Download free DA cards at Chad Thomas's site
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Are you happily celebrating? No? Like me trying to cope with  the great deal of messages and hearts sent to you? Joking. I must be honest: I've never loved this day's celebrations and all the marketing activity connected. So, why am I here?  Because I am really fond of love and of great love stories.  Especially the unforgettable ones from classic literature.
These are the first 10  that come to my mind if you ask me. Well, I know you didn't, but I'm afraid you must be patient, because I've asked that myself and I'm going to write about them. I'm also very curious to know what yours are. If not 10, at least one, your best favourite. Do you feel like sharing with us here on FLY HIGH?

1. Mr Thornton and Margaret's love story in Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.
Did any of you doubted that? My regular readers expected this for sure.

 They know how much I love this novel and that I've always found this beautiful romance blossoming in such an unusual, complex environment  very intriguing. For several different reasons. A curiosity: reading this book, I've always related to John and felt for him. Never for Margaret.  When he got the woman, I feel his pride and his gratification. Is that ... normal?

2. Anne and Captain Wentworth's second chance on Jane Austen's Persuasion

Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins in Persuasion  (2007)

Jane Austen's last novel is first in my heart among her wonderful 6 major novels. It was the last I read and it immediately surpassed all the others in my very personal chart. What a joy is at the end of the story, to read that unforgettable letter with Anne:
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. ” 
3. Jane and Mr Rochester's gothic romance in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

His being a Byronic character and her being  "obscure, plain and little" has always fascinated me so much. This time what I most admire is Jane's strength and courage. She is a heroine I deeply admire. Watch this short clip from Jane Eyre 2011. The most gripping moment, my favourite scene (Mr Rochester is Michael Fassbender, Jane is Mia Wasikowska)

4. Anne and Dickon's life-long loyalty and love to one another in Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour
Richard and Anne in Cecilia Latella's The Boar

If not classic literature, this book is excellent historical fiction. This is one of the love stories that immediately come to my mind if you ask though that book is not certainly a romance. Historically true or not, the love that in Ms Penman's narration bonds Anne Neville and Richard Plantagenet is so tender and so touching that it is difficult to forget.

5. Darcy and Elizabeth's troubled-by-wrong-first-impressions love in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Mr Darcy has become an iconic love hero and his two proposals to Elizabeth Bennet are part of the unforgettable love moments ever written. But are you sure they are romantic? I'm pretty sure they are perfect, but maybe the most unromantic words ever uttered by a romantic hero. Notwithstanding. we are all here sighing at the only mention of Mr Darcy. Blame on Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen? 

6. Stephen and Isabelle's irresistible passion in Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

(Promo pic - BBC Birdsong 2012)
I may be influenced by my recently watchin the beautiful BBC serial adaptation of this novel. But that was a very, very moving love story. You don't feel like crying on tragic love stories made even more so by their being set during a terrible war? This is just my cup of tea, instead. And I AM moved to tears and made sad, but I don't mind. I like it. Latent masochism?

7.  Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson in A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Helena Bonham Carter and Julian Sands in A Room with a View (1985)

Forster is one of my favourite writers ever, I've read all his novels and loved them all dearly. I love the delightful romance between Lucy and George which is also an open critique to Edwardian repressed culture. Their love starts in Italy, my own country, and it is so beautiful seen from these characters' eyes. If only it were really like that!

8. Daniel's impossible love for Gwendolyn in George Eliot's Daniel Deronda

Hugh Dancy, Romola Garai, Hugh Bonneville

This is such a gret novel! I must re-read it sooner or later. Meanwhile I have still in my mind the images of impressingly handsome Hugh Dancy and  coquettish Romola Garai as Daniel and Gwendolyn. Have you seen the BBC series. It is so beautiful!

9. Pip and Estella in Great Expectations by Dickens

(BBC Great Expectations 2011)

Again, this must be due to my latest watching the new BBC series, but honestly, Great Expectation is my favourite among Dickens' novels,  especially because of this troubled love story, either ending happily or not. You know, Dickens wrote both.

10.  Rebecca and Ivanhoe in Sir Walter Scott's historical novel Ivanhoe

Rebecca the beautiful Jewess in love with the hero, Ivanhoe,  the noble knight in shining armour fighting for her against the villain, Bois-Gilbert. Who can resist to such gripping adventures and tormented passions? You can even side for wicked Bois-Gilbert if he looks something like ... THIS!

Ciaran Hinds as Bois- Gilbert (from Ivanhoe 1997)
If you don't have a Valentine, don't get sad nor depressed. Take one of your favourite romantic books and leaf through the best pages, put one of your favourite romantic movies in your DVD player and watch it. And above all, don't believe those who tell you that reality can surpasses dreams. It is not true! ;-)
Happy Love Day! MG


Nina Benneton said...

Oooh. Now I have some great titles for those cozy, rainy nights. Thanks for the list.

JaneGS said...

I'm with you half the time--although I'm breaking ranks with Pip and Estella and the other four I haven't read. N&S is wonderful--interesting how you relate to Mr. T. I feel so alone in empathisizing w/ Margaret!

If I were to make a list, I would include Clare and Jamie from the Outlander series, Laura and Alamanzo from the Little House Series, and Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of GG series.

Happy Valentine's Day--enjoy all those boxes of chocolates :)

Phillipa said...

What a fabulous post, Maria. I've loved it so much - and of course, N&S will always be number one but the Jane Eyre moment is so powerful. I've been in that very room too. Happy Valentine's Day.

Unknown said...

Great post, thanks for sharing your favorites!

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

This post has inspired me to read a few more classics, and Persuasion will be first on my list!

essay writing service uk said...

Photos are just super!

Laura Hile said...

You have excellent taste; we share many favorites! And now you've inspired me to head to the library to catch up on couples I've missed!


Julienne said...

my, your top three! <3
thanks for the others, gotta read those books!

Anonymous said...

As Jane GS said, I vote for Jamie and Claire, although *some* of your choices aren't bad, either :-P
xx K/V

Mary Simonsen said...

Several of my favorites are on this as well. Persuasion has moved into first place. I think it's because it's a mature love story. Enjoyed your list.

rainakochan said...

I agree with you about john/margaret. darcy/elizabeth or even wentworth and ann But some of some of them such as rebecca and ivanhoe or lucy/george I never heard of them .
I would have add..mattew and mary from downtown abbey . and some others to my own list .

Maria Grazia said...

Though I added pictures from movies and series, I was talking about love stories in classic novels I read, this is why I didn't mention Matthew and Mary in Downton Abbey. They are a lovely couple, though.
Thanks for your comment!

rainakochan said...

I'm sorry i misunderstand .

Anonymous said...

I was wondering: did you first read the novel North & South and then watch the BBC series or was it the other way round?

Maria Grazia said...

Well, Monica, I first actually studied some parts of N&S at university eons ago. A few years later, I was asked to help a younger student to write an essay on it (focusing on the social/economic context more than everything else) and only few years ago I read the whole of it. I saw the series after reading the book, in 2008 .

Cody said...

I'm glad to say that some of my all time favorites are in your list. This only means I've gotta check out the rest.

Lisa said...

What a lovely list! Thank you!!