The When Harry Met Sally of Books
April 16, 2016 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Give me your best books featuring a male/female friendship that turns romantic or has romantic undertones. Can be funny or tragic, main plot or subplot, old or new book or characters. Doesn't have to end with them together. It just needs to be a GOOD read.

I've already read all of Austen. Many thanks!
posted by sallybrown to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I really liked One Day by David Nicholls.
posted by aintthattheway at 7:07 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Menace From Earth -- 1957 Heinlein short story.
posted by Rash at 8:09 AM on April 16, 2016

Love Warps The Mind A Little by John Dufresne.
posted by essexjan at 8:30 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Red Sky at Morning, a young adult (but totally enjoyable for adults) novel set in a small New Mexico town during WWII. Very very funny, poignant as well. Sometimes billed as being like Catcher in the Rye, but it isn't like that at all - the main character isn't alienated from his peers, he has great friends of many ages, particularly one like the one you asked about.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:39 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I love the blossoming friendships and clear-eyed depiction of the ambiguities of love explored in Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 8:53 AM on April 16, 2016 [9 favorites]

Possession by A.S. Byatt

And if you're interested in YA fiction, there's Philip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy.
posted by Redstart at 9:05 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.
Adam Bede by George Eliot.
Both novels feature independent women whose situations, in terms of marriage, are complicated by the fact that they have traditionally male responsibilities. In the Hardy novel, Bathsheba Everdeen is left her late uncle's farm and decides to run it herself. In the Eliot novel, Dinah Morris resists marriage because she doesn't want to compromise her calling as a Methodist preacher (she is modeled on Eliot's aunt, also a preacher).
posted by FencingGal at 9:05 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books by Laurie King. It takes quite some time for the romance to blossom.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:24 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

possession by as byatt is an oldie but goodie.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.
posted by gatorae at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2016

Strong Poison - Dorothy L. Sayers
posted by SemiSalt at 9:51 AM on April 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

The Decent Proposal has two male-female friendships that turn romantic and is billed as "Jane Austen in LA". I think that's overstating its quality, but I still enjoyed it. The hook is two strangers who are set up by a mysterious rich person who will pay them a million dollars if they meet up for two hours every week for a year, so there is a little bit of mystery mixed in with the romance. There is also a lot of rhapsodizing about Los Angeles.
posted by kayram at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I liked Pedal by a friend Louis K. Lowy. Mostly about a woman who is fired at 49 and finds renewal in bicycle racing, it has a nice subplot about a friendship which leads to romance.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:49 AM on April 16, 2016

Dorothy Sayers more or less managed this with Lord Peter Wimsey from Strong Poison through Have His Carcase and then Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. Some of her other Wimsey novels didn’t involve the detective being in love, but that sequence did.

Arguably the Cormoran Strike series is going a similar way, but that’s still in progress.
posted by zadcat at 12:27 PM on April 16, 2016

In The Woods by Tana French
posted by Ideal Impulse at 12:48 PM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

A Patchwork Planet. Very Jane Austeny theme.
posted by smugly rowan at 1:18 PM on April 16, 2016

Speaking of Jane Austin: Emma has a realization at the end.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:27 PM on April 16, 2016

The Royal We. (It is like fan-fic for Will and Kate)
posted by jillithd at 1:35 PM on April 16, 2016

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
posted by Violet Hour at 2:13 PM on April 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell if you're a fan of Victorian Literature.
posted by Become A Silhouette at 6:28 PM on April 16, 2016

Villette by Charlotte Bronte!
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 6:43 AM on April 18, 2016

Thank you everybody! And I second the rec for Into the Woods. Can't wait to get started on the rest of these.
posted by sallybrown at 5:18 PM on April 19, 2016

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