1. Jane Austen
At first mention, it is hard to categorically accept Jane Austen as a romance author even though she has penned some of the best romantic fiction novels of the English literature including Pride and Prejudice (1813), Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Persuasion (1818). Unlike other contemporary writers, Austen’s novels intersperse love with societal elements having a great deal of emphasis on social norms and female characters.
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” ― Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice
2. Charlotte Brontë
Most accredited for bringing something new to the table with her gothic melodrama in romantic fictions, Charlotte Brontë was another gifted writer who raised the benchmark for romantic novels with her all-time classic: Jane Eyre (1847). The novel tells the story of an orphan governess who makes the dreadful mistake of falling in love with her employer.
“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
3. Emily Brontë
Shakespeare, Austen and Charlotte Brontë are sometimes believed to be only close runner ups against Emily Brontë’s literary masterpiece, Wuthering Heights (1847). The book challenged 19th century Victorian norms about social class, gender, religion and morality. It is unfortunate that her only published novel received widespread criticism in its initial years and Emily did not live to see how it gradually gained acceptability to become one of the most widely read and favourite love stories of all time.
Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
4. Margaret Mitchell
American journalist and author Margaret Mitchell is the fourth participant in this category owing to her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With the Wind (1937) which sold more than 30 million copies and was converted into a an academy award winning film. Mitchell began her love stories fetish as a child and went on to write adventure books and later even directed plays. Her second novel, Lost Laysen (1996) – a manuscript discovered after her death- is also a love story set in the South Pacific.
“Well, my dear, take heart. Someday, I will kiss you and you will like it. But not now, so I beg you not to be too impatient.” ― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
5. Audrey Niffenegger
Writer, academic, visual artist and most lauded as a graphic novelist, Audrey Niffenegger is an American born 21st century Renaissance woman. Her romantic novel is distinct because of its mix with science fiction in The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003) which sold over seven million copies, translated in forty languages and was adapted into a film. Rumour has it that Niffenegger was troubled with her own love life during the time the she wrote this novel
which makes it even more poignant.
“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?” ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
6. Nicholas Sparks
Arguably one of the world’s most loved romantic storytellers, Nicholas Sparks is an American producer, screenwriter and novelist with seventeen novels to his credit as well as one non fiction book. Nine of his novels were translated into films including The Notebook (1996), A Walk to Remember (1999), Dear John (2006) and Safe Haven (2010) to name a few.
“I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook