What to Read this Weekend if you’re not into Romance


So, you’re not into romance novels, all those bodice rippers and dark brooding heroes only make you roll your eyes, but you still want a little mood reading? No worries, here I am with a romance list guaranteed to entertain non-romance readers.

All the books I list here have some romance, but there is a larger story outside of the romance and those are the best kind, right? I love a little context to the story be it historical, cultural, or social, they add so much more depth to a romance.

Books I Recommend for Romance Nonfans

Books I Recommend for Romance Nonfans

  • Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

    This is one of my favorites. Not many would consider this a romance, but Rhett Butler is one of my favorite fictional characters and even though Scarlett came off as a bit of a bitch sometimes, I loved how tough she was in some really dire situations. And I must be one of the few people who think unsuccessful love stories are some of the best kind. Oops, did I let out a spoiler there?

  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

    Again a very interesting and slightly controversial male lead and a very (at first read) poor mouse of a female lead. At least, that’s what I thought when I first read it as a teen. I was very scornful of poor Jane Eyre, and hated Rochester. I guess as I got older I could appreciate Jane’s moral strength and understand Rochester’s weaknesses. And it’s quite probable that if I read Jane Eyre again, my opinion of the book and the characters would change again. It’s that sort of book.

  • Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

    This is not a traditional romance as such, but I loved the Japanese setting, and the main character does spend a lot of time in the book mooning over a man who she thought doesn’t care for her. A great book if you are looking for a romance in an unusual environment (that of a geisha community).

  • Naked in Death – J.D. Robb

    This is a great book series to read if you like some suspense and science fiction tied in to a romance. The author is Nora Roberts writing under the pseudonym of J.D. Robb. I don’t always enjoy her romances, but this series is quite novel and very different from her regular writing style. You would never guess it is the same author.

    At the time I read this book, I was a bit meh about the book, but I went on to read a couple more books in the series and liked them quite a lot. So, yeah, this particular book didn’t quite work for me, but the series as a whole is nice. A review of another In Death book is here.

  • Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

    I loved Outlander. The romance is steamy but it’s nowhere as clichΓ©d as some of the other historical romances out there. The setting of Scotland and the time travel elements add to the interest. Plus, if you find yourself liking this book and the characters, there are seven more books penned by Gabaldon in this vein. Win!

  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

    What can I say about this book? It’s a great classic and has one of my all-time favorite romantic leads.

  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

    Here’s another Jane Austen recommendation. She wrote some great romances that always have a little extra. I think the literary quality of her books is just simply amazing and vaults her books from simple romance/chick-lit category into a classic.

  • The Thornbirds – Colleen McCullough

    This is an epic book. It’s one of those old-fashioned yarns telling the tale of three generations of a family, but at its heart it’s a love story, and a wonderful love story at that. Highly recommend!

  • Any of Georgette Heyer’s romances.

    All are good, and all are high-quality, and very well-written. Best of all, they avoid a lot of romance novel clichΓ©s, while still being very romantic. Some of them are also laugh out loud funny. I don’t have a review to point you to because I read these books before my pre-blogging days, but some really nice ones are Frederica, Venetia, and The Grand Sophy.

Do you like to read romances? What’s your definition of a romantic novel? And what are you planning to read this Valentine weekend?

  • couchpapaya

    Love all these books!! Glad you included Heyer, she doesnt seem to get much love nowadays and her books are my all-time favorite romance reads.

    So, anyway, just happened to see this post and wanted to mention- there is an Outlander series that started airing here. It’s completed the first season. I was only able to catch the first episode – am hoping the rest of the series comes out on DVD. But, what I wanted to say was, the first episode was INCREDIBLE!!! The casting was also spot on, I loved Clare so much more than I ever liked her in the books and I think it has to do with the actress being so good in the role. Frank is played by Edmure from GoT and he’s so good too, Jamie is beautiful, Dougal was perfect πŸ™‚ I cannot WAIT to watch the rest!! Just thought I’d share, dont have anyone in my real world who shares my liking for Outlander πŸ˜€

  • Julie S.

    This is a great list of stories with wonderful romances but also more. Some of those made our list of top romance books πŸ™‚

  • Prema V Kumar

    How come you missed Wuthering Heights?

    • Nishita

      @premavkumar:disqus I didn’t think of it actually.

  • Elizabeth Joseph

    Nice list. We are far from the romantic types, so this weekend looks like all other weekends :)..Gone with the Wind, The Thorn Birds etc are my comfort reads when I really really need something to put me out of the rut…
    I think I have read Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice too. The rest books are pretty unknown to me…

    • Nishita

      @elizabeth_joseph:disqus If you like Jane Austen, I think you will like Georgette Heyer. Regency Romance type novels. Good fun once you get used to the language used in those times.

  • Hi Nishita, that is a great compilation! I have come across Outlander over and over again, but for some or the other reason have never picked it up. This post has been the final nudge I needed. Will pick it up soon and add it to the TBR pile. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Nishita

      @shanayatales:disqus Be warned, it’s a chunkster, but it breaks a lot of romance novel stereotypes. I quite liked it.

  • Great list! I love Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Some people would’ve also put Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights on a list like this, but I don’t think it’s romantic at all!

  • Wanton Ruminating

    Done, Done, DOne, done and done !!!

    • Nishita

      @wantonruminating:disqus All done? Then this post was absolutely no use πŸ™

      • Wanton Ruminating

        Lol! No way! You have picked all my best loved books and made me want to go back and read them all over again. They are great choices, aren’t they, for a nice, cosy evening at home.

  • Jennine G.

    What a great list! I’ve read almost all of them and recently bought the first few of the Outlander series! Can’t wait to start them!

    • Nishita

      @JennineG:disqus I hope you enjoy them. I’ve only read the first book, but I thought it was very engrossing, and very romantic. It’s a great book to read over Valentine’s πŸ™‚

  • Bellelynx

    Oh, I love this! Jane Austen is my favorite author and I must say Memoirs of a Geisha got me researching articles and facts. I was so into it. πŸ˜€ Everyone should really consider your recommendations for Valentine weekend.

    • Nishita

      Thank you @Bellelynx πŸ™‚ , glad you like this list.

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