A List for Love in Books

I’d asked for suggestions on books with love in them – not romance stories, but many facets of love – to be a companion to my Mad Genius Post on writing love stories. As always, this is a crowdsourced list. I have cleaned it up a little to anonymize it, but I have not read all of these, and so they are in no order, and there are duplications (just take those as enthusiasm for that book). Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments! 

  • Lord of the Rings. Sam and Frodo. The love of a friend who will never abandon you.
  • Dora and Lazarus in “The Tale of the Adopted Daughter”.
  • When Operative Cardinal relives meeting his wife for the first time, in “Cardinal of the Kremlin“.
  • Lots of the Vorkosigan books. I think A Civil Campaign particularly though Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and the latest also work
  • Wallace and Esther from Hell and Back.
  • Miles Vorkosigan pursuing his eventual wife, Ekaterin. Actually, Mark’s and Ivan’s stories are fun too.
  • Kelsier and Vin, not at all romantic but definitely love, in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn.
  • Michael and Harry in the Dresden Files novels. Also not romantic, also definitely love.
  • Tinker and Wolf Who Rules by Wen Spencer both love Pony and he loves both in different ways
  • Lessa and F’lar and several others in the Pern novels. For non-romantic love in the same novels, Menolly and Robinton.
  • Jaxom and Ruth.
  • Startide Rising. Tom Orley and Gillian Baskin.
  • Valentine and Ender in Ender’s Game.
  • Robin Hobb’s Assassins books – the links between Fitz and his dogs. And in the Traders series, the links between SOME of the families and their ships.
  • Noel Strachan’s unrequited love for Jean Paget in A Town Like Alice, if we’re going out of genre.
  • Elric and Moonglum, Moonglum keeps traveling with his best friend even though he knows that Elric is fated to kill him.
  • Count of Monte Cristo, Cyrano de Bergerac.
  • Heinlein’s “The Menace from Earth
  • True love is when you share with your best friend.
  • The Repairman Jack books by F Paul Wilson and Lunatics by Bradley Denton.
  • Caramon’s love for his brother in the Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends
  • First thing that comes to mind is “It’s Nothing to a Mountain” by Sid Hite, but it’s been at least 15 years since I read it.
  • Shane and the mom in Shane (both novel and movie). Actually, Shane comes to love the whole family.
  • Tale of Two Cities? Sidney Carton’s love for Lucie lets her happiness override everything else so he dies in place of Charles Darnay.
  • Bringing this one up with some trepidation, given how some react to the very mention of the author, but Hank Rearden and Francisco d’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged.
  • It’s a little twisted but Vic and Blood from A Boy and His Dog.
  • Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser. Master Li and #10 Ox. Luce and Nat Remy. Thena/Kit. Though Luce/Nat is a slightly odd one, given Luce’s attitude about himself.
  • OMG, how have I not mentioned this one? Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe!!!
  • Lucy and Aslan
  • DEATH and Susan.
  • Huck & Jim, in Huckleberry Finn.
  • Hoke & Miz Daisy, in Driving Miz Daisy
  • Spenser and Susan Silverman. Mike and Man, my only friend. Belgarath and Poledra.
  • Toby and Master Waller
  • Little Women
  • Samwise and Frodo. Samwise was the only Ring Bearer who took it up in full knowledge. He knew what it would do to him , he KNEW, and for love of Frodo he did it anyway.
  • The Raven books by Patricia Briggs. Much of the story is driven by a mother’s love for her children and of their love for her and each other.
  • Little Women.
  • Arkady Renko and Irina, in Gorky Park and Red Square
  • I agree with many already mentioned, but I have always liked Kate and Currin from the Magic series by Ilona Andrews. I’m impressed with any author these days that take 4 books for the leads to get intimate.
  • Dejah Thoris and Zebediah John Carter in “The Number Of the Beast”. By Heinlein.
  • In a trilogy called “The Storm Princess”, iirc, there was a pair of mercenaries. One male and one female. Both very talented and very scary good at their jobs. They were hired to protect a woman drawn from Earth who was a storm princess at all costs.
  • Idgie and Ruth, the two main characters in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. (Yeah, it IS a book, too!)
  • Would you accept Sherlock Holmes and John Watson?
  • Although there are things I don’t like about them, the love between Herald and Companion in Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar stories keeps drawing readers back
  • From the Belisarius series! Belisarius and wife Antonina, Antonina and Theodora, Belisarius & Aide, Valentinian and Anastaius, Irene and Kungas, Shakuntala and Ragunath Rao. Oh, frap, I just realized David Drake is a Romance author!
  • Mike & Rebekah, from 1632
