#10 Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters from The Fault in our Stars – John Green
John Green’s doomed lovers Hazel and Augustus captured and then broke the hearts of millions of readers, with their intense but short time together. After meeting at a support group for cancer patients, the pair were instantly attracted to each other and soon developed a friendship based on films, video games and books. It takes a few battles and a lot of convincing doctors and parents but eventually the couple take a trip to Amsterdam after Gus makes arrangements that could put them in touch with the author of Hazel’s favourite book. We truly get to see the pair’s love flourish in Amsterdam, including a kiss at the Anne Frank House (much to the encouragement of the other tourists). Our dreams of a happy ending seem destined to be unfulfilled though as the realities of living with cancer soon drop us back down to earth with a bump. Despite their short-lived romance, Hazel and Gus still managed to steal our hearts and earn their place at #10 of our top romantic couples in literature.
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#9 Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
A beautiful story of unrequited love and delusion, Gatsby’s obsession with winning Daisy back see’s him invest his whole life into achieving his goal. Daisy and Gatsby first meet back in 1917 when Gatsby is a young military officer about to leave to fight in the First World War. Gatsby is immediately enamoured by the vision of wealth and luxury that Daisy represents, and when their romance is cut short by the war Daisy promises to wait for Gatsby to return. Two years later however, Daisy has married Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is left with a burning ambition to lead a wealthy and lavish lifestyle, ultimately to win Daisy’s affection back. Their love is a complex story, and although Gatsby has clearly placed Daisy on a pedestal, many readers question whether there was ever any real love between them.
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#8 Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
At #8 we finally meet a couple who get to have a happy ending (in the first book at least). Bridget is a clumsy but sweet and down-to-earth 32 year old, stumbling through a series of cringe-worthy situations in her search for love. Mark on the other hand is quite up-tight and awkward, coming across as a bit rude in his first encounters with Bridget. The pair eventually fall for each other and although there are a few misunderstandings along the way, their down-to-earth love had us all smiling back happy tears and daydreaming of our own Mark Darcy to like us very much, just as we are.
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#7 Allie Hamilton & Noah Calhoun from The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
Allie and Noah’s story begins with a summer romance between a wealthy city girl and a country boy. The pair have a passionate and intense relationship, but it soon ends when Allie’s family move away and Noah’s attempts to keep in touch are intercepted by her mother. 14 years later the pair meet again and although there are a few obstacles in the way (most prominently Allie’s fiancé Lon) they both admit that they never lost their feelings for each other. Narrated by an old man telling the story to his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease, their enduring love is sure to have you in tears.
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#6 Ann Elliot & Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion – Jane Austen
A tale of missed opportunities, 19 year old Anne breaks off her engagement to naval officer Frederick Wentworth after pressure from her family who feel that he is not of a high enough status to marry her. At 27 the couple’s paths cross again, and although Wentworth is now rich and famous from his work during the Napoleonic wars, he is still hurt by Anne’s rejection and not interested in reconciling. The couple have a back and forth relationship with various suitors coming and going, but ultimately they never really give up on each other.
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#5 Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
A prime example of always wanting what you can’t have, Scarlett O’Hara is obsessed with winning the love of Ashley Wilkes who has rejected her and married another woman. Everything Scarlett does from then on is with the intention of winning Ashley, often at her own and others’ expense. When Scarlett strikes a friendship with the dark and exciting Rhett, she feels liberated by their shared disdain for the strict rules of polite society. But while Rhett has clearly fallen for Scarlett and is playing hard to get to win her love, Scarlett is still too consumed by her pursuit of Ashley to devote herself completely to Rhett. When she finally realises her feelings for him, her declaration of love is received with the famous line “my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
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#4 Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Jane and Mr Rochester’s love is ahead of their time as Jane proves again and again that she is his equal, despite her lower status. The pair first find affection for each other after Jane helps Mr Rochester when he falls off his horse and he later teases her for bewitching the horse. Jane shows as much wit and humour in return and the pair begin to spend time together regularly. Their true feelings are eventually revealed for each other but it’s not until all secrets are exposed and that Jane and Edward are matched in wealth and morality that they can finally be together.
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#3 Cathy and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Growing up together and establishing a warm friendship, Cathy and Heathcliff soon fall in love but their different statuses prevent them from being married. Cathy eventually accepts a marriage proposal from Edgar Linton but declares that Heathcliff is her true and only love – a declaration that fails to reach Heathcliff. Tormented and tortured by his inability to be with Cathy, Heathcliff descends into bitter cruelty and vindictiveness. Their love is all-consuming and their separation a tragedy, with Cathy stating “whatatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”. At the end of the book after the pair have both died, a servant boy reports seeing Healthcliff and Cathy walking the moors together, suggesting that they find a way to be together in the next life.
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#2 Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy from Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
At #2 it should come as no surprise that Lizzie Bennet and Mr Darcy make an appearance. Despite being quite similar to each other and well suited, Darcy gives a bad first impression of himself as being too proud and Lizzie carries this prejudice of him through most of the book. As Mr Darcy shows his true colours and Lizzie begins to warm to him however, we experience one of the greatest love stories of all time. Inspiring writers for decades to come, some of our favourite romance couples of the 21st century are even influenced by Lizzie and Mr Darcy, including none other than #8 on our list Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy.
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And the best romantic couple in literature as voted by you is…
#1 Romeo and Juliet from Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Arguably the most well-known couple in literature of all time, who else would claim the #1 spot other than William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers from enemy families tell the tale of a love greater than any feud, although of course the doomed lovers never had a chance of happily ever after. Tragedy has featured heavily in our list of the top 10 romantic couples of all time, and it is perhaps the beauty and the pain of Shakespeare’s depiction of doomed young love that has inspired so many writers to follow.
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Take a look through the full list of romantic couples in literature that you voted for: