Subject Guides » Books » Reading Lists » Love Stories

Compiled by Jennifer Adams. Summaries from ContentCafe. February 2011.

  • Very Valentine: a novel by Adriana Trigiani
    When a failing custom wedding shoe business in Greenwich Village falls unexpectedly into her lap, apprentice Valentine Roncalli is challenged to bring her family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century, an endeavor that is further complicated by personal responsibilities and her budding romance with a chef.

  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: a novel by Helen Simonson
    Forced to confront the realities of life in the 21st century when he falls in love with widowed Pakistani descendant Mrs. Ali, a retired Major Pettigrew finds the relationship challenged by local prejudices that view Mrs. Ali, a Cambridge native, as a perpetual foreigner.

  • Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
    Receiving simultaneous caches of love letters and hate mail, Connie Rosolli enlists the aid of Lula, Grandma Mazur, and the enigmatic Diesel when she becomes suspicious that her secret admirer and stalker are the same person.

  • O'Hurley Born by Nora Roberts
    Abby O'Hurley, the widow of a notorious race car champion, hides her past from arrogant biographer Dylan Crosby, and professional dancer Maddy O'Hurley shows ruthless businessman Reed Valentine the importance of love.

  • Flights of Love: stories by Bernhard Schlink; translated from the German by John E. Woods
    The internationally acclaimed author of The Reader explores the mysteries of the human heart and complex emotional aspects of love in a new collection of short fiction about love.

  • Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli
    When her father's best friend returns to Italy, Lucrezia, a beautiful widow, is drawn to this handsome American who is also haunted by tragedy, and together they embark on a passionate relationship that heals the pain of the past and gives them both a second chance at love.

  • A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot; translated by Linda Coverdale
    In 1919, a young wheelchair-bound woman in France begins a quest to find out if her fiancé, supposedly killed in the line of duty two years earlier, might still be alive. A Very Long Engagement is a mystery, a love story, and an extraordinary portrait of life in France before and after the War.

  • Landing by Emma Donoghue
    Over the course of a year, the lives of two women--Sile, a flight attendant and world traveler, and Jude, a young archivist stubbornly attached to the town of Ireland, Ontario--intersect, in a story that reveals the joys and sorrows of a long-distance relationship.

  • Love Across the Color Line : the letters of Alice Hanley to Channing Lewis edited by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz and Kathy Peiss
    A collection of 27 letters by Irish Catholic working-class Hanley to her lover, African-American cook Lewis in 1907 and 1908. These letters were found here in Western Massachusetts. They provide a rare primary source of working-class thoughts and feelings, even more rare because they speak of sexual mores and racial attitudes.

  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon: a novel by Sarah Addison Allen
    In Allen's newest sugar-and-spice Southern fantasy, a teenage girl comes to live with her grandfather in a small town where oddity is a way of life. There are love interests, big family secrets, and magical happenings (color-changing wallpaper, mysterious lights) aplenty.

  • Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray
    Julie and Romeo had been born to rival florist families in Boston, but it is love at first sight when they spot each other across a crowded lobby.

  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
    Katie, a newcomer to the small town of Southport, North Carolina, resists forming any personal ties until she is drawn into relationships with Alex, a young widower, and Jo, her plainspoken single neighbor, who help her overcome her fearful past.

  • Valentine: a love story 'by Chet Raymo
    A fictional portrait inspired by the myth of St. Valentine traces the life of a Roman-era doctor and his love for a jailer's daughter, in a tale set against a backdrop of the rule of Claudius II and the public executions of Christians.

  • La Cucina: a novel of rapture by Peter Pezzelli
    In a novel set in modern Sicily, a librarian who has suffered heartbreak is drawn to a charismatic English chef through their shared love of cooking.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife: a novel by Audrey Niffenegger
    Passionately in love, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as they struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, a condition that casts Henry involuntarily into the world of time travel.

  • Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Taking to the road between seasons, attractive Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard meets the beautiful and infuriating Blue under unusual circumstances and draws on his competitive skills to overcome her wariness of relationships.

  • Bridget Jones's Diary: a novel by Helen Fielding
    A hilarious journal chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a single, thirty-something woman on a perpetual quest for self-improvement, as she struggles to cope with relationships, weight control, and the other baffling complexities of modern life.

  • The Piano Teacher: a novel by Janice Y.K. Lee
    Hired by the wealthy Chen family as a piano instructor, Claire Pendleton is seduced by the social life of Hong Kong's expatriate community and begins an affair with Will Truesdale, an enigmatic Englishman with a devastating past.

  • Feminista by Erica Kennedy
    Having forged an independent life by embodying a strong personality and eschewing relationships, Sydney Zamora is horrified when her sister signs her up with an expensive matchmaker who attempts to pair Sydney with an equally resistant man.

  • Orchard Valley Brides by Debbie Macomber
    Norah Bloomfield finds unexpected love with her former boss after he crashes his small plane in Orchard Valley, while Norah's friend Sherry moves to Texas where she meets a hardworking rancher caring for a daughter.

  • Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
    Years after spending a lonely childhood at the side of a make-believe best friend named Michael, theater maven's daughter Jane encounters a loving flesh-and-blood Michael who is exactly like the figure of her childhood imagination.

  • Memoirs of a Geisha: a novel by Arthur Golden
    The "memoirs" of one of Japan's most celebrated geishas describes how, as a little girl in 1929, she is sold into slavery; her efforts to learn the arts of the geisha; the impact of World War II; and her struggle to reinvent herself to win the man she loves.

  • Peony in Love: a novel by Lisa See
    In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with The Peony Pavilion, a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death, including Peony, the cloistered daughter of a wealthy scholar, who succumbs to its spell only to return after her death as a "hungry ghost" to haunt her former fiancé, who has married another.

  • Cooking for Mr. Latte: a food lover's courtship, with recipes by Amanda Hesser; illustrations by Izak
    A compilation of the author's food columns from the New York Times details her recipes, cooking advice, and opinions of Manhattan's restaurant scene, intertwined with the story of her courtship with her future husband.

  • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
    The love of a young British woman named Lucy Honeychurch for a British expatriate living in Italy is condemned by her stuffy, middle-class guardians, who prefer an eligible man of their own choosing, and forces her to make a painful choice between passion and Edwardian convention.

  • Complete Novels by Jane Austen
    An omnibus edition containing the complete works of the great English novelist encompasses Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan.

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert; translated with an introduction and notes by Lydia Davis
    Offers a new translation of Flaubert's classic tale, in which the title character turns to spending and a series of affairs to combat the boredom of married life and, heartbroken and crippled by debts, takes drastic action that results in tragedy.

  • Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
    In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret.

  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
    The story of the tempestuous romance between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara is set amid the drama of the Civil War.

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; preface and notes by Matthew J. Bruccoli
    A young man newly rich tries to recapture the past and win back his former love, despite the fact she has married.

  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
    A comedy about two pairs of lovers. By means of "nothing," Benedick and Beatrice are tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio is tricked into rejecting Hero at the altar.

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover D.H. Lawrence; with a preface by Archibald MacLeish; and an introduction by Mark Schorer
    Constance Chatterley turns from a sterile marriage to a passionate relationship with a spiritually independent gamekeeper.

  • Love Story by Erich Segal
    The story of a rich Harvard jock and a wisecracking Radcliffe music major who have nothing in common but love . . . and everything to share but time.

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; illustrated by Louis Jambor
    An illustrated edition of the poignant story of the March family which centers on the lives and loves of Meg, Beth, Jo, and Amy.

  • Lysistrata Aristophanes; translated and with an introd. by Donald Sutherland
    As war ravages ancient Greece, a band of women, led by Lysistrata, promise to deny their husbands all sex until they stop fighting. And the battle of the sexes begins…

Category: Reading Lists

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