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Romance Novels

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By: Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823-1901)

Book cover Heir of Redclyffe

The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) was the first of Charlotte M. Yonge's bestselling romantic novels. Its religious tone derives from the High Church background of her family and from her friendship with a leading figure in the Oxford Movement, John Keble, who closely supervised the writing of the book. The germ of its plot was suggested by her friend Marianne Dyson.

By: Charlotte Turner Smith (1749-1806)

Book cover The Old Manor House

The proud, cruel and arrogant Mrs. Rayland never married. Therefore, "Rayland Hall", the old Manor House of the title, had to pass to their heir, Somerive, whom they never treated kindly. According to the British laws at the time, the heir must be the oldest son. But what is to be done when the second son is more worthy of it - and is more beloved by Miss Rayland herself? And must the fact that he is in love with a servant and dependent of Miss Rayland take its toll?

By: Chretien de Troyes

Erec and Enide by Chretien de Troyes Erec and Enide

A medieval romance in which Erec goes through many trials until he is sure of Enide’s loyalty and true love

By: D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence Women in Love

If you have read DH Lawrence's The Rainbow, you'd certainly want to read the sequel, Women in Love. Published in 1920, the two books were originally meant to be a single work, spanning several generations of the Brangwen family, especially the women. However, a complicated publishing history, delays and editorial revisions, followed by the hostile reception and controversies that faced The Rainbow led to a gap of five years between the two books. Yet, by 21st century standards, Women in Love seems almost tame, and modern-day readers may well be bewildered by the amount of criticism it generated among the custodians of morals in an earlier age...

Book cover Lost Girl

"There is no mistake about it, Alvina was a lost girl. She was cut off from everything she belonged to." In this most under-valued of his novels, Lawrence once again presents us with a young woman hemmed in by her middle-class upbringing and (like Ursula Brangwen in The Rainbow) longing for escape. Alvina Houghton's plight, however, is given a rather comic and even picaresque treatment. Losing first her mother, a perpetual invalid, and later her cross-dressing father, a woefully ineffectual small-scale entrepreneur, Alvina feels doomed to merge with the tribe of eternal spinsters who surround her in the dreary mining community of Woodhouse...

By: Daisy Ashford (1881-1972)

The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan

The Young Visiters is a comic romance novella that parodies upper class society of late Victorian England. Social climber Alfred Salteena introduces his young lady friend Ethel to a genuine gentleman named Bernard and, to his irritation, they hit it off. But Bernard helps Alfred in his plan to become a gentleman, which, Alfred hopes, will help him win back Ethel.

By: Daniel Defoe (1659/1661-1731)

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders

A woman in prison awaiting a death sentence is given a reprieve because she is pregnant. She migrates to America abandoning the baby to the care of a foster mother. The child, a girl, grows up and begins working as a servant in a wealthy household. Here she is pursued by the two sons of the house and ultimately marries the younger one. When he dies, leaving her with two young children to look after, she begins a life of deception and confidence trickery which ends in great tragedy and disgrace. In her old age, events take a less tragic turn and her redemption comes from sources she least expects...

By: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Book cover New Life (La vita nuova)

One of Dante's earliest works, La vita nuova or La vita nova (The New Life) is in a prosimetrum style, a combination of prose and verse, and tells the story of his youthful love for Beatrice. The prose creates the illusion of narrative continuity between the poems; it is Dante's way of reconstructing himself and his art in terms of his evolving sense of the limitations of courtly love (the system of ritualized love and art that Dante and his poet-friends inherited from the Provençal poets, the Sicilian poets of the court of Frederick II, and the Tuscan poets before them)...

By: David Whitelaw

The Princess Galva by David Whitelaw The Princess Galva

Edward Povey had been a correspondence clerk for twenty-two years when he was summarily dismissed. So how did he find himself mixed up with an orphan girl, who was really a princess, as she sought to reclaim her throne from the man who had killed her parents? Well, however it had happened, it was romantic. And after two decades in the basement office of a shipping company, he was ready for a bit of romance. (Introduction by MaryAnn)

By: Dinah Craik (1826-1887)

John Halifax, Gentleman by Dinah Craik John Halifax, Gentleman

This novel, published in 1856, was one of the popular and beloved novels in the Victorian era. It is told in the first person by Phineas Fletcher, an invalid son of a Quaker tanner who is presented to us in the beginning as a lonely youth. John Halifax, the first friend he ever had, is a poor orphan who is taken in by his father to help in the work which his sickly son can't constantly do. Phineas tells us in an unforgettable way how John succeeded in rising from his humble beginning and become a wealthy and successful man. But with the money come horrible troubles... In an unforgettable manner, we learn to know all the characters of the novel as if they really lived.

