written by Lília

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we thought we’d home in on screen adaptations of romantic fiction.

Because who hasn’t heard of or watched – maybe many times! –adaptions of Jane Austen’s books such as Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights?

All classic romance titles, for sure, and often filmed. But now, with streaming services popping up all around us, we see more and more new titles and new authors being translated from book to screen. It not only makes us pay attention to what we can watch, but draws attention to what we can read.

As a bookseller, I’m always partial to the saying: “read the book before you watch the film,” and most of the time the book is better. But watching a celluloid version of something you’ve read and liked has its perks as well. It’s fun, possibly infuriating, but almost never bland. And you can always go back to the book, make comparisons and enjoy (or not) the differences.

There have been so many film and series adaptations of books that I’m going to present you with a list of ones based on shows already released. And as I research this article, I’m finding many more titles already in production for the near future. Curating titles has been difficult. There are so many good ones!
I’ve chosen many of these titles because I feel some connection to their stories. They’ve been fun reads, but have also led me to think about our society’s values, family duty, and what I want for myself in life. Some other titles were chosen because they seem like pure romantic fun. And in my humble opinion, love should always be romantic, and win—even if we all know life doesn’t stop at the end of a book.

Book to Movie:

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

A Staff Choice of colleague Ester, it’s a nice romcom. The film is fun, but Ester LOVED the book.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

I first read this book when it was released back in 1992, and it really made an impression on me. I re-read it and the impact was the same. The film is good, but it does not bring out all the book encompasses: belief, faith, deep love and redemption. This story made me think about people’s suffering and how they can surpass it. Even though the story is deeply religious, for me the most important thing it imparts is the belief we should have in ourselves.

The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans

This is one of those cases where I watched the movie before I read the book, because when I watched it, I didn’t know there was a book! Shocking, right? It’s a nice intimate story also about redemption and acceptance of people’s limitations.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

This is a book I’ve read once and didn’t really like. D.H. Lawrence presents a very masculine and old-fashioned vision of life and love, but it also made me think about such grand things in my teenage years. It made me consider what I consider important, and solidified my belief that women can and should carve their own lives, with or without men.

Persuasion by Jane Austen (new adaptation)

One of my favorite books ever, I’ve read Persuasion time and again. In a way, this novel is also about redemption, the re-evaluation of past mistakes and new resolutions—where love is more important than propriety and societal values. This new adaptation is more relevant to our times than previous ones, even though it might not be as “faithful” in its interpretation.

Some other notable adaptations:

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain
Big Sky River by Linda Lael Miller
Purple Hearts by Tess Wakefield
Something from Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill
The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

Book to Series:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (series of books)

This is also a Staff Choice from colleague Sophie. For some reason, I never really managed to read the books, but many readers love them. It translated very well to the screen.

Virgin River by Robyn Carr (series of books)

Robyn Carr writes about normal people with normal problems in complex situations. It’s so relatable that it immediately connects you to the characters and their stories. And the series is great, too.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

You can find this title in the general fiction section in our stores, even if the whole story is about the difficult romantic connection the protagonist has with his wife. It’s romantic, but also quite heartbreaking.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (series of books)

More fantasy than romance, the romantic connection between the two main characters is what defines this as a romantic series. It’s an intricate fantasy story, with many romantic issues. Wonderful books to read and a great series to watch.

Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn (series of books)

I just loved both the books and the series, although for different reasons. The books might be more historically correct, and the stories are well-written, but the series has been well-adapted to our times and the diversity of life.

Some other notable adaptations:

An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts by Silvia Zucca
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (On my To Be Read and To Be Watched lists.)

The list of “still in development” titles, both for films and series, is extensive and growing. Some adaptations will keep the original title, some will be changed, so we present here a list by the title of the book. Most of the titles are from books I’ve read and liked, or still want to read, but am looking forward to watching!

It Ends With Us, People We Meet on Vacation, The Love Hypothesis, The Spanish Love Deception, The Unhoneymooners, It Happened One Summer, The Switch, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Roomies, Truth or Beard, A Cowboy to Remember, Intercepted, Forbidden, What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing series), Red, White & Royal Blue, Text for You (film Love Again) and Beautiful Disaster.