This is the month of love and what do we love the most? Books! So here is a compilation five of my favourite classic romance novels – suggestions from me to you – to read this Valentine’s month, if you haven’t already! What would be even more fun, is if you tell me what are your favourites. Like, exchange notes on the greatest love stories! What say?
The Bridges Of Madison County
The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces.
Love doesn’t happen once. And love doesn’t happen when planned. And there is no age for falling in love. Love just happens. The Bridges of Madison County is the story of Francesca, an Italian woman living in Madison County, Iowa, with her husband and two children. The story is set in the 1960s and Francesca, living in a different country and in a place where she had nothing else to do, was majorly bored with her life. One day, Robert Kincaid enters her life. A photographer with National Geographic, Kinkaid was in Madison County to photograph the bridges. Having lost his way, he stops by Francesca’s house to ask the way. Being home alone and bored, she offers to show him the way personally. Written by Robert James Waller, the book was made in to a movie by Clint Eastwood in which he starred as Kincaid and Meryl Streep played Francesca. The book and the movie, both are extremely close to my heart and I recommend both!
Pride & Prejudice
A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.
A lot of people consider Jane Austen to be over-rated. But in my honest opinion, one needs to understand her style of writing to really appreciate her works. Her stories are simple to read; hence many people forgo getting into the depth. Austen’s works were way ahead of her time and her humour, priceless. Though all her books are dear to me, Pride & Prejudice is closer to the heart. I must have read the book more than fifty times, and it is not only because of Mr. Darcy. This is a story of two people belonging to families which are from different sections of the society. While the Bennets are considerable middle-class, with five unmarried daughters, suitors of their two older daughters, Mr Bingley and later, Mr. Darcy, are from more affluent families. This is not a war between families, rather a war between minds – Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s. This story originally published in 1813 is a delight to read and I highly recommend it. This story too has been made into a movie as well as tele-series and I recommend them all too.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
Written by Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre was first published in 1847. Written in first person narrative, the story is about a young girl Jane Eyre who grows up in an abusive childhood. An orphan, Jane was brought up at her uncle’s place where she was mistreated by her aunts. The story of a strong and independent female protagonist, this is a quintessential Victorian story. The plot is centered around the romance between Rochester and Jane with mystery, madness, child neglect, near death experience surrounding it. This book is 400-odd pages of a literary extravaganza. While the leading lady can put modern day feminists to shame, you will also read about passion, mystery, and romance. A must read for all misogynists, feminists, and romantics! Actually, whoever you are, just read the book. I cannot imagine why you still haven’t!
If he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as I could in a day.
An intense love story between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights is the story about a rich girl-poor boy who fall in love but misunderstandings stand in between them. Years go by and Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights, now a rich man himself, to take revenge of all the hardships he had to suffer in the hands of the Earnshaw children. The book has drama, love, romance – all in the right proportions. Both the main characters in this book are malicious and self-absorbed; it is really difficult to like either of them. Don’t let that throw you off. Let the characters take control; let them tell you the story. I had read this once as a teenager and then after a gap of a good number of years, I’ve re-read it a few times. Every time, I seem to discover something new, some meaning that is hidden underneath. Never mind that. What I would suggest is that IF you haven’t read this novel yet, get down to doing so pronto!
Gone With The Wind
“Sir,” she said,”You are no gentleman!”
“An apt observation,” he answered airily.”And, you, Miss, are no lady.”
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Gone With The Wind is an epic novel about war and love written by Margaret Mitchell. Like the other books mentioned above, this too is one such which I keep coming back to, and reading every few years. How do you write a story where your protagonist is spoilt and selfish? Readers need to love the protagonist, right? Wrong. Great stories are not written by the rule book. In this story, it is perfectly okay to dislike the protagonist and fall madly, deeply and hopelessly in love with the man you are not supposed to. GWTW gave most of us our first and lifelong crush. Scarlett got on my nerves the first time I read this book. Now, I have learnt to tolerate her and in some ways, understand her. But, Rhett! Oh, Rhett! Well, he has been evoking the same emotions from the first time I read this book, all of 14 years old age! It’s a thick book and there is a sequel too. So let me warn you, don’t let the thickness of the book scare you away. ‘Coz when you start reading, you would hate to stop even for a break. The book is a timeless classic which I highly recommended. I particularly recommend you watch the movie in which Clark Gable played Rhett Butler. Thank me later, first, go read the book and then watch the movie!