The Best of the Best Romance Novels of the Twentieth Century

This list is for those who read and enjoy the best in romantic fiction to give credit to the trailblazing romance authors in the Twentieth Century. Please try to list ONLY your ALL TIME FAVORITE KEEPERS and tell us why you've read them over and over.

(Twentieth century is defined as being published between January 1, 1901 and December 31, 2000)
1

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4.28 avg rating — 859,276 ratings
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3

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4.48 avg rating — 154,775 ratings
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4.20 avg rating — 23,506 ratings
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4.32 avg rating — 24,469 ratings
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4.23 avg rating — 28,043 ratings
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8

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4.31 avg rating — 194,953 ratings
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9

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4.20 avg rating — 310,897 ratings
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10

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11

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12

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14

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15

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4.30 avg rating — 18,820 ratings
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16

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4.21 avg rating — 256,668 ratings
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17

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3.96 avg rating — 333,905 ratings
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18

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4.11 avg rating — 20,774 ratings
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19

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4.26 avg rating — 32,830 ratings
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20

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4.33 avg rating — 19,799 ratings
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21

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4.16 avg rating — 17,570 ratings
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22

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4.33 avg rating — 20,493 ratings
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23

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4.06 avg rating — 27,197 ratings
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24

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4.26 avg rating — 41,209 ratings
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25

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4.23 avg rating — 9,063 ratings
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26

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27

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4.37 avg rating — 168,203 ratings
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28

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4.21 avg rating — 22,159 ratings
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29

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4.22 avg rating — 21,518 ratings
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30

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4.33 avg rating — 22,988 ratings
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31

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4.11 avg rating — 57,256 ratings
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32

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4.15 avg rating — 13,086 ratings
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33

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4.08 avg rating — 24,511 ratings
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34

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4.14 avg rating — 14,570 ratings
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35

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4.10 avg rating — 13,265 ratings
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36

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3.60 avg rating — 42,834 ratings
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37

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3.89 avg rating — 310,297 ratings
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38

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4.05 avg rating — 11,255 ratings
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39

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4.21 avg rating — 33,458 ratings
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40

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4.18 avg rating — 23,088 ratings
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41

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4.76 avg rating — 9,203 ratings
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42

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3.93 avg rating — 277,894 ratings
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43

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3.47 avg rating — 56,457 ratings
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44

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3.98 avg rating — 9,739 ratings
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45

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4.11 avg rating — 8,391 ratings
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46

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4.20 avg rating — 37,661 ratings
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47

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3.91 avg rating — 117,967 ratings
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48

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3.74 avg rating — 721,485 ratings
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49

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4.18 avg rating — 24,615 ratings
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50

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4.25 avg rating — 626,452 ratings
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51

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52

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53

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54

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55

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4.07 avg rating — 25,552 ratings
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56

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57

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4.12 avg rating — 73,778 ratings
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58

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59

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4.18 avg rating — 2,006 ratings
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60

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4.14 avg rating — 8,190 ratings
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61

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4.12 avg rating — 10,588 ratings
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62

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63

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64

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65

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4.28 avg rating — 41,046 ratings
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66

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67

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3.93 avg rating — 109,957 ratings
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68

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69

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70

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71

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72

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4.34 avg rating — 134,722 ratings
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73

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74

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75

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76

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77

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4.03 avg rating — 5,673 ratings
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78

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3.48 avg rating — 70,782 ratings
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79

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80

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4.22 avg rating — 159,086 ratings
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81

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4.09 avg rating — 26,507 ratings
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82

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4.04 avg rating — 5,449 ratings
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83

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4.11 avg rating — 11,797 ratings
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84

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4.06 avg rating — 13,414 ratings
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85

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3.96 avg rating — 3,963 ratings
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86

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3.91 avg rating — 5,581 ratings
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87

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3.96 avg rating — 108,387 ratings
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88

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4.24 avg rating — 48,170 ratings
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89

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3.88 avg rating — 88,860 ratings
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90

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4.01 avg rating — 12,160 ratings
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91

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4.07 avg rating — 1,477 ratings
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92

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3.94 avg rating — 11,421 ratings
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93

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4.15 avg rating — 10,583 ratings
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94

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4.03 avg rating — 386,122 ratings
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95

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4.20 avg rating — 2,927 ratings
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96

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4.18 avg rating — 1,233 ratings
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97

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4.07 avg rating — 399 ratings
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98

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4.15 avg rating — 16,102 ratings
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99

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4.33 avg rating — 10,995 ratings
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100

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flag this list (?)
508 books · 1,892 voters · list created June 28th, 2008 by Lyn (votes) .
159 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Lyn 207 books
2788 friends
Stamatia 1276 books
182 friends
Lady Salford 1008 books
58 friends
Noor 665 books
16 friends
Lucas 37 books
2122 friends
Candace 187 books
675 friends
April 782 books
278 friends
Michelle 1978 books
5208 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)


message 1: by Lyn (new)

