Did you know that August, the hottest month of the year, is Romance Awareness Month? So, I thought that I would share my favourite dramatic literature (which, strangely enough, have almost all been adapted – for film, T.V, for the stage, or for all three!). I think fictional romance, when it is done right, can really move you emotionally and make you feel so connected to the fictional characters experiencing it. I love reading and writing love stories more than any other genre because they speak to the human condition and human experiences that are very real for people. The fictional stories come from somewhere, and they are stories that deserve to be told. So, here are my favourite fictional romances of all time…
1. Miss. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This one, above all else, is my favourite because there is a happy ending – and it’s kind of an assured one. They end up married, the Bennett family will go on – especially the two oldest sisters who have secured true love, and it says that true love can prevail (and that is something that I personally believe in). Sure, they haven’t endured a great deal in their love story (just pride and prejudice, as the title suggests, and family scandal ) but you get the sense that Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett have a maturity about them that will sustain their love for the years ahead. I really like that.
2. Romeo (House of Montague) and Juliet (Lady Capulet) in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
So, if you live in the western world, you most likely have read this (or another one of Shakespeare’s plays) in an English class. So, rather than give you a breakdown of the plot, I’ll tell you what I don’t like about it: the ending. Yeah, I don’t like the ending because I’m a romantic and I like happy endings. Is that so bad? Specifically, I like endings where it’s not always entirely certain (because that’s how life is sometimes) but that there is hope for them to make it. Of course in real love, you bank on it working out, but in fiction, I like the hope of forever. Since they both die in the end, there isn’t any hope there at all! However, I still love the deep and true love that they enjoy – even if it is only for a little while. Better to have had it and lost it than never to have had it at all. Right?
3. Eleanor Douglas and Park Sheridan in Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I was really excited when this story, the only one without an adaptation for film or T.V., was going to become something that I could see on the big screens and own on D.V.D after that. I love that this story is about two people – from completely different households, one happy and one miserable – who connect in spite of all the so-called differences that society and people around them might say that they have. You really fall in love with both characters, as you read the story, and you root for them to make it.
4. Jacob Jankowski and Marlena in Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
What I loved about this story is that even though, following the death of his parents, his life completely falls apart in front of his very eyes, he makes a split decision that ultimately changes his life for the better. Of course, not a lot of people want to get in the middle of an unhappy household or rather an unhappy train-hold( I am certainly one of the ones who would avoid that like a bad habit) but the love story feels so real and it’s something that you connect with on so many levels because it’s a real and honest love.
5. Louisa Clark and Will Traynor in Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes
Yes, I was one of the ones who picked up this book because they said it was going to be a film, and I am so glad that I did. This is a love story featuring a man who is wheelchair bound and a woman who goes to work at his house (and we soon find out that she has been hired-in by the man’s mother). Rather than baby him or look down on him, she falls in love with his spirit and his heart. I don’t think love is admirable, rather, I think it’s a part of life. You ought to love somebody otherwise what’s the point? This story didn’t give me the ending that I hoped for, in fact, the ending was so catastrophic that I haven’t read the sequel (and indeed, I have no intention of reading it). But I find myself wanting to go back and reread it, up until the point when it all goes horribly wrong…
So, those are my favourite fictional romances. What are your favourites! Please do let me know (in one way or another)!