Yesterday was Valentine’s Day (or, as it’s known in some cultures, the Festival of Cinnamon Hearts), and I enjoyed reading blogger’s thoughts on their favourite love stories – or lack thereof. Lots of stories have great romances in them (Lyra and Will – swoon!), but are they love stories? Are stories with happy romantic endings (ie. the couple actually ends up together – not separated eternally by parallel universes or genetic time traveling diseases) automatically relegated to the mush pile?
Simon at Savidge Reads and Sasha at Sasha & The Silverfish both mentioned that they haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, a love story favourite. I adore P&P, but not really for the love. Austen’s sassy heroine and powers of subtle sarcasm make this book for me – but Mr. Darcy is a bit of an afterthought. I think of him as more of a prize for Lizzy playing her cards right.
Once you start to think about it, you realize just how few love stories there are in modern literary fiction. Is it because it’s just so hard to make people believe in a happy story? Because writers themselves have especially crappy love lives? I heard once that L.M. Montgomery always had a hard time writing realistic love scenes because it’s not something she really had any personal experience with (would love to get the source for that if anybody knows it).
What are your favourite love stories? How do you think writers manage to avoid mushy territory? With humour, sex, or a bigger overall plotline?