Who doesn’t want to read a good love story?  Preferably one that ends well and gives us faith that love is real and true, such as The Princess Bride.  There are many such stories which are very satisfying in their own way yet we are often drawn to other stories where love has gone awry or whose plots take us to places and endings we never anticipated.  Stories such as those in  Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, or The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Here are three such stories.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate…”  So begins the classic romantic suspense novel published in 1938 and never out of print since then. Du Maurier leads you down paths you think you know until you don’t and yet you do at the same time.  Alfred Hitchcock’s first American project was the 1940 film Rebecca. (available on YouTube)

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

A contemporary novel in a lighter vein, Sarah meets Eddie and has an idyllic couple of weeks with him.  With no doubt in her heart that he will be in touch with her after a planned trip, she is completely bewildered when he doesn’t call.  Her bewilderment turns into obsession and leads her down painful paths she has not expected.  I dare you to guess the ending!

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Who says love stories can’t also be funny?  In this novel the main character, a food writer named Agnes, is putting on a wedding for a daughter of southern “mafia” when she meets Shane, a hitman with no last name.  An entertaining “beach read” this book combines action, humor, and romance.

Even more…

These range from classic to contemporary “twisted” stories with a few descriptive adjectives thrown in for good measure.  If a title is not in the Reynolds library catalog, we offer an interlibrary loan service to try to get the book for you. 

Many of these books have been made into movies (identified with an asterisk).  In some cases we have DVDs available for checkout ; others may be available through various streaming services or for free on YouTube (often older classics).


*Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (atmospheric; dramatic; moody; romantic)

*Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (dramatic; romantic)

*The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (bittersweet; romantic)

*Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (multiple perspectives; moody)

*The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (atmospheric; romantic)

*Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (atmospheric; bittersweet; romantic)

Modern Classics

Sula by Toni Morrison (haunting; moody)

*Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (bleak; disturbing)

*Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (dramatic, romantic, lyrical)

Roman Fever (short story)  by Edith Wharton (irony, multiple viewpoints)

*The Graduate by Charles Webb (coming of age)

Innocent Erendida (short story) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ( literary fiction; lyrical; stylistically complex)

*Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (melancholy, obsessive)

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (complex; haunting; romantic)

Fantasy Fiction/Romance

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (atmospheric, lyrical)

Gothic Fiction

*Flowers in the attic series by V.C. Andrews (atmospheric; disturbing; violent)

Historical Fantasy

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garci (atmospheric; creepy; menacing)

Historical Fiction/Adaptations

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (retelling of the Iliad; atmospheric; dramatic; lyrical; romantic)

General Fiction

The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion  (funny; heartwarming)

*The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (romantic; thought-provoking)

*The Thorn Birds by Coleen McCullough (dramatic; moving: family saga)

*Like water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel (magical realism)

*Dona Flor and her two husbands by Jorge Amado (magical realism)


*A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

*Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (the most classic of the classics!)

*A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

*Cat on a hot tin roof by Tennessee Williams

Psychological Fiction

*Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (fast-paced;  bleak; disturbing;)

The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate (moving; thoughtful)

Love by Toni Morrison (haunting; moody; complex)

The Wife of His Youth (short story) by Charles Chestnutt  (African American fiction; culturally diverse); available at The Atlantic 1898

Property by Valerie Martin (disturbing; haunting; moody)

Eva’s Man by Gayl Jones (disturbing; violent; gritty)

Romantic Comedies

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (time travel)

Rude awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (time travel)

Southern Gothic

*A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner (short story/short film) (macabre)

Other Movies (not from books)

The Shape of Water (2017)

Phantom Thread (2017)

Misery (1990)

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