Lyn This is an invitation to weigh in on your absolute favorite Twentieth Century romances. I must kick this list off with the Regency Romances of Georgette Heyer, the heir of Jane Austen. If you haven't read THE RELUCTANT WIDOW, THE CIVIL CONTRACT, COTILLION, THE TOLL GATE, A LADY OF QUALITY, ARABELLA, THE UNKNOWN AJAX, SPRIG MUSLIN, THE BLACK SHEEP, THE NONESUCH,FREDERICA, and my most favorite, THE GRAND SOPHY, you must correct this omission. Each is a classic and a delight.
Lyn Cote



message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan K Never read any of these :(


message 3: by Shawnette (new)

Shawnette Sorry can't cast my vote...I've never read any of these romances...most of the romance novels I read are AA romance or IR romance novels...thanks for thinking of me though...best of luck to all the nominees :-)


message 4: by Teapotrose (new)

Teapotrose My all time favorite historical romance is Georgette Heyer's "The Convenient Marriage" and as many of us know, there is no such thing as a "convenient" marriage, LOL. The story is funny, touching and truly a love story. Georgette at her best.


message 5: by Shawnette (new)

Shawnette Sorry...NEVER read any of these...I read just about ALL AA romance...I can't help you here :-(


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Was Twilight even published in the 20th century?


message 7: by Ruth (new)

Ruth L. romance novels?? are they all really "novels"?? sorry, i guess i'm a literary snob. teehee


message 8: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Ruth wrote: "romance novels?? are they all really "novels"?? sorry, i guess i'm a literary snob. teehee"

Have you ever read any romance novels? What brought you to my list?
Curious.




message 9: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Susanna wrote: "Was Twilight even published in the 20th century?"

No, it's a 21st century. But we all make mistakes!
I haven't read Twilight and don't know if I will. I like paranormal but just feel reluctant.




message 10: by Tabitha (last edited Aug 14, 2009 10:59AM) (new)

Tabitha I loved Pride and Prejudice it was my first classic romance novle that i ever read and i havent stoped ever since!

I loved the manners and the storyline and how Jane Austen actully wrote about the time that she was living in . Its a book that i pick up and reread year after year and it never gets old.

I have never read any by Georgette Heyer but as i have read eveyones comments about her i will defentily be reading her work!


message 11: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Great! You won't be disappointed.


message 12: by Nance (last edited Feb 24, 2010 08:17AM) (new)

Nance The best historical romance book that I have read, besides Gone with the Wind (1936), was The Bronze Horseman (1994) by Paullina Simons. The novel takes place in Leningrad during the time that Hitler invades Russia during World War II. The death and destruction that the two main characters, Tatiana and Alexander, face is just so sad. These two individuals, though, overcome it all just by being such strong characters. I loved how Ms. Simons shows how Tatiana and Alexander, though apart during parts of the novel, always keep each other in their hearts and relish the idea that they will someday be together. Don't let the size of the book hold you back from reading it, however. It is over 800 pgs, but well worth every page! You will be thinking about this book long after you have read the final page! You can also continue reading on after you finish The Bronze Horseman by reading Tatiana and Alexander and The Summer Garden. Those two novels are just as good as the first one.


message 13: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Well, I had never heard of this book or this author. But it certainly sounds like a GREAT READ! Thanks for sharing.


message 14: by Marielena (new)

Marielena I'm surprised The Rake and The Reformer by Mary Jo Putney is not on this list. Can we add?


Eternaldisturbance "The Bridge across forever" by Richard Bach,
and "Bridges of the Madison County" are the ones i have read a zillion times.


message 16: by Marielena (new)

Marielena Lyn:

The Rake and The Reformer by Mary Jo Putney is unlike any other historical romance I've read (Regency). It was first published in 1989 and then republished as "The Rake" in 1998.

The Rake: Reggie, the heroe is complicated with many flaws. He is a gambler, a womanizer and an alcoholic. I have never seen in these kind of books such a great approach to alcholism as in this book. The heroe struggles to better himself and fight his personal demons. He wants to become worthy of his title and the woman he has fallen in love with.

The Reformer: Alys, the heroine, is a strong independent woman with a serious case of low self esteem. She also struggles to fight with her demons.

The relationship between the two is very palatable and very real. It is not one of those love at first sight novels. The friendship and bond between the two is sweet and so very romantic.

