It’s February and love is in the air. No matter that cynics dub Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday. But love literally surrounds us at this time. With sappy romances on TV, releases of new romance books, love songs on the radio, and a plethora of deals around lingerie and couples’ vacations, its as if the universe is conspiring to pull us into this vortex called love.
I say there is nothing like reading a romantic book to get in the mood. Here is a list of my all time favorite eternal classic romances that carry you through the whole gamut of emotions love brings. I have to confess I have read this several times over. And if you have not read them yet, it is high time you did!
The Great Gatsby
The roaring Twenties were all about making money and living it up. The Great Gatsby provides a glimpse into the whole American WASP scene of the time. Even his hordes of wealth and charm cannot unite Jay Gatsby with his love. Is this a tragedy or drama, I don’t know. There is something fantastic about a man in love throwing party after party to get a glimpse of the woman he loves. And on getting the glimpse, maybe flaunt his success?
This may sound like a familiar plot today but F. Scott Fitzgerald’s big opus is as original as they come.
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is two hundred years old. And the story is set in social conditions and times we have moved away from. But we have not outgrown Pride and Prejudice. A story of a greedy, uneducated mother whose sole purpose in life is to get her daughters married off. And the opinionated, proud Liz Bennett with her indignation for the man who refuses to dance with her. Right there is the foundation for a battle of the sexes. Do you wonder that it ultimately blossoms into love?
Although Mr. Darcy is the stuff romantic fantasies are made of, he is very proud. And Elizabeth finds it hard to let go of her prejudice. Actually, I have always thought that both of them exhibited these traits. Read the book to find out.
The Bronte sisters probably rivaled Jane Austen as famous women writers of the times. Wuthering Heights is a dark, dark, tale. Before anyone ever heard of Darth Vader, Heathcliff epitomized the ultimate degradation a person can undergo. And in this case, it is because of love. Unfulfilled, unreciprocated love felt by Heathcliff for Catherine Earnshaw. What if Cathy had given Heathcliff a chance?
Neither Catherine nor Heathcliff seem good characters to me. And the reader can only be more shocked as he reads on. An apt example of how much bad love can do, believe it or not.
The Thorn Birds
Fast forwarding another century, The Thorn Birds is another epic saga. The majestic Drogheda plantation, cunning Mary Carson, little unwanted Meggie and the ambitious Ralph. These are star crossed even before they meet. Will a priest ever shun his robes for a woman, however much he loves her? Especially when the red robes of a Cardinal stand on the other side?
I always feel Meggie’s angst through the story. Inspite of all the hurdles, their love lives on in their hearts, but they can only be united in the after life.
Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind is an epic! Although it has a Civil War backdrop and a lot of the story is around the war and how it affected Southern families, it is ultimately a love story. The crazy unrequited love Scarlett feels for Ashley Wilkes. And the passionate love Rhett Butler feels for Scarlett O’Hara. Rhett Butler is the dashing hero who does everything in his power to wean Scarlett off her obsession with Ashley Wilkes, but never succeeds. Throughout the book, you rue Scarlett for not seeing where true love lies.
Fiddle Dee Dee, Ms. Catty Eyes. How can you Not love the manly, arrogant soft hearted rake that is Rhett Butler?
Which is your favorite of these?