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Tragic Romance Books

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17 Truly Heartbreaking Books About Love & Loss

Grab a box of tissues. You’ll need them.

'An American Marriage,' 'This Is How You Lose The Time War,' and 'High as the Waters Rise' are among...

Rosy love stories are great and all, but they don’t always scratch that itch. You know, when you just need a tragic love story to completely obliterate your heart, rip it out of your chest, and stomp all over it. For many, this twisted ache began with a little heart-wrenching novel by Nicholas Sparks called The Notebook (ever heard of it?) and basically spiraled out of control from there. Sometimes you truly just need a good crying fit, and becoming emotionally attached to characters doomed with heartbreak and tragedy is a guaranteed ticket to get there.

If all of the general positivity and romantic mushiness in your reading material is just not doing it for you, ground yourself with one of these sad love books that will actually make you feel something. Exactly what makes a story good, after all, is a matter of opinion. Some people prefer tales where the heroes win, the lovers reunite, and everyone lives happily ever after in the end, while others would rather read about the darker side of life. When it comes to stories about love, there are plenty on both sides of the spectrum to keep every reader happy — even if that means the characters in the book might not be.

If you find yourself reveling in the catharsis of a good book-induced cry sesh, these stories are for you. From forbidden affairs to tragic deaths to fairy tales with less-than-happy endings , here are 17 heartbreaking romance books to uncontrollably sob over. Prepare for the ultimate book hangover.

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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

'Call Me by Your Name' by André Aciman

Two young people fall in love on the Italian Riviera in Call Me by Your Name , a heartrending novel set in the mid-1980s. At age 17, Elio is much younger than the object of his affections — Oliver, a 24-year-old med student living with Elio’s parents for the summer. The pair are drawn together for a few weeks of passion, but can they ever be more than a summer fling?

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

'The Light of the World' by Elizabeth Alexander

A finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Biography, poet Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir, The Light of the World , traces the bounds of love, grief, and recovery. The author explores her relationship with her teenage sons in the aftermath of her husband’s sudden death in 2012 at age 49, weaving a story that’s at once tender and beautiful — and sure to leave you feeling raw.

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

'This Close to Okay' by Leesa Cross-Smith

A recently divorced therapist and a man she’s consoling come together in this quiet romance novel. After inviting Emmett into her home, Tallie doesn’t tell him what she does for a living, and he doesn’t tell her why he planned to die by suicide. Although it’s often described as evoking a hygge-like coziness, This Close to Okay still manages to rip your heart out before the end.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

'This Is How You Lose the Time War' by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

How is it possible for a book to have a hopeful ending and be sad? Somehow, This Is How You Lose the Time War finds a way. In this epistolary romance, two time travelers on opposite sides of a cosmic war, known as Red and Blue, share messages in secret locations across the timeline. They slowly transition from enemies to lovers, but all’s fair in love and war… and this is both.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage is a masterclass in tragedy. Tayari Jones’ NAACP Image Award-winning novel centers on Celestial and Roy: a married couple who are separated as newlyweds when Roy is wrongly convicted of a terrible crime. Five years later, Roy is unexpectedly released from prison, and Celestial should be overjoyed by their reunion — but she’s fallen for someone else in the time he’s been away.

High as the Waters Rise by Anja Kampmann

'High as the Waters Rise' by Anja Kampmann

German poet Anja Kampmann’s debut novel follows Waclaw, an oil rig worker who’s caught in a spiral of grief when his companion and co-worker, Mátyás, is lost at sea. As he travels across Europe and Africa, stopping in Morocco, Hungary, Italy, and Germany, Waclaw traces the edges of his life — the parts of it he shared with Mátyás, and the void left behind by his death.

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

'The Lucky Ones' by Liz Lawson

In Liz Lawson’s powerful YA debut, a pair of teens are united by grief in the wake of a school shooting. The only survivor of a violent incident that killed her twin brother, May is struggling with survivor’s guilt when she meets Zach: the son of the shooter’s defense attorney, whose friends have all abandoned him. They’ve both lost much in the last few months, but what might they stand to gain from one another?

Kept Animals by Kate Milliken

'Kept Animals' by Kate Milliken

In Kate Milliken’s deeply affective novel, a complex social network connects three teen girls in early ’90s California. Among them is Rory, a ranch hand who finds herself caught between two love interests: June, a wealthy ranch patron, and Vivian, the daughter of a Hollywood star. Narrated by Rory’s daughter in 2015, Kept Animals is a brooding story of love and loss.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

'Open Water' by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s Open Water centers on two unnamed, Black British creatives: a photographer and a dancer. There’s no doubt that the two fast friends are headed for romance, but the photographer struggles to open up to his partner — with whom he has so much in common — when it comes to matters of life and death. The pair’s relationship may just break under the strain.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

'The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue' by V.E. Schwab

Addie has lived through 300 years of historical events, but her participation was never recorded for posterity. That’s the price she paid to live forever: No one can remember her. Then she meets someone who knows exactly who she is, and the trajectory of her entire life shifts, in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue .

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

'Cemetery Boys' by Aiden Thomas

As a trans brujo, Yadriel faces opposition from his traditional family, who refuse to see him for the young man he is. To prove himself, he attempts to summon the ghost of his missing cousin... but winds up face-to-face with the spirit of Julian instead. This local bad boy has some business to attend to before he leaves this world behind, and Yadriel is just the right guy to help him. But what happens when a brujo can’t bear to exorcise a spirit that needs to cross over?

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

'The Song of Achilles' by Madeline Miller

A BookTok favorite , The Song of Achilles is a gripping retelling of Homer’s The Iliad . The reimagined adventure infuses the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War with a page-turning love story. Achilles is the strong and beautiful son of sea goddess Thetis and King Peleus. In a chance encounter, he meets and bonds with Patroclus, an exiled young prince. Seeking glory, Achilles joins the heroes of Greece on their quest to invade Troy after Helen of Sparta is kidnapped. Out of love and fear, Patroclus follows him on his deadly pursuit.

Memorial by Brian Washington

'Memorial' by Bryan Washington

Benson and Mike have been together for several years and live together in Houston — but they aren’t exactly a couple. Or are they? They love each other, but can’t seem to discuss and define what they are or where this relationship is going. Everything is tested when Mike discovers his father is dying and tells Benson he is going to go to Japan to be with him — just as his mother, Mitsuko, is set for an extended visit in Houston. Memorial is a make-you-laugh and cry story exploring all of the devastatingly real sides of a relationship.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

'A Place For Us' by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place For Us follows an Indian-American Muslim family over the span of several decades. Narrated from the perspective of each member, the family gathers in their hometown in California for the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadia. The youngest sibling, Amar, has made an appearance after three years of estrangement. A Place For Us catalogs the history and decisions of the family’s past that led to this moment. The children struggle to balance the traditions and faith of their parents with their new culture as they navigate what will bring them together — and what will ultimately drive them apart.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

'In Five Years' by Rebecca Serle

Dannie Cohan is living life according to her plan, and it’s working out exactly as it’s supposed to. She nailed her life-changing interview at her dream law firm and just accepted her boyfriend’s proposal. She falls asleep knowing her life is exactly on track, but when she wakes up, she’s in a different apartment, has a different ring on her finger, and is looking at a man who is not her fiancé. It’s five years in the future and nothing is right. She spends exactly one hour here before waking up back in her apartment with her fiancé. For the next five years, Dannie does everything in her power to shake that fateful hour and keep life going according to her plan. This becomes exceedingly difficult when she unexpectedly meets the man she spent an hour with five years in the future.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clarke is hired as a caregiver for Will Traynor, a man who became paralyzed from the neck down in a motorcycle accident. Will had lived an extraordinary life of adventure before the accident and is now cynical with no desire to live. Louisa is determined to prove to Will that life is worth living and in doing so, discovers a spark she didn’t know she was missing in her own life.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

'A Walk to Remember' by Nicholas Sparks

When it comes to Nicholas Sparks, you’re pretty much guaranteed a devastatingly tragic love story, and A Walk to Remember is no exception. The high school romance between bad boy Landon Carter and the minister’s daughter, Jamie Sullivan, is unlikely, to say the least. As he falls for Jamie, Landon begins to turn his life around, but everything is thrown to the wayside when he discovers her heart-breaking secret.

