It's that time of year again! Today we celebrate that wonderful, maddening, passionate, and complicated emotion called love. Once again as in years past, I'm using this day to highlight some of my most favorite literary couples. The one's whose stories make our hearts flutter. Each story is so unique, and yet in many ways they are all the same...
Sir Percy Blakeney and Margeurite Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
At the beginning of the story, there seems to by no unlikelier romantic couple than the foppish, slow witted Sir Percy Blakeney and the witty, sarcastic Margeurite. But these two are actually much more alike than you would think. It is only their pride and lack of trust that cause an emotional rift. This is such a fun novel, and we are kept on the edge of our seats wondering, not really will Percy be able to outwit Chauvelin, but will he and Margeurite be able to rekindle their love for each other.
She loved him still. And now that she looked back upon the last few months of misunderstandings and of loneliness, she realized that she had never ceased to love him; that deep down in her heart she had always vaguely felt that his foolish inanities, his empty laugh, his lazy nonchalance were nothing but a mask; that the real man, strong, passionate, willful, was there still--the man she had loved, whose intensity had fascinated her, whose personality attracted her, since she always felt that behind his apparently slow wits there was a certain something, which he kept hidden from all the world, and most especially from her.
Dr. Peter Blood and Arabella Bishop from Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
What's a good swashbuckling novel without a helpless damsel finding herself entangled with a ruthless pirate. But Arabella Bishop is no helpless damsel and Capt. Blood is no ordinary pirate. Though they did not meet under the best of circumstances, their mutual respect for each other leads to a strong friendship and a passionate love. But fate is cruel and mutual misunderstandings soon threaten to separate them forever. Though their romance is not the main focus of the story, it is still a good one.
"Must I release ye? Must I let ye go and never set eyes on ye again? Or will ye stay and make this exile endurable until we can go home together?"
Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
There is nothing that guarantees that two people will fall in love at the end of a story like their profession of absolute hatred for each other at the beginning. Shakespeare's famous couple comes out swinging with all kinds of verbal punches but by the end of the story each finds him(her)self conquered by the other. There's nothing like a good fight to make you enjoy a romance...it makes for such wonderful "kiss and make up".
"In brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion."
Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Perhaps no literary couple is as iconic or exasperating as the one found in Mitchell's classic novel. It is obvious from the start that Rhett and Scarlett absolutely belong together. But both of them are so stubborn and blind that they just can't see it. This is definitely one of literature's more heartbreaking romances.
"When I first met you, I thought: There is a girl in a million. She isn't like these other silly little fools who believe in everything their mammas tell them and act on it, no matter how they fee. And conceal all their feelings and desires and little heartbreaks behind a lot of sweet words. I thought: Miss O'Hara is a girl of rare spirit. She knows what she wants and she doesn't mind speaking her mind--or throwing vases."
Henry Tilney and Catherine Moreland in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
What's Valentine's Day without a bit of Austen? Perhaps no other Austen couple is as much fun as Henry and Catherine. She is so sweet and naive and he's so laid back and brotherly. I love how he can easily go from being Catherine's playful chum to giving her somewhat stern (though needed) correction. Theirs is a relationship that we can see lasting far beyond the end of the book.
"'I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr. King; had a great deal of conversation with him -- seems a most extraordinary genius -- hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.'"