Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Greatest Love Story of all time?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte has been voted ‘the greatest love story’ by over 2,000 readers according to this article here.

I haven’t read Wuthering Heights so I can’t comment on the choice, although I did once watch the film with my mother whereby we spent much of the film going ‘WTF, who are these horrible people’.

If I was going to vote I would say Romeo & Juliet but being a miserable sod I haven’t read that many romantic books to judge on the overall top 20. Are your favourites in this list? What would be your top love story?

The top 20

1 Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë, 1847
2 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen, 1813
3 Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare, 1597
4 Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë, 1847
5 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell, 1936
6 The English Patient Michael Ondaatje, 1992
7 Rebecca Daphne du Maurier, 1938
8 Doctor Zhivago Boris Pasternak, 1957
9 Lady Chatterley's Lover DH Lawrence, 1928
10 Far from The Madding Crowd Thomas Hardy, 1874
11 = My Fair Lady Alan Jay Lerner, 1956
The African Queen CS Forester, 1935
13 The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
14 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen, 1811
15 = The Way We Were Arthur Laurents, 1972
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy, 1865
17 Frenchman's Creek Daphne du Maurier, 1942
18 Persuasion Jane Austen, 1818
19 Take a Girl Like You Kingsley Amis, 1960
20 Daniel Deronda George Eliot, 1876

Posted by Jess


  1. Seriously? Wuthering Heights? Have these people even read the book? It's a brilliant book, but a love story it is not--more of en epic hate story. Actually, I hated WH on first read because I had been led to believe it was a love story, and I was appalled at these people's behavior. I liked it more the second time, once I knew what to expect.

    I am heartened to see that the books I would have chosen--Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre--are in the top five.

  2. Such a predictable list. The greatest love story ever in my opinion is 'The Crow' by James O'Barr. A man so distraught that he couldn't stop his fiancé being raped and killed, as he himself is murdered, that his soul cannot rest and so he comes back from the dead to avenge the horrors and put the wrong things right. Now that is true, romantic love.

  3. Um, that comment you made about the WH movie? That's exactly the comment I made reading the book. It's not a love story at all! Ugh. I also don't like it. :D

    My votes for best love story are either Jane Eyre or Possession by AS Byatt. Of the list you put up, I thought Lady Chatterley was like the antithesis of love, and I absolutely couldn't stand the male hero (whatever his name was) from Persuasion. He was so mean to Anne! I never could forgive him. That's one of my least favorite Austen books because of him. I wanted Anne to slap him and move on!

  4. I like quite a few of the books on the list but for the love story element I would say that The English Patient and Jane Eyre are the two most powerful representations of love. I also agree with Amanda that Possession is a googy. There are a lot of books on the list that I think are great but I wouldn't necessarily say that they are first and foremost love stories - Rebecca for example.
    Super post thanks for sharing!

  5. Teresa - I agree with P&P and I love the film and TV adaptations of that book. Its the ultimate, I hate you, no I love you couple.

    Marc - LOL I was thinking about The Crow the other day, ultimate 90s films I think. The sequel was terrible though.

    Amanda - I havent read Possession by AS Byatt and hav no idea what its about but Ive added it to my wish list now. I couldnt even get through Lady Chatterly and I liked Persuasion but I do know what you mean!

    Hannah - the film The English Patient made me cry so yes I agree with you on that one. Rebecca I cannot understand as surely thats about jealousy?

  6. Wuthering Heights? Excuse me? There's no love in that book, just hate, abusive relationships and destruction. I would have voted for P&P all the way. Additionally, I would have put 'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell high up on the list. My choice of the latter might be influenced by my love for the adaptation with Richard Armitage though.

  7. I agree with the other commenters - most of those books are great, but I wouldn't class them as love stories. Wuthering Heights is dark and depressing, Rebecca doesn't exactly end happily and Gone with the Wind is like an anti love story. Very bizarre list!

