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11 February 2011 @ 06:47 am
my favorite literary couples at 16 and 40  
My favorite literary couples at 16:

Rhett and Scarlett
Cathy and Heathcliff
Jane and Mr. Rochester
Emma and Mr. Knightley
Liza and Henry Higgins
Romeo and Juliet

My favorite literary couples at 40:

Gen and Irene from Megan Whalen Turner's books
Aral and Cordelia from Shards of Honor (Lois McMaster Buold)
Henry and Clare from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet
Anne Elliott and Mr. Wentworth
Beauty and Beast--Robin McKinley's version
Aerin and Tor--The Hero and the Crown
Harry and Corlath--The Blue Sword

I'm surprised my new list is so short, but there it is. Those are the books that I seem to reread on a regular basis, for romance. There are books I reread for other reasons, and I could argue whether or not a brother/sister relationship of even a platonic friendship could be called romance or if a romance that turns out not to work can still count on my list of favorite romances (like in The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale). Or a love triangle (which I usually hate) that is never resolved like in Guy Gavriel Kay's Lions of Al-Rassan. But for Valentine's Day, I'm sticking with the traditional guy/girl romances.

Also, I didn't intend for Robin McKinely to get three slots, but she did. She just writes the kind of romance that I still love today (and wasn't reading at 16, for whatever reason.)

Many of the romances on my 16 list I shudder at the thought of today. Henry and Eliza, for example. (Go with Freddy, Eliza!) It's sort of obviously a teen list, with doomed love high on the favorites. I am not sure why I like Emma and Mr. Knightley instead of any of the other Austen I had read. I seriously hated Pride and Prejudice at that age. Did not ever warm up to Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Knightley I liked and I liked Emma in her blindness, probably because I was just as blind. Obviously, I didn't like Persuasion because I wasn't old enough to see myself in the role of Anne Elliott. She just seemed plain to me.

Romeo and Juliet don't seem so romantic now, just young and stupid. I suppose I am a little embarrassed that I like Henry and Clare so much. Doomed love for 40 year olds, I suppose. And doomed for reasons outside of anyone's control. Not social problems, but biological ones.

I love Gen and Irene for reasons I mentioned before. I have to say, I don't know of any author who makes me feel that romantic tension for a married couple that I felt before they married. I wish there were other books like this. Pride and Prejudice for married people. It should be a whole category on its own. Not about divorce and finding someone new (which is fine), but I'd like a story about falling in love again, and again. I think that's the way successful marriages really work.

Happy Valentine's Day #2
(Anonymous) on February 12th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Here's my own list of favorite romances, none of which feature doomed love even though I am a teen. I rarely, if ever, read a straight romance, because I usually read fantasy, and find my great romances incidentally. Neither Romeo and Juliet nor Heathcliff and Cathy have ever been the slightest bit appealing to me. I am bemused by the fact that Mr. Darcy has become a byword for "perfect man" among chick-flick fans; in the movies I can feel the tension between him and Lizzy, but in the books I cannot—he just feels stern and flat.

Ditto Megan Whalen Turner's Gen and Irene.
I love Robin McKinley's romances—esp. in Chalice, Deerskin, and the Damar books (however, I think in Hero and the Crown it's really Aerin/Tor/Luthe). She's also got a super-strong (alliance [almost friendship?]) relationship between Rae and Constantine in Sunshine.
Crown Duel's Meliara and Vidanric, by Sherwood Smith.
Moonraker's Bride, by Madeleine Brent (the only one that I think was really good all the way through).
Po and Katsa in Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.
Book of a Thousand Days, and Actor and the Housewife in Shannon Hale.
The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy by Clare B. Dunkle—esp. Marak and Kate, for some reason.
The Seer and the Sword, by Victoria Hanley.
Hawksong, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (a fantasy about a truce marriage between clans of shapeshifters).
Diana Wynne Jones—particularly I like Christopher Chant/Millie, and I love Howl/Sophie (of course)
Jasper Fforde—Thursday Next (also title of series) and Landen Parke-Laine; Eddie and Jane (Shades of Gray)
metteharrisonmetteharrison on February 14th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I should do a post sometime about the problem of straight romance for me. It isn't that I don't think it could work, theoretically. I just haven't seen it done very often in actuality. I like my characters to have something to do other than just standing around, hoping to bump into their romantic ideal.

Like the bird in "Are You My Mother?"

"Are you my romantic ideal?"
"Are you my true love?"
"Are you the one I should marry?"