It’s Valentine’s Day, an occasion for those who are in love with being in love. Let us pause a moment and eat a dark chocolate truffle in tribute. If you’re looking for inspiration this Valentine’s Day, all you have to do is crack open a book. Check out this list of some of the most swoonworthy book romances of all time. (Warning! There are spoilers ahead.)
1. Juliet and Romeo from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
Shouldn’t any list of swoonworthy romances begin with William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet?” As the original star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet embody the thrill of forbidden love and the pain of love lost. The balcony scene is one of the most romantic sequences ever penned. Though nothing beats reading the original play or seeing it performed on stage, Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic take, “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” is a very compelling take on this timeless story.
2. Katniss and Peeta from Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”
During the competitive and deadly Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark must survive more than Cupid’s arrows. And it’s a good thing Katniss isn’t too shabby with a bow. As the pair struggle to survive the attacks of other players and the pressure of a game that demands they kill each other, they develop an undeniable bond. Readers of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy are left wondering if the couple’s love is strong enough to survive political intrigue, an attempt to overthrow Panem’s authoritarian government, and Peeta getting brainwashed. You know, the usual challenges that couples face.
3. Diana and Matthew from Deborah Harkness’ “A Discovery of Witches”
Some people describe the “All Souls Trilogy” by Deborah Harkness as “Twilight” for adults. In the books, Diana Bishop is a brainy witch and historian. Matthew Clairmont is a mysterious but charming vampire who does yoga. Early in the first book, the two meet at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. The romance is an intense slow burn, making it just right for Twi-fans who want some vampire-love action. There’s revenge, time travel, family drama, and magic in this series, giving it strong appeal to readers of multiple genres.
4. Elinor and Edward from Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”
Often overshadowed by Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars are noteworthy in their own right. Their romance bubbles and simmers in spite of the elitist attitudes of the day, confusion over Edward’s relationship status, and plenty of romantic drama for Elinor’s sister, Marianne. It’s time Elinor and Edward got some props for their sweet, lovely romance since it typically doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
5. Jane and Edward from Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre”
“Jane Eyre” is a Victorian romance that delights in tossing curve balls at its title character and Edward Rochester. They’re the on-again, off-again couple at the center of Charlotte Brontë’s story. If you like to see your fictional couples put through the wringer, this novel’s for you. Though the book has a happy ending for our tireless couple, Brontë doesn’t allow it to come easily. But along the way, you get some lovely gems like this one from Rochester: “I have for the first time found what I can truly love-I have found you. You are my sympathy-my better self-my good angel-I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you-and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.” Swoon!
6. Daisy and Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”
Jay Gatsby fell so hard for Daisy Buchanan in his younger years that he eventually buys a massive mansion and throws outrageous parties hoping she’ll notice. She’s doesn’t, but a mutual friend arranges their meeting. The intense, brief affair between Daisy and Gatsby glitters and dazzles among the booze, lavish parties, and decadence of the Roaring Twenties. Though there’s a tragic ending to this tale, Gatsby’s utter devotion to Daisy is swoonworthy and memorable.
7. Bella and Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight”
It’s hard to beat the intensity of the attraction between Bella Swan, a mere mortal, and Edward Cullen, a vampire. Despite his overwhelming blood thirst, Edward finds himself wildly attracted to Bella: “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” Bella trusts that Edward won’t hurt her, but he isn’t so sure he can control himself. As Bella and Edward get to know each other and figure out how to make a human-and-vampire romance work, a rival emerges: Jacob, a dark-eyed Native American guy who happens to be more than human himself. In the end, Jacob can’t compete with a sparkling emo vampire. *sigh*
These are just a few of the most swoonworthy book romances. What are some of your favorites?