By: Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958)

Book cover The Bent Twig

Semi-autobiographical series of incidents in the life of an intellectual American family in the late 19th - early 20th Century as seen by favored daughter, Sylvia Marshall. Her father is an economics professor in a Midwestern state university and she is following in his inquisitive footsteps. Canfield writes this in a matter-of-fact manner with Tarkingtonesque good humor.

By: E. A. Gillie

Barbara in Brittany by E. A. Gillie Barbara in Brittany

Barbara, an English girl and the eldest of her family, spends most days helping her widowed mother care for her younger siblings. Then disaster strikes – or so the children believe! Barbara is taken to France to see Paris by her father’s formidable sister, Aunt Anne. She stays on in Brittany to perfect her French. In this series of funny stories about her adventures in France, we meet a cast of recurring characters – and both Barbara and Aunt Anne find love! (Summary by Sibella Denton)

By: E.D.E.N. Southworth (1819-1899)

Book cover The Missing Bride

Prepare yourself for a journey, full of adventures and plot twists which will keep you guessing until the very end. This is psychological romance at its best. In the war of 1814, an American heiress falls in love with a British officer. This ill-fated marriage brings together a large group of interesting people who would never have met in other circumstances.

Book cover Her Mother's Secret

What kind of secret could a mother be keeping that would keep long time lovers apart, and force her eldest daughter into a hasty marriage? Young Odalite and her cousin Leonidas have lived the past three years apart, with Leonidas at sea, and were planning on marrying when he came back. An old acquaintance turns up who knows something about Odalite’s mother’s past, and holds that secret over her, threatening dishonor to her and her family, unless she gives him what he wants. Will true love win the day? ( Bridget Gaige)

By: Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars

Burroughs’ first published book, as well as the first book in the Barsoom series, A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel following the adventures of the heroic John Carter, after he is mysteriously transported to the planet Mars where he meets its divided inhabitants. The novel is considered to be a seminal for the planetary romance, which is a sub-genre of science fantasy. Burroughs’ book has also inspired a number of well known science fiction writers during the beginning of the 20th century...

By: Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)

Book cover Lark

"The Lark" has all the charm and freshness which have made Miss Nesbit's former novels so justly popular, and yet the story ts entirely new and original. Two girls, Jane and Lucilla, are led by Jane's guardian to entertain high hopes. The fortune, however, which Jane was to have inherited, has been lost by unlucky speculations, and the two girls have to set about earning their own livings. They experience many adventures and ups and downs of fortune before they meet with the two men who ensure their happiness and prosperity. A delightful story, well worth reading.

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence

If you've watched and loved Winona Ryder playing the innocent May Welland in the 1993 film adaptation of Edith Wharton's sweeping novel about class-consciousness in nineteenth century America, you will certainly enjoy reading the original. Though Martin Scorcese's brilliant work was certainly true to the spirit of the original novel, no film can reproduce the charm of language and turn of phrase employed by one of America's greatest writers. The Age of Innocence was Edith Wharton's 12th novel and is located in familiar Wharton territory...

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome is a novel published in 1911 by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Edith Wharton. It is set in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, New England, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. (

The Reef by Edith Wharton The Reef

George Darrow, Anna Leath’s first love, is finally coming from London to propose to her. However, he drifts to an affair with Sophy Viner, Anna’s daughter’s naïve and young governess. Sophy’s relationship with Darrow and Anna’s family can threaten his success. In this novel, as in many of Wharton’s other well known novels, we see the eternal love triangle. With her sly and lovely writing style, Wharton delivers to us in this wonderful novel a cast of unforgettable characters and many unforgettable scenes which we can vividly imagine. What would Darrow choose: success or love? Would Anna marry him despite his affair with Sophy? (Summary by Stav Nisser.)

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton The Glimpses of the Moon

"The Glimpses of the Moon" (1922) is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an "open" relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.

The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton The Fruit of the Tree

When published in 1907, this novel about the lives of a wealthy mill owner, her socially progressive husband and friends caused a stir due to its treatment of drug abuse, mercy killing, divorce and second marriages.

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton The Touchstone

Stephen Glennard's career is falling apart and he desperately needs money so that he may marry his beautiful fiancee. He happens upon an advertisement in a London magazine promising the prospect of financial gain. Glennard was once pursued by Margaret Aubyn, a famous and recently deceased author, and he still has her passionate love letters to him. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and building a marriage based on the betrayal of another.

Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton Madame de Treymes

Edith Wharton's 1907 novella explores the milieu of Americans living abroad in Paris. New Yorker John Durham travels to Paris to woo an old flame, Fanny Frisbee, now the Marquis de Malrive. Fanny is separated from her husband and wants to marry John and return to America, but she doubts whether her Catholic husband will grant her a divorce. When John meets Fanny's sister-in-law, the enigmatic Madame de Treymes, he hopes she may be able to help them in their quest for happiness. (Introduction by Elizabeth Klett)

By: Edmund John Eyre (1767-1816)

Book cover Lady of the Lake

At the request of Mr. Siddons, Manager and Patentee of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, the following Performance was composed. I am very sensible that Mr. Scott’s Poem of “The Lady of the Lake” afforded material for a much superior Drama than the one here presented to the public; but as Mr. Siddons, in all his correspondence with me on the subject, urged expedition, I was more attentive to the interest of a Friend than to the fame of an Author; and the whole piece was arranged, written, and copied in the short space of ten days...

By: Edmund Spenser (1552?-1599)

Book cover Amoretti: A sonnet sequence

The Amoretti (meaning little love poems) is a sequence of 89 sonnets written in the tradition of the Petrarchan sonnets, a popular form for poets of the Renaissance period. Spenser’s sequence has been largely neglected in modern times, while those of his contemporaries William Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney have been acclaimed. However, because of the artistic skill, along with the emotion and the humor exhibited, these poems deserve a broader hearing, even though they may be somewhat difficult for the present-day reader, partly through Spenser’s love for words and expressions that were already archaic in his time...

By: Edna Ferber (1865-1968)

Book cover Buttered Side Down

"And so," the story writers used to say, "they lived happily ever after." Um-m-m—maybe. After the glamour had worn off, and the glass slippers were worn out, did the Prince never find Cinderella's manner redolent of the kitchen hearth; and was it never necessary that he remind her to be more careful of her finger-nails and grammar? After Puss in Boots had won wealth and a wife for his young master did not that gentleman often fume with chagrin because the neighbors, perhaps, refused to call on the lady of the former poor miller's son? It is a great risk to take with one's book-children...

By: Edward M. Forster (1879-1970)

Howards End by Edward M. Forster Howards End

It's sad, but true to say that today Edward Morgan Forster's works are known more from their film and television adaptations rather than from their original novels. Yet, these adaptations have spurred many a fascinated viewer into going back to the library and finding the book that the film or miniseries was based on and this is ultimately the power of Forster's literary appeal. Howard's End was published in 1910 and it marked Forster's first taste of critical and commercial success. He had published three other novels earlier, Where Angels Fear To Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907) and A Room With a View (1908) but none of them had been received with so much acclaim...

A Room With a View by Edward M. Forster A Room With a View

A Room With a View opens with Two Englishwomen touring Europe. The older one is poor, bossy, old fashioned and a great upholder of what is “proper.” The younger one is less certain of herself, but holds within her the makings of a passionate, emotional and independent woman. In Florence they are allotted a room overlooking a dull courtyard, whereas they had specifically asked for a “view.” A fellow guest offers them his own rooms which offer wonderful vistas of the Arno. The older woman instead of appreciating his courtesy, sees this as a breach of propriety...

By: Edward M. Hull (1880-1947)

Book cover Sheik

The novel on which the famous silent movie starring Rudolf Valentino was based. The plot is set in motion as Lady Conway disapproves of Diana's planning a desert trip with just her Arab guides to accompany her. Diana gets kidnapped by the Sheik, Ahmed Ben Hassan. Finally allowed to ride in the desert alone, she plans an escape. However, the Sheik recaptures her. And so the story unfolds.

By: Edward P. Roe (1838-1888)

Book cover He Fell in Love with His Wife

James desperately needs someone to help him keep his farm going, but has failure after colossal failure finding a good housekeeper. Alida marries a man only to find out he's already married. She's so undone when she finds out that she just wants to go somewhere where no one will judge her for her misfortune, where she can work and keep herself fed and clothed. James and Alida meet and arrange for a strictly business marriage, leaving loving and honoring out of the vows. The title of the book tells the rest of the story, but the way it gets there is worth the journey. (Introduction by TriciaG)

By: Edward Phillips Oppenheim (1866-1946)

An Amiable Charlatan by Edward Phillips Oppenheim An Amiable Charlatan

An Englishman is enjoying his dinner at Stephano's, at which he is a regular diner. A man enters quickly, sits at his table, starts eating his food, and hands him a packet underneath the table! So begins Paul Walmsley's acquaintance - and adventures - with American adventurer Joseph H. Parker and his lovely daughter, Eve. (Intro by TriciaG)Note that there is an alternate reading of section 8. Both are excellent renditions, so enjoy either or both of them.

Book cover Yellow House

Vicar and his two daughters move to a small, quiet country village and soon learn that their neighbor in the yellow house holds secrets that will change everything they thought to be real in their lives.


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