  • The Once and Future King: Arthur and Guinevere, Arthur and Lancelot, Lancelot and Guinevere
  • Black Beauty and Joe. The Black Stallion and Alec.
  • Buck, and his human in Call of the wild.
  • Honorable Mention, since it’s not a book: Jayne and Vera, from Firefly.
  • In that case, I’d add Daniel Leary and Adele Mundy, Spenser & Hawk, Cadfael & Hugh Beringar, and Sharpe & Patrick Harper.
  • Simon r Green’s nightside. John Taylor and Shotgun Suzie, also known as Suzie Shooter or Christ! It’s her! Run! smile emoticon
  • Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan, in Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King.”
  • Polgara and Belgarath, Polgara and Durnick, Poledra and Belgarath I am re-reading them right now! LOL The Liaden series has both romantic love and love of friends. In fact, they actually have words for the different kinds of love.
  • The Riddle master of Hed. So many stories of love- romantic, love for the land, for the people, brotherly or fatherly love…
  • Oh, yes. Morgon and Har or Morgon and Danan Isig are good relationships.
  • Honor Harrington and Paul Tankersly. Honor and Whitehaven.
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a great example of love between a father and son
  • Meg and Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle). Helen and Jane in Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte). Jane and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). Edith Fellowes and Timmy in The Ugly Little Boy (Isaac Asimov).
  • The family’s love for Tiny Tim, Fanny’s love for Ebenezer, Fred’s love for his mother that he continued to reach out to her unpleasant brother, and Ebenezer’s newfound love of mankind in A Christmas Carol.
  • Della and Jim in The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry). Naomi and Ruth in The Bible. Scarlett O’Hara and Tara in Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell). Tiffany Aching and The Chalk in The Tiffany Aching series (Terry Pratchett). Ma, Pa, Mary, and Laura Ingalls
  •  I hadn’t really thought about it in depth until Cedar asked, but most of my very favorite reads contain great non-romantic, sacrificial love at their core.
  • Dog and Dragon by Dave Freer.
  • The Tarzan books. The second, or maybe third, is about rescuing Jane
  • The Big Red books, too.
  • Anne of green gables present a beautiful relationship between Anne and the spinster sister and brother who take her in (why am I so bad at names). All three have a beautiful nonstandard relationship.
  • Anne, Matthew, and Marilla! Anne and Diana! Marilla and Rachel Lynde! Thank you Shira. (Anne and the wonderful world, in all its beauty!)
  • Daniel, Adele, and the crew of the Princess Cecile
  • A series of unfortunate event. Tarma and Kethry from the oath series.
  • I always thought one of best ‘love’ stories I’d ever read was ‘Witch World’ by Andre Norton. (The first
  • Citizen of the Galaxy, the father-son relationship.
  • Watching TV last night, Rizzolli and Isles
  • The Rolling Stones – the whole family.
  • Asimov’s “The Caves of Steel.” R. Daneel Olivaw and the honkie who was his partner.
  • Most of Louis L’Amour would qualify
  • The Red Stallion by Walter Farley?
  • Lassie Come home?
  • If only someone would write the book of Jayne Cobb and VEra
  • Red Planet by Robert Heinlein. A boy and his Martian.
  • Citizen of The Galaxy also by RAH a boy and his mentor
  • Most of Lois McMaster Bujold’s work. The specific ones I’d start with, skipping those I’d consider actual romance: Falling Free, Barrayar, and Diplomatic Immunity.
  • Amanda S. Green’s Nocturnal Lives (two very strongly pair-bonded couples).
  • Heinlein’s The Rolling Stones (that’s a very loving family IMO).
  • I definitely have to add a plug for Bujold, especially Barrayar, Ethan of Athos, and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.
  • The Warrior’s Apprentice By Lois Bujold, Miles and Bothari, Miles and his Father, Miles and Elena, Elena and Bazil, Miles and Barrayatr
  • You might consider The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, et seq.
  •  Minutegirls has a romance leading to wedding proposal, which I was fond of writing, but it’s not a big part of the book. And the One World is in fair part about a romantic relationship between two people, a forbidden relationship
  •  What about the relationship that develops between the strikers and colonists in Drake’s Redliners?
  • I thought I had posted, but I’m not seeing: I would also suggest your own Pixie Noir books.
  • I’ve found the relationship of tree-cats and their adopted “persons” interesting. This is found in a ton of David Weber’s Honorverse books, though explored more deeply in the YA spin-off, A Beautiful Friendship. Definitely not romantic love at _all_ (gossip about Queen Elizabeth notwithstanding), but
  • Heinlein’s “Tale of the Adopted Daughter” in “Time Enough for Love, always been one that sticks in my
  • Glory Road, Scar Gordon and the Empress of the Multiverse
