• Caitlin Kerr

Tear-Jerking Romance Books with Sad Endings (No Spoilers We Swear)

In literature, romantic story lines often begin in a similar format - boy meets girl in peculiar circumstances, and the progression of feelings between lovers poetically ensues. As for the stereotypical endings, the main characters often finds their happily ever after and inevitably drifts off into their version of a dazzling sunset. Sure, naturally, that’s the conclusion we root for.

However, some of the best-selling romance books out there don’t actually offer a happy ending. Instead, they leave us staring longingly out foggy windows or in fits of tears whilst reassessing the meaning of love. Oddly and controversially, it may just be what makes these types of stories so great. They evoke a sense of realness that would otherwise be lost amidst a less than believable fairy-tale.

So, bring your tissues and give these best-selling romance books a read. They’re highly recommended.

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

A classic novel with a not so classic love story. Fitzgerald’s beautifully poignant writing style throws readers into the heart of the roaring twenties and its eccentric party scene. We follow the trials and tribulations of two past lovers reunited by a curious yet intentional grand plan. Can the past be rewritten?

Tuck Everlasting

By Natalie Babbit

This unique tale shows us the significance of choice. Winnie aches for a place far away from her strict 19th century home life until she stumbles upon Jesse Tuck. She then meets the rest of the Tuck clan, who reluctantly let her in on their mysterious family secret, leaving Winnie with a life-altering decision.

Eleanor & Park

By Rainbow Rowell

A nostalgic reminder about the intensity and innocence of young love, this book is nothing short of funny and tear-inducing. Set throughout 1986, lonely Eleanor struggles with life in a new town and a hectic home. She soon meets Park on a bus ride and slowly but surely falls head over heels.

A Thousand Boy Kisses

By Tillie Cole

Get ready to dive into the depths of heartbreak with this one, though it promises an intriguing read. Neighbors Poppy and Rune share a once in a lifetime love until Rune is forced to move back to his native Norway. Poppy promises to wait for her beloved, but disappears into silence, leaving Rune confused, heartbroken, and with an onset anger problem. Is their tie to each other as everlasting as it seemed?

Reason to Breathe

By Rebecca Donovan

An emotional yet endearing page-turner that follows Emma Thomas, an introvert who simulates perfection but has a lot to hide. To her surprise, she finds life-changing love, and in her complex romantic journey, she’s dared to reach for optimism and acknowledge her self-worth, all while fearing her terrible secret will be uncovered.

If you’re in the mood for a little cry or dose of reality, these best-selling tearjerkers offer a captivating read. A disappointing romantic ending is so relatable to a lot of us which helps to create a genuine emotional investment in the characters. Love doesn’t always end perfectly, so why should it in your favorite romance books?


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