Your ultimate Valentine’s Day reading list: The most iconic love stories in the world

Valentine’s day is fast approaching and whether you are a big fan of the love holiday or not, you can’t deny the electric feeling of romance everywhere.

Flowers, romantic dates, handwritten letters – it’s that time of the year again. But can we blame ourselves?

Love is a universal language. We all might speak different tongues and come from different walks of life. But one thing is certain – we all know love.

And since we’re all feeling a touch bit sentimental about it, we’ve came across the ultimate list of the most iconic romantic literature in the world.

We thought, what better way to celebrate love than to celebrate its most beautiful tales?

From Scotland’s dramatic time-travel romance, Outlander, Italy’s classic Romeo and Juliet, to some of the most stunning poetry ever written, you’re bound to enjoy some of these literary pieces.

Take a look at this ultimate list below, put together by Global English Editing, and start drafting your February reading list.


Also check our top picks below!

best love stories around the world

Top Picks

1. P.S. I Love You – Ireland

You’ve probably watched the movie. And you’ve probably balled your eyes out, too. Cecilia Ahern’s novel from which the movie was based is bound to give you more #feels. So tuck yourself in the couch with lots (we mean lots) of tissues within reach and dig in.

Official synopsis:

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

2. A Many-Splendoured Thing – Hong Kong

Here’s your classic love-against-all-odds romance story. Han Suyin’s historically-rich novel set in the palpable era of the Chinese Civil war will bring you back to a time when love was a lot more complicated than it is now. It’s a more racially-driven spin on Romeo and Juliet. Strongly based on the author’s real-life experience, this novel is bound to hit you close to home.

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Official synopsis:

A Many-Splendoured Thing tells the story of a married British foreign correspondent called Mark Elliot (Ian Morrison in real life and based in Singapore where he lived with his wife and children) who falls in love with a Eurasian doctor originally from Mainland China who trained at the Royal Free Hospital Medical College in London University, only to encounter prejudice from her family and from Hong Kong society.

3. The Thorn Birds – Australia

Who doesn’t love an epic family saga? Australia’s most iconic romance, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, is an enthralling life drama that spans generations. Love, betrayal, lust, and family secrets buried deep. This one is definitely a treat for your telenovela senses.

Official Synopsis:

The Thorn Birds is a robust, romantic saga of a singular family, the Clearys. It begins in the early part of this century, when Paddy Cleary moves his wife, Fiona, and their seven children to Drogheda, the vast Australian sheep station owned by his autocratic and childless older sister; and it ends more than half a century later, when the only survivor of the third generation, the brilliant actress Justine O’Neill, sets a course of life and love halfway around the world from her roots.

4. Gone With The Wind – United States

What’s more iconic than this spunky tale of love and loss? You might have already read Margaret Mitchell’s epic Pulitzer Price southern romance novel, but it’s a story that never gets old. I mean, frankly my dear, I think you ought to read it at least twice.


Official Synopsis:

Margaret Mitchell’s monumental epic of the South won a Pulitzer Prize, gave rise to the most popular motion picture of our time, and inspired a sequel that became the fastest-selling novel of the century. It is one of the most popular books ever written: more than 28 million copies of the book have been sold in more than 37 countries. Today, more than 60 years after its initial publication, its achievements are unparalleled, and it remains the most revered American saga and the most beloved work by an American writer…

5. The African Queen – Tanzania

C.S. Forester’s novel was the inspiration behind the legendary movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. This romantic suspense will bring you to a world where love was something you can’t afford to have if you don’t want to lose.

Official Synopsis:

As World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle, Charlie Allnutt and Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader, and an English spinster missionary, find themselves thrown together by circumstance. Fighting time, heat, malaria, and bullets, they make their escape on the rickety steamboat The African Queen…and hatch their own outrageous military plan. Originally published in 1935, The African Queen is a tale replete with vintage Forester drama – unrelenting suspense, reckless heroism, impromptu military maneuvers, near-death experiences – and a good old-fashioned love story to boot.

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Written by Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

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