Romantic Books for the Anti-Romantic Reader

rochester and jane

Maybe anti-romantic is a little harsh. Not romantically inclined? Like a little bit of darkness in your love story (or a lot) such as it were? With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I thought I’d offer some ideas for books that have just the right amount to appeal to the person who likes a certain kind of love story.

romeo and juliet

Me (reading the ending): Really? You’ve known each other a couple of days at most. Idiots.

Truth be told I don’t find any of Shakespeare’s plays romantic but this is the one that’s most often cited and it has some nice moments but tends to go right over my head in the romance department. Everyone behaved like children. The end.

the great gatsby

The Great Gatsby is one that should have appealed to me more. I mean rich guy throwing his money away and obsessing over the one that got away is usually right up my alley.

But good God! Daisy has got to be one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve ever read and that’s even before the dreadful ending. Its about the death of the dream and all that as much as romance but yeah, life with her would have been a nightmare buddy.

Now I Rise

There’s a lot of other things going on in this trilogy (An I Darken & Bright We Burn) that could get you through the love triangle.

But if you want to read about how love makes you stupid look no further. I mean the second and third book the stupidity trades off between which one of the two main characters is more in love with Mehmed at this point.

Mehmed isn’t even that interesting! He’s like reading about paint drying!


This is literally a book called Heartless that’s an origin story for the Queen of Hearts. I loved it. I don’t think I need to say anything more about where the romance heads πŸ™‚

my lady jane

Again this is a perfect romance for me. The elements are there but the book is so out there, funny and cute at the same time that the romance is like oh, yeah. That happened. I mean she marries a guy that changes into a horse at night.

Literally the best of both worlds- around during the day to work and converse but at night he’s out in the fields and you can be alone and read. The only thing would be if its necessary to off a spider but I suppose those things can wait until he’s not a horse.

jane eyre

Jane Eyre is another classic I have never understood the romantic appeal of…

Except the movies when they hire a hot guy to play Mr. Rochester. Then it’s like okay, sure we’ll just forget about that little secret that was hanging out in the attic. Wink. Wink. Don’t get be wrong I love the book I just never saw the relationship as romantic. Though I feel a reread coming on!

the gentleman's guide

The Gentleman’s Guide falls into the My Lady Jane category. It’s got a relationship that I love but it’s not really a romantic book or romance heavy. Its so much fun and friendship and adventure. But yet I adored the relationship between Monty and Percy so maybe that’s the key to romance…

Maybe I need to be tricked?

wuthering heights

Wuthering Heights is actually this non-romantics idea of the perfect romance. Madness. Moors. Insanity. Violence. Ghosts. Screwing with the next generation. Revenge. Needless to say I ate this story up.

When Heathcliff is telling Catherine to haunt him I was like that is my idea of the perfect man… which maybe says something about me but that’s a story for another day!

So I like my romances a lot dark and a little off. If you have any good suggestions for the perfect anti-romance romance I’m always open to giving them a try πŸ™‚


21 thoughts on “Romantic Books for the Anti-Romantic Reader

  1. I’m with you on the Romeo & Juliet thing. The notion of dying for your love is romantic but it just makes me roll my eyes. They were kids for f’s sake.
    And Daisy in Gatsby…horrible human being.

  2. This is such a great idea! I definitely want to expand my reading genre’s but have always been cautious of ‘Romance’ novels. Wuthering Heights is definitely a must-read for me.

  3. I love this! I laughed at the horse bit. That really IS the best of both worlds. πŸ˜€ And this reminds of that Kate Beaton comic about Charlotte and Emily Bronte being super into dark romances with problematic love interests and Anne on the side being like, “give me the sensible, boring ones” (which admittedly aren’t as entertaining :P)

    1. I’m totally going to look up that comic! Now you make me wonder how these are taught today cause I know 20 years ago when I was reading them in high school problematic wasn’t a thing but you are so right πŸ™‚

  4. This list speaks to me πŸ˜€
    I like to refer to myself as not romantically inclined. But i had no issues with Romeo and Juliet.
    Great Gatsby… well, for me it was a bit meh, but yea, i agree, the romance didn’t bother me at all.
    I wanna read both Jane Eyre and the Gentleman’s Guide πŸ™‚

    1. I’ve never found Jane Eyre to be a romantic book but some of the movies πŸ™‚ I’m rewatching the version with Michael Fassbender as Mister Rochester and oh, that just speaks to me!

  5. “When Heathcliff is telling Catherine to haunt him I was like that is my idea of the perfect man..” ha ha, I know. I like myself some dark romance, too. Mr Rochester <3 Also, you are right, Romeo and Juliet was stupid. I recently saw the Baz Luhrman movie and I was like, you talked to her once, and then the second time you declare your love to her? stupid young people.
    Cool list, I've read the classics and I really want to get to the Guide of Vice and bla bla, everyone is raving about it.

  6. Oh my, I really am the complete opposite, hahah. Even though I’d never want romance for myself, I swoon over the ones I find in fiction. Romeo & Juliet may be overhyped and borderline problematic, but I love them with my heart and soul. I don’t have a preference, though dark and painful romances are some of my favorites as well. Typically, I’d just love any couple with great chemistry – if they have a very overdramatic storyline, it’s a plus.
    Monty & Percy are indeed adorable. I really love the ‘friends to lovers’ trope and they’re one of my favorites. Even though I’m a super-romantic reader, I still loved and laughed out loud with your post, hahah. It’s fun to see the other side of the spectrum!

    1. That’s very true. Great chemistry can pull it out in books or films to be honest πŸ™‚ I think I do better with period pieces overall in the romance department. Thanks or the lovely comment!

  7. This is such a cool list. “My Lady Jane” sounds so much fun. I mean I once used to fetishize about werewolves. So a guy-turning-into-a-horse sounds mesmerizing ! Would love to know your take on “Gone With The Wind”. That’s for me is the perfect “anti-romance” romance :).

    1. Oh I loved Rhett and Scarlett πŸ™‚ Still do honestly but I only remember the movie. It’s like I think I probably read the book but I know it’s the movie that effects all my thoughts on it! Also I still spend the movie going, “Why Ashley Scarlett? Why?” I just never go that!

  8. hehe this was a great post! That’s a fair assessment of romeo and juliet- although I do love it πŸ˜‰ hehehee I didn’t find Mehmet interesting either!! Glad I quit that series while I was ahead πŸ˜‰ I love my lady jane and wuthering heights too πŸ˜€

    1. I loved the movie version with Leo and Claire Danes if you haven’t seen it. Great music and I don’t know if anyones going to really do Romeo and Juliet right makes sense that it would be Baz Luhrman.

  9. Except the movies when they hire a hot guy to play Mr. Rochester. Then it’s like okay, sure we’ll just forget about that little secret that was hanging out in the attic. Wink. Wink. – πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ The barometer of love? When he asks you to come back and haunt you, so he doesn’t have to be without you.

    Jay Gatsby is to Daisy as Joe is to Beck. But I still like curtainless Beck.

Leave a Reply