There’s no denying the power of a love story. The best of them will take you away from reality and into the characters’ lives.

Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

And if there was ever a time we needed to escape into a good love story, surely it must be now.

Here are some of my favourites.

No 1 on my list is the story of Allie and Noah from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I’ve only read the book once but have seen the film so many times I can practically recite the dialogue along with the characters. While the scenes where Allie and Noah fall in love as teenagers are great, for me the powerful love story is best portrayed when the couple are in their old age. Who doesn’t want someone to love you in your eighties as much as they did on the day you first met?

No 2 comes from the pen of Jojo Moyes and is, of course, the love story between Lou Clarke and Will Traynor in Me Before You. For some reason I was initially reluctant to read this book, despite having it recommended to me by just about everyone I knew. By the time I did eventually pick it up, I already knew how it would end, but that didn’t stop it being one of the most amazing, beautiful, and tragic love stories I’ve ever read. I can’t tell you how much I wanted their journey to end differently, even though I knew the way it ended was the only possible outcome.

No 3 is Buffy and Angel – I should have warned you this list wouldn’t be highbrow! I was a huge fan of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and although I loved the script and the great one-liners, it was the hopeful/hopeless relationship between Buffy and Angel that had me hooked. What can be more heart-wrenching than for a vampire slayer to fall in love with a vampire? To be honest although I watched all 7 seasons of the show, it was never the same for me after Angel went off to live in LA.

No 4 is the love story between Rose and Jack in Titanic. It’s such a classic tale; poor boy falls in love with rich girl. But set as it is with the threat of a fast-sinking ship (should that have been a spoiler alert?) their entire relationship is encapsulated in less than 48 hours. I really like how this illustrates that love isn’t necessarily measured by the time you spend together, but by the depth of your feelings. There’s only one thing wrong with the story of Rose and Jack, which I believe is universally agreed… of course there was enough room on that door for two people!

No 5 is the slow smouldering love affair between Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson in The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. I loved both the book and the film. This is another instance when a lifetime of love is squeezed into just a few stolen days together. But its brevity makes it no less poignant. I am broken every time Francesca stares through the car’s windscreen at Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) with the rain pounding down on him. And while I would never condone adultery, I can’t be the only person in the world who is screaming at Meryl Streep to “open the door and get out of the car” at the end of the film.

While compiling this list it occurred to me that almost all my favourite love stories are those that are either hopeless, or ones where the odds are stacked against the couple, which perhaps explains a lot about the kind of books I write. This is definitely true for my No 6 choice, Meet Joe Black. In this film a woman falls in love with a man she meets in a café, only to have him tragically die just minutes later. If that wasn’t hopeless enough, the man’s place is then taken by Death himself. It’s hard to imagine that a love affair with the Grim Reaper could be a touching love story, but it is. You’d be forgiven for thinking there could be no happy ending to this tale, but thankfully the film confirms that whatever life throws at you, love will always find a way.

And finally, No 7. After thirty-seven years together, I am happy to say that my favourite love story of all is actually mine.

RELATED: 10 Things I'd Like My Readers To Know About Me By Dani Atkins

I am congenitally clumsy. I break things. A lot. There is a very good reason why I am married to a mechanic, a man who knows his way around a tool box, knows how to handle a Phillips head screwdriver, and more importantly a tube of super glue. It is sadly a very familiar sight for me to approach him with something in each hand, which before I got hold of it was intact. We’re a good team. I break stuff and he fixes it... to read more click HERE