  • The Dresden Files, Harry and Murphy, Harry and Butters, Harry and Mister, Harry and Mouse, Harry and Michael. Harry and damned near everyone not wholly evil
  • Mickey Spillaine, Mike Hammer and Velda
  • Shanwshank Redemption to me is the ultimate love story.
  • “Cordelia’s Honor” and “A Civil Campaign” by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  • You might like this, General LaSalle of Napoleon’s Hussars on the morning of his death, penned this note to his Countess:  “Mon coeur est à toi, mon sang à l’Empereur, ma vie à l’honneur” (My heart belongs to you, my blood to the Emperor, my life to honor).
  • Where the Red Fern Grows, for the love between a boy and his dogs!
  • Anything from Kjelgaard for a boy and his pet
  • Princess Bride: (movie or book is great) And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
  • Paladin of Souls– learning to love yourself and your god?
  • David Drake’s “Lieutenant Leary” series – Leary & Mundy!
  • Chrisopher Rowley’s “Bazil Broketail” series – Bazil & his dragon-boy…
  • Hawk and Fisher by Simon R Green
  • Second Princess Bride, the book, not only for Westley and Buttercup, but also for Fezzik and Inigo.
  • Then there are the love stories that someone NEEDS to write , dammit! I’d LOVE to read the courtship of Horace Harkness and Iris Babcock!
  • Bujold’s “Sharing Knife” series. Not just the relationship between Dag & Fawn, but also the relationships between various patrollers, then later between Dag & Arkady, and Barr & Remo as well…They’re not Vorkosigan novels, but I find myself re-reading them at least annually because the characters are just very satisfyingly well done.
  • Urchin of the riding stars. Explains divine love very well.
  • Podkayne of Mars for Poddy and her brother.
  • Short story: And He Traveled in Elephants (another RAH). Husband and Wife, but not romance/sex based. Kind of transcends that.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (the love between the siblings)
  • Brad Torgersen’s classic “The Chaplain’s War” – the Chaplain’s Assistant and Adenaho
  • It isn’t romance, it isn’t fiction, but it is love, Band of Brothers.
  • Don’t overlook complex filial love – Prince Roger and Empress Alexandra in the Empire of Man series. One of the most interesting parent child relationship pairings in the Baen stable – right up there with the Vorkosigan-verse.
  • Also, Drake covered the strength of love and what it can drive people to do in his novel Enemy of my Enemy.
  • If you want to go “different,” I still say Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men contains one of the sweetest romantic moments I ever read.
  • The love between Valentine and Ender Wiggen throughout the Ender-focused books in the “Ender’s Game” universe.
  • Good Lord, how can everyone here have overlooked “Gates of Fire” by Stephen Pressfield. Now there’s a story of love that transcends all the quasi-romantic, mush-brained pap listed here….
  • platonic – Mindtouch & Mindline by MCA Hogarth
  • Family love in Mackey Chandler’s ‘Family Law’.
  • totally outside Sci-Fi, but one of the very best, and shortest, descriptions of two young people falling in love that I have read was in W.E.B. Griffin’s “Semper Fi.” In just three pages, I think, he wrote about the main protagonist (Ken McCoy) meeting Ernie.
  • Time Enough For Love – not just romantic love but one of the earliest cases of transexual love I’ve read.
  • This may sound odd, but I think the Forever Hero trilogy by Moddessit does a great job of examining agape, Eros, and Philia. It’s also a crazy good space opera.
  • Eddings The Belgariad, all 12 books deal with love in one form or another. Belgaraths love for his daughter and wife, Cenedra and Garion, Polgara and Durnick, and a lot more.
  • Dorothea and Will in Middlemarch–and not just that love, her love for his sister Celia as well and the brother-sister bond in Mill on the Floss.
  • Silas Marner, love of the isolated miser for the little girl who shows up at his door….and how that
  • Does classic myth count? Orpheus descending into the underworld comes to mind
  • Marie by H. Rider Haggard comes to mind as well. Strong love story.
  • A tale of two cities perhaps
  • Slave Girl of Gor, because no greater love has a Slave Girl than for her True Master.
  • Craig and Ilse in Brotherhood of War.
  • Lan and Nyneave in the Wheel of Time books.
  • Tom Bombadil and Goldberry
  • Pip and flinx
  • Princess Bride! Well, at least Twue Wuve!!
  • Speaking of Tom Bombadil, how about Samwise and Frodo from the Lord of the Rings.
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Women in Old Testament days supporting each other in ways only women can.
  • I just re-read Finder, by Emma Bull. Orient and Tick-Tick, best friends and partners.
  • MHI’s romance between Owen and Abomination (also Julie) really touches my heart. But my favorite romances were in Correia’s Grimnoire Chronicles.
  • Rachel’s Contrition by Michelle Buckman
  • The Black Stallion.
  • Gollum and the Ring


