The Greatest "Romance, Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Romance

The Romance category of books typically involves stories that revolve around romantic relationships between two or more characters. These stories often explore themes of love, passion, and intimacy, and may include elements of drama, suspense, or humor. Romance novels can range from sweet and innocent to steamy and erotic, and may be set in a variety of time periods and locations. Overall, the Romance genre offers readers a chance to escape into a world of love and romance, where anything is possible.

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  1. 1. Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Atonement is a powerful novel that explores the consequences of a young girl's false accusation. The narrative follows the lives of three characters, the accuser, her older sister, and the sister's lover, who is wrongly accused. This false accusation irrevocably alters their lives, leading to the accused's imprisonment and eventual enlistment in World War II, while the sisters grapple with guilt, estrangement, and their own personal growth. The novel is a profound exploration of guilt, forgiveness, and the destructive power of misinterpretation.

  2. 2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The novel follows a young Nigerian woman who emigrates to the United States for a university education. While there, she experiences racism and begins blogging about her experiences as an African woman in America. Meanwhile, her high school sweetheart faces his own struggles in England and Nigeria. The story is a powerful exploration of race, immigration, and the complex nature of identity, love, and belonging.

  3. 3. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

    The novel is a gripping tale set in Victorian England, revolving around two young women, a petty thief and a rich heiress, whose lives intertwine in unforeseen ways. The thief is part of a con to defraud the heiress of her fortune, but as the plot thickens, the lines between deception and truth, loyalty and betrayal, love and manipulation get blurred. The narrative is filled with unexpected twists and turns, exploring themes of gender, sexuality, and class, and keeps the readers on the edge till the end.

  4. 4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

    This novel follows the poignant journey of two teenagers, both cancer patients, who meet in a support group and fall in love. Their shared experiences and unique outlook on life and death bring them closer together, and they embark on a trip to Amsterdam to meet a reclusive author they both admire. Through their journey, they explore the harsh realities of living with a terminal illness while also experiencing the beautiful and tragic aspects of first love.

  5. 5. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    In an unnamed South American country, a lavish birthday party is thrown for a powerful businessman, with a famous opera singer as the guest of honor. The party is interrupted by a group of terrorists who take everyone hostage, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. As weeks turn into months, the hostages and their captors form unexpected bonds. The story explores the relationships that develop under these extraordinary circumstances, and the transformative power of music and love.

  6. 6. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    The novel tells the story of a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and his wife, an artist who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Their love story endures many separations and dangerous experiences due to his condition. The story's central theme is the effects of time travel on their marriage and their passionate love for each other.

  7. 7. Normal People by Sally Rooney

    "Normal People" is a novel that explores the complex relationship between two high school students from different social classes in a small town in Ireland. Despite their contrasting backgrounds, they form a strong bond that continues into their university years at Trinity College. The narrative follows their journey, filled with misunderstandings, miscommunications, and emotional intimacy, as they navigate their way through love, friendship, mental health issues, and the struggles of growing up.

  8. 8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

    This novel explores the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, who are brought together by war and fate. Mariam, an illegitimate child, suffers from the stigma surrounding her birth and the abuse she faces from her bitter mother. When she is married off to Rasheed, her life becomes a nightmare. Later, she becomes a co-wife to Laila, a beautiful and educated girl who also ends up as Rasheed's wife due to a series of tragic events. Despite their initial rivalry, the two women form a bond and become sources of support for each other in the face of their husband's brutalities and the war-torn world of Kabul.

  9. 9. 11 22 63 by Stephen King

    "11/22/63" is a science fiction novel by Stephen King that follows the story of Jake Epping, a high school English teacher who discovers a portal that leads to 1958. After being convinced by his friend Al to use the portal to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jake embarks on a journey through time to change the course of history. Along the way, he falls in love with a woman named Sadie and faces various obstacles that threaten to alter the timeline he is trying to change. The book explores themes of love, loss, and the consequences of trying to change the past.

  10. 10. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

    The novel is a reimagining of the ancient Greek epic of the Trojan War, told from the perspective of Patroclus, an exiled young prince who becomes the beloved companion of Achilles, the greatest warrior of his age. Their deep bond and affection for one another transform into a powerful love that defies the expectations of their society and the will of the gods. As they grow into men, their fates become increasingly intertwined with the legendary conflict at Troy, where honor, sacrifice, and destiny culminate in a poignant and tragic conclusion. The story explores themes of heroism, glory, and the humanizing effects of love against the backdrop of war and the capricious whims of immortals.

  11. 11. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

    "Fates and Furies" is a novel split into two parts, providing two perspectives on a single marriage. The first half of the book, "Fates," is told from the point of view of the husband, Lotto, a charismatic but failed actor turned successful playwright, who views his marriage as happy and his wife as supportive. The second half, "Furies," is told from the perspective of his wife, Mathilde, revealing her hidden past and the sacrifices and manipulations she has performed to maintain their life together. The novel explores themes of love, secrets, and the different narratives created within a relationship.

  12. 12. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

    The novel tells the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey, in the 1950s who, unable to find work at home, is sent to Brooklyn by a helpful priest where she builds a new life. She finds work, studies to become a bookkeeper, and falls in love with an Italian plumber named Tony. However, a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland, where she must choose between her new life in America and her old life at home.

  13. 13. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

    The novel intertwines the stories of Leo Gursky, a Holocaust survivor living out his twilight years in New York City, and Alma Singer, a 14-year-old girl trying to ease her mother's loneliness after the death of her father. Their lives are connected through a book, written by Leo in his youth as a tribute to his first love, that has been translated into English and published under a different author's name. As Alma investigates the true authorship of the book, their stories converge in a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the power of literature.

