One of the most well-known books to come from the Bronte sisters, Wuthering Heights, is Emily’s first (and last) book. Released in 1847, Heights is a gothic tragedy that centers on Heathcliff — a former orphan who is now the affluent landowner of the Wuthering Heights estate.
If you’ve made your way through this Bronte classic, you are probably yearning for your next masterpiece. Grab one of these 20 classic books full of forbidden love, complicated connections, revenge, and death.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Written in 1891, Hardy’s classic novel has all the elements Wuthering Heights fans crave: a love triangle, heartbreak, and murder! The action is set in pastoral Wessex — a Hardy storytelling staple.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles is famous for both its tragic plotline and for its heroine, Tess Durbeyfield. Tess sacrifices love and personal happiness for economic benefit — a decision many women of her time were forced to make.
Read more about Tess’s choice and her wealthy but cruel suitor Alec.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
For those who enjoy a rags-to-riches story, Great Expectations is just the thing. Our hero, Pip, is a poor orphan who falls in love with the beautiful but cold-hearted Estella. An act of kindness changes his financial state, and Pip is driven to turn himself into something worthy in the eyes of Estella’s eccentric aunt, Miss Havisham.
Great Expectations is a classic that manages to keep the modern reader tight within its grip. Will Pip find the love he seeks in Estella? Will Miss Havisham give up her vow of revenge?
Find out what becomes of Pip with a copy of Great Expectations from Amazon.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
While everyone is surely familiar with the tragic tale of “star-crossed lovers,” Romeo and Juliet is always worth a reread! Shakespeare has created a plot full of generational feuds, true love, violence, and ultimately tragedy.
The fates of young Juliet and the rakish Romeo are sealed at their first meeting because their families, the Montagues and Capulets, have been killing each other for generations. The two decide to marry in secret, but events shortly after their nuptials lead to Romeo’s banishment from Verona. A heartbroken Juliet is left to plot her escape from her family and make her way to her beloved’s side.
Revisit this classic tale here.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
A Pulitzer Prize-winning epic, Mitchell has created one of the most celebrated stories of all time. While there are many Civil War-era stories, none have captured audiences quite like Gone With the Wind.
Readers can’t help but fall in love with the dashing Rhett Butler, and while Scarlett may be impetuous and difficult, one can’t fault her will to survive and thrive.
Grab your first…or second or third…copy here.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
From the opening line — “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” — Pride and Prejudice is an intriguing tale that is hard to put down.
Elizabeth Bennet is a spirited character that has inspired women for over two centuries, and Mr. Darcy is often seen as the ideal man! With a wide cast of supporting characters, Pride and Prejudice is a masterpiece that deserves multiple re-reads.
Dive into the 18th century here.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
A beautiful and haunting Gothic novel, Rebecca is a love story any fan of Wuthering Heights is sure to consume with relish. The plot is a bit complex, with just a touch of mystery.
Maxim de Winter’s second wife struggles as she seeks to get out from under Rebecca’s — de Winter’s first wife — shadow. The first Mrs. de Winter died rather suspiciously, and her successor can’t help but feel haunted by Rebecca’s presence.
Follow Mrs. de Winter to the brink of madness!
Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu
Published in 1871, Carmilla is a story of loss, infatuation, love, lust, and the supernatural. A Gothic horror that is sure to delight those who like the darker elements.
The novel takes place in a spooky castle surrounded by an Austrian forest. A doctor’s case diary, a vampire, and mysterious illnesses plaguing local girls are all found in this novel — one of the first vampire stories!
Find out what happens to Carmilla and the rest of the characters here.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Disappointed in her country doctor husband, Emma yearns for the passion and romance in her favorite novels. However, her husband, Charles Bovary just doesn’t offer the luxurious life she had hoped to live. Mrs. Bovary seeks to achieve her romantic dreams by taking a lover leading her down a spiral of deceit.
Published in 1857, Madame Bovary was a scandalous story for its time. However, it is still considered a masterpiece in character development and its depictions of society.
See what all the scandal is about with a copy of Falubert’s novel from Amazon.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The novel Doctor Zhivago chronicles the tale of Yury Zhivago, an orphan caught up in the turbulent events of twentieth-century Russia while struggling with his love for two women.
It is an epic tale chronicling the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a bourgeois family. While the author was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, the book was not published in the Soviet Union in 1987.
Get the international best-seller here.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Following three generations of an Australian family, The Thorn Birds is considered one of the most beloved sagas of all time. The Clearys are a steadfast family of ranchers who make a living from a beautiful but harsh terrain. The family must battle secrets and resentments in this tale of forbidden love and lifelong passion.
Meggie Cleary’s love for a man of the cloth is the heart of the tale. And their adoration for each other follows Father Ralph as he moves from parish priest to the inner chambers of the Vatican.
Enjoy an epic tale of love, passion, and family with a copy of the novel from Amazon.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Considered so controversial in its time it had to be censured, The Picture of Dorian Gray was much too “vulgar” for 1890s England. Author Oscar Wilde had an entirely different view: “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.” Despite the controversy, the tale is considered a classic and makes for an enjoyable read.
The story follows the handsome and charming Dorian Gray, who finds himself amid Victorian high society and the influence of a powerful Lord. Gray trades his soul for never-fading youth and beauty — instead, the weight of his sins is borne by a portrait painted by a society artist.
