 🙂

  4. I’ve read five of these books and loved them all. My top three picks are The Thorn Birds, Wuthering Heights and Outlander. The books of course were all better than the movie or TV versions, but all have been done very well.

  5. I’ve read Thorn Birds, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and French Lieutenant’s Woman. All of
    them are on my favorites list. I’ve put the others on my TBR list!!

  6. Oh wow I haven’t read any of these but I do have the Outlander on my kindle cloud, I am going to have to find it and read it. So many books and so little time to read.

  7. I did love The Thorn Birds. The book over the mini-series. Characters come alive in my head. I rarely like the movie more than a book. I can see why The Thorn Birds in number 1 on that list. It is a classic.

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