There are few things more powerful than a good story. No matter what the genre is, a good story can mess with your emotions big time, some times even to the point of therapy. (I’m looking at you, 1984.) Here are ten heart-wrenching romances that you want to read today.
1. His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls
Genre: Regency, Adult
Average Goodreads rating: 3.44
When Earl Maxwell finds a young, abused servant in the home of unfortunate acquaintances, he does the only thing he can think of to help her: sleep with her and take her on as his mistress (duh). The girl in question, Verity, is perfectly happy with this arrangement. She would do anything to get out of her aunt and uncle’s house, and since she thinks Max is hot, being his mistress until she can purchase an annuity and live independently isn’t a bad deal. Unfortunately for her, Max is about to discover her real identity. When he finds out that she is the daughter of his late commanding officer, he’ll feel honor-bound to marry her– even if he can never forgive her for her deceit.
His Lady Mistress is available on AllRomance.
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Literature, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.19
Claire is a happily married former war nurse in 1945. But that all comes to an end when she and her husband, Frank, are on vacation in Scotland and she walks through an ancient circle of stone in the Scottish highlands, sending her back to the year 1743. After being catapulted into a land torn by war, superstition, and corruption, Claire must learn to survive in a country that is against her own nationality, the English. But that’s nothing compared to dealing with a young Scottish warrior named Jamie Fraser who has a dark past and an even darker future. But Jamie shows her such love and devotion that Claire is torn between her heart and fidelity.
3. Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair
Genre: Science Fiction, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.61
Former ship captain Chasidah Bergren has been exiled to a wasteland prison planet for a crime she didn’t commit. The prison planet is almost certain death due to the brutal conditions and no one ever escapes from it. That is, until mercenary Gabriel Sullivan, a long-time enemy from Chaz’s captain days, comes back from the dead to offer her a way off the planet in exchange for help.
Someone in the Empire is breeding brutal killing machines that will decimate everything in the Imperial space unless someone stops them first. Gabriel needs Chaz’s help to do just that, and Chaz agrees to the deal. Even teaming up with a professional criminal was worth getting off that planet. But even though Chaz is free from exile, her troubles are far from over. Her world is turned upside-down as her old prejudices are ripped apart and she realizes not everyone is how they seem. Gabriel is much more than the rogue he appears to be and while Chaz cannot deny the powerful attraction between them, Gabriel is a danger that she might not be ready for.
Gabriel’s Ghost is available on Indiebound.
4. The Passions of Emma
Genre: Historical, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.87
The wealthy Emma Tremayne has her entire life mapped out for her, including marrying the most eligible bachelor in turn-of-the-century Rhode Island. But Emma is too eccentric and kind-hearted to survive the cold world of capitalism and aristocracy. Living in a world that made her brother commit suicide and where her own sister must be hidden because of disability, Emma finds herself encountering dangers all too real, despite her sheltered and privileged world. But her world and mapped out life gets completely ripped apart when she finds out of the horrific conditions of her fiance’s textile mill and she meets Irish immigrant Shay McKenna, a man that she can fall completely in love with. Unfortunately, Shay is too much in love with wife, Bria, to notice her as anything more than a spoiled rich girl.
5. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
Genre: Fantasy, Literature, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05
The land of Samaria is rife with corruption and poverty, risking a huge smiting from the heavens. The only hope left rests with crowning Gabriel the new archangel, but he can’t be crowned until he marries his soulmate, a mortal woman named Rachel.
Rachel, however, is less than pleased with it. Growing up as an Edori with a slightly different religion than Gabriel’s, she already has an issue with marrying an angel. And after being enslaved and held captive in a rich merchant’s home, the last thing she wants to do is marry a stranger on command, even an angel.
To make matters worse, the current archangel is not willing to give up his throne so easily. He’s willing to do anything to prevent Gabriel from becoming the next archangel, even kidnapping and hurting Rachel.
Archangel is available on Indiebound.
6. Chained by Elise Marion
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.04
After decades of fighting, an uneasy peace has settled between the royal houses of Toustain and Maignart. But after only 20 years of peace, both houses are on the verge of declaring war.
