In Shakespeare in Love, Queen Elizabeth sets Shakespeare the task of revealing what true love is. His response is Romeo and Juliet which, although a tale of “star-cross’d lovers”, is a timeless and universally loved story.
Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Georgette Heyer were writers who knew what women wanted and dared answer that unvoiced yearning for women readers of their respective times. Naturally, all were strong writers, but what is it about their writing that still endures, in a different world with different values? Why aren’t their stories ‘dated’?
Each of these writers knew how to create feisty heroines and hunky heroes (be still, my beating heart – Darcy emerging from the lake, white shirt plastered to his torso) but it’s not just about love, although the HEAs are achieved in each story (note – R&J’s is a very short HEA, and I grant you it’s not so much of an earthly ‘ever after’ but it is, nonetheless, achieved).
At the heart of all great writing is the ability to fulfil a deep seated need. A good romance satisfies while it leaves us wanting more. Through trials and tribulations, two characters must work to win their HEA and together, the hero and heroine are stronger and more memorable. We love sharing their journey, and that is what’s most important. A riveting and emotion-filled journey to the land of ‘happy ever after’.
In the spirit of sharing on Valentine’s Day, here are some of my ‘favourites’:
Favourite romantic read(s): Anna Campbell, Annie West, Annie Seaton (coincidentally, my favourite writers are called some form of Ann!) Add in Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and I’m happy for hours.
Favourite romantic movies: Casablanca, The Lake House, Kate and Leopold
Favourite play list in my perfect romance: Would have to include Il Divo; I love their music in whatever language they perform because they capture the language of love so well. Music featured in my debut novel, White Ginger, includes Il Divo’s “The Man You Love”, and Etta James’s “At Last” for that moment when love between two people is recognised and acknowledged.
My favourite romantic hero: Mr. Darcy (I can’t go past Colin Firth’s characterisation in film version), Rick in Casablanca, willing to let Ilsa leave with Lazlo on the last plane out, and Anna Campbell’s Gideon – flawed and damaged, but determined to rescue the heroine no matter the personal cost.
What makes a romance great for me: The contentment as I turn the last page, that “ah” moment that says I’ve loved the journey and am high on serotonin satisfaction.
Please leave a comment and tell me which characters make your heart beat quicken! Share the love and Happy Valentine’s Day. There’s a copy of White Ginger available for one lucky reader through the Rafflecopter draw. Please follow its prompts to enter.