I was planning to finish up my Wrath of Khan spoof this week…but then it occurred to me that Valentine’s Day fell on Friday, and it just didn’t seem appropriate. A couple years ago I did a post on Favorite Romantic Couples, and since I’ve read some wonderful romantic stories in recent years, I thought another list would be in order!
I don’t think any of these are big surprises within their books, but if you’re particular about spoilers, this post will give away everything about who ends up with whom. I warned you!
Clodagh and Cathal, Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
Marillier is one of my favorite authors for truly lovely romances. And this book features a romance between two of my favorite archetypes: the dark hero with a good heart, and the “ordinary” woman who has to find her strength. Besides being good characters individually, these two simply fit together so beautifully.
Eowyn and Faramir, Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
It shocks me that Tolkien got a couple on this list. But I love these two characters–and to be honest, after the whole trilogy with barely a woman in sight, Tolkien had set the bar low. The fact that he spent any time on the romance was thrilling. And, well, the credit should really probably go to Peter Jackson, since the extended edition of the movie features the world’s most beautiful forty-eight second love story. It works because I’m assuming this isn’t their first conversation–and because both characters are so beautifully developed and complex that I can see why they belong together without needing to be told.
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett
This is the extraordinarily rare book (trilogy, for the full picture) with a love triangle where I actually managed to get enthusiastic about both romantic pairings. Details feel more spoilerific here than for the other books, so perhaps I’ll just leave it there…
Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I know everyone’s favorite is supposed to be Mr. Darcy–but Mr. Tilney actually smiles! And is witty and personable! And has a first name (Henry) that comes up more than once! And I suppose I just like a romance between two people who meet, like each other and go on liking each other. Sure, there’s a fight in there, but basically, they just like each other. It’s refreshing.
Joisan and Kerovan, The Crystal Gryphon Trilogy by Andre Norton
On the other hand, even though these two so clearly need each other and belong together, they still take an entire trilogy to quite sort things out. However, even if I find Catherine and Mr. Tilney refreshing, I suppose I also have a soft spot for romances between two people who both care about each other but need to do some growth as individuals and as a couple before getting to the happily-ever-after part.
Han and Leia, Star Wars
I don’t usually think of romance when I think of Star Wars, but I just read the Thrawn Trilogy and Han and Leia really are a wonderful couple. Typically, books seem to focus on the falling-in-love part. This trilogy, and other Star Wars Extended Universe novels, give us that rare story, a happily married couple! And there’s also the aspect of Leia being so amazing, and Han being so unthreatened by that. He remarks at one point in the book trilogy that some men might be uncomfortable with a wife who can think faster than they can, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. AWW!
Your turn–what romantic stories do you like? Any suggestions on ones I should read?