Does your ideal Valentine’s Day involve pouring yourself a glass of wine, grabbing a box of chocolates, and sitting down to read a good book? Or perhaps you want to curl up in bed with your partner after your romantic day and read until you fall asleep. Either way, here are some perfect love stories to kick off or end you Valentine’s Day festivities with.
Two classic writers best known for their love stories are Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, but this Valentine’s Day, consider picking up one of their works that isn’t the obvious choice. Though Pride and Prejudice is her most famous book, Persuasion is arguably far more romantic, featuring thwarted romance, mutual pining, and a love letter. Romeo and Juliet are a bland couple in comparison to Beatrice and Benedick from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. With their vicious and snarky banter, they are the OG enemies-to-lovers, and their story ends in happily ever after instead of multiple deaths (far more romantic, if you ask me).
The only thing better than a romance is a royal romance. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan and Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston both focus on Americans falling in love with British princes. The Royal We follows average American Bex Porter as she falls into a William/Kate-esque relationship with Prince Nicholas. In Red, White, & Royal Blue enemies-to-lovers and fake friendships abound when the US President’s son Alex and Prince Henry are forced to spend time together to avoid bad press. Also, more love letters (or love emails, rather).
If you like your romance with a little more fantasy, don’t worry; S. Jae-Jones and Juliet Marillier have some perfect retellings for you. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong is a loose retelling of Labyrinth (yes, the David Bowie movie) crossed with The Phantom of the Opera, and it’s perfect for a snowy February night. As winter comes, the Goblin King seeks a bride, and his choice is budding composer Liesel. Marillier brings an equally dark and mysterious story with her “Beauty and the Beast” retelling Heart’s Blood. The slowburn romance between Caitrin, a scribe fleeing from her past, and Anulan, a chieftan suffering from a family curse, is worthy of Jane Austen herself.