So I don’t usually read romance books (well, except for that 6-month period back in 1980 when ALL I read was bodice-rippers…I know…I can’t explain it…). That being said, my list today draws upon two authors:
1. Jane Austen’s Emma. “My dearest Emma,” said he, “for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour’s conversation…” And we know that after that hour, he became not just “Mr. Knightly,” but her Mr. Knightly. *sigh!*
2. Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. “The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” Lovely to see Marianne come to the realization that all she really requires is someone who loves her unconditionally.
3. Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Who could be offended at that? And then…“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” Oh, those romantic Victorians!
4. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. What could be better than a Gothic thriller love story? “But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.” And a no greater hero-lover could be desired than the dashing Henry Tilney.
5. Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. “I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own–I only intreat every body to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny, as Fanny herself could desire.” Austin is sometimes criticized for these types of conventions that sum up the storyline without actually delving into the feelings and emotions of the characters with their own dialogue, but sometimes the action that is playing out in our minds as we read, creates an atmosphere that is better than what the author could paint for us. [And btw, how awesome is Jonny Lee Miller, who can bring us so convincingly, both an Edmund and a Sherlock?!]
6. Jane Austen’s Persuasion. “A persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness as a very resolute character” Poor Anne Eliot! Punished and miserable for so long for only being an obedient and dutiful daughter! I believe it just wasn’t the right time for her to marry Capt. Wentworth the first time around. They will be much happier together now that Anne is mature and realizes what she almost lost. [ Yes, of course I know this is fiction!]
So, that’s it for Austen. The only other “romantic” author I read (and I liked her enough to read almost all her works…still have a few more to go…) is Adriana Trigiani. Her series, Big Stone Gap, comes in at numbers 7) Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #1) 8)Big Cherry Holler (Big Stone Gap, #2) 9) Milk Glass Moon (Big Stone Gap, Book 3) and 10)Home to Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #4)
“The only urgent thing in life is the pursuit of love. You get that one right, and you’ve solved the mystery.”
― Adriana Trigiani
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