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Happy Saturday everyone! This next Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, so I decided that I would share some of my favorite “love stories.”
I’ll admit that I’m not a great reader of romance stories. I was always wary of them. They either seemed to be about unhealthy relationships or grossly unrealistic ones. There were a few that I loved, but most of the stories I still care about are normal stories with great relationships in them.
This was a series I read when I was a little girl, and it was absolutely one of my favorites. Yes, it was primarily because I wanted the two main characters, Taran and Eilonwy to get together. My motivations as a nine-year-old were very simple.
However, when I went back to read it as an adult, I realized how great the series was. It was a realistic portrayal of two children grow into mature adults during a time of war. Yes, the war involved magic and evil creatures; it is fantasy. But the series dealt with things like guilt, revenge, and identity in a way even a nine-year-old could understand. That writing was one of the reasons the relationship between Taran and Eilonwy was so compelling for me as a kid. It remains one of my favorite stories as an adult.
I discovered this book during a murder mystery course in college. The story starts with the two friends, Tommy and Tuppence, opening up a detective agency simply because they’re bored. It’s a great “buddy cop” story, and in the end, of course, Tommy and Tuppence fall in love and get married. It’s an adorable story, and I didn’t know until today that it’s actually a series! I know what I’m reading next!
There was no way I could make a love stories list and not include Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is my favorite Austen book. Catherine Morland is a young tomboy who loves novels, but she tends to let her imagination get the best of her. In spite of that, her moral compass guides her through the awkward flirtations happening around her. On top of that, Henry Tilney is earnest and precious, making them one of my favorite couples in the Austen canon.
I first watched Cardcaptor Sakura as a cartoon on Saturday, but I was thrilled to find out it was a comic. The art is extravagant; there are flowers, sparkles, and cute outfits everywhere. The romance between Sakura and Li is not only innocent but heartfelt and based on mutual respect. I still love them today as an adult.
Cardcaptor Sakura is also the first time I encountered LGBTQ characters in a story, as well as other unconventional couples. I didn’t have a problem with most of them. However, the most disturbing couples I can see now that I’m older are two relationships between MUCH older people and ten-year-olds. Yeah. That’s fun.
But I also realize the reason it didn’t bother me growing up is that the romances are treated as completely pure expressions of romantic love. There’s no sex involved at all. It was also my first encounter with some pretty solid romantic advice, despite the odd packaging it came in. Now that I’m older, I would still recommend it to people, but not without having a discussion about the writer’s portrayal of “pure romantic relationships”.
This love story takes place in German and Italian occupied Greece during War World II. Pelagia is the educated daughter of the local doctor and is engaged to Mandras who is off fighting against the Germans. Their relationship is one based on young passion, but the longer the war goes on, the more Pelagia realizes how little she and Mandras have in common. Meanwhile, the fun-loving and thoughtful Italian Captain Corelli is instructed to stay with Pelagia and her father. Over time the young woman and the captain fall in love, and the whole thing is as beautiful and tragic as you’d expect.
This was the first book where I was explicitly told that the real love that gets you through life isn’t the crazy passionate romance of young love. Instead, it’s the love that’s still there after the passion has cooled off that will carry you through. There’s a lot of reasons I love this book, but that’s the biggest one.
What About You?
What’s your favorite love story that you’ve read? Let me know in the comments below!