Love has always been a captivating subject, and what better way to indulge in its magic than through the pages of a romance novel...or watching its film adaptation? Romance readers (and watchers) are a category of their own and we're certainly here for it! Add to your TBR pile or must-watch list with our favorite romance books turned movie.
*Listed in alphabetical order
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan's gripping novel Atonement takes readers on a journey through love, betrayal, and the quest for redemption set against the backdrop of World War II and its aftermath. The emotionally charged novel's film adaptation captures the complexity of McEwan's story. With its impeccable cinematography and powerful performances by James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, and Saoirse Ronan, the movie version of Atonement is widely acclaimed, receiving seven Academy Award nominations and a win for Best Original Score.
Cinderella by various authors
While the Cinderella story is not a romance book or novel, thanks to Disney we all know it as a magical romance that makes us believe dreams really do come true. Cinderella adaptations have captured the hearts of romance readers and watchers for generations, but we're particularly fond of Drew Barrymore's portrayal of Cinderella in 1998's Ever After. Barrymore's spirited and headstrong Cinderella is determined to shape her own destiny bringing a new twist to the beloved fairy tale.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Celebrated for its humorous portrayal of the lifestyles of the rich and wealthy Asian elite, Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians published in 2013 was a huge success when it debuted and continues to be lauded well after the 2018 release of its film adaptation by the same name. An absolute joy of a rom-com filled with vibrant and glittering scenes and stellar performances by every single actor on screen, but especially the incredible Michelle Yeoh, Constance Wu, and Henry Golding.
Emma by Jane Austen
We could have picked any number of Jane Austen adaptations for this list, but we've already paid tribute to the many Pride and Prejudice adaptations here, so we decided one would be enough. Austen's Emma follows the spirited and mischievous Emma Woodhouse as she navigates her own romantic journey while simultaneously meddling in the love lives of those around her. Emma itself has seen three movie renditions as well as 3 mini-series adaptations. All are great, with Rotten Tomatoes scores above 80%, but we absolutely adore Anya Taylor-Joy's 2020 portrayal, and we'll rewatch Alicia Silverstone in the 1995 modern adaptation Clueless any time!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars is a heart-wrenching novel by John Green that follows the relationship between teens Hazel and Gus as they navigate the complexities of living with cancer. Both emotional depth and witty humor span the pages with hope, laughter and love, and these elements are equally expressed in the film adaptation between the actors (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) on screen. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hope, you'll fall in love along with Gus and Hazel and you'll never be quite the same again. "Okay? Okay."
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
LitJoy's own founder Alix highly recommends reading and watching this enemies-to-lovers romance. The Hating Game, a debut rom-com by Sally Thorne, was a 2018 USA Today's best seller. Sparks fly in this office romance battle of the sexes and translates to the silver screen with a fun soundtrack and a lead pair (Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell) whose on-screen chemistry ignites the fire.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
James Baldwin's powerfully painful and moving novel If Beale Street Could Talk takes a deep dive into depths of love, injustice, and the unwavering spirit of its characters, especially of Tish and Fonny. The movie adaptation, directed by Barry Jenkins, breathes life into Baldwin's poignant and timeless narrative, capturing the raw emotions and societal struggles faced by young African American lovers and their families. With its top-notch performances, especially by Regina King who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, If Beale Street Could Talk leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of its viewers...and readers of Baldwin's original short novel.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë weaves a tale of resilience, passion, and love—self and romantic. Brontë's Jane is an independent and strong-willed woman ahead of her time, making her a compelling and relatable character. The romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester is a slow and emotionally charged journey, filled with obstacles and secrets that keep readers enthralled until the very end. And while, like many classics, there have been several film adaptations, the one we love the most is the 2011 version with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska playing the perfect Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre. Both the book and the movie are full of inspiring quotes, one of which we decided to put on this Jane Eyre Mug and Tea Towel Set so that you can boast your love for Austen's phenomenal classic (even if you only watched the movie!).
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
For lovers of romance books that leave your heart wrenching and eyes watering, like The Fault in Our Stars, JoJo Moyes' Me Before You is the perfect romance to read...and then watch. Moyes weaves a poignant love story between Louisa and Will, grappling with profound themes of life, love, and personal growth. The movie adaptation, with its convincing performances by Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, captures the essence of their endearing chemistry and the emotional journey they undertake.
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
The love story of Noah and Allie has captured the hearts of many since Nicholas Sparks first published The Notebook in 1996. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams' stellar on-screen performances in the 2004 adaptation helped to solidify the story as one of the best romances of all time. A story of young love, heartache, and passion that extends into old age.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Becky Albertalli's debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, resonates with readers for its heartfelt exploration of identity, friendship, and first love. The movie adaptation, titled Love, Simon , beautifully translates Simon's journey to the screen, capturing the challenges and triumphs of coming-of-age and self-acceptance. With its endearing characters and universal themes, Love, Simon has become an important addition to the world of LGBTQ+ representation in cinema.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Maybe Ann Brashares' Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants isn't your traditional romance story, but this beautiful journey of four friends navigating life, friendship, and relationships has the essence of what we all love about our romance books anyway with a strong sense of female empowerment. The movie adaptation of the same name starring America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, and Amber Tamblyn captures Brashares' story in the most perfect way. It's a coming-of-age story of love in all its forms.
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
Yes, another Nicholas Sparks gets a nod on our list. You just can't avoid it on a top romance books list. He knows romance. And yes, it's also a tear-jerker. In the 2002 film adaptation, Mandy Moore and Shane West interpret Sparks' narrative and Jaimie and Landon's relationship with incredible emotionally-charged chemistry.
Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan
Terry McMillan weaves another kind of sisterhood romance that explores personal growth, friendship and, of course, love in her third book Waiting to Exhale . Following four friends navigating relationships, careers, and personal growth, McMillan's 1992 story still continues to captivate readers today. And the 1995 film adaptation directed by Forest Whitaker and featuring the iconic Whitney Houston and immensely talented Angela Bassett skillfully captures the essence of McMillan's writing, evoking deep emotions and experiences that resonate with viewers as much as the story resonates with readers. Waiting to Exhale is a delightful journey for those who treasure both the written word and the magic of film.
Bonus TV Romances Based on Books:
Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series sizzles its way into the hearts of romance book readers following a different Bridgerton sibling with each new book. When it made it to the small screen, the dashing Duke of Hastings Simon Bassett played by Regé-Jean Page may have stolen the show, but the storytelling created a must-watch, bingeworthy TV series based on Quinn's books. With its Regency-era setting, scandalous intrigue, and steamy romances, the adaptation of Quinn's novels has become a sensational addition to the world of romance books turned television. Write your own gossip in Regency-era style with the Bridgerton Stationary Box!
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's Dash & Lily's Book of Dares takes readers on a heartwarming journey of love and adventure. The charming mini-series adaptation captures the essence of the original story, weaving a delightful story of romance and Christmas magic. Through a series of dares and clandestine notes, Dash and Lily's connection blossoms. It's a perfect series for holiday romance.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches, book one of Deborah Harkness' All Souls Trilogy, casts a bewitching spell on enthusiasts of romance books with its TV series adaptation. Based on the three books in the All Souls Trilogy, the TV series A Discovery of Witches, named after the first book, brings to life the tale of forbidden love between a witch and a vampire: Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, with its epic tale of love and time travel, brings the breathtaking Scottish landscapes and passionate romance to life in the TV series now in its 7th season, with an 8th and final season still yet to come. Claire and Jamie's love knows no bounds. The thrilling historical fantasy weaves a unique and unforgettable love story, making it a standout among lovers of romance books.
For all the avid romance readers and screen adaptation enthusiasts out there, this collection of romance books turned movie will leave you swooning. From the emotionally charged love story of Atonement to the heartwarming adventures of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares , each adaptation brings its own unique magic to the screen. If you're ready for a rollercoaster of emotions be sure to check out these romance books and series along with their adaptations. For more romantic bookish delights, head over to our Book Lovers Shop .
We'd love to hear from you! What do you think? What are your faves? What books are you hoping will get adaptations?
Happy reading and watching!