Literary Lovers


Valentine’s Day isn’t a holiday I usually pay much attention to, but I do like the idea of celebrating love. Last year, I celebrated by listing my favorite TV and movie couples (see My Favorite Meant To Be Couples), so I thought this Valentine’s Day should be dedicated to my favorite couples from the world of books.

book heart

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Seeing as I read a number of different genres, this list is nothing if not eclectic!

1) Edward and Bella from Twilight

I can hear the groans now, but I remain a dedicated fan of this vampire/human couple. I love Edward’s old-fashioned sense of masculinity (without being a chauvinist) and Bella’s ability to challenge Edward. Despite the drama of teenage angst, through it all both are willing sacrifice everything for each other.

2) Christian and Ana from Fifty Shades of Grey

And the groans get louder. The Fifty Shades phenomenon gets a lot of attention for its erotic scenes, but my favorite elements of the book are rooted in the emotional evolution of both characters. Christian is damaged and broken, while Ana is on a journey to find her strength as a woman and individual. Together these two crackle with chemistry, but how they love one another is what sizzles.

3) Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice

I know, I know, this pair has been around forever. They are on everyone’s list, but it’s for a good reason. Their love story is timeless and beautiful. First impressions almost destroyed a perfect pair, but I love the idea that love can triumph over pride or prejudice if given a chance to breathe.

4) Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is my favorite book (ever), so naturally Jane and her love would make it onto my list. Mr. Rochester’s broken soul heals in the hands of an accepting and patient Jane. A plain girl finds her beauty thanks to the challenge of Mr. Rochester’s prickly personality.

5) Constance Chatterly and Oliver Mellors from Lady Chatterly’s Lover

A gruff groundskeeper and refined woman are an unexpected pair, but their need for one another is undeniable. In an interesting comparison, both suffer from inherent isolation and loneliness. While their backgrounds are world’s apart, they understand each other in a way no one else can. Constance and Oliver’s story is truly moving, not to mention very sensual. Fifty Shades could take a few lessons from D.H. Lawrence.

6) Clary and Jace from the The Mortal Instruments Series

They protect the world from demons, yet still find the time for a tender love affair. Clary is a strong-minded girl who doesn’t let anyone push her around, while Jace is a cocky, warm-hearted warrior. She’s got the backbone to stand up to him and he’s only got eyes for her.

7) Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion

With Wentworth for a pen name, it shouldn’t be a surprise that these two are on my list! Anne and Wentworth prove that true love can stand the test of time and separation. He loves her sensibility and compassion and she loves his kind heart whether he’s got money or not. And who doesn’t love a story of two star-crossed lovers defying social convention?

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Who are your favorite literary couples?

Happy Valentine’s Day! May your day be filled with love and joy!

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c.b.w. 2013

28 thoughts on “Literary Lovers

  1. I’m not really that romantic but I love tragedy so I am going to add Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist from Annie Proulx’s short story Brokeback Mountain. The story perfectly captures the doomed nature of their relationship and it makes me cry whenever I read it.


  2. Lovely blog. I will definitely come back for the A-Z challenge. Found you on the list. As for favorite couples (besides hubby and me :), my vote is for Bella and Edward! I don’t know what happened to me the day I discovered Twilight. I dropped off the face of the earth for a couple of months, reading the entire series. Happy Valentine’s day!


  3. I was surprised to see Lady Chatterly’s Lover on your list. It is one of my favorite stories. I adore D.H. Lawrence and was well ahead of his time. 50 Shades doesn’t come anywhere close to literary depth.

    One of my recent favorite couples is Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars. What a beautiful and heart-breaking love story.


  4. I am going to strike a different note entirely, now that it’s the 15th, and throw off the idea of romantic couples in favour of couples who prove that ‘omnia non vincit amor’. I think my preference for the ‘near miss’ fuelled, in a small and wry way, my non-couples Jelena/Vittorio and Eunice/Patricius in my novel ‘Lupa’.

    Pinkie and Rose in Graham Greene’s ‘Brighton Rock’. Their marriage was a device on Pinkie’s part to make sure Rose could not provide evidence against him in a murder case. Richard Attenborough and Carol Marsh delivered menace and naive hopelessness in the 1947 film by John Boulting.

    Edward Rochester and Antoinette Cosway in Jean Rhy’s ‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’. Jean Rhys manages to throw the whole question of miscegenation to the wind in favour of the mistrust that builds up between the couple and Antoinette’s mental disintegration. Giving the female protagonist a totally different name from the ‘Bertha Mason’ of ‘Jane Eyre’ is a bold starting-point. The novel is a neglected classic.

    Winston and Julia in ‘1984’ by George Orwell. Although they are genuinely in love, Julia is a sexual subversive who has had illicit affairs with several members of the ‘Party’. They betray each other – though they are already caught and doomed – under the horror of ‘Room 101’.

    Max de Winter and the un-named Mrs de Winter in ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier. People tend to pooh-pooh ‘Rebecca’ but I think it is a cleverly constructed and well characterised novel. Max and his second wife do love each other, if either of them can be said truly to know what love is (she a naive and inexperienced petty-bourgoise, he a withdrawn aristocrat previously married to someone who undermined the foundations of married respectability). Her obsession with his first wife and her sense of her own inadequacy, along with his silence, destroy the happiness that they conceivably might have had; when she does find a degree of personal strength, on learning that Max murdered his first wife and resolving to help him cover up the fact, she loses the childlike qualities that first attracted him. Their fate is a married life of exile and ennui.

    Sam Spade and Brigid O’Shaughnessy in ‘The Maltese Falcon’ by Dashiell Hammett. This novel is so tightly-written, it’s no wonder that the 1941 film, which lifted its screenplay almost word-for-word from the novel, is THE masterpiece of film noir. The ending where Sam, despite having fallen for Brigid, hands her over to the police is wonderfully filmed – the bars of the elevator cage closing over the face of Mary Astor like the bars of a prison cell.



  5. What a great idea for St. Valentine’s! There were three books there I at least had read, even though it was long time ago. Have to think of some couples.. Will go and check the older post now..


  6. Well, I agree with items 3-7 from your list, anyway…:) I’d have to add Claire and Jamie Fraser from The Outlander books, and Scarlett and Rhett from my all-time favorite books Gone with the Wind (Yes, I know they aren’t together at the end of the book, but I’m firmly convinced the ENDED UP TOGETHER).


  7. I’m not nearly as well read as you are. In fact you’re at the finish line of the race and I haven’t even registered yet, so I can barely even identify with your characters. So my answer is rather lame, but comes from one of the books I read last year.
    Mary Higgins Clark wrote a book called Mount Vernon a Love Story. So George and Patsy (what he called Martha) Washington are my couple. I’ve always liked reading historical fiction, and while Clark tried to bring facts into the story, she has to take some poetic license so that’s my justification for them being a literary couple.
    It will be hard for most people to see George in any other way than a white-wigged, false teeth old man. If you can change the physical image of him in your head, its easy to be charmed by him and wanting to be the one he dances with and fusses about the house to make it perfect for you. This book shows the great man as young, shy, awkward and lonely. He spent much of his life with a crush on his best friend’s wife only to finally find the love of his life in Patsy.


    • There’s no such thing as a finish line when it comes to reading . . . there’s just the next book. 🙂 Besides, I’m sure you have me clobbered when it comes to history books!

      Your couple sounds like they are the center of a great read!


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