Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Best Literary Love Stories

My feelings about Valentine's Day may err on the negative, but my feelings about love stories? Always positive. 


I love the secondhand butterflies, the thrill of the will-they-won't-they, the crackle of tension as you turn the pages and the sheer joy of that first kiss, that first admission of love. MAN. You can't beat it.


Unlike lots of people, Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' doesn't make the list for me and neither does 'Wuthering Heights'. It's all about Jane Austen for me. 'Persuasion', 'Sense and Sensibility', 'Pride and Prejudice' - they're my top three and I love them for very different reasons. 

The maturity of Austen's final novel and the second chance at first love; the three Dashwood sisters and their wildly different approaches to love and romance; and the beloved hate-to-love story between Lizzie and Darcy - whatever you love in your love stories, there's something for everyone in Austen. 


I honestly don't think there's a genre that delivers as wide a variety of love stories as YA does. The paranormal romance of Richelle Mead; the realistic, thoughtful loves of Sarah Dessen; the sparkly first loves of Sarra Manning; the steamy angst of Katie McGarry's books and so much more. 

The totally excellent Sarah of Behind on Books and I were talking about the way that YA has changed over the years and something we miss is the guiltless, feel-good, contemporary love stories that used to fill the shelves. Most of these stories now stay in the US and rarely get the press, love and attention of the ones that are edgy or political or tackle the big issues. Those books are obviously incredibly important, but we really miss the good 'ole days. 


For me, general fiction is the hardest place to find a love story to connect with. I started out where lots of readers my age did - Nicholas Sparks. 'The Notebook' and 'A Walk to Remember' were my favourites and I've lost count of how many times I read them, but as I got older and read more widely, his novels began to feel repetitive and I had to start searching again. 

Enter Paige Toon. I picked up her debut 'Lucy in the Sky' on a whim and devoured it on a flight to Florida in 2007. I've been a dedicated fan ever since. Her adult novels are emotional and complex and her YA series is fun and equally as good. I've struggled to find anyone who writes love stories like Paige Toon. 

How do you like your literary love stories?

Sophie

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