8 responses to “A List for Love in Books”

  1. Xander and Astlin from Brian Niemeier’s Souldancer, an utterly self-sacrificial and transformative love story.

    1. This one is still on my to-read list, after I finally muddle through to the end of Nethereal.

  2. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    I see somebody else already did mention my favorite. (“The Gift of the Magi.”)

    But every last one of these is excellent. Well, the 50% that I have read – I also thank you for generating another list of “must track those down….”

    1. I seem to have a thing for making lists 🙂 At least you know where to find this when you’re mood reading (Ok, maybe it’s just me that goes through moods with reading.)

      1. Reality Observer Avatar
        Reality Observer

        Um, no. There’s at least two of us.

  3. Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey -Maturin novels. Eros, Philos and Agape are all represented in there somewhere. The series is a 20 novel exploration of the friendship between Captain Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his close friend Dr. Maturin, but there is also erotic love for their women, love for and of the sailors under the Captain’s command , love for the ship, their nation in time of war, honor etc. It is all there.

  4. Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories. It took Dorothy L. Sayers four novels to make that relationship work, and Busman’s Honeymoon is one of my favorites, ever.

  5. Chris and Ann in “What Dreams May Come.” Both the book and movie although they differ slightly. Chris chooses to abandon heaven and live in hell with his wife even though she doesn’t recognize him.