Personally, I like my romance books with a little pain and a lot of misery. So is it any surprise that my favorite romance novel of all time is Ethan Frome? Hopeless marriage to a dour party pooper; a broken pickle dish; a twisted spine: all the makings of a great romance story. But luckily everyone is not like me, and the Internet is rife with romance novel aficionados who are glad to submit their happy-ending romance titles for “best of” lists.
One of the more popular romance novel websites is All About Romance: The Back Fence for Lovers and of Romance Novels. Every few years they take a member survey for the best romance novels of all time, and I’m proud to say that their 2010 Top 100 Romances Poll includes an impressive six entries for Alabama’s own Linda Howard: #23 Mr. Perfect; #31 MacKenzie’s Mountain; #47 Dream Man; #55 After the Night; # 80 Cry No More; #82 Open Season; and #89 To Die For. Of course, some of the classic romance novels made the list: Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. As for me, when it comes to the beloved classic romances, I can never remember which of those Bronte sisters wrote what, but I'm pretty sure that Jane Eyre wrote Jane Austen...pause...right?
The website The Romance Reader has its own list of the Top 100 Romance Novels. Hundreds of their readers sent in their top 20 lists, and over 1500 novels by 500 writers were nominated. On this list Howard and her Dream Man shares the #1 spot with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.
Don't forget to pick up February's BookPage publication available at your favorite Birmingham Public Library. The current edition is devoted to the latest romance novels and features Ree Drummond on the cover and includes an interview with her about her new autobiography, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story.