Valentine’s Day is almost here and love is in the air, so we’ve unlocked 10 classic romance novels for free from the Questia website—a taste of Questia’s online research tool with over 77,000 academic books and 4 million journal articles. So take a break to enjoy our free romance novels online!
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: First published in the early 1800s, this book has become one of the most popular novels in English literature. Hopeful romantics will love this story of the five unmarried Bennet daughters finding love through a number of twists and turns.
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: Though tragic, this story of star-crossed lovers whose deaths finally bring their families together tugs at the heart strings, making it a love story worth the tears.
- Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand: In another tragic love story, self-doubt over an extremely large nose keeps the main character from confessing his love, but just before it’s too late, his dearest Roxane realizes her shared feelings.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: The only novel by Emily Bronte, published a year before her early death, this is a narrative of all-encompassing passion that dooms Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff’s love, and eventually destroys them.
- Tristram by Edwin Arlington Robinson: This is the story of Tristram and Isolt (a.k.a. Tristan and Isolde), an adulterous love story between an English soldier who falls in love with an Irish princess while England and Ireland are at war.
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: This novel follows the lives of sisters Elinor and Margaret, who are left with only a small income and poor circumstances following the death of their father, but move on to experience both love and heartbreak.
- Orpheus and Eurydice from Greek mythology: Orpheus was a great musician and poet who traveled to the underworld in an attempt to regain his wife Eurydice. The one condition to get her back was that Eurydice must return to the land of the living without looking back. But he couldn’t wait to see his love and she was lost forever.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: A young girl falls in love with her older employer, but soon discovers he’s keeping a dangerous secret, which threatens their relationship.
- Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” The famous line was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning who wrote this collection of forty-four love sonnets about her future husband Robert Browning.
- Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor by R.D. Blackmore: Lorna Doone faces an arranged marriage, but falls in love with a farmer whose father was murdered by the Doone family. Lorna escapes to marry her love, but their wedding day takes a turn for the worse. Luckily, this one has a happy ending.
Let us know what you think of our classic romance reading list in the comments, and give us your thoughts on how you relate once you’ve had a chance to read any of these masterpieces.
In case reading these romance novels puts you in the mood to learn how people see their love lives today, you might want to check the Harlequin Romance Report for 2012, a survey that Harlequin, the premier publisher of romance novels, conducts every year.
Happy Valentine’s Day!