The month of February is almost gone, so for one last “love” post, we’ve all submitted our favorite love stories found in books.
AB’s Thoughts on Why: Few love stories can compete with that of Beauty and the Beast–a classic fairytale that I have loved since I was a little girl. Maybe it’s the mystery surrounding the Beast’s story or the enchantment that holds his castle captive, but I think I love this story most because of Beauty herself. Unlike the heroines in most fairytales, she is intelligent, independent, brave, kind, and most of all, she loves to read. As a little girl, I could identify, especially, with that last characteristic, so she quickly became one of my favorite characters in literature. Robin McKinley captures these qualities better than anyone else in Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. Written in the first-person narrative, Beauty describes herself this way:
“At least I was true. My intellectual abilities gave me a release, and an excuse. I shunned company because I preferred books; and the dreams I confided to my father were of becoming a scholar in good earnest, and going to University. It was unheard-of several shocked governesses were only too quick to tell me, when I spoke a little too boldly — but my father nodded and smiled and said, ‘We’ll see.’ Since I believed my father could do anything — except of course make me pretty — I worked and studied with passionate dedication, lived in hope, and avoided society and mirrors.” –Beauty
I love how McKinley’s version explores the journey of love for both the Beast and Beauty – both needing to be seen and loved for who they are on the inside.
Meg’s Thoughts on Why: My pick has nothing to do with the traditional boy-meets-girl romance. But ever since I first read this book, I’ve been overwhelmed with the story of Ivory Walker’s sacrificial, uncomfortable, lay-down-your-life adoptive love that she demonstrates for a dirty, clearly abused mountain boy who begins to rob her garden. Set in the Appalachian mountains of 1950s Tennessee, The Good Dream to me represents the kind of love that many of us talk about and champion – loving our unlovely neighbors – and gives us a strong, independent woman who is even willing to sacrifice her own blooming romance with her beau in order to care for the child who ends up in her backyard. A number of heartbreaking elements are encountered in this story (including child abuse and pedophilia), but to see these ravages of sin conquered by this kind of selfless love makes this a book to read over and over again. (A favorite scene of mine is Ivory’s trek up into the mountains to permanantly rescue the boy. I always want to cheer out loud at the end of it.) Unconventional, but this has truly become my favorite love story.
Natalie’s Thoughts on Why: Instead of complicating things, I’ve gone with the first love story that came to mind – Jane Eyre. Jane and Rochester’s eventual marriage is a true meeting of the minds and a melding of a romantic with a rationalist.
“I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you – especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly.” –Rochester to Jane
Edward Rochester loves Jane not for any outer beauty but for her mind, for her friendship, for her kindness, and for her compassion. And if we’re all honest, isn’t that what we really want out of a romantic relationship?