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Friday, February 14, 2014

Great Love Stories in History and Literature by Jacqueline Seewald

I confess. Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. I suppose it’s because I’m a romantic at heart. Last year I blogged about how my older son and his wife were married on Valentine’s Day. It was a joyful wedding, loving and romantic. No big fancy affair, just the bride and groom, my husband and myself, the bride’s best friend, and a judge happy to officiate, followed by a wedding breakfast at a local hotel. Afterwards the bride and groom took a long drive so that my son could represent in court a couple accused of white collar crime.

Love stories have always been an important part of history and literature. Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar--Cleopatra got around. As Shakespeare said, “she was a woman of infinite variety.” Then there is the story of Napoleon and Josephine, another passionate love affair. In the Bible, we also find some of the world’s greatest and unforgettable love stories. What can be more romantic than the story of Ruth or Solomon and the Queen of Sheba? And there is the story of Esther which is celebrated on Purim.

A lot of the world’s most famous, classical love stories, of course, did not end happily: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Helen of Troy and Paris, Lancelot and Guinevere are tragedies. 

Thomas Hardy wrote a number of tragic love stories as did the Bronte sisters. For something lighter, I prefer Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy are memorable. I’ve read and reread that novel numerous times.

Love quite literally makes the world go round. Give yourself a Valentine’s gift today and choose to read a romance. Candy will make you fat. Flowers wilt and die. But a great romance can be read and reread offering continuing enjoyment.

 If you’re of a mind to read some romantic historical fiction, I suggest a look at my contest-winning novel THE CHEVALIER, available in all e-book formats from:  http://steamereads.com.au/product/the-chevalier/


If you enjoy romantic short stories, consider my collection BEYOND THE BO TREE:

All my romances have happy endings. I won’t consider writing any other kind.

Can you think of any romances you would recommend to readers? What sort of romances do you particularly enjoy reading?





23 comments:

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

So true! I prefer the HEA!
PamT

Jacqueline Seewald said...

We're in agreement there, Pam. I find a happy ending to a romance novel or story leaves me in a good mood and can be very inspiring both as a writer and in my personal life.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Oh if it is going to be a romance--of course it should end happily!
Happy Valentine's Day.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Absolutely, Terrie! We need more joy in the world.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

If you're a Jane Austen fan, check out the film, Austenland, just out in video. It's a fun romantic comedy: http://www.amazon.com/Austenland-Keri-Russell/dp/B00G7QPXAI

Patricia Gligor said...

I love Valentine's Day too, Jacqueline. Even though I usually prefer happy endings, the story of Lancelot and Guinevere is my favorite.
At my last writers' critique meeting, the subject of Camelot came up (don't know what started it) and we ended up singing "If ever I would leave you" and a few other songs from the sound track for the movie. Not the usual ending for our meetings but we really had fun. :)
Happy Valentine's Day!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nancy,

Thanks for the tip. I'd definitely like to see Austenland!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pat,

Happy Valentine's Day to you too!
I loved the play Camelot and when I was young, one of the first Broadway shows I got to see as a birthday present was Camelot starring Richard Burton, Robert Goulet, and Julie Andrews.

Cindy Sample said...

I love musicals and I'm still waiting for my singing swain to come knocking at my door! But until then I'll read my favorite romance authors like you, Jacquie! Happy Valentine's Day to you.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Cindy,

Thanks for the kind words! Happy Valentine's Day to you too! I'll toast you with a Dacquiri.

Janis Susan May said...

How sad that most of the world's great 'romances' end tragically - I much prefer the HEA. As you said, it's neither illegal, immoral nor fattening - the perfect treat!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

We agree, Janis. It does seem that most of the world's great or famous romances are tragic ones. I prefer uplifting stories.

Mary Fremont Schoenecker said...

Thanks for sharing the famous love stories on such a romantic day. It happens to be my wedding anniversary,too, so you might say Tom & I were Romantics from the start.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Happy Anniversary, Mary! I do consider Valentine's Day the most romantic day of the year to be married. My son and his wife agree.

Nancy Means Wright said...

Well, I took my beloved spouse out to dinner and we spent a small fortune but had a lovely time! then a granddaughter arrived with love cookies and a big hug. What more could I want? Love to you, Jacquie and everyone else on this beautiful snow-white day!

Anita Page said...

Jacquie, I recommend Wilkie Collins' THE MOONSTONE for a wonderful marriage of crime and a complicated but satisfying romance.

Nancy, thanks for the reminder that it was a beautiful day. Easy to forget the beauty as we dug out.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for dropping by, Nancy.
My husband took me out to eat as well and we walked in the local mall. Just great being with him and getting out after being snowed in again.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Anita,

I read THE MOONSTONE many years ago, even had my own copy. Definitely an excellent and fun novel.

Susan Oleksiw said...

We all appreciate a great romance, Jacquie. Thanks for the list.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

Thanks for stopping by. Romance does brighten our lives.

Marie Lavender said...

I read romances a lot. I love Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Tessa Dare and I also read paranormal romance as well (J.R. Ward, Kerrelyn Sparks, P.C. Cast, etc.). There is a classic novel I read last year that I would recommend. It is the first official romance novel. Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson. It is a definite romance, but what makes it unique is that it was told in a series of letters the girl wrote to her parents. I was lucky enough to get a rare copy of it. Still, it is a very good book.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Marie,

I read Pamela back as an undergrad in the English program. It was written by a man named Samuel Richardson. Required reading in my 18th century novel course. In grad school, Richardson's Clarissa was required. It was a bestseller in its day. Also, written through letters.

bdtharp said...

Just love a good romance. Great post, Jacquie, as always.