From tear-jerkers to the warm fuzzies, the New York Public Library shares with YourTango their top 10 picks for the greatest love stories of all time. They can melt your heart, make you laugh and leave you longing for a Kleenex. Whether you are looking for that special someone or blissfully in love, these ageless classics know just how to pull on those heartstrings. So, jump under the covers, turn down the lights and tuck into the most sought-after romantic novels of all time.
1. Wuthering Heights: A total eclipse of the heart.
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In one of the oldest heart-wrenching classics in the "lost love can turn a good man evil" scenario, Emily Brontë’s novel takes us back to 1802 at the Wuthering Heights estate. In this timeless love story, our leading man Heathcliff grows to become best friends with his adopted sister, Catherine, his life-long crush. But an offhand comment, overheard at the Heights, changes the course of both of their lives.
Fun Fact: The 1983 Bonnie Tyler power ballad "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was inspired by Wuthering Heights.
2. Anna Karenina: Love can be a train wreck.
Frequently a top author’s choice, this Tolstoy novel is a literary soap opera. Set in the highest circles of Russian society, Anna Karenina visits her brother Stiva in Moscow to help him save his marriage. While there, she falls in love with Count Vronsky. A married woman, Karenina fights off her desires until they overwhelm her and she leaves her husband, Alexei. Denied a divorce, Anna spends her life looking for acceptance in her relationship. When the strain of their love life becomes too much, Anna leaves Vronsky in a rage and well, if you haven’t read it, do! We won’t give away a heart-wrenching ending.
Fun Fact: Anna Karenina became a best-seller all over again in 2004 after Oprah put it on her list.
3. Romeo and Juliet: Wherefore art thou, Romeo?
In one of William Shakespeare's most celebrated works, this tale of "star-crossed loves" has been told and interpreted time and time again (from film classic West Side Story to teen flick Romeo + Juliet). A story all lovers can relate to, Romeo and Juliet focuses on the tragedies that accompany the loss of true love. Lovers Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, two of the most famed clans in literature, come from opposite sides of the Verona tracks and their family's disapproval of their love eventually leads to their demise.
Fun Fact: In the popular computer game The Sims 2, there is a neighborhood called Veronaville in which two characters named Romeo Monty and Juliette Capp fall in love.
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