There are some aspects of the book I did not like, but
the book was so good and the main characters so likable (precisely because they are flawed) that I overlooked them.
As a I look through the list, I believe you will really enjoy this book.


message 17: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813. Great novel though.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being first published in the 20th century:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (2005)
The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
Open Season, by Linda Howard (2001)
The Man From Stone Creek, by Linda Lael Miller (2003)
Devil in Winter, by Lisa Kleypas (2006)
Last Kiss Goodbye, by Rita Herron (2006)
The Wild Road, by Marjorie Liu (2008)
Operation: Married by Christmas, by Debra Clopton (2007)
Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh (2004)
Again the Magic, by Lisa Klepas (2004)
Blessed Assurance, by Lyn Cote (2007)
Lover Awakened, by J. R. Ward (2005)
Seduce Me at Sunrise, by Lisa Klepas (2008)
One Real Man, by Janette Kenny (2008)
Dangerous Game, by Lyn Cote (2007)
If I'd Never Known Your Love, by Georgia Bockoven (2007)
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (1847)


message 19: by Melanie (last edited Feb 11, 2010 03:25PM) (new)

Melanie Vampire Diaries-Written around twenty years ago, published in the early 90s. Very dramatic, started the vampire craze.

(Also inspired twilight. Twilight copied a lot of ideas, even a scene. Vampire Diaries even mentions a 'Twilight' significantly in the first book! Vampire Diaries is also very deep and thoughtful)


message 20: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Oh, sorry first I voted the 2007 version. Please erase that, and I added the 1999 that says original was 1991 if you check. (See comment above if it doesn't make sense.)


message 21: by Morgan (new)

Morgan F Why is Twilight on here? *cusses*


message 22: by Morgan (new)

Morgan F Never mind, I fixed it.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Deleted for not being written in the 20th century:

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (1811)
Emma, by Jane Austen (1815)
Lover Eternal, by J.R. Ward (2006)
Passion, by Lisa Valdez (2005)
To Seduce a Sinner, by Elizabeth Hoyt (2008)
Lady Sophia's Lover, by Lisa Kleypas (2002)
Slightly Scandalous, by Mary Balogh (2003)
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (either 1813 or 2003, depending on how you look at it)
The Briton, by Catherine Palmer (2008)
Lover Avenged, by J.R. Ward (2008)
If You Deceive, by Kresley Cole (2007)
The Desert Lord's Baby, by Olivia Gates (2008)
The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie (2009)
Mine Til Midnight, by Lisa Kleypas (2007)
To Beguile a Beast, by Elizabeth Hoyt (2009)
The Scrapbook, by Lynette Kent (2007)
Teenage Mermaid, by Ellen Schreiber (2003)
1106 Grand Boulevard, by Betty Dravis (2006)


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Susanna wrote: "Removed for not being first published in the 20th century:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (2005)
The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
Op..."


I was wondering about this and fear I added some not written in the right time period. OOPS


message 25: by Robin (new)

Robin Lyn wrote: "Ruth wrote: "romance novels?? are they all really "novels"?? sorry, i guess i'm a literary snob. teehee"

Have you ever read any romance novels? What brought you to my list?
Curious.

"



message 26: by Robin (new)

Robin I have read Danielle Steel, but her novels seem to be that she isn't trying hard enough. It all seems to be a cookie cutter scenario in her latest books. I have read other romance novels. I love a good Jane Austen book. Not twenty-first century. I just saw Wives and Daughters and thought that was very good. The Nicolaas Sparks books are always good. I tried reading the one that was just made into a movie with Miley Cyrus. But I gave up on the book. I knew where it was headed. I have read Jayne Krentz, she is always good. Carla Neggers, Sandra Brown. Robin


message 27: by Robin (new)

Robin What are inspirational romances? Never heard of the Gladiator. Thanks for sharing.Robin


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add them; the form to add books to the list is over at the right-hand side of the page.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Robin wrote: "What are inspirational romances?"

I think "inspirational romances" are Christian ones. The only ones I've ever read are by Grace Livingston Hill.


message 30: by Robin (new)

Robin I think I might have read a Kathleen Woodiwiss book, I don't recall reading any Susan Phillips. I am reading local books by local people, since am also into genealogy.


message 31: by Dee (new)

Dee I haven't added any of the list yet, but the number one on the list, Outlander, and the rest in the series are probably by far my favorite novels, romance or not, of all time...the intricacy that DG put into building the world and the love that Jamie and Claire develop and maintain through 20+ years is wonderful


message 32: by Thresz (new)

Thresz HI guys,
why don't you all try to read Lisa Kleypas novels? I'm sure they are worth readings.I think "Only With Your Love" is a best to started with for those who haven't read L.K's yet.I'm sure once you started to read L.K's masterpieces,it hard to put them down


message 33: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Sorry! I think I just added quite a few that aren't from the 20th century. Once I start choosing books I go a little crazy!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being published in the 20th century:

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1813)
The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie, by Jennifer Ashley (2009)
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas (2005)
Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins (2009)
Sugar Daddy, by Lisa Kleypas (2007)
Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie (2004)
The Raven Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt (2006)
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte (1847)
Smooth Talking Stranger, by Lisa Kleypas (2009)
Acheron, by Sherrilyn Kenyon (2008)
Tempt Me at Twiight, by Lisa Kleypas (2009)
Lover Awakened, by J.R. Ward (2006)
Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas (2002)
Wake, by Lisa McMann (2008)
The Spymaster's Lady, by Joanna Bourne (2008)
According to Jane, by Marilyn Brant (2009)
Suddenly You, by Lisa Kleypas (2001)
The Manny, by Holly Peterson (2007)
Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen (2007)
Falling for Gracie, by Susan Mallery (2005)
Face the Fire, by Nora Roberts (2002)
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (1811)
Chesapeake Blue, by Nora Roberts (2002)
The Perils of Pursuing a Prince, by Julia London (2007)
Hadassah, by Tommy Tenney (2004)
Blue-Eyed Devil, by Lisa Kleypas (2008)
Scandal in Spring, by Lisa Kleypas (2006)
Silk Dreams, by Diana Groe (2007)
A Wallflower Christmas, by Lisa Kleypas (2008)
The Sheikh Surgeon's Proposal, by Olivia Gates (2008)
Her One and Only Valentine, by Trish Wylie (2007)
A Crimson Frost, by Marcia McClure (2009)
Moonlight on Diamonds, by Lydia Storm (2009)


Laura the Highland Hussy I voted for Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake,even though it's technically from the 21st century :)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being published in the 20th Century:

Night Play, by Sherrilyn Kenyon (2004)
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, by Sarah MacLean (2010)
Murder Game, by Christine Feehan (2008)
Highland Bride, by Hannah Howell (2002)
Unlawful Contact, by Pamela Clare (2008)
The Salt Maiden, by Colleen Thompson (2007)
Simply Unforgettable, by Mary Balogh (2005)
When He Was Wicked, by Julia Quinn (2004)
The Education of Mrs. Brimley, by Donna MacMeans (2007)
To Catch a Highlander, by Karen Hawkins (2008)
No One Heard Her Scream, by Jordan Dane (2008)


message 37: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Glad you're on the ball, Susanna!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I can but try!


message 39: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Happy Holidays!


message 40: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 21, 2011 11:25AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being first published in the 20th century:

The Devil in Winter (2006)
Twilight (2005)
A Summer to Remember (2002)
Emma (1816)
Romancing Mister Bridgerton (2002)
The Other Boleyn Girl (2001)
Pleasure Unbound (2008)
The Last Song (2009)
New Moon (2006)
A Hunger Like No Other (2006)
Spell of the Highlander (2005)
Every Breath You Take (2005)
The Search (2010)

ETA: And a Happy Holidays! to you too, Lyn.


message 41: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Either I missed it or Bridget Jones' Diary isn't on the list- too Chick Lit for romance? I won't say it is my absolute favorite, but it rates up there!


message 42: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Feb 11, 2012 12:08PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add it, if you think it qualifies. It's OK in publication date.

ETA: It's already on the list, on page 2, I believe.


message 43: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Feb 11, 2012 12:07PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed for not being first published in the 20th century:

Breaking Dawn (2008)
The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
Eclipse (2007)
Wuthering Heights (1847)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Persuasion (1817)
The Storyteller's Daughter (2002)
This Heart of Mine (2001)
Wind in the Grasses Dancing (2010)
The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie (2009)
Bet Me (2004)
The Dark Highlander (2002)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005)
The Fiery Cross (2001)


message 44: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Wow, Susanna, you're quick! Thanks!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads No problem.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Susanna wrote: "Removed for not being first published in the 20th century:

Breaking Dawn (2008)
The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
Eclipse (2007)
Wuthering Heights (1847)
Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Persuasion (1817)..."


... and five more posts like that, all of them comprising a long list of books (repeatedly, the same or books by the same authors), out of a GR list with 5 pages' worth of entries. Good grief. Hats off, Susanna, for that cleaning up job -- and shame on the folks who (even repeatedly) plonked in all those misplaced books in the first place!


message 47: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Yes, thanks to Susanna. And Themis-Athena, some people can't follow directions to save their lives! :-)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Lyn wrote: "Yes, thanks to Susanna. And Themis-Athena, some people can't follow directions to save their lives! :-)"

True -- surprising as that might seem on a site like GR, where you'd think a minimum amount of literacy should be something you can take as a given ... :)


message 49: by Gail (new)

Gail How can anyone put Twilight on the same list with ANY Jane Austen novel. I couldn't get past the first beach scene in Twilight. It was awful and I am being kind. Unless you are 15 I can not even dream of it as an adult read. I know JA is the wrong century but once you read her you will know all her novels are about romance. You just have to slow down a little when you first read them to get used to the 19th century writing.But there were other romance reads on the list that are great fun reads!


message 50: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Gail, I just don't get Twilight either. But happy it's encouraging READING!


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