Top 5 Literary Love Stories

Like many people, I’m not really that interested in Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to sound like a bitter single person, but there’s definitely a part of me that doesn’t see the point in the roses, overly gushy greeting cards and insanely overcrowded restaurants. Valentine’s Day does, however, give me the excuse for a good blog topic, and those are sometimes hard to come by! So in honour of February 14th, I give you my top five literary love stories (and I’ve tried to avoid the overly obvious ones).

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen: Okay, so a Jane Austen novel is perhaps an obvious choice, but Persuasion tends to get overlooked. While I love Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, the romance of Persuasion strikes me as a bit more realistic. Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth struggle for eight years before they finally overcome their obstacles and marry. Unlike many more conventional love stories, this one stresses that love is rarely swift and uncomplicated.

2. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Most people would automatically think of Romeo and Juliet as Shakespeare’s most romantic work, but I prefer the love-hate relationship of Benedick and Beatrice. Who says a great love story can’t be mixed with comedy?

3. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières: A beautiful and heartbreaking book. Again, this isn’t a conventional love story with a perfect, happy ending – and that’s part of what makes it such a good read. But don’t ever watch the film. Awful.

4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: This was a favourite of mine as a young teenager – a fairytale romance, but with a modern twist and a rebellious heroine. Unfortunately, this was another one ruined by a terrible film adaptation…

5. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith: Another childhood favourite. This isn’t so much a love story between two people, but more a young girl’s discovery of falling in love and growing up. Cassandra Mortmain is one of the greatest literary narrators; best of all is the book’s first line, ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.’ What better beginning to a love story?

Sara Magness, Editorial Administrator

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