Tyndale Fiction’s Thoughts On: Great Romantic Books and Movies

Since February is known for its most romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day, I thought it might be fun to share some of our favorite great love stories (book or movie) from our team here at Tyndale Fiction. Please, share your favorites in the comments!


Some oldies, but goodies. Some not recognized for great writing, but “stickability”…

Bridges of Madison County: a sense of unrequited love, a strange kind of nobility that gives up “eros” for the sake of family and children and promises made, a story that is about a passion that lives over years.

The Thorn Birds: A tortured priest, what could be better?

Cold Mountain: (If you think about this one too hard, there is no way they could have fallen in love…except via that old standard “love at first sight”…but what a heartbreak!)  I love this book and can still describe the opening scene of our hero looking out the window from his hospital bed. I do think the writing in this one is beautiful.

Braveheart: Yeah, I know there is all of that fighting and stabbing stuff, but what is better than a secret wedding in the forest and a man driven by the death of his lover who carries the talisman of her handkerchief?  For a tip of the hat to this scene, read Randall Wallace’s THE TOUCH


We’re always so busy reading proposals and manuscripts from Tyndale authors – including our own Candace Calvert’s wonderful romantic hospital dramas – that it can be difficult to find time for reading outside of work.

There are so many great stories in various genres that have a romantic thread that I could choose from…but when I think about some of the all-time best romances, I’d have to start with Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy sets the standard for all romantic heroes, especially when played by Colin Firth. Gone with the Wind is another obvious choice.

In films, When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones Diary, Sleepless in Seattle, The African Queen with Katherine Hepburn…the list is endless.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This was a totally unconventional love story. Once I stopped trying to keep a mental timeline in my head (those of you who have read this story know what I mean), I was utterly engrossed in the tale of these characters. To me, one of the markings of a great novel is that I can remember scenes or lines even years after I’ve read it. I will never forget the final scene of this book.

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke. This is one of my recent favorites—as much a sweeping saga as a romance. It starts with the sinking of the Titanic, which was the hook that drew me in. But Cathy’s rich characterization, dynamic relationships, and vivid historical detail kept my attention glued to the pages. The “hero” and “heroine” meet early in the story and are then separated by tragedy, an ocean, then more tragedy. There’s also a delicious villain you love to hate. And just when you think the hero and heroine will never be together . . . well . . . I won’t ruin the story for those of you who haven’t read it.

Last of the Mohicans (movie). I must admit to only have seen the movie adaptation of this—haven’t read the novel by James Fennimore Cooper yet. I love a good period piece, and this captured my attention more than most. Maybe it’s the score (brilliant!) or the gorgeous scenery or the redemption of bad characters and sacrifice of good ones . . . or maybe it’s the point at which Daniel Day-Lewis promises, “I will find you!” Anyway—I’m a fan!

I’m also a big fan of romantic comedies, no matter how formulaic they sometimes are. Here are a few of my favorites: While You Were Sleeping, Hope Floats, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding . . . I could go on.  


I must admit, nothing melts my heart more than the clichéd, yet ever sought after ‘happily ever after’. My picks today, though, represent that happy ending in a restructured way, an unconventional love story that will have you looking at love a bit differently after.

Paper Towns: What I love most about this novel is the honest portrayal of a teenage romance and the naiveté of life, love and one another. Every time I read this book I’m left marveling at how our perception of one another has an uncanny ability to limit the limitless possibilities of human’s complex nature. A great line: “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

Emma: While I must agree with the other Fiction ladies that Pride and Prejudice is a comfort read/watch, my pick for today is Emma (and the movie loosely based on this classic, Clueless).Emma starts as a presumptuous young woman whose confidence in match-making turns catastrophic; I love the painful growth of character within this novel. Her perceptions and beliefs of what love and courtship must look like change drastically from start to finish (and Clueless must get kudos for placing this classic tale to the backdrop of California in the 1990’s, with extreme fashion and humorous lingo; what’s not to love?).


My all-time favorite movie (meaning I watch it at least 3x per month) is Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley.  The scene with Mr. Darcy walking across the hazy early morning field and the music rising melts my heart each time.  I love the costuming, the ball room dancing, the underlying challenges of status and privilege. 

My second favorite it is Ever After: A Cinderella Story with Drew Barrymore.  Drew’s character Danielle fights for the privileges those less fortunate are rarely allowed, catching the attention of the rich (yet, very spoiled) prince.  He begins to realize that he has taken for granted the simple, mundane people of his village…the transformation of his heart is what I love most about this movie…

Cheryl Kerwin

I like a good chick flick but I must admit, for some reason, I do not find myself reaching for the printed version. What I find myself drawn to instead is a good legal, conspiracy or political thriller which, incidentally, usually has an element of romance woven through the narrative.  Take Joel Rosenberg’s Last Jihad series with John and Erin Bennet or Tom Clancy with Jack Ryan and his wife; there is always a little romance in a John Grisham or Randy Singer legal thriller with a nice explosion, chase scene or suspenseful ending thrown in-between.

If you find yourself in the same boat, I urge you to pick up a few of my favorites: Runaway Jury, The Devil Wears Prada, Clear and Present Danger, The Testament, and Ezekiel Option.

Now that you’ve heard a few book/movie suggestions from the Fiction Team, we’d love to hear from you! What’re your top picks? What romantic novel/movie is your go-to during this month of love? Leave us your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to chat!

Thanks for reading!

Shaina Turner

Shaina Turner

Shaina is the Fiction team's newest addition. In her role as Acquisitions Assistant, she helps facilitate the release of novels, provides feedback to authors on best practices for social media, along with maintaining Tyndale Fiction's Twitter, @Crazy4Fiction. Shaina enjoys reading, both recreationally and the many proposals that come through, and loves to visit the towns she reads about in novels.