Literary Love Triangles (Non-YA)
Romance is often complicated in fiction. What are the best books with love triangles? (Please no young adult books. Check out these other lists filled with great YA recommendations.)
1 Gone with the Wind
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 664,690 ratings
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2 Pride and Prejudice
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 1,441,423 ratings
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3 Wuthering Heights
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 702,840 ratings
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4 The Great Gatsby
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 1,875,106 ratings
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5 Sense and Sensibility
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 595,360 ratings
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6 Anna Karenina
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 318,116 ratings
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7 Jane Eyre
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 922,213 ratings
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8 Little Women (Little Women,...
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 992,417 ratings
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9 Emma
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 357,057 ratings
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10 Water for Elephants
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 899,523 ratings
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11 A Midsummer Night's Dream
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 258,042 ratings
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12 A Tale of Two Cities
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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 522,237 ratings
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13 The Notebook (The Notebook,...
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 853,113 ratings
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14 Les Misérables
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 430,411 ratings
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15 The Phantom of the Opera
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 112,339 ratings
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16 Rebecca
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 224,479 ratings
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17 Persuasion
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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 279,369 ratings
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18 Love in the Time of Cholera
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 246,275 ratings
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19 Doctor Zhivago
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 49,538 ratings
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20 Never Let Me Go
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 217,492 ratings
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21 Atonement
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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 279,801 ratings
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22 The Scarlet Letter
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3.32 of 5 stars 3.32 avg rating — 394,493 ratings
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23 Madame Bovary
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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 124,885 ratings
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24 The Mists of Avalon (Avalon...
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 130,926 ratings
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25 The Age of Innocence
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 80,122 ratings
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26 Mansfield Park
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 156,319 ratings
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27 A Thousand Splendid Suns
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4.3 of 5 stars 4.30 avg rating — 586,156 ratings
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28 Dead Until Dark (Sookie Sta...
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 362,579 ratings
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29 Tess of the D'Urbervilles
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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 127,833 ratings
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30 Lady Chatterley's Lover
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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46 avg rating — 52,470 ratings
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31 The Cider House Rules
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 103,447 ratings
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32 Twelfth Night
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 94,386 ratings
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33 A Room with a View
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 94,288 ratings
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34 The Help
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4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 1,122,297 ratings
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35 One for the Money (Stephani...
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 294,913 ratings
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36 The Other Boleyn Girl
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 325,082 ratings
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37 A Walk to Remember
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 394,945 ratings
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38 Girl With a Pearl Earring
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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 344,366 ratings
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39 The Sun Also Rises
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 221,294 ratings
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40 Outlander (Outlander, #1)
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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15 avg rating — 324,058 ratings
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41 Fifty Shades Trilogy (Fifty...
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 67,130 ratings
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42 The Lord of the Rings (The ...
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4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 306,502 ratings
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43 The French Lieutenant's Woman
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 28,684 ratings
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44 The Bridges of Madison County
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3.36 of 5 stars 3.36 avg rating — 43,564 ratings
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45 Memoirs of a Geisha
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 1,071,605 ratings
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46 Les Liaisons Dangereuses
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 22,890 ratings
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47 North and South
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 61,956 ratings
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48 Hamlet
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 416,409 ratings
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49 The Shadow of the Wind (The...
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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 213,842 ratings
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50 David Copperfield
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 119,307 ratings
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51 The Unbearable Lightness of...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 173,576 ratings
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52 The Color Purple
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4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 304,174 ratings
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53 War and Peace
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 124,456 ratings
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54 The Girl with the Dragon Ta...
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 1,267,776 ratings
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55 Ethan Frome
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3.3 of 5 stars 3.30 avg rating — 56,174 ratings
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56 The Picture of Dorian Gray
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4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 427,651 ratings
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57 The Brothers Karamazov
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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 123,958 ratings
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58 Something Borrowed
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 335,550 ratings
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59 The Count of Monte Cristo
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 454,188 ratings
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60 The Hours
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 81,287 ratings
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61 The Bridge To Caracas (The ...
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4.65 of 5 stars 4.65 avg rating — 98 ratings
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62 Far from the Madding Crowd
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 56,452 ratings
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63 Othello
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 196,527 ratings
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64 Daughter of Fortune
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 78,675 ratings
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65 Kerri's War (The King Trilo...
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4.94 of 5 stars 4.94 avg rating — 99 ratings
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66 The Blind Assassin
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 84,619 ratings
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67 As You Like It
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 47,484 ratings
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68 The Pillars of the Earth  (...
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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 344,244 ratings
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69 Brideshead Revisited
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 54,484 ratings
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70 Middlemarch
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3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 75,940 ratings
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71 Wives and Daughters
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 24,618 ratings
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72 The Sense of an Ending
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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 80,270 ratings
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73 The Clan of the Cave Bear (...
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 150,119 ratings
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74 A Home at the End of the World
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 11,447 ratings
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74 Jude the Obscure
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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 35,551 ratings
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76 Love, Carry My Bags
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 85 ratings
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77 Bleak House
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 50,824 ratings
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78 Romeo and Juliet
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,244,789 ratings
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79 Lolita
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 387,711 ratings
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80 The Red and the Black
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 26,076 ratings
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81 Freedom
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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 101,579 ratings
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82 The Moonstone
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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 38,616 ratings
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83 Bridget Jones's Diary (Brid...
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 555,060 ratings
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84 The Wings of the Dove
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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 10,056 ratings
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85 The Garden of Eden
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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75 avg rating — 10,066 ratings
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86 Dead to the World (Sookie S...
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 164,486 ratings
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87 The Rainmaker
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 109,111 ratings
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88 World Without End (The Pill...
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 101,031 ratings
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89 Murder at the Vicarage (Mis...
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 63,078 ratings
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90 Our Mutual Friend
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 13,723 ratings
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91 The End of the Affair
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 22,227 ratings
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92 Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam T...
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 108,345 ratings
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93 Angels & Demons  (Robert La...
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 1,349,371 ratings
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94 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 42,041 ratings
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95 My Name is Red
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 22,017 ratings
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96 The Shell Seekers
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 56,289 ratings
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97 The Good Wife
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4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 28 ratings
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98 Little Dorrit
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 24,814 ratings
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99 Thérèse Raquin
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3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 8,548 ratings
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100 Lucky Jim
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 14,079 ratings
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416 books · 1,827 voters · list created October 8th, 2012 by Jessica Donaghy (votes) .
111 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Jessica
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Readers
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Ben
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Andrea
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Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane Jordan Ravens Deep Ravens Deep is the first book in a dark romantic trilogy. The love triangle unfolds in the second book - Blood & Ashes.


message 2: by Sarrah (new)

Sarrah Just goes to show--love triangles were around for a long time before Twilight. @Jessica: there are a YA title and a biography on here; do you want me to remove them?


message 3: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Donaghy Yes, feel free to remove YA titles. Thanks, Sarrah!


message 4: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Lautenschlager There's also a book featuring a tattoo artist's work. Should it be on this list?


message 5: by Muhamed (new)

Muhamed T. salh good reading needs clear and good mind


message 6: by Della (new)

Della Scott To me a love triangle is more than an affair outside of a mariage or committed relationship, though it often includes that. It is a case of someone who is truly torn between two loves over a long period of time and for good reasons. That's why I added Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. I don't remember the names of the characters any more since it was so long ago that I read it, but it was a true traingle.


message 7: by James (new)

James Godwin good reading enlightens the mind and keeps the brain functioning at its best.


message 8: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Please check #161. I do not believe it belongs on this list.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Wanda wrote: "Please check #161. I do not believe it belongs on this list."

Plenty of books have recently been added to this list that don't belong here, alas. Nonfiction (essays, philosophy, religion), fiction that doesn't even contain a love story, LET ALONE a love triangle ... Jessica, would you like a librarian to do a bit of clean-up work?

Also, what about biographies of real persons involved in love triangles? (E.g., I see Massie's bio of Catherine the Great has been added and is steadily gaining votes. Stay or go?)


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Donaghy Yes, thank you. Librarians, feel free to remove books that legitimately don't have a love triangle.

But nonfiction involving love triangles feels relevant. It's interesting to see the real-life antecedents.


message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ann Ella enchanted is YA, also the outsiders is YA and doesn't really have a love triangle of note


message 13: by Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) (last edited Nov 11, 2012 07:36AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Well, there are 10 people who have voted for Ella, Enchanted and 9 who have voted for The Outsiders. Before a librarian decides whether or not to step in, maybe some of these folks want to speak up and explain why they think these two books fit the criteria for this list?

As for the two Brontë books, I at any rate won't remove those unless Jessica specifically says she doesn't want them here. They may not be the epitome of what we consider a love triangle today, but they very much expressed that situation in Victorian terms. For a woman to leave her husband (abusive or not) was unheard of in Victorian society in the first place, and to even contemplate turning to another man (as happens in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall) was as unthinkable as for a woman to reject a "respectable" offer of marriage (like that from St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre: note that "respectability" required only financial security and social standing, NOT love), "just" because the woman in question is in love with another man ... especially if, ostensibly, the "competitor" was unattainable to her anyway. Also, there is another triangle in Jane Eyre -- the one between herself, Rochester and his first wife -- which likewise touches on a taboo, namely, bigamy. And, finally, the marriage being abandoned in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to Helen herself actually WAS a love match initially (or at least, infatuation) ... it only turned sour later on, albeit fairly quickly.