After having one of his brothers killed by a member of the Toustain family, Sir Caden Maignart is determined to get justice, even if it means going to the House of Toustain himself. But he finds himself imprisoned by Lady Gwendolyn Toustain long before he can demand justice. In her bedchamber, no less. Despite being furious and devastated over his brother’s murder, not to mention worried about war breaking out, he can’t help but find Gwen incredibly fascinating and even distracting.
Gwen has problems of her own. Not only will everyone around her not take her seriously because she’s a female, but she’s to be married off to a prince from overseas. Not only does she find her fiancé unnerving, brutal even, but she’ll be leaving her home and family forever as soon as she does. But in the meantime, she’s the acting ruler in the royal house. With her father dying and her brothers missing, Gwen is in charge, but still must fight to have her opinion heard. Her only solace comes from the least likely place: her prisoner who claims his family is innocent of the crimes they’re charged of.
7. The Boss by Lexy Timms
Genre: Contemporary, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.66
Jamie Connors has given up on finding a man. Despite being smart, pretty, and just slightly overweight, she’s a magnet for the kind of guys that don’t stay around.
Her sister’s wedding is at the foreground of the family’s attention. Jamie would be find with it if her sister wasn’t pressuring her to lose weight so she’ll fit in the maid of honor dress, her mother would get off her case and her ex-boyfriend wasn’t about to become her brother-in-law.
Determined to step out on her own, she accepts a PA position from billionaire Alex Reid. The job includes an apartment on his property and gets her out of living in her parent’s basement.
Jamie has to balance her life and somehow figure out how to manage her billionaire boss, without falling in love with him.
The Boss is available on Indiebound.
8. The Devil Wears Tartan by Karen Ranney
Genre: Historical, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8
A man in the shadows
Some say he is dangerous. Others say he is mad. None of them knows the truth about Marshall Ross, the Devil of Ambrose. He shuns proper society, sworn to let no one discover his terrible secret. Including the beautiful woman he has chosen to be his wife.
A fallen woman
Only desperation could bring Davina McLaren to the legendary Edinburgh castle to become the bride of a man she has never met. Plagued by scandal, left with no choices, she has made her bargain with the devil. And now she must share his bed.
A fire unlike any they’ve ever known
From the moment they meet, Davina and Marshall are rocked by an unexpected desire that leaves them only yearning for more. But the pleasures of the marriage bed cannot protect them from the sins of the past. With an enemy of Marshall’s drawing ever closer and everything they now cherish most at stake, he and Davina must fight to protect the passion they cannot deny.
9. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Genre: Plays, Classic, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.73
How could I not put this one on the list? As one of the most famous tragic love stories out there, Romeo and Juliet is certainly heart-wrenching. This play tells the famous story of two teenagers who have fallen in love, even though their families hate each other. Either they are doomed to be apart, or they will have to take drastic measures to make their families reconcile.
10. Lady Falls by Renee Bernard
Genre: Historical, Adult
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.5
Raven Wells is no ordinary girl. Plucked from an orphanage by a scheming earl, she has been raised like a thoroughbred, groomed for one purpose: Revenge. Unfortunately, the Earl of Trent never let her in on the plan, so when she meets the man of her dreams, Sir Phillip Warrick, she has no idea that every lesson, every tutor and every impulsive inch of her was crafted for his seduction and destruction. What she does know is that love is the prize she wants most and that nothing should stand in a woman’s way to getting what she wants.
Phillip Warrick is simply trying to recover his friendship with the earl, unaware that the man has spent years laying the foundation for destroying Phillip’s peace of mind. What he does know is that the earl’s ward, Raven Wells, is mesmerizing, fascinating and apparently without reserve. Witty, beautiful, impulsive and impossible—she is like a siren beckoning him to forget the rules and seize only the pleasures of the moment.
Together, their love will set in motion a series of events that no one can foresee. Revenge creates more than one victim, but also more than one winner. Raven Wells will be transformed into a force of nature the likes of which Victorian London has never experienced before. LADY FALLS is the birth of the Black Rose and the end of innocence.
Lady Falls is available on Smashwords.
Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments.
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