  14. 14. Fifty Shades of Grey: by E L James

    A young, innocent college student interviews a handsome, enigmatic billionaire for her campus newspaper and soon finds herself drawn into his world of dominance and submission. As she navigates the unfamiliar territory of BDSM, she must also grapple with her own desires and the emotional complexities of their unconventional relationship. This erotic romance novel explores themes of power, control, and the nature of love and desire.

  15. 15. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

    "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman is a fairy tale adventure set in the land of Faerie. The story follows the journey of a young man named Tristran Thorn, who sets out to capture a fallen star in order to win the heart of his true love. Along the way, he encounters a variety of magical creatures and characters, including witches, unicorns, and a ruthless prince. As Tristran navigates the dangers and wonders of Faerie, he learns valuable lessons about love, sacrifice, and the power of destiny.

  16. 16. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    In this coming-of-age novel, two Mexican-American teenagers, Aristotle and Dante, form an unlikely friendship during the summer of 1987. As they navigate their way through adolescence, they uncover the complexities of their identities, family dynamics, and the world around them. Through their shared experiences, they discover the power of love, self-acceptance, and the profound mysteries that the universe holds.

  17. 17. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

    This novel follows the intertwined lives of three college graduates in the 1980s. The story focuses on the romantic entanglements of Madeleine Hanna, an English major who is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, and her relationships with two men: Leonard Bankhead, a charismatic but troubled biology student, and Mitchell Grammaticus, a religious studies student who is in love with Madeleine. The narrative explores the complexities of love, mental illness, faith, and the relevance of the traditional marriage plot in a modern world.

  18. 18. The Invisible Life Of Addie La Rue by V. E. Schwab

    The book follows the story of a young woman in 18th-century France who, desperate to escape an arranged marriage and yearning for freedom, makes a Faustian bargain with a mysterious god-like figure to live forever without being remembered by anyone she meets. Her immortality becomes a curse as she moves through the centuries, leaving no mark on the world until, 300 years later, she stumbles upon a young man in a bookstore who, to her shock, remembers her name. This encounter unfolds into a tale of love, memory, and the intrinsic value of leaving one's mark on the world.

  19. 19. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

    The novel centers around Lara Jean Song Covey, a high school junior who has written secret love letters to all of her past crushes, never intending to send them. However, her life turns upside down when the letters are mysteriously mailed out, causing her to confront her feelings and the repercussions of her past affections. In a desperate attempt to save face and avoid confrontation with one of her crushes, she enters into a fake relationship with another, which leads to a journey of self-discovery and the realization that sometimes love can be found in the most unexpected places.

  20. 20. What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

    The novel explores a complicated relationship between an American teacher living in Bulgaria and a young male prostitute named Mitko. The narrative delves into themes of desire, shame, and the legacy of the past, as the protagonist grapples with his own identity and sexuality. As the relationship between the two men evolves, the protagonist is forced to confront his past, his feelings of isolation, and the societal norms that shape his existence.

  21. 21. The Duke and I: A Bridgerton Novel by Julia Quinn

    In this Regency-era romance, a young woman of marriageable age faces societal pressures to find a suitable match. When she forms a pact with a charming and rebellious duke, they agree to a ruse of courtship to stave off the advances of other suitors and meddling family members. However, as they navigate the complexities of their faux engagement, they find themselves drawn to each other in unexpected ways, challenging their initial intentions and leading them to confront the possibility of a genuine and deep-seated love. Their story is a dance of wit, romance, and the intricate social mores of high society, revealing that the path to true love is seldom straightforward.

  22. 22. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

    The novel is a poignant exploration of desire, passion, and the confusion of young love, set during a sun-drenched summer on the Italian Riviera. It follows the blossoming romantic relationship between a precocious 17-year-old boy and a visiting 24-year-old American scholar staying at his parents' villa. As they bond over literature, music, and the languid Italian landscape, their intimacy grows, leading to a deep and transformative affair that will leave an indelible mark on their lives. The story delves into the complexities of emotions and the heartache of remembering a once-in-a-lifetime connection that both defines and haunts them.

  23. 23. The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

    "The Great Fire" is a historical novel set in the aftermath of World War II. The story follows a British war hero, Aldred Leith, who is sent to occupied Japan to research the effects of the war on the country's culture. During his stay, he falls in love with a young girl, Helen, who is the daughter of the Australian camp commander. Despite the age difference and societal expectations, the two form a deep bond. The book explores themes of love, war, cultural change, and personal transformation.

  24. 24. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

    This novel intertwines two parallel narratives, one set in the 13th century and one in the modern day. The contemporary story follows a discontented American housewife who, while working as a reader for a literary agency, comes across a novel about the 13th-century poet Rumi and his spiritual mentor, Shams of Tabriz. As she delves into their story, she uncovers Shams' forty rules of love and begins to question her own life and relationships. The historical narrative, on the other hand, explores the transformative friendship between Rumi and Shams, and how their bond revolutionized Rumi's poetry and outlook on life.

  25. 25. A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

    In this gripping fantasy sequel, two fugitives fight to survive and overthrow a tyrannical regime. The former scholar-turned-fugitive and her warrior ally, with the help of a spy and other unexpected friends, embark on a dangerous journey to free the former's brother from a notorious prison. As they navigate through political intrigue and dark magic, they must also confront their own inner demons and the growing feelings between them. With the empire's most brutal forces on their trail, the pair must use all their wits and courage to outsmart their enemies and fan the flames of rebellion, while a prophecy looms over them, threatening to shake the very foundations of their world.

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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