In other words: in Victorian society, the mere notion of a "love" triangle as such was a nonentity, because love simply wasn't a consideration at all when it came to choosing a partner in marriage; and once married, a woman just had to stand by her husband ("for ill or for good, until death do us part") -- for her to do anything else was not just to break social convention but even to break the law. It was precisely this disregard of love as a material factor in marriage -- as well as the notion that it was only "she" who needed to prove that she was worthy of "him", rather than also vice versa -- that the Brontë sisters sought to highlight and criticize in their books (Charlotte incidentally did so again, in as forceful terms, in Emma).


message 14: by Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) (last edited Dec 01, 2012 07:30AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Alright, upon review, the following strike me as Young Adult:

The Outsiders
Ella Enchanted
After Forever Ends
Thoughtless
Effortless
I Capture the Castle
Son of the Shadows
A Witch in Love
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
A Spy in the House
The Hunger Games
The Last Letter
Girl in Translation
Genesis
Nick of Time
Taking Chances
Bitter Blood
Island Beneath the Sea
Impossible

Before I delete them, is there somebody (maybe some of the folks who voted for these books) who can give a reason why they are within the parameters of a list entitled "Literary Love Triangles (Non-YA)" -- and which contains the added expres caveat "Please no young adult books" -- and why they should NOT be deleted?


message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I can understand wanting to vote for a book you have fallen in love with, but... If this is really just about love triangles, in my opinion, there are many books that should be removed.. Books, that I too love, but don't fit the criteria of the vote.. Just my opinion.. :-)


message 16: by Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) (last edited Dec 14, 2012 12:31PM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Themis-Athena wrote: "Alright, upon review, the following strike me as Young Adult:

The Outsiders
Ella Enchanted
After Forever Ends
Thoughtless
Effortless
I Capture the Castle
Son of the Shadows
A Witch in Love
Miss Pe..."


Since in almost 2 weeks nobody has come forward to explain why the books in my above post should not be characterized as "Young Adult," I have now deleted them, as well as the following more recent additions:
The Magicians
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Wonderstruck
The Maude Reed Tale
Forget Me Not,
which are also Young Adult.

Moreover, on investigation, I fail to see love triangles figuring in the following books (not all of which are even fiction or (auto)biographies), and which I have therefore also deleted:
Automaton
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Love in a time of outsourcing
Maligned
The Merchant of Venice
Clotho's Loom: A Novel of Literary Romance and Realism
Much Ado About Nothing
Catch-22
Merminia
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
Oz: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
Chicken on the Hudson
A Life Worth Living
Fool
الثورة 2.0
The Chronicles of a Crazy Chick
The Winemaker's Dinner: Appetizers
Blue Straggler
Tempted
V for Vendetta
The Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The Nightlife: New York
Wicked Ties
Imbroglio
Gideon's Sword
Elephant House: Photographs of Edward Gorey's House
A Deconstructed Heart
Hinduism
The Grand Design
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Hark! a Vagrant
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Into the Wilderness
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"


message 17: by Kereesa (new)

Kereesa Can someone please take Lord of the Flies off the list? (And maybe even Fellowship?) I really doubt there's any kind of love triangle going on in those books....or at least not canon ones....


message 18: by Triv (new)

Triv S. Harry Potter is young adult and I don't recall a prominent love triangle in the first


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Triv wrote: "Harry Potter is young adult and I don't recall a prominent love triangle in the first"

Removed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (clearly YA).

As for Lord of the Flies and The Fellowship of the Ring; again, maybe those who voted for these books can explain where they see them containing a love triangle?


message 20: by James (new)

James Dante Yesterday I added my novel, THE TIGER'S WEDDING, to the giveaway list.


message 21: by Angelica (new)

Angelica I think Dracula is definitely missing from this list!


message 22: by Dave (new)

Dave Mcdonald I enjoyed this process, some great books involved.
Dave McDonald


message 23: by Camelia Rose (last edited Nov 18, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

Camelia Rose Quite a few YA, as far as I can see, also some books do not contain a prominent love triangle


message 24: by Dave (new)

Dave Mcdonald "The Bridges Of Madison County" is a great love triangle story and some of the best writing ever. Robert Waller can pack an immense amount of feeling in but a few words. I thought the rating was too low on this story. I gave it 5-stars: great story and great writing. A short book, but 45 minutes of pleasure.


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