This article was originally published on May 5, 2017

books tragic love stories

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Tragic & Star-Crossed Love - Fiction

Title: Trespasses, Author: Louise Kennedy

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9 tragic love stories to read after watching Me Before You


Me Before You

The film adaption of Me Before You , Jojo Moyes ' stunning tale of loss and romance, hit theaters on June 3, 2016, and follows the tragic relationship between Will Traynor ( Sam Claflin ), a man with quadriplegia who uses a wheelchair, and his quirky caretaker Louisa Clark ( Emilia Clarke ). EW looks back at nine other books with devastating love stories that will send you into a pit of literary despair.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina isn't just a tragic love story for the ages; it's one of the best novels ever written, period. From the titular character struggling for true love and independence to the nobleman trying to empathize with his peasant workers, Tolstoy's vivid characters paint a beautiful portrait of life in all its multi-faceted glory. —Christian Holub

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

After being diagnosed with terminal acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 16, Tessa sets out to experience as much as she can. With her best friend Zoey, she comes up with a bucket list of wild activities, most importantly to find love. Told from Tessa's point of view, Before I Die unravels a story of blooming romance amid certain tragedy. —Dylan Kickham

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë's only novel stands alone as a masterpiece in grief and longing. Read widely in classrooms, Wuthering Heights tells the epic story of star-crossed lovers Heathcliff and Catherine, who can't be together because of their differing classes. They and their offspring march toward their tortured fates, casting aside happiness for extreme despair through decades in the English moors. —Jessica Goodman

Atonement by Ian McEwan

In McEwan 's acclaimed novel, set on the cusp of and during World War II, 13-year-old aspiring writer Briony makes a series of mistaken assumptions about the relationship between her older sister Cecilia and her lover Robbie, which ruins both of their lives and haunts Briony for the rest of hers. —Isabella Biedenharn

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro 's sci-fi dystopian tale centers around three friends — Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth — as they come of age in a mysterious private school, Hailsham, in the English countryside. As they grow older, their instructors treat them with fear and pity, and the trio soon discovers a horrifying truth about their existence. Adapted into a stellar 2010 feature film starring Carey Mulligan , Andrew Garfield , and Keira Knightley , Never Let Me Go continues to grip audiences across multiple mediums with its disturbing and honest fusion of terror and tragic romance. —Joey Nolfi


Love Story by Erich Segal

Erich Segal's 1970 novel Love Story begins as a hopeful tale of young romance: Wealthy Harvard jock Ollie falls for music student Jenny. Their unlikely love carries them through familial death and devastation, but is tried the hardest when Jenny is diagnosed with leukemia. —D.K.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Not only did Green 's novel set off the teen tragedy trend of the 2010s, but it also brought realistic YA literature to the forefront of the publishing industry. Readers of all ages fell for the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 17-year-old with terminal thyroid cancer who constantly worries about leaving her parents behind after she dies, and Augustus Waters, an easygoing, charming boy with all the confidence of someone in remission. The two bond over books, and jet off to Amsterdam to track down Hazel's favorite author — all while falling deeply in love. —I.B.

One Day by David Nicholls

July 15 becomes the only day that matters in David Nicholls' 2009 novel . Dexter and Emma spend one night together as they ready to leave college and after they say goodbye, we revisit them every year on July 15. Chapter after chapter, readers watch their relationship devolve and then flourish until one tragic event changes their lives forever. —J.G.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks ' weeper follows 17-year-old Jamie Sullivan, a sweet, quiet church-going girl, and Landon Carter, the jock who is surprised to find himself falling in love with her. When Jamie finally tells Landon she has leukemia, he speeds up their courtship so she can get a happily ever after in her short life. Inspired by Sparks' own sister who died of cancer, the author has said A Walk to Remember is the only one of his books that made him cry while writing it. —I.B.

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Few literary experiences compare to a good love story. There are the star-crossed lovers, pushed together and then torn apart by a series of fatal coincidences; the unlikely romance that blossoms slowly from a friendship or even a mutual disdain; the hurried affair that happens on a timeline of illness or travel; and more other varieties than can be counted. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of reads we love that will be sure to tug at your heartstrings. It’ll be love at the first line—or so we can hope.

See our  newest picks for this month  in the chart below:

Table of Contents

A Light in the Dark

A Light in the Dark

Author: Elisabeth Rose

Mia is haunted by a recurring dream, which she believes to contain clues to the truth about the grisly deaths of her father and stepmother. Despite the hasty ruling of the police and the unwelcoming atmosphere upon her return to her hometown, she resolves to get to the bottom of the crime and get some closure for herself. Meanwhile, Arlo, a local investigative journalist, senses that all is not as it seems with this case—or with the daughter, the victims left behind. As matters become increasingly complicated and dangerous, the two searchers are drawn together in more ways than they could have anticipated. But even with their lives imperilled, they are determined to hold onto what glimmer of hope they can find.

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Close to the Truth

Close to the Truth

Author: Shona Husk

Jasmine Heydon is a TV biologist who has earned every bit of success she’s found. She had to, after being chased out of her small town a decade ago by the chief of police. Now she’s back and bent on investigating the infamous River Man, a creature connected to haphazard killings over the past hundred years. She gets help from Gil Easton, the son of the chief of police, who isn’t about to let her slip away like the last time. But in spite of Gil’s best efforts to aid her in her search for the truth, and in spite of their rekindling relationship, some people in town aren’t so keen on second chances. And the River Man is posing a more potent threat by the day.

Save the Date

Save the Date

Author: R. J. Groves

Andie Gray, bridal seamstress extraordinaire, has had her heart set on a wedding at Darlington Vineyard for as long as she can remember. Too bad the crucial another half of that wedding is taking so long to come around. When the perfect man is suddenly dropped into her lap, she thinks it’s too good to be true—and she turns out to be right. What will it take for true love to come along? Meanwhile, Taylor Ballin is forced to rethink his forswearing of love when a certain seamstress breeze in to help with his sister’s wedding. Each sees in the other a whole host of reasons not to get involved…so why is it they can’t stay out of each other’s way?

Tapestry of War

Tapestry of War

Author: Jane MacKenzie

Set between Egypt and Scotland during the Second World War, this tale traces the interwoven lives of two women whose situations couldn’t be more different. Fran leads a life of luxury in Alexandria which is threatened by invasive forces to the west, while Cationa dreams of making a difference as a nurse in the theatre of war, far from her sleepy rural environment. As the bloody action intensifies across continents, the two will find love, friendship, and the struggle for survival in unexpected places. A story of the resilience of humanity, the power of relationships to cross immeasurable distances, and the unstoppable strength of womanhood.

Angels at War

Angels at War

Author: Freda Lightfoot

Livia and her sisters seem to have rid themselves of the ghost of their late father’s tyrannical rule, though not of the guilt over the loss of their sister Maggie. While her sisters settle into life at Todd Farm, Livia prepares to marry Jack Flint and start a family. Still, she cannot help entertaining the notion of reviving the old drapery business, even if it means risking her romance and future with Jack. He isn’t the only man obstructing her path in that regard: the more immediate problem is the moneyed Matthew Grayson, whose plans for the business both differ from and override Livia’s. The two clashes at every turn, and without warning, Livia’s upcoming marriage faces a bigger obstacle than she bargained for.

Triple Trouble

Triple Trouble

Author: A. K. Leigh

Carrie Farris, one of a set of triplets, is far and away from the pragmatist of her family. And with a successful forensic anthropology career to tend to in tandem with her siblings, romance is the last thing on her mind. She can float along just fine on her own. But her philosophy seems bound to take on water following the arrival of Rocco Donation, forensic technology magnate and recent recipient of a divorce. The pair has got charmed and drive in spades and are quickly becoming as interested in each other as in the mysterious murder case unfolding in front of them. Well, almost as interested. With their suspect always a few steps ahead, will the Farris triplets and their newfound companion finally get in over their heads?

The House at Flynn’s Crossing

The House at Flynn's Crossing

When Antonia arrives in the small town of Flynn’s Crossing, she rents out Mango House in the hopes of giving her twins and herself a new lease on life following an unspeakable—and highly publicized—tragedy. Flynn, the town councilor, has a tragedy he too is trying to escape, but he contends with it in the opposite manner: turning outward to help his community. Not that they’re exactly open to his help. He hasn’t heard the news surrounding Antonia, and she is grateful for someone who treats her normally. But a promising business development could end their equally promising new relationship before it begins…especially when that development goes south. Soon enough, Flynn has a choice to make, and Antonia has no choice but to trust.

Empire’s Children

Empire's Children

Author: Patricia Weerakoon

Shiro grew up on a Sri Lankan tea plantation. She wants nothing more than to get away from it and pursue her dream of studying medicine and becoming a missionary doctor. Her best friend, Lakshmi, is a coolie laborer, with little chance of any sort of upward mobility. When their lives are upended by the arrival of the heirs to the fortunes of the tea industry—Anthony Ashley Cooper and his brother William—the girls are faced with challenges they could never have imagined. Possibilities, too. That is if these men can find it in themselves to see past the promise of profit and look at the people of Sri Lanka for what they are.

The Blue Mile

The Blue Mile

Author: Kim Kelly

The year is 1929. Times are hard for Yo O’Keenan, who finally takes his little sister Agnes and escapes their turbulent home for a new opportunity working on the Harbour Bridge. Over in Lavender Bay, Olivia Greene, a dedicated milliner, dreams of selling her wares and putting her designs on display all over the capitals of Europe. The pair meets by chance and forms an instant bond—but the forces of nature and history are working hard to break that bond down. In a matter of three years, their fair city is shadowed by civil war and the impending effects of the Great Depression. And suddenly Yo is nowhere to be found. A slice of historical fiction about the difference between surviving and living.

The Importance of Ernestine

The Importance Of Ernestine

Author: Elizabeth Dunk

A fresh twist on Wilde’s classic comedy of errors, The Importance of Ernestine follows best friends Cecily Carter and Gwen Fairford as they take on the big city, professional life, and exciting new romantic relationships. But their men might not be as perfect in the real world as they are on paper. Alec Moncrieff and John Worthing are used to getting what they want, and Cecily and Gwen seem like the package deal. But their charmed world begins to come apart at the seams when they fabricate one too many fancies. Emotions are about to come into play despite the pairs’ best attempts to disguise them. And someone’s past is about to catch up to them in a big way. Will politics ruin everything once again?

Eternal Refuge

Eternal Refuge

Author: Annabelle McInnes

Euan has spent who knows how long fighting for the safety of his family and friends. He has paid the price for it, too—physically and psychologically mangled and beaten by the time he returns home. But of all his burdens, the memory of having betrayed his companions Nick and Kira weighs on him heaviest. His former adversary now becomes his leader, and his own chances of reclaiming the strength of the man he once was are diminishing by the day. He feels more alone than ever before…and there is a rapidly steepening uphill battle ahead, against a force bent on subjugating what remains of the human race. Who among this ragtag community could emerge as their hope in their darkest hour?

The Red Dirt Road

The Red Dirt Road

Author: Alissa Callen

Dr Fliss Knight abandons the city and her medical practice for a ramshackle farm on the outskirts of Woodlea, disgraced and disheartened by the loss of a patient and hoping for an undisturbed life in the country. Hewitt Sinclair, having recently suffered a loss of his own—his twin brother—abandons pickup riding to care for his brother’s widow and children. But his selflessness soon comes at a personal cost, requiring him to take recovery time. Quickly enough, the two newfound loners are neighbours…and quickly after that, they aren’t such loners anymore. But something dark is about to emerge from Fliss’s family history, and when it does, she’ll find out if the new company she’s been keeping intends to stick around for the long haul.

Second Summer of War

Second Summer of War

Author: Cheryl Cooper

The sequel to Come Looking for Me details the 1813 voyage of Princess Emeline Louisa home to England, Hartwood Hall, and the antipathetic household of the Duke and Duchess of Belmont. Her guardians intend to marry her off, and she intends to resist by whatever means she can. Her friends Fly Austen and Dr Leander Braden are embarking on their own perilous homeward voyage in the hopes of reuniting with her, encountering every sort of trouble imaginable along the way as the British navy clashes with its new American counterpart. And meanwhile, all await with bated breath the trial of the traitorous Captain Thomas Trevelyan. When you’ve got nothing but time on your hands, anything can happen.

Too Lucky to Live

Too Lucky to Live

Author: Annie Hogsett

The next mystery in the Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead series follows Allison HarperThe next mystery in the Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead series follows Allie Harper, freshly divorced and on the hunt for a new man and a reliable car. She finds the man, Tom, in a crosswalk struggling with groceries; and once she realizes he’s blind it’s easy enough to assist and charm her way into his life. He’s also bought a lottery ticket—the winning one, it turns out, of course—and has to split the earnings with a kid he befriended and made a bet with. Things only get stranger as Tom and Allie discover the host of crooks and killers with their eyes all trained on the money. And no amount of running from one hotel to the next is going to protect them.

Situation Critical

Situation Critical

Author: Amanda Knight

Sergeant Nate Calloway has no memory of the wounds he’s wound up in the infirmary unit with, but Captain Beth Harper is a skilled surgeon with everything it takes to save him. She does what only she can do, and over the course of time learns about the traumatic and tortuous history that brought him to her. A tale of danger tested camaraderie and unfulfilled promises. Nate fully intends to return to the field as soon as he is able and right what has gone wrong. In the meantime, he and Beth are drawn together by more than just their intimate circumstances. Even so, they have no way of really knowing whose loyalties lie where—and determination isn’t all they’ll need if they want to make it out alive.

Circle of Stones

Circle of Stones

Author: Suzanne Alyssa Andrew

Nik treasures his girlfriend Jennifer like no one else. So when she goes missing, his life goes off the rails. He soon discovers that, if he is to have any hope of finding and rescuing her, he must brave a journey across the country and a series of seemingly random encounters with a host of strangers. There’s more to all of this than a chance meeting, though, and Nik ultimately realizes the strangers have stronger ties to one another than he could have predicted. No one is where, or who, he may have been led to believe. And of the two of them, Jennifer may not be the one in need of rescue. Can Nik unearth the truth before time runs out?

Man of the Moment

Man of the Moment

Author: Ken Clezy

It’s just as well that obstetrician Magnus Anderson has separated from his wife; he’s long had an eye for prim and proper midwife Sally. She’s got her own preoccupations, on her way to help alleviate a staff shortage at a mission hospital in Africa: and Magnus becomes entangled in her plans as she recruits him to be a short-term volunteer. At the hospital, he is confronted by colleagues of various opinions, faiths, and value systems, along with an array of first-time experiences. It’s all he can do to keep up—not least of all with Sally, who continues to absorb him without exactly being absorbed by him. Still, he thinks he’s handling it…until he is called home abruptly and sadly. This is one of my favorite books . Just where—and what—is he meant to be?

Honey Hill House

Honey Hill House

Author: Lisa Ireland

Dulili is an impoverished New South Wales town, to the point that it is paying people to relocate there. The young families and senior citizens who constitute what remains of the community are desperate to revitalize it and put it back on the map. Divorcee Bea Elliott is desperate to do the same but for perhaps slightly more selfish reasons: to run a bed-and-breakfast out of the dilapidated Honey Hill House as a means of proving her emotional and financial independence to her family and herself. Her new neighbour, Callum ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, is good-natured and certainly good-looking—also eager to help, but she is determined to do things her way. Even so, their paths end up crossing too often for him to stay out of her life.

UnderCover of Dark

Under Cover of Dark

Author: Juanita Kees

The sequel to Under the Hood picks up where its predecessor left off in the lives of the members of a teenage drug gang and the cop on their trail. Tiny Watts is dead, and the greasy lawyer to whom he was dubiously connected—Gino Bennetti—gets the bullet that was coming to him. When Mark Johnson investigates the matter, he is led instantly to Gino’s widow, Lily…but he doesn’t count on being drawn so deep into her world. As far as Lily is concerned, Mark has to stay an outsider, blind and deaf to the truth about the role her son Luke played in Tiny’s murder. A man like Mark can only mean trouble for her and the family she’s got left. And yet…

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Echoes of the Heart

Echoes of the Heart

Author: Alyssa J. Montgomery

Jake Formosa has led a privileged life for a while now at the head of a formidable media corporation. But the career he enjoys and the money he makes do little to fill the void left by Amanda, the woman who broke his heart and abandoned him years ago. Now that she happens to be widowed, he intends to make her pay for having hurt him, and then he will never hurt again. But when he finally gets to her, he finds that her life has changed—and that life has changed her—in ways much darker and more irrevocable than he could have known. Still, Jake could never make the mistake of falling for her a second time. Could he?

A Heart Divided

A Heart Divided

Author: Mary Brock Jones

New Zealand’s Otago Goldfields, 1863. Nessa and her younger brother Philip are English transplants hoping to make their fortune in the mining business. Nessa knows the minefields are no place for a woman, but she is resolute in supporting her brother in even his most outrageous schemes. When they encounter a local run holder named John Reid, he helps them both out in a way that inspires Nessa to get to know him better. She is unaware that he has wanted her from the moment he laid eyes on her; and the prospect looks bleak, from his perspective at least, of her ever reciprocating his feelings. After all, she seems consumed with her brother’s needs and affairs. But the tables can turn in the blink of an eye…

Chaos Broken

Chaos Broken

Author: Rebekah Turner

In the third and final installment of the Chronicles of Applecross , Lora Blackgoat is riding solo at the helm of a mercenary company—and losing ground fast. Even more, regrettably, her benefactor is away on holiday and thinks everything is fine back home. And Roman, the warrior she may or may not be in love with, is acting as a diplomatic delegate to negotiate a tentative peace treaty. As if all that weren’t enough, a brand-new adversary invades all their lives from without. Will Lora own her mistakes, face up to the destiny that has awaited her all this time, and help restore balance and order to her city? Or will all their efforts be for naught?


Author: Ainslie Paton

It’s not the boss-employee relationship anyone bargained for. Jacinta is next in line to run the company, while Mace is buried in the cubicle field of the IT department. They embarked upon what they both expected to be one ill-advised night together…except that it turned into a weekend of passion, intimacy, and personal connection on a number of levels. Suddenly, fortunes are shifting: Jacinta’s perfectly blueprinted life is unravelling before her eyes, and Mace’s barely sketched ambitions are finally getting him somewhere. Neither of them is accustomed to this iteration of life, much less prepared for it. Is there any room in this tangled web for something as crazy, irrational, and unplanned as love?

The Colonial Hotel

The Colonial Hotel

Author: Jonathan Bennett

An ancient story retold for a modern time. An ardent doctor named Paris, a devoted nurse named Helen, a country living in the shadow of civil unrest. They meet under the extreme duress of their work and their circumstances and share a passion they have never previously known. When the conflict around them eventually comes to a boil, they are pulled in by warring factions. Helen, who finds herself pregnant, manages to escape, but Paris is held prisoner by the rebels. Both are uncertain about their future as parents, as lovers, as skilled professionals whose expertise is needed to heal the world, and as individuals with lives to live. Who is to say whether they will ever be reunited?


Author: Shannon Curtis

The first book in the One Upon a Crime series sets the scene for a world of high stakes, perilous games, and devastating consequences. Fairy tales get a twist—and fairy godmothers get more than they bargained for—in Shannon Curtis’s first volume. An undercover detective investigating a criminal crosses paths with his target’s criminally beautiful stepdaughter. A sorceress tasked with carrying out the latest iteration of the Frog Prince story finds herself at odds with the equal parts alluring and aggravating Rumpelstiltskin. Just how many tales will need to intertwine before everyone gets their happily-ever-after? Or will that ending even happen at all? (Once you’ve devoured this one, never fear—there’s more where it came from!)

My Lady Governess

My Lady Governess

Author: Elise Clarke

This isn’t your mother’s Regency romance. Lord de Waare, with his old-fashioned ideas and haughty demeanor, abducts a governess—and has his world thrown into disorder when he discovers she isn’t at all what he expected her to be. Marina is a runaway heiress with an agenda of her own, and it doesn’t involve anything so dangerous as re-entering society. But that’s exactly what she’ll have to do, on the arm of the man she has come to respect and even care for. They both have put so much on the line, not least of which is their strengthening bond. Will they be accepted by the rigid structures of their social circle? Most of all, will they be able to accept themselves…and each other? (Book 1 in the My Lady Love series.)

The Prodigal Laird

The Prodigal Laird

Author: Vanda Vadas

Roderick MacLeod only meant to pay his respects to his deceased father in the Scottish Highlands and then return home to his safe single life in England. Before he can blink, though, he is named Laird of Clan MacLeod and given the hand of Annabel MacDonald, daughter of the laird of a rival clam, in marriage. Annabel only meant to live out her life in a securely distant marriage—and now that her husband is here, she’s got to get him out before the web of secrets and lies she’s woven begins to unravel. Can either of them get back to the existence they’ve led? Or will they end up living out a new kind of existence altogether? Get swept up in a romantic entanglement whose dramas are only rivaled by the backdrop of blustery Scotland.

Something in the Wine

Something in the Wine

Author: Tricia Stringer

Keely Mitchell was really looking forward to a holiday from teaching on the west coast of Australia. When things go south—in a bad way—and the generosity of a stranger saves her life, she can’t help mourning the loss of her great getaway. Fortunately, her inadvertent host and carer seem happy to spoil her with the food, sights, and (especially) wine of the Margaret River vineyard. Next thing she knows she is befriending the locals and adapting to the community that revolves around Levallier Dell Wines. But when she starts to fall for winemaker Flynn, she appears to be on the fast track to heartbreak while she watches him pursue the daughter of a competitor. Will Keely find love in the place she is learning to call home?

Eleven Days

Eleven Days

Author: Graham Guy

Set in suburban Adelaide in the early ‘90s, this romance follows nurse Katie McFarlane, whose life is turned topsy-turvy by a chance encounter with wealthy and passionate Paul Redman. But a near-fatal accident drives them apart as quickly as they fell together. Her recovery process brings her into the world of Gabe Caplin, a kindhearted man trying to escape a past even darker than Katie’s. He wants her too. She’s torn between the life of love and comfort he can provide and the life of intensity and luxury promised by Paul—that is, until a noted psychopath appears on the scene and threatens to ruin all her chances. This fast-paced romantic drama will have you on the edge of your seat.


Author: Karly Lane

Sebastian and Rebecca were high school sweethearts whose bright future together was extinguished in one terrible night. Both fled their hometown for a chance to start over—Rebecca to a faraway place, and Seb to the Australian Army—but disappointment and injury have brought them back to where they started. Seb, who has sustained wounds of every kind, now faces the reopened wound of a misunderstanding father. Rebecca hopes against hope to give her children a new life in the wake of a foundering marriage. The last thing either one needs is to contend with the other and the long-ago challenges they never faced. But when you live in the same small town, you can only outrun the inevitable for so long…

The Horseman

The Horseman

Author: Charlotte Nash

Peta Woodward was supposed to ascend the helm of her family’s horse-breeding business—that is until a tragedy split the family asunder and wrecked the hopes she had cherished her whole life. She escapes to the mountains, hoping to gain some perspective. But there’s no peace there either, at least not after an injury lands her in a small town for recuperation. Peta loves the postcard-picturesque views but still plans to recover and carry on with her life again as soon as possible. Then she encounters Craig Monroe, horse whisperer, and local legend extraordinaire. They develop a bond that could only have been brought about by their shared profession and expertise. And it seems that bond has started to take a hold on Peta. Will her life be changed forever yet again? And perhaps—if she dares to hope—for the better this time?

The Florentine Bridge

The Florentine Bridge

Author: Vanessa Carnevale

Set against the impossibly romantic backdrop of Florence, the superlative artists’ haven, this story follows Mia Moretti as she flees Australia and a recently conquered cancer diagnosis. She’s physically exhausted and creatively drained, and searching for a place to rejuvenate her. What better place than the hometown of the Renaissance? But a distraction promptly appears in the form of Luca, a local mechanic with an unquenchable optimism and an insatiable appetite for life. He shows Mia the splendor of the city and the promise her future still holds. And, as quickly as he appeared, a looming threat moves in to take him away. Will Mia have to recover from lost love on top of everything else? And will she ever paint again?

Nineteen Letters

Nineteen Letters

Author: Jodi Perry

“What would you do if the love of your life had no memory of you?” This novel vies to answer that heart-wrenching hypothesis, in the tradition of Nicholas Sparks. Fans of The Notebook will surely fall for this tale of redemption and rediscovery, filtered through the timeless formula of childhood-crush-turned-grown-up-love. She was six when her family moved in next door; he was seven and instantly smitten. They eventually got their happily-ever-after wedding day—or so they thought, until an accident nineteen days later left her with no memory of her new husband or their long and winding history. He had to do something to teach her what had brought them together to this place. And thus began the story of the letters. As he writes, he’ll fall in love all over again…and so will you.

Dangerous Echoes

Dangerous Echoes

Author: Leisl Leighton

In the small town of Echo Springs at the edge of the Outback, keeping secrets might as well be a Herculean task. When forensic pathologist Erika Hanson returns to her hometown to look into a meth lab explosion, she finds her brother Peter’s body among the ruins and knows rumors are already circulating. She has to clear his name and absolve him of responsibility. Meanwhile, her old flame Hartley Cooper has his misgivings about Peter’s innocence. And he has no intentions of letting Erika destroy her reputation—or slip through his fingers as she did all those years ago. Will Erika bring Peter’s legacy to light? And what darkness in the town of Echo Springs will she uncover along the way? (Book 1 of the Echo Springs series.)

Second Chance Island

Second Chance Island

Author: Jenny Schwartz

Jenny Schwartz’s Love Coast to Coast series begins with Laura Robertson, living on Topaz Island and fighting to preserve the Great Barrier Reef before it is overrun by tourist resorts like the one that employs her. She’s also working to regain her self-respect since disgracing her ex-lover, Phil Cooper, and ruining her own reputation. When you-know-who shows up on Topaz, Laura comes face to face with everything she’s been trying to avoid and everything she hates about herself. But Phil might be more willing to forgive than she thinks, and she might get the second chance she needs to truly start afresh. That is if she’s willing to fight for it.

No Rescue

In the third installment of her adored Love Coast to Coast saga, Jenny Schwartz paints a portrait of a woman scarred by a hostage situation who goes to Sydney in the hopes of recovering in anonymity. When Miri Blair encounters Tad Robertson, a sergeant in the Water Police, they stumble into an idyllic seaside romance which she never expected—and which she’s starting to believe might be just the thing to heal her. But all is not as it seems in seaside Sydney. Tad has a job that requires more of him than Miri ever knew. And she has demons of her own to come to terms with. Will, she ever get the rescue she’s been after? Or will she have to find it in her to rescue herself?

The Wildwood Sisters

The Wildwood Sisters

Author: Mandy Magro

Renee Wildwood was forced out of her home and her life at seventeen when her sister disappeared and the family reeled from tragedy. She had to go somewhere less threatening, less closed in, which she’s found in the city. But a family emergency calls her back to the fold as suddenly as it cast her out, and all her old fears stare her in the face. Her long-lost love, Dylan, is back in town too after the death of his wife, and he is looking for a new start. Will they be able to rekindle their romance even if it means fearing for their lives? Their families’ lives? And what of the missing Wildwood sister?

Return to Rosalee Station

Return to Rosalee Station

Rosalee Station has been the perfect home for Sarah, Matt, and their family for the past eight years—but now an accident has torn the family apart and endangered even their love for one another. Sarah and Matt are left despondent after the ultimate loss, and their marriage seems headed for the rocks even once the stress and storm of tragedy die down. Matt pulls away from Sarah and feels started down a dark path. He knows he has to pull himself together—and pull through for Sarah—if they hope to have a chance of surviving. But where can he begin when every corner of their once-idyllic town is haunted by memories of an irretrievable potential life? Read along to discover the unique powers the family bond bestows on its members and the trials it allows them to overcome in the face of insurmountable odds.

Seduced by the Enemy

Seduced by the Enemy

Olivia is an Australian primary school teacher out for revenge. Luca is an Italian billionaire out to use his power for good for once. Christiana is the child they both love and intend to protect at all costs. They have every reason to despise each other: Luca and his family’s activities have rent Olivia’s family at the seams, and Olivia is a relentless thorn in Luca’s side. But, naturally, they’re also beginning to fall for each other, and there doesn’t appear to be anything they can do about it. Will Olivia give Luca what Christiana needs? And will Luca give Olivia back what she deserves? (Book 1 in the Billionaires & Babies series.)

The Goldminer’s Sister

The Goldminers Sister

Author: Alison Stuart

A period piece for the ages—and the pages. The year is 1873, and Eliza Penrose has just arrived in the mining town of Maiden’s Creek to look for her brother and strike out on her own. Little does she know the town is about to teach her more about herself than she ever cared to know, including a revelation of some intimate and shocking betrayals. Alec McLeod, an engineer at Maiden’s Creek Mine, is through with romance and family life after losing his wife and child. But when catastrophe erupts, Eliza is there, and Alec finds himself with nowhere else to turn. Can they rescue each other from the nightmare Maiden’s Creek is becoming? Not to mention all the other people in need of rescuing from a perilous business?

Shattered Sky

Shattered Sky

Author: Helene Young

When Captain Lauren Bennett and their crew pick up a mayday call off the east coast of Australia, Lauren thinks she’s got it under control. Saving a yacht on a pleasure cruise from an ambush by a group of smugglers, after all, is hardly something she hasn’t seen before. But the stakes ratchet up as she pursues the smugglers into Cape York, and she’s forced to call upon an arrogant and contemptuous navy officer to assist her. It’s no secret that she and Callam Granger have a lot of bad blood between them. But they’re going to have to learn to cooperate if they hope to get a boatload of innocent civilians out alive—and keep themselves intact along the way. Read on for heart-stopping suspense with a heartwarming twist.

Moonraker’s Bride

Moonrakers Bride

Author: Madeleine Brent

Lucy Waring set out to feed the fifteen young charges left in her care—and wound up in Chengfu prison, paying the price of desperation. There, a dying man asks her a riddle, and it isn’t until Lucy is brought to England and caught in a feud between the Gresham and Moonraker families that she begins to piece together its answer. A whirlwind of romance, tragedy, and mystery later, she is back in China. Will she begin to believe herself, make sense of what she has seen, and determine where she truly belongs? Follow Madeleine Brent’s plucky heroine as she crosses continents and other seemingly impossible divides.

The Bold Dare All

The Bold Dare All

Author: L. Ron Hubbard

Lt. Lee Briscoe has seen a lot of danger in his line of work. But he is set to embark on his most dubious mission yet when he goes undercover in a Southeast Asian prison camp as a man accused of murder. There, he encounters Schwenk, a villain with apparently limitless capacities of cruelty, prepared to exact it all upon a young woman who’s done no wrong. Briscoe will go to any lengths to save her…but it will mean risking, and possibly losing, his own life in the process. Drawing on his own experiences in the South Pacific during the first half of the 20th century, Hubbard crafts a narrative as bleak as it is heroic and as far-reaching as it is personal. Full of action and passion, this is one you won’t want to put down.

The House at the Bottom of the Hill

The House at the Bottom of the Hill

Author: Jennie Jones

Charlotte Simmons is dying slowly from the tension and unanswered questions over the death of her mother. On a self-preservative impulse, she buys a bed-and-breakfast in the Snowy Mountains of Australia and sets to work renovating. She’s got a new set of ideas, desires, and goals—all centered on a man who just might have the information she’s been after. But the town of Swallow’s Fall isn’t accustomed to major change or renovations, and local small business owner Daniel Bradford is convinced the town isn’t ready for a character like Charlotte. Unfortunately for him, he might be falling for her too fast to do much about it…

Rose River

Author: Margareta Osborn

Former PR executive Jamie Hanrahan is on the run. From her old life with her still-privileged friends in Sydney, from her recently-widowed and even more recently-remarried mother Blanche. House-sitting in the middle of nowhere appeared to be the only option. In the middle of nowhere, that is, unless you count the cattle station and its handsome but unimpressed manager, Stirling McEvoy. There’s chaos both on and off the ranch to be tamed, and Jamie jumps in despite being the least prepared she could be. Soon enough, she finds herself infatuated with the life, the landscape, and even maybe with the man she’s answering to. This can only mean trouble.

Chosen Thief

Chosen Thief

Author: Scarlett Dawn

Caro Jules’ thieving ways have got her placed on death row in the highest-security Mystical prison at the tender age of twenty-two. Things are decidedly not looking up. Until she—and the authorities—discover she is the new Prodigy Elemental, vested with more power and more responsibility than she could ever have dreamed. Faced with a new (and newly regimented) life among the Prodigies, Kings, Queens, and Elders, she finds herself thrust into an inescapable spotlight; and she forms friendships and bonds with people who seem to want to know as much about her as they can. But Caro has some secrets concerning herself and her past that were never meant to see the light of day… (Book 4 of the Forever Evermore series.)

A Scandalous Wager

A Scandalous Wager

Author: Cassandra Samuels

Lisbeth Carslake’s husband’s killer is still at large—but nobody else in London is troubled by that when they believe she is the one who killed him. It seems the only one who suspects otherwise is Oliver Whitely, to the point that he finds himself making a drunken yet serious wager with the woman the city calls the Black Raven. She’s prepared to let him win if he finds the true murderer before the murderer gets to her. But Oliver is getting to her, too, in ways she never anticipated; and she isn’t about to be swayed by attraction. Or—dare she call it—love. Read on for a period romance full of corrosive gossip, concealed identities, and calculated moves.

Adam’s Boys

Adams Boys

Author: Anna Clifton

It started innocently enough. Adam had just lost his wife and sought comfort in the arms of Abbie. They each went away from the affair rejuvenated—Adam with plans to take care of his newborn son, Pete, and Abbie with the sudden responsibility and unexpected joy of her own child, Henry. But the bliss wears off soon, and Adam is determined to get custody of Henry and provide for both his sons. If only Abbie would go along with it so he didn’t need to blackmail her. Abbie, meanwhile, has weathered a tumultuous past of her own and isn’t about to let Adam take away the light of her life. The group of them could make a charming family and have a new beginning if they’d let themselves. But with these personalities in the mix, can it ever be possible?

The Last Gladiatrix

The Last Gladiatrix

Author: Eva Scott

Xanthe is a slave in a Roman legion. Titus is the soldier who trains her for the Colosseum fight she was never supposed to be involved in. He knows he’s broken a rule by rerouting her from the traditional role of a courtesan, but he also knows she’s got what it takes to be a contender—and their private sessions are proving him right so far. The thing is, they’re fast developing a romance, which would mean death for them both if it were to be discovered. Xanthe is not Titus’s property to use as he pleases, and Titus is usurping a privilege he could only hope to possess in the open. With everything at stake, can they tear themselves away from each other? Or their love will be able to find a way to conquer all? (Book 1 of the Romancing the Romans series.)

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And there’s no need to end here—make sure to browse ReadHowYouWant for an even greater selection of sad romantic tearjerkers. Whatever your taste, whether you’re a sucker for a sappy story or a newbie to this type of novel, these choices will surely have you lovestruck.

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12 Sad Romance Books That Will Make You Cry

Chizzy Onukogu

There are not many people out there willing to read sad romance books that will make them get in their feelings or perhaps those that would make them cry. However, these ingredients differentiate an ordinary romance novel from one that makes a Best Seller List or is even adapted to a movie.

For the reader, reading a romance novel that would make you feel sad will help you gain more empathy for people exposed to such situations. It would also help you to build character. Below is a list of romance novels written by some of the best authors in the world that would get you feeling all kinds of unwanted emotions.

Best Books That Make You Cry

1. p.s. i love you.

PS, I Love You

P.S. I Love You tells the story of Gerry and Holly, childhood sweethearts who are deeply in love, even after many years of being together. The couple are so close that they can finish each other’s sentences, even when they fight. Life is unimaginable without the other person until the unthinkable happens – Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor.

Gerry’s death utterly devastates Holly, who can’t seem to carry on living without her partner. She withdraws from her family and friends out of grief until she receives a mysterious package from her dead husband.

The package is a bundle of notes, one for each month after his death. Gerry sent his wife uplifting messages in the notes that all end with ‘PS, I Love You.’ With it, she can rediscover herself and have another go at life, encouraged by her late husband’s words.

2. Ugly Love

Ugly Love: A Novel

Ugly Love is one of the best sad romance books that can make you cry. The story centers around the characters of Tate Collins and Miles Archer, who start a no strings attached sexual relationship. The pair are clear on what they want from each other as they do not even consider themselves friends.

Miles clearly doesn’t want love, and since Tate doesn’t have time for love, the arrangement appears to be made in heaven. Miles further gives Tate two rules to follow for their arrangement to work seamlessly. The first rule is that she never asks about his past, while the second is that she doesn’t expect a future. Things get off to a great start; however, they soon realize they can’t handle it.

3. A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember

There are not many more books that touch on our emotions, like Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember. Vaguely inspired by the author’s sister, who died of cancer in 2000, the story is about two teenagers who fall in love with each other despite being polar opposites.

Set in the small, religious town of Beaufort, North Carolina, in the 1950s, Landon Carter, the son of a popular politician, was pressured by his father to run for class president. Landon reluctantly does so and wins. Being student body president, he is expected to attend the school dance with a date.

Landon found it hard to find someone to go to the dance with him at the last minute. He asks Jamie Sullivan, the quiet daughter of the town’s Baptist minister who always carried a Bible with her schoolbooks. Jamie lived in a world away from other teens, spending most of her time helping at the local orphanage or caring for her widowed father.

It was new territory for her as no boy had ever asked her. Her involvement with Landon would send him down a new part in life as he fell in love with her while she showed him the depths of the human heart.

4. The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is narrated by its main character Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old girl with thyroid cancer that has affected her lungs. Her parents prompt Hazel to attend a cancer patient support group where she meets and befriends 17-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player, amputee, and osteosarcoma survivor.

The duo exchange novels, and in the quest to find out what happens in one of the novels that end abruptly, they reach out to the writer. Hazel and Augustus would end up having to travel to Amsterdam to meet the writer, and while on the trip, they profess their love and then lose their virginity to one another.

The next day, Augustus would reveal to his love that his cancer had returned. His condition began to deteriorate soon after, and he was admitted to the ICU. He would organize a pre-funeral where Hazel and other friends would give their eulogies before he passed on.

Sad Books That Make You Cry

5. it ends with us.

It Ends With Us

It Ends With Us is the second piece of work by Colleen Hoover to make it to the list of sad romance books that will make you cry. This one is, however, based on the relationship between her father and mother.

The story centers around a young college graduate named Lily Bloom, who left her hometown in Maine to move to Boston, Massachusetts, where she started her own business. Lily is trying to leave everything in her past behind her and is excited when a charming neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid enters her life.

While Ryle is not keen on getting into a relationship with anybody, he makes an exception for Lily, and their relationship blossoms. Things, however, turn upside down when someone from her past suddenly reappears. Her first love, Atlas Corrigan, whom she still has fond memories of, walks into her life, and everything she built with Ryle is on the brink of collapse.

6. Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Indeed, the oldest book to feature on this list from one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists, Jane Austen. The book was an immediate success in 1813 when it was published and has since remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. It is a favorite of many scholars and the reading public that is destined to get you to shed some tears.

Set in rural England in the early 19th century, the novel centers around the dalliance between the opinionated Elizabeth Bennet and her wealthy, proud beau, Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is the daughter of the owner of the Longbourn estate in Hertfordshire.

Because her parents have only daughters, they cant inherit his entailed property as it can only be passed on to a male heir. Thus, at least one of the girls must find a wealthy husband to support the others after the death of their father.

In a bid to find a suitable husband, the book’s protagonist Elizabeth clashes with many people, including her siblings and mother, who are desperate. She quickly learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial and actual goodness.

7. Oh My Stars

Oh My Stars: A Novel

In what has been described as American writer Lorna Landvik’s most ambitious novel yet, she tells the coming of age story of Violet Mathers, a tall and slender girl who is having a hard time with life during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Violet believes she is flawed, both physically and otherwise. Her mother abandoned her, and the only remaining parent she had, her father, mistreated her. Things were even worse in school as her schoolmates teased her. The young lady would later find joy when she was hired to work the night shift in a local thread factory.

She was accepted wholely by her co-workers and the owner of the factory. Everything seemed to be going on fine in her life until a terrible accident occurred, forcing her to retreat again into her shell. With nothing left to bring her joy at home, Violet boards a bus to California. However, her bus doesn’t reach its destination as it crashes on its way.

Everything that could go wrong in Violet’s life seemed to be going wrong until two men, Austin Sykes and Kjel Hedstrom, rescue her and her fellow passengers. The duo are musicians of a new brand of music that catches Violet’s interest. When she begins to have feelings for one of the duo, she ends up joining the band, helping to spread their new sound.

8. If He Had Been with Me

If He Had Been with Me

A New York Times Bestseller, Laura Nowlin’s If He Had Been with Me takes aim and lands on the bullseye at painting a portrait of love and regret. It is a story of what if that deals with the issues of friendship, first loves, and family, everything that it takes to make the reader cry.

Autumn and Finn are the main characters in the book. The two have been friends right from childhood. They are also neighbors whose mothers are best friends. Autumn and Finn did everything together until middle school, when they fell apart for unspecified reasons. Despite the family relationship, the two stopped talking to each other and made friends that were polar opposites so that their paths would never cross.

Autumn regretted the loss of Finn’s friendship even though she notably had a good set of friends and a boyfriend. She was always bothered with the thought of what could have been if they remained friends. Autumn tried to neglect the thoughts for a long time, but they soon began eating her up.

Romance Books That Make You Cry

9. me before you.

Me Before You

Me Before You is the first book in a three-book series ( Me Before You, After You & Still Me ) by New York Times Bestselling author Jojo Moyes. The romance novel is a heartbreaking story that examines the relationship and love between two people who have no business being together.

The main characters in the book are 26-year-old Louisa Clark and the very wealthy Will Traynor. Louisa comes from a working-class family. She lives a simple life but soon finds herself out of a job when the cafe she works in closes. Following a long search, she settles for a role that entails caring for Traynor, who is quadriplegia after suffering a pedestrian-motorcycle accident.

At the start of the relationship, Louisa and Will clash a lot as he is very bitter about his condition. Things get worse when he finds out that his ex-girlfriend and best friend are getting married. After a while, however, his attitude begins to change.

Louisa found out that he once attempted suicide and had an agreement with his mother to help him end his life through Dignitas in about six months. Without letting him know that she was aware of the deal, she begins to take him out often, and the two grow fond of each other.

Louisa and Will end up falling in love, but Will insists that he can’t live life in a wheelchair. As a result, he intends to go through with his plans of assisted suicide. This breaks Louisa’s heart, but she manages to be by his bedside when he passes away just after admitting that the past six months were the best in his life.

10. Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park garnered critical acclaim upon release in 2012. It explored subjects of domestic abuse, child abuse, bullying, and body image amidst a romantic story that would make a keen observer cry. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1986 school year, the story features the two titular characters, sixteen-year-olds who come from different backgrounds but connect over shared interests despite the challenges in their lives.

It all starts on Eleanor Douglas’s first day in a new school. Because of the circumstances surrounding her life (being raised in an impoverished, abusive home), the chubby teen doesn’t have good clothes and often has to patch things up to appear decent in school. This makes her fellow students bully her.

On the ride to school, other kids rearranged their bus seats so the bus driver could yell at her. Eleanor is confused and about to cry, forcing Park Sheridan to grudgingly offer her a seat. The two share a few classes, and along the way, Park discovers she is one of the smartest kids in school. This attracts him to her, even more so when they have interests in the same things (comic books, music, etc.).

Park would later fall in love with Eleanor and would often defend her when she is bullied in school. On one occasion, he got into a fight while trying to protect her. While she is uncomfortable with all the love and attention she is receiving from Park, Eleanor has no option but to spend more time with him, as going home only means that she is going back to pain. She would have to live in Park’s house after his parents find out about their situation.

Later on, Eleanor decides to go live with her uncle in St Paul, Minnesota. Park is devasted but understands the situation. He thinks about killing Eleanor’s stepdad but stops at the last moment. It is even worse when he keeps writing Eleanor, and she doesn’t respond. However, six months later, she sent a postcard with three words.

11. Every Day

Every Day

American author David Levithan explores both the romance and fantasy world with Every Day , an intriguing story about a spirit (otherwise known as ‘A’) that inhabits different bodies for 24 hours within the same geographical area.

A switches from body to body regardless of gender and without choice. Sometimes, A is a boy while other times it is a girl. A can also take up a body in any skin color and size. It replaces the hosts’ consciousness and memories with its own even though it can tap into the memories of the person it is occupying at the time. A, however, strives to respect the people it possesses and chooses to stick to their routines.

Every Day starts with A waking up in the body of a 16-year-old teenager named Justin. As has always been the case, A carries on with Justin’s routine, going to school, where he meets up with his girlfriend, Rhiannon. A taps into Justin’s memories and finds out that he and his girlfriend were having some issues. They end up going to talk about things and open up to each other, although A is very limited in what it shares.

For the first time in its life, A feels a connection with Rhiannon. It had never felt this way before and works to come in contact with Rhiannon in the days later when it inhabits other bodies. When in different bodies in the next days, A is able to convince Rhiannon that the person she had a deep conversation with was not Justin. It is able to get her to understand the phenomenon it is going through of having to occupy different bodies every 24 hours.

But while she understands A and what it might be going through, she is convinced that it would be impossible to have a relationship with A as it is always changing bodies and gender. A is therefore stuck with having to chase Rhiannon with each passing day.

12. Dear John

Dear John

Nicholas Sparks appears to have a penchant for making people cry with his novels as another one of his books, Dear John, makes it to the list. Inspired by the story of his real-life cousin who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, the 2007 New York Times Best Seller is about a couple, John Tyree and Savannah, who fall in love one summer but separate afterward as a result of the time he spends away for military service.

Many readers have written that they developed a love/hate relationship with the book because the first part of the book makes you fall in love with it before everything then goes downhill and makes you feel depressed. However, everybody agrees that the story is a realistic portrayal of how things can get in such a situation.

