10 classic 'chick lit' novels all romantic fiction fans should read

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So called 'chick lit' often gets a bad rap for the fluffy and lightweight content the somewhat patronizing label implies. But a fair few classics from the genre tackle serious subjects, from drug addiction and incest to some heavy duty matters of the heart.

Now is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book, so crack out your Kindle or pop into your local library and pick up one of these 10 page-turners.

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

    Or to give it its full title - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady. Anita Loos' 1925 book is a riot of flapper manners, written as the diary of Lorelei Lee. In 1953 it was turned into an extravagant musical starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. 

    Read it here

  • Emma by Jane Austen

    Such is the timeless appeal of Jane Austen's 1815 match-making novel Emma, that it pretty much inspired the entire plot of the film Clueless. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the kind-hearted meddler to perfection in the 1996 film. 

    Read it here

  • The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

    Colleen McCullough's Australian family saga was so successful that it was made into a mini-series in 1983. Sadly, McCullough passed away in 2015 at the age of 77. 

    Read it here

  • Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

    The ultimate in chick lit, Bridget Jones’ Diary took its lead from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in the form of diary entries from the exasperated, chain-smoking, binge-drinking heroine, Bridget Jones. Based on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, it offered a modern spin on an age old story of love and lust.

    Read it here

  • Sex And The City by Candace Bushnell

    The original Sex And The City book came out in 1997 and was based on the relationship columns journalist Candace Bushnell had been contributing to The New York Observer. Her alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw became a global phenomenon when the book was turned into a TV series a year later.  

    Read it here

  • Flowers In The Attic by VC Andrews

    Selling a whopping 40 million copies across the world, 1979's Flower In The Attic offers a gothic spin on the chick lit genre, looking at the story of the Dollanganger children and what happens to them after a horrific incident. It was turned into a movie in 1987. 

    Read it here

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

    Telling the story of Fulham-based journalist Rebecca Bloomwood, who has a terrifying appetite for shopping. The action switched to New York for the 2009 film version, starting Isla Fisher. 

    Read it here

  • Valley Of The Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

    A 1966 best-seller, this shocking, sleazy look at the entertainment industry looks at three women in showbiz, following their careers from the 1940s to 1960s. A scandalous read, it was a pop culture triumph. 

    Read it here

  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron

    The late, great Nora Ephron's 1983 novel was based on her own experience of her second husband's affair. It was later made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, before Nora wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle

    Read it here

  • Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

    Erica Jong's forthright 1973 book remains a feminist classic, with protagonist Isadora Wing in search of no-strings-attached sexual encounters. A film adaptation is apparently currently in the works. 

    Read it here

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Stylist Team