Last night Mr. Donovan and I saw an old friend of ours with her two now-grown-up sons. As we were talking about movies and books, we realized we all loved Lord of the Rings, and we made plans to have an epic marathon watch party soon. I’m so excited about it!

I first read Lord of the Rings when I was 11 years old, and when I read it, I felt like I was on fire. I loved the intricate world, the exciting action, and most of all, the brotherly love between some of the characters.

 

 

I soon went on to read Howard Pyle’s King Arthur stories, in which knights were always professing their love and loyalty to one another. Since that time, bromance or male bonding has been one of my favorite things in fiction. (TV shows, too…it’s no accident that Supernatural is my favorite TV show of all time.)

I enjoy reading M/M romance, and most of my favorite M/F romances have strong subplots with platonic or brotherly love between male characters.

I believe that contemporary American society pressures men to not share their feelings…especially with other men. It’s perfectly normal for women to ask for help or reach out to their friends for emotional support, but men often don’t feel comfortable doing the same. That can make them more isolated and lonely. I think—and hope—this is changing, and that it’s becoming more socially acceptable for men to share their feelings and make deeper friendships.

Here are some of my favorite books with elements of bromance. I don’t know if they’re the best bromance novels, because there are so many books I haven’t read!

 

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

The White Hart, The Silver Sun, and The Sable Moon, Nancy Springer.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the three books in the Isle trilogy. I was probably fifteen when I first read these fantasy novels (which are really YA fantasy.) When I was first dating Mr. Donovan and I found out he loved them, too, I knew he was the one for me!

Bromance is just as much a part of this author’s Sea King trilogy, which is interesting because it takes place in a more primitive world, so you might want to check those books out, too.

 

Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate, Robin Hobb.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romanceGreat Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romanceGreat Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robin Hobb is an amazing talent. There are actually nine books in total about Fitz and the Fool, and these are in the middle. The Farseer trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest) follows the two characters from boyhood to manhood. The Fitz and the Fool trilogy (Fool’s Assassin, Fool’s Quest, and Assassin’s Fate) comes after this one. I love all of the books, but this middle trilogy (the Tawny Man trilogy) is my favorite, and you can enjoy it without having read the first trilogy.

Both Fitz and the Fool are flawed, multidimensional, and fascinating characters, and it’s really something to see how their friendship grows and changes over the course of decades.

 

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved Tartt’s The Secret History, so I wasn’t surprised to love this book, too. Some people groused when it won the Pulitzer Prize, and I wonder if they just thought it was too entertaining to be great literature. The bond between Theo and Boris is touching, hilarious, and memorable.

 

The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier and Clay, Michael Chabon.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another super-entertaining Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Joe and Sammy get thrown together as boys, and they’re a wonderful duo.

 

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is some really messed-up stuff in this book. Like, messed up in a way you maybe wouldn’t expect from a nineteenth-century novel. But it’s a great book. The scene in chapter four, where Aloysha tells Dmitri he never believed him to be guilty, really gets me. It’s so sweet and emotional. I’ve probably read that scene a dozen times.

 

The Devil You Know, Liz Carlyle.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the first romance novels I really fell in love with when I was getting to know the genre (I started out as a fantasy fan, as you probably figured out by now.) The story between the hero and his brother is almost more important than the hero’s romance with the heroine. It’s angsty and will tear your heart out. I loved it.

 

Beartown, Fredrik Backman.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just read this recently. My gosh, it’s really good. Small hockey-obsessed Scandinavian towns aren’t my usual fare, either (I suppose they aren’t anyone’s usual fare.) The friendships between the boys are fascinating. Actually, the friendship between two of the girls is probably even better.

 

The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I absolutely love Dumas’s novels, and this is the quintessential classic about male friendship. It’s no wonder that “all for one, and one for all” became a rallying cry that echoed through the ages. The Man in the Iron Mask has great elements of bromance, too. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch the original movie version for free.

 

 

 

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t need to say much here, do I?

 

Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book didn’t do well when it was released. In particular, it bombed in the U.S., mostly because Dickens wrote in it about how evil slavery was. It might be my favorite Dickens novel, and not just because of that. Mark Tapley is one of my all-time favorite literary characters: a man who yearns to prove that he can be cheerful in the most miserable of circumstances. It’s on this list because I absolutely love the friendship between John Westlock and Tom Pinch. It’s realistic and touching.

 

The Bishop’s Heir, The King’s Justice, and The Quest for Saint Camber, Katherine Kurtz.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romanceGreat Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bondingGreat Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read all of Katherine Kurtz’s books as a kid. This series actually begins with Deryni Rising, and I honestly do think the writing in the first book is a bit rough, but I love the world and the characters, and the prose gets better and better as the series goes on. The Bishop’s Heir is the first book in the Histories of King Kelson trilogy, in which we get TWO bromances: first between the young king Kelson and his also young friend Lord Dhugal MacArdry, and second between the duke Alaric Morgan and his cousin, the priest Duncan McLain. Oh! And there’s good father-son relationships, if you like those, too (and I do.)

 

Master and Commander, Patrick O’Brian.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are twenty books in this seafaring historical series, and the pacing varies quite a bit from book to book.  I read all of them. I was hooked by the relationship between bluff Captain Jack Aubrey and the brilliant, prickly Dr. Stephen Maturin.

 

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These stories have inspired so many movies and TV shows, but if you’ve never read the original, you should treat yourself.

 

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

I might add more to this post later! I’m guessing that in the next day or two, I’ll think of more I should’ve put on the list.

Men’s friendships and brotherly love are a huge theme in my planned Manus Sancti series, beginning with the first book, The Phoenix Codex.

Great Books With Bromance...read all about the brotherly love! #reading #fantasy #YA #romance #male bonding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is male bonding something you love in stories, or not so much? Do you have some recommendations for other books with bromance? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a great week!