Set in Wilmington, North Carolina, the main character of the book John Tyree is a school dropout who does not know what to do with himself and so decides to enlis6 in the army. Later, he meets Savannah, who turns out to be the girl of his dreams. The pair look forward to spending the rest of their lives together.

Unfortunately, the 9/11 attacks happen, and he feels he has to re-enlist and head out to fight for his country. This decision and the subsequent long separation puts a strain on his relationship with Savannah, who moves on and marries someone else.

John later returns home following the death of his father. It is obvious to him, Savannah, and her husband that the couple are still very much in love, but John makes the hardest decision of his life as he opts to let her go.

Chizzy Onukogu


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What are the most recommended books matching 'beautifully tragic love story'?

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books tragic love stories

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

What do readers say about the garden of the finzi-continis .

This is a haunting, elegiac novel which captures the mood and atmosphere of Italy (and in particular Ferrara) in the last summers of the thirties, focusing on an aristocratic Jewish family moving imperceptibly towards its doom. Vittorio De Sica turne ... Read more about The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

The tomb was huge, solid and truly imposing, a kind of temple, something of a cross between the antique and the oriental, such as might be encountered in those stage-sets of Aida or Nabucco very much ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

The Song of Achilles

What do readers say about the song of achilles .

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the ... Read more about The Song of Achilles

MY FATHER WAS A KING AND THE SON OF KINGS. HE was a short man, as most of us were, and built like a bull, all shoulders. He married my mother when she was fourteen and sworn by the priestess to be fru ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

Never Let Me Go

What do readers say about never let me go .

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Remains of the Day comes a devastating novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an excl ... Read more about Never Let Me Go

My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the e ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

A Little Life

What do readers say about a little life .

A stunning "portrait of the enduring grace of friendship" (NPR) about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves. A masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century.


A MAN BOOKER PRIZE ... Read more about A Little Life

THE ELEVENTH APARTMENT had only one closet, but it did have a sliding glass door that opened onto a small balcony, from which he could see a man sitting across the way, outdoors in only a T-shirt and ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

What do readers say about The Road ?



The searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. I ... Read more about The Road

When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone be ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

The Book Thief

What do readers say about the book thief .

It's 1939 in Molching, Germany, and horror is everywhere. Nazi rule has divided the nation into those who are brutalized and those who are merely oppressed. Hunger, fear, and isolation reign. There are stories here, and who better to tell them than D ... Read more about The Book Thief

When the coughing stopped, there was nothing but the nothingness of life moving on with a shuffle, or a near-silent twitch. A suddenness found its way onto his lips then, which were a corroded brown c ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

Wuthering Heights

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There are few more convincing, less sentimental accounts of passionate love than the story of the tormented Heathcliff, who falls wildly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor, and of the violence and misery that result from ... Read more about Wuthering Heights

1801.—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have f ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

The Kite Runner

What do readers say about the kite runner .

The #1 New York Times bestselling novel that introduced Khaled Hosseini to millions of readers the world over.

"A vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people [of Afghanistan] have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violenc ... Read more about The Kite Runner

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the fro ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

The Great Gatsby

What do readers say about the great gatsby .

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky b ... Read more about The Great Gatsby

He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgmen ... READ THE EXCERPT

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books tragic love stories

Norwegian Wood

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Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt t ... Read more about Norwegian Wood

I WAS THIRTY-SEVEN THEN, STRAPPED IN MY SEAT AS THE HUGE 747 plunged through dense cloud cover on approach to the Hamburg airport. Cold November rains drenched the earth and lent everything the gloomy ... READ THE EXCERPT

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Encyclopedia Britannica

9 Love Stories with Tragic Endings

The curation of this content is at the discretion of the author, and not necessarily reflective of the views of Encyclopaedia Britannica or its editorial staff. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, consult individual encyclopedia entries about the topics.

Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and Kate Winslet in a scene from the motion picture Titanic (1997) directed by James Cameron. Academy Awards, Oscars, cinema, film, movie

Many of the most compelling love stories are tragic ones. From Romeo and Juliet to Ennis and Jack, here’s a look at nine romances that have had the opposite of happy endings. How many have left you in tears?

Anna Karenina

Claude Monet French, 1840-1926, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877, Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. (59.6 x 80.2 cm), Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1158, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Anna Karenina appears to have the perfect happy family with her husband, a wealthy bureaucrat, and their son, until she begins what becomes a very public affair with a handsome count. Their relationship quickly dissolves, along with her place in society. Disgraced, shamed, and heartbroken, Anna meets her death on the Russian railroad.

West Side Story

Fight scene from the motion picture film West Side Story (1961); directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise.

In this musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set in 1950s New York City, the love of teenagers Maria and Tony is doomed by their affiliations with rival gangs. They carry on a secret romance as tension between the gangs escalates and ends in tragedy.

Madame Bovary

Madeleine Guimard in La Chercheuse d'esprit, engraving by Jean Prud'hon, c. 1850

In Gustave Flaubert’s novel , Emma Bovary is bored and dissatisfied with her marriage to a country doctor. Her escapes into fantasy and infidelity lead her to financial ruin and, ultimately, a tragic end.

Brokeback Mountain

Cowboys grazing their cattle on the summer range west of Gallatin Gateway, southwestern Montana. The Spanish Peaks, part of the Madison Range, appear in the background.

In E. Annie Proulx’s short story, which later became an Academy Award-winning film, ranch hands Ennis and Jack fall for each other in rural Wyoming and begin a long-term love affair. An unaccepting culture compels them to keep their love secret, however, and they live apart while each secretly pines for the man he truly loves.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Victor Hugo, photograph by Nadar (Gaspard-Felix Tournachon)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is Victor Hugo ’s tale of the unrequited love of hunchbacked bell ringer Quasimodo for the beautiful, kind-hearted street performer Esmeralda. When Esmeralda’s jealous stalker stabs the man with whom she is trysting, she is blamed for the crime and eventually hangs. Years later, the skeleton of a hunchback is found embracing her skeleton in its tomb.

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë’ s Wuthering Heights is among the most dramatic romantic tragedies in literature. Societal constraints and personal pride prevent Cathy from being with Heathcliff, and she eventually marries another man. Heathcliff, heartbroken, remains bitter through the rest of his life, which he commits to seeking revenge on the forces that kept him apart from Cathy. When she dies in childbirth, he directs his fury at her remaining family (as well as his own).

Scene from the motion picture film "Titanic" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (1997); directed by James Cameron. (cinema, films)

In James Cameron ’s 1997 film , upper-class Rose meets working-class Jack aboard the Titanic . Jack offers an alternative to Rose’s fiancé, with whom she is not in love, and her sheltered life, which bores her. Their plans to run away together are thwarted when the ship sinks following a collision with an iceberg. While Jack perishes in the icy waters of the Atlantic, Rose goes on to live a long, rich life influenced by her brief time with Jack.

Romeo & Juliet

Scene from the motion picture "Romeo and Juliet" with Olivia Hussey (Juliet) and Leonard Whiting (Romeo), 1968; directed by Franco Zeffirelli.

The love of Romeo and Juliet , Shakespeare ’s star-crossed lovers, is doomed by their feuding families. The two fall in love at first sight and secretly marry but are prevented from being together for fear of their families’ disapproval. Seeking a way to be together, Juliet fakes her own death, with devastating consequences. Romeo & Juliet is the quintessential tragic love story, as evidenced by its countless stagings and numerous film adaptations.

Tristan and Isolde

Illustration from page 130 of The Boy's King Arthur: Tristram and Isolde - "'Oh, gentle knight,' said la Belle Isolde, 'full woe am I of thy departing.'"

One of the classic romances of Western literature, Tristan & Isolde is the tale of a princess who, pledged to marry a king, instead becomes involved with his nephew, Tristan. The two are, of course, eventually separated and years of pining ensue; the story culminates in a thwarted reunion. Originally a 12th-century legend, the story has been adapted countless times, most notably as Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde .


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