Each week, #DebutGirl and online writer Rebecca Sweeney, will be telling us about the books that have had a huge impact on her life, changed the way she thinks and encouraged her to make her debut in her chosen field.
This week, she counts down the top 10 literary offerings that every romantic women (or man) should make sure graces their nightstand…
I am not afraid to admit that I love a bit of chick-lit. In fact, whenever I compile a to-read list, which may I add is incredibly often, chick-lit novels usually make up about 50% of said list. There is nothing more heart-warming than a good old love story and so I thought I’d share with you some of my all-time favourites.
The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
In this genre, Sparks is somewhat of a legend, so much so that I just had to include two of his novels in this list. The Notebook tells the story of Allie and Noah, childhood sweethearts that get torn apart only to meet again. Not the most original concept, but thanks to a kick-ass blockbuster movie, the story has become phenomenon and it is truly impossible not to fall in love with both Allie and Noah and their relationship.
The Iliad – Homer
Is there a love story more romantic than that of Paris and Helen of Troy? This love story has become uber-glamorous thanks to a little film starring Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger but it is when you go back to the original text, dating back to approximately 760 BC, that you feel the power of this romance. A love so strong, it plunged the world into war. How epic (pun intended.)
You had me at Merlot – Lisa Dickenson
A very recent choice, this book is about two single friends feeling that they are the last ones on the shelf and book a spontaneous trip to Italy. Although the novel is quite predictable in parts, it is completely charming, heart-warming and will have you believing in the magic of romance.
The Fault in our Stars – John Green
Such a stunning story full of love and loss. I challenge anybody to read this and not weep. It tells the story of two people who meet at a cancer patient support group and fall in love while aiming to live their lives to the fullest. The characters, the story, the setting… everything about this novel is beautiful and romantic in all of the appropriate places.
The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
Unlike many romantic novels, this novel is completely unique in its concept and structure. In this novel, Barnett follows Jim and Eva, two Cambridge students, on three different journeys. The book is three different versions of the same love story; all equally interesting, all equally beautiful. This novel will help you to reevaluate your theories on what makes a great love story.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare
Love is a subject in which Shakespeare always returns and in this play particularly, he tackles the idea of the physical attraction not being a part of love and alludes to the idea that real love is so much more that. Shakespeare also suggests that marriage is true fulfilment of romantic love, not its other possible gains, suggesting two things; firstly, he was way ahead of the society of his time and secondly, he was a hopeless romantic himself.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Arguably, one of the best books ever written. In this classic, Austin is very subtle in her romanticism, so much so that many people have argued that this is not a romantic novel at all. Austen wrote in a time where relationships and marriage were made by people following sociological ideals and yet still managed to create a couple like Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, who completely went against this. The novel is also interestingly romantic because it shows how those who seemed to have ‘settled’ in their romantic life turned out to get their own happy ending.
A Room with a View – E.M Forster
Published in 1908 during a time when women were beginning to find their voices (the suffragette movement was gaining strong ground during this decade,) the protagonist Lucy personifies the impressionable generation that are breaking social norms. Without giving too much away, Lucy is faced with the difficult task of trying to live a free life with the man she loves. This novel is glorious and should be read.
One Day – David Nicholls
This novel is so romantic because it questions whether or not love is really that hard? And answers with yes it is, and timing is everything, but when two people really love each other, there comes a point where you have to go for it. A part of what makes this book fantastic is the honesty when telling of the difficulties of romance when life gets in the way and yet still, people gravitate back towards one another.
A Walk to Remember – Nicholas Sparks
The second of Spark’s novel to make the list. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put two novels by the same author in one list (I tend to finally settle on the best suited one) but if you’ve read this book, you will understand why it had to make the list. The novel is tragic and sorrowful in parts (Sparks is great at getting a reader weeping) but the teenage love story within all of this sadness will stay with you long after you close the last page.
Words: Rebecca Sweeney
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