  8. Interesting list..though I'm surprised Romeo and Juliet is on there because I thought it was totally unrealistic (falling in love within days and killing yourself because you can't be together?!) If I had to choose, I'd say Persuasion is pretty high up there, and Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Mourier (never read Rebecca so can't comment on that). If the African Queen book is anything like the movie, then I totally think that should stay on the list :)

  9. I love Pride & Prejudice and I reckon it definitely deserves a place on that list, classic or not. Wuthering Heights is a sort of love story but I wouldn't say it should come before P&P and R&J, was Cathy's love really true?

  10. I would strike Wuthering Heights off the list completely and put Jane Eyre or Far From the Madding Crowd at the top. The 2,000 voters have serious issues if they think WH is a love story. Cathy and Heathcliff are a couple of self-centered psychos!

  11. I would be interested to know how many people who voted did actually READ the books and weren't just going on the film adaptations! Otherwise, I'm sure that The English Patient wouldn't be so high up the list...and as for Rebecca - HELLO?!?!?! It's about a psycho and a ghost and a wimp!

  12. I would chose Jane Eyre over Wuthering Heights any day.

  13. From this list I'd choose Persuasion and Jane Eyre.

  14. I'm a third through Wuthering Heights, and I definitely wouldn't say it's the greatest love story ever. Maybe Gone With the Wind? Well, that's my pick! :-)

  15. Susi - I would love to read North and South as I enjoyed Cranford but I didnt realise there was a love story in it.

    Kelly - I loved Jamaica Inn as well, I didnt know what Mary was going to do at all right up until the end. I think she made the right decision though.

    Jackie - that what I thought, its almost like the readers just think that love stories have to be dark and disturbing to really mean something.

    Charlie - I love P&P and I think that deserves to be up there. But yes Wuthering Heights? I dont think anyone agrees with that one.

    Shelley - LOL exactly, you worry about the udges love lifes if they think thats a great love story.

    Lyndsey - out of all of them Id say Rebecca is the most bazare one on there. I dont think Max even loved his new wife that much and he certainly didnt love Rebecca!

    Brenna & Stacy - Ive never read Jane Eyre, well I atempted it once and I really couldnt get into it.

    Jillian - I just made a comment on our blog about Gone with the Wind - Im looking forward to reading it.

  16. Wuthering Heights: UGH! Most people I know are ready to kill Cathy and Heathcliff by about page 10. I'd pick Jane Eyre...

  17. Jane Eyre would definitely be my pick. I don't trend toward love stories a a rule, but I love that one!

  18. I've never read Wuthering Heights either (tried to once... blah!), but I have seen a movie version and my reaction was much the same as yours.

    My pick would probably be Jane Eyre. Or maybe Sense and Sensibility.

  19. Wuthering Heights is good, but it is not the best. The honor should have definitely gone to Gone with the Wind. Does it get any better than Rhett and Scarlett?!

  20. Half of these aren't love stories: Rebecca? The Great Gatsby? Not even.

    Jane Eyre gets my vote though.

  21. Huh, interesting! I love Wuthering Heights, and in a way I guess it could be a love story, but it's definitely not a typical "love story"... it's more about an intense, passionate, crazy kind of love hate tragic kind of thing, lol!

  22. I loved Wuthering Heights, but agree with everyone else that it is definitely NOT a story of love...

    Loved Jane Eyre and both Austen picks too...but I didn't particularly like either Rochester or Darcy, and so can't say they're my favorite either.

    And in Sense and Sensibility, isn't there quite a bit of settling-for-less-than at the end?

    Anyway, good question. Will be contemplating my answer...

  23. Every single title in that list is worth reading in my opinion. My particular favourite has to be 'Far From The Madding Crowd' though which I studied for O Level at school and have loved ever since.

  24. I'm so with some of the other comments on this, Wuthering Heights is a horrible love story! I can't believe it's number one. It's full of selfish, vicious people.

  25. None of these are on my list as far as love stories, although several are books I love (Jane Eyre, P&P, Gatsby . . .).

    Favorite love stories include "The Dead" (James Joyce), Snow Falling on Cedars (David Guterson), City of Thieves (David Benioff - okay, not a typical love story, but I loved the ending which was a fantastic love story).