Valentine’s Day, so let’s talk about love stories, I suppose?

For me, the greatest love letter in English Literature is Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne Eliot in Persuasion. It’s not particularly long, or even that eloquent, but it is full of real, true feeling. For me, it’s not the long flowery speeches that portray love, it’s the awkward silences, the stumbling speeches, everyone saying the wrong thing (rather like Mr Knightley trying to propose to Emma and she completely misunderstands).

Mr Rochester claims to be not an eloquent man, but he is never lost for words. Yet for me the greatest love in that book is the love Jane Eyre finds for herself when she thinks no-one else can love her.

Modern love stories seem to hinge on the sex scene. These are difficult to pull off (so to speak). I’m not prudish, but I find love scenes to be quite dull. After all, there’s only so many ways you can describe something everyone knows how to do, and the effort to make it poetic usually results in some unintentionally hilarious similes. In fact, the best sex scenes tend to be the ones that deliberately try to be funny.

I like love stories, good ones. The ones that are unexpected, that don’t follow the usual rules of a love story, where the characters feel like real people. And I think that’s the key to a good love story – not perfect stereotypes, but flawed characters who get things wrong, and stumble over their words and don’t know what to do, only that love.

The House at Baker Street by Michelle Birkby

The Women Of Baker Street

Sent from my iPad


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