Explore classic tales of romance with our Love through the Centuries book list, created by ITBOC clerical assistant and avid reader Grace Tucker! Discover (or rediscover) some of the most memorable characters in literature as they experience the timeless troubles and triumphs that afflict the human heart.
Louisa May Alcott
The author's home life in New England is the basis of this book, which has been popular for more than a century. The tale tells the story of the four March sisters--quick-tempered Jo, who is restless for freedom; Beth, who loves her home and family; Meg, who longs for pretty clothes; and self-absorbed Amy. A favorite of both children and adults.
Young Adult, Family Life, American Literature, Download Only
Sense and Sensibility
This witty satirical novel, the first of Jane Austen's to be published, is a study in contrasts between two sisters. Their unfortunate love affairs evoke very different responses from Elinor, who has sense, and Marianne, who has sensibility. 1811.
This 19th-century English novel is about a plain and intelligent woman who becomes the governess at an estate, is caught up in the mysteries of the manor, and falls in love with the master of the house. 1847.
Gothic Fiction, English Literature, Download Only
This classic nineteenth-century English novel, set in the wild moor country of Yorkshire, is about Heathcliff, a foundling raised in the Earnshaw home, who passionately loves Catherine. He dedicates his life to the realization of that love and revenge on those who oppose him. 1847.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Young sailor Edmond Dantès, unjustly accused of helping the exiled Napoleon in 1815, escapes from jail after fourteen years to take revenge on the four men who caused his imprisonment. Now wealthy after recovering a buried treasure, Dantès assumes a new identity and plots the ruin of his accusers. 1845.
French Literature, Adventure
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Against the glitter and recklessness of the Jazz Age, Jay Gatsby makes a desperate attempt to recapture the past and, along with it, the love of Daisy Buchanan. Amid extravagant parties at Gatsby's palatial estate, his neighbor narrates the story of his obsession with the American dream. This critical edition draws on Fitzgerald's original manuscript. 1925.
In this 1857 classic French novel, Emma Bovary, the wife of a dull provincial doctor, seeks the excitement and happiness she expects from life by taking lovers and spending money extravagantly--only to become disappointed by the men and deeply engulfed in debt. First published in French. 1857.
A Room with a View
Set in England and Italy, this insightful novel concerns the many changes that occur in a young girl's life by a chance meeting in an Italian pension with two men--a father and son. 1908.
The Princess Bride
The most beautiful woman in the world falls in love with Westley, the perfect man. Their pending romance, however, is interrupted by fate and the wicked prince Humperdinck, ruler of Florin. Thirtieth anniversary edition of the classic fairy tale spoof features a 2003 introduction. 1973.
American Classic, Fantasy, Download Only
Far from the Madding Crowd
Strong-willed and independent, Bathsheba Everdene attracts the attentions of three men of rural nineteenth-century Wessex: young farmer Gabriel Oak, dashing soldier Frank Troy, and lonely landowner William Boldwood. Hardy explores issues of social strata and romantic love in this classic novel. 1874.
English Literature, Commercial Audiobook
The Portrait of a Lady
As an American traveling abroad, wealthy and attractive Isabel Archer discovers both the beauty and deception of European society. And in the process she gains self-knowledge. 1881.
American Literature, European Setting
Lady Chatterley's Lover
An earthy love story, once banned in the United States, of the affair between Lady Chatterley and her gamekeeper, Mellors. Married to an impotent, disabled husband, she is attracted to Mellors's strength and independence from industrial society. 1928.
English Literature, Download Only
The Phantom of the Opera
The story of a demented musician hiding in the labyrinth of the Paris Opera House. Known as the Phantom of the Opera, the creature masterminds a series of mysterious and terrifying events to further the career of a beautiful young singer. 1909.
French Literature, Mystery, Download Only
Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca, the glamorous mistress of a great English estate, died eight months before Maxim de Winter brought a young and frightened second wife to live there. Mystery, intrigue, and violence eventually reveal the circumstances surrounding Rebecca's death. 1938.
Gothic Fiction, Mystery, English Literature
Romeo and Juliet
DB044353, DB070985 (Spanish)
A sixteenth-century romantic tragedy of two teenagers from rival families who fall in love. A sentence of exile and an impending arranged marriage force the two to flee. A friar suggests a ruse to accomplish their union, but miscommunication causes it to backfire. 1597.
Drama, English Literature
William Makepeace Thackeray
Classic English novel of the contrasting lives of two young women, one gentle and innocent and the other clever and unscrupulous. Both seek husbands and happiness in Europe around the time of the Napoleonic campaigns. A sarcastic view of the social hypocrisy and sham of the time. 1848.
English Literature, Download Only
In the 1870s in Russia, Anna flaunts convention by having an adulterous affair with Count Vronsky. Preferring the allure of romance to her stifling marriage with Alexis Karenin, Anna's happiness disintegrates as she loses her peace of mind. 1877.
The Age of Innocence
New York, 1870s. Newland Archer anticipates a safe, conventional future with his socially impeccable fiancée, May Welland, until the arrival of May's exotic cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Archer finds himself torn between his attraction to Ellen and his security in a bland, but proper, marriage to May. Pulitzer Prize. 1920.
Award Winner, American Literature