There’s a long-standing tradition of romance playing a part in adventure storylines. Whether it’s the chivalry of King Arthur’s court or the love between Rose and the Doctor in Doctor Who, romance is often key to creating a rich and enjoyable plot. Done well, it can provide character depth or increase the stakes without getting in the way of the protagonist’s quest.
When it comes to fantasy novels, you’ll often find a budding romance or a long standing love affair in amongst the adventure of the piece. Here are my top five fantasy novels (okay, four fantasy and one sci fi) that feature a good dollop of romance alongside an exciting storyline.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Against the grey sky the towering tents are striped black and white. A sign hanging upon an iron gates reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
Full of breath-taking amazements and open only at night, Le Cirque des Rêves seems to cast a spell over all who wander its circular paths. But behind the glittering acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists a fierce competition is underway.
Celia and Marco are two young magicians who have been trained since childhood for a deadly duel. With the lives of everyone at the Circus of Dreams at stake, they must test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love.
Find Erin’s website here: https://erinmorgenstern.com/
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger
Clare and Henry met when Clare was just six and Henry thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty.
Impossible but true.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is the international bestselling novel of a time-altering love. Henry is a librarian who suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets, finding himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. Meanwhile, Clare is an artist waiting all her life for her great love Henry to appear. In the face of this force neither can prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
Find Audrey’s website here: https://www.audreyniffenegger.com/
Ninety-Five Percent Human by Suzanna Williams
Save the girl. Accidentally trigger alien invasion. Stop ruthless alien warlord from killing the human race. This teen’s life just got complicated.
Joe longs to rebuild his failing family farm. But despite the long hours he works in the fields, everyone tells him it’s a crazy impossible goal for a sixteen-year-old. Then he rescues a mysterious girl who urges him to fight for his dream, and Joe realises his ambitions might now include this quirky stranger.
Sarah has resolved to kill herself. She’s an alien/human hybrid sent by hostile aliens to test the viability of life on Earth, and she doesn’t want the death of the human race on her conscience. Scared and alone, she hurls herself into a raging river, only to be rescued by the cutest earth boy. Living on the most beautiful planet in the galaxy just got a whole lot more desirable.
Working side-by-side on the farm, Joe and Sarah grow closer. But when more aliens arrive and Sarah’s secret is revealed, will their love be enough to keep them together as they fight to save the world?
Find Suzanna’s website here: https://suzannawilliams.com/
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
As children, sisters Gillian and Sally were forever outsiders in their small New England town, teased, taunted and shunned for the air of magic that seems to sparkle in the air around them. All Gillian and Sally ever wanted was to get away.
And eventually they do – one marries, the other runs as far from home as she can manage.
Years later, however, tragedy will bring the sisters back together. And they’ll find that no matter what else may happen, they’ll always have each other. An enchanting tale of love, forgiveness and family, Practical Magic is beloved of readers of all ages.
Read my book review of Practical Magic here.
Find Alice’s website here: https://alicehoffman.com/
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
Tiffany Aching put one foot wrong, made just one little mistake . . .
And now the spirit of winter is in love with her. He gives her roses and icebergs and showers her with snowflakes, which is tough when you’re thirteen, but also just a little bit . . . cool.
And if Tiffany doesn’t work out how to deal with him, there will never be another springtime.
The Word Wizard is no longer with us, but a website is still run in his name (and with the permission of his estate). You can find it here: https://terrypratchett.com/