Happiness Guaranteed: Love in Lit, Part 2

by Lisa C.

If you read last month’s post, Happiness Not Guaranteed: Love in Lit Part 1, you may have assumed that I’d never met a happy love story I liked. Sure, I said great love stories are tragic and agonizing. Well, that was only partly true. To quote Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “What? I can’t have layers?”

I’m not all doom and gloom and after drinking Romeo’s poison, even I need an antidote. The fix? A beautifully written love story that makes you swoon and invites you to read it again and again. A story that preferably still has depth and complexity, that may or may not include obstacles and heartbreaking moments, but that ultimately ends happily (or hopefully) and leaves you sighing in satisfaction.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever.”

If I am being completely honest, I share my very favorite love story with a gazillion other people. I am speaking of the epitome of enemies-to-lovers romance depicted in Pride and Prejudice.  However, virtually every Jane Austen novel is a fine pick for this category and I recommend binge reading them all. As far as the romance goes though, Persuasion is my next favorite. This second chance love story is full of Austen’s signature wit, sparkling dialogue, and keen social observations.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

If you’ve read and reread all of Austen’s books and desperately wish she had written more, you could try one of the many modern updates that are perpetually being published. I have high hopes for this newly released Pride and Prejudice reinterpretation. Set in Pakistan, it follows Alys Binat – a woman determined never to marry. This quote from an NPR review has me eagerly awaiting my copy:

“…Unmarriageable succeeds in being both a deliciously readable romantic comedy and a commentary on class in post-colonial, post-partition Pakistan, where the effects of the British Empire still reverberate.”

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

“He has always understood me better, without words. So I laid my hand on my heart, held it there for a moment, and then moved it over and touched my palm against his breast. My heart. Your heart.”

One of my favorite retold fairy tales, based on the Celtic “Swans” legend, Daughter of the Forest is the first in the Sevenwaters trilogy. Sorcha, the youngest in her family, shares a fierce bond with her six devoted older brothers. Her father marries an evil sorceress who casts a terrible spell on the beloved brothers, a spell that can only be broken if Sorcha completes a difficult quest and only if she remains silent for however long that takes…  Sigh. This one hurts, but also heals. The storytelling is beautiful and absorbing and moving – you will lose yourself in Sevenwaters.

Princess Bride by William Goldman

“Enough about my beauty.” Buttercup said. “Everybody always talks about how beautiful I am. I’ve got a mind, Westley. Talk about that.”

The oft-quoted movie version of this book is so well-loved and well-known you may not feel the need to read William Goldman’s original text, but you’d be missing out – there is even more adventure, true love, and treachery to be had! Plus, the movie couldn’t fit even half of the book’s hilarious and frequently insightful quotes.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“We were born to be the best of friends, Anne. You’ve thwarted destiny long enough.” 

Everyone’s favorite red-headed orphan, (not her), loquacious Anne Shirley, beguiles in L.M. Montgomery’s ode to childhood precociousness. This classic children’s series IS love and your heart will grow two sizes or more after reading it. Also, it has one of the best slow burn romances ever.  Gilbert and Anne are thankfully the couple I used as a model for real life relationships (sorry not sorry Heathcliff & Cathy), one built on friendship, respect, and admiration. Admittedly, it takes Anne a while to get there…

 “Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert.”

Oh Anne, you fool!

Find even more HEAs (happily ever after) on the full list. Share your favorite happy love stories in the comments.

Happiness Is Guaranteed: Love in Lit Part 2

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4 responses to “Happiness Guaranteed: Love in Lit, Part 2”

  1. I thought that red-headed orphan link was going to be linking to Pippi Longstocking (idk why, as I’ve consumed way more Annie in my life…)

  2. Alez says:

    As a fan of Pride & Prejudice remakes, I’m very excited about Unmarriageable, though unfortunately I found out about it after the holds list grew. I’m currently number 4 on the eBook.

    • Lisa C says:

      Hi Alez, I’m glad you are looking forward to Unmarriageable! Have you already tried Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld? All formats of that currently available and it is supposed to be a sweet retelling! I’m also excited for Ayesha at Last, but that is coming out in June. There are no holds for it yet, though…

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