Learn what tragic consequences await Dorian and his picture.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
With Jane Eyre, Charlotte — another Bronte sister —wrote a renowned Gothic love story. The tale follows the tormented orphan Jane as she makes her way through life, escaping her aunt’s brutality and enduring the horrors of an orphan boarding school. Jane doesn’t truly experience love and heartbreak until she accepts the position of governess at Thornfield Hall.
Jane Eyre was a groundbreaking book, years ahead of its time! Fans of Wuthering Heights, the Brontë sisters, or novels with strong female protagonists must read it.
Get your copy of another Bronte classic here.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The elderly Doctor Manette is eventually liberated from the Bastille, where he had spent the previous 18 years as a political prisoner, and is reunited with his daughter Lucy in London. The story turns into a love triangle with the addition of two men, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton.
The exiled Frenchman, the disreputable English lawyer, and the doctor’s daughter find their lives entwined as the men strive for her love. They are drawn from London to the bloody streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror.
Will they find themselves under the shadow of La Guillotine? Find out here.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Lucy is courted by George Emerson and Cecil Vyse while on vacation in Italy. Lucy finally accepts Cecil Vyse’s marriage proposal after first rejecting it —twice. When George learns about the engagement, he admits his true affection for her.
Lucy is caught between George, where her true happiness lies, and Cecil, the more socially acceptable partner. The story of A Room with a View explores timeless human issues, including the decision between true love and societal acceptance.
Find out who Lucy chooses with a copy of A Room with a View from Amazon.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Lacios
The 1782 classic that the 90s cult film Cruel Intentions is based on, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, is considered one of the most scandalous and divisive novels in European literature. The story is characterized by the deep moral dilemmas of seduction and retaliation.
The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, the novel’s main characters, forge an unholy alliance and transform seduction into a game that they must win.
Discover the scandal here.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, which came out a year after Wuthering Heights, was initially regarded as shocking since it questioned traditional gender roles. The higher class of Victorian England also frowned upon its depiction of household life. Bronte created Helen Graham, a strong female character who defies expectations and pursues a better, safer life away from her abusive husband.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is told through a series of letters and diary entries between one of the characters, Gilbert Markham, and his friend regarding Helen’s mysterious arrival to the village. This format is similar to the fragmented narrative of Heathcliff’s flashbacks in Wuthering Heights, a tactic taken by many gothic novels.
Grab this before-its-time novel on Amazon.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s third book, is considered to be his greatest work and a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature.
The protagonist of the tale is the opulently rich Jay Gatsby, who is in love with the stunning Daisy Buchanan. The Great Gatsby is a novel that explores the extravagant excesses of the affluent and aspirant classes during the glitzy but shallow post-war years. It is a tale of being let down by dreams that turn out to be unsatisfying and unworthy of the dreamer.
Dive into the glitz, glamor, and disillusionment.
The Emerald Peacock by Katharine Gordon
The story’s premise opens with Sher Khan, an Indian prince, and Bianca, an Irish girl. It examines the challenges their relationship experiences during the Sepoy Mutiny. While the love story is significant, the book also examines the lives and experiences of the family’s three women: Bianca, her adopted half-caste daughter Muna, and her Indian stepdaughter Sara.
Despite coming from the same family, the three women had very diverse experiences in India due to their backgrounds. The first section of the book is set in 1857, and the second section is set in 1868. Gordon keeps the reader enthralled with the threat of menace that permeates the tale.
See if you can grab a copy of The Emerald Peacock here.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome, dubbed Wharton’s darkest book is full of sorrow and conflicting social perspectives on divorce and marriage. With Wharton’s renowned ironic flair, it is a punishing love story that ultimately locks tragic hero Ethan in a love triangle.
An unidentified narrator seeks to put together the life of the elusive Frome from various sources found across the small community of Starkfield during a harsh Massachusetts winter. The devil is in the detail that is skillfully not said. In the end, it turns out that Frome is divided between his duty to his ailing wife, Zeena, and his love and desire for Mattie Silver, their vivacious maid.
Dive into Frome’s tragedy with your own copy of Ethan Frome.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, another story of devastating love, is set in Russia and takes place in the middle of the political upheaval that engulfed the nation in the late 19th century.
The novel’s namesake is stuck in an unhappy marriage to Count Alexei Karenin until she meets Count Vronsky, a handsome military man while visiting her family in Moscow. The plot develops as they fall in love and showcases one woman’s journey — risking everything in search of true love. The portrayal of the darker sides of love and what it leads you to do is a theme consistent with Wuthering Heights.
So if you find yourself a fan of the Bronte novel, then you are sure to fall in love with Anna Karenina, too.
What is a book similar to Wuthering Heights?
Any of the 20 books on this list should curb your Wuthering Heights cravings! Many people start with the novels by the other Bronte sisters, but you can’t go wrong with any of the classics here.
What is the greatest classic love story of all time?
Obviously, the answer to this question is subjective. However, many lists of best love stories will crown Pride and Prejudice as the greatest classic love story.
What literary style is Wuthering Heights?
While it is a Victorian-era novel, Wuthering Heights is often thought to harken back to Emily’s days as a poet. It also has a somewhat lyrical style.
What age group should read Wuthering Heights?
Due to some of the themes in this classic novel, Wuthering Heights is generally recommended for readers 13 and up.
Is Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights easier to read?
As Wuthering Heights uses a lot of poetic language, Jane Eyre is generally considered an easier read.
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