Thursday, June 21, 2007

What the Earth needs now is Love

***Caution: long and overwhelming sentimental and indulgent..***

I am feeling terribly wistful and nostalgic these days. It makes me want to re-read all my favourite books, only I don’t have time. So I went in search of what I love most about my favourite books and thought I would share them with you. Call it my “10-minute Love Fix” if you will. If you could use a few minutes of romance, read on… and let me know what your favourite romantic books are, will you? I could use a really good I haven't read a million times before, that is.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sadly, I have only lately come to a true appreciation of Austen’s novels. I know, I know! How could someone like me NOT like them in the past? What can I say? I was young and foolish. After seeing Colin Firth speak these words, though, my heart was lost..

``If you will thank me,'' he replied, ``let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you."

'Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, ``You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever."

'Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became him; but, though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings, which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.

They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects.

4. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

A true gem of a novel that is often overlooked. I grew up with this story in my head and my heart. The passage will not reveal the true beauty of this novel, you simply must read the whole book..

Before Elnora missed her, Alice, who had gone to investigate, came flying across the shadows and through the sunshine waving a paper. She thrust it into Elnora's hand.

"There is a man-person -- a stranger-person!" she shouted. "But he knows you! He sent you that! You are to be the doctor! He said so! Oh, do hurry! I like him heaps!"

Elnora read Edith Carr's telegram to Philip Ammon and understood that he had been ill, that she had been located by Edith who had notified him. In so doing she had acknowledged defeat. At last Philip was free. Elnora looked up with a radiant face.

"I like him 'heaps' myself!" she cried. "Come on children, we will go tell him so."

Terry and Alice ran, but Elnora had to suit her steps to Little Brother, who was her loyal esquire, and would have been heartbroken over desertion and insulted at being carried. He was rather dragged, but he was arriving, and the emergency was great, he could see that.

"She's coming!" shouted Alice.

"She's going to be the doctor!" cried Terry.

"She looked just like she'd seen angels when she read the letter," explained Alice.

"She likes you 'heaps!' She said so!" danced Terry. "Be waiting! Here she is!"

Elnora helped Little Brother up the steps, then deserted him and came at a rush. The stranger-person stood holding out trembling arms.

"Are you sure, at last, runaway?" asked Philip Ammon.

"Perfectly sure!" cried Elnora.

"Will you marry me now?"

"This instant! That is, any time after the noon boat comes in."

"Why such unnecessary delay?" demanded Ammon.

3. Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery

Oh, how many times have I read this passage? Out of all the Anne books, surely this is the best one, hands down. How can you not love a line like “shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations”? I did not see my face when Mr Earth proposed, but I’m pretty sure that’s how I looked…

Gilbert was not to be thus sidetracked.

"I have a dream," he said slowly. "I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends -- and YOU!"

Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.

"I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today will you give me a different answer?"

Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer.

2. The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery

People tout the Anne books as the best that Montgomery have to offer, but clearly they have not read The Blue Castle. Possibly my favourite book of ALL TIME. I have never identified so much with one character, nor read a book as many times as this. The line “the little low laugh of the triumphant lover” echoes unbidden in my head whenever I’m feeling romantic…

"Love you! Girl, you're in the very core of my heart. I hold you there like a jewel. Didn't I promise you I'd never tell you a lie? Love you! I love you with all there is of me to love. Heart, soul, brain. Every fibre of body and spirit thrilling to the sweetness of you. There's nobody in the world for me but you, Valancy."

"You're--a good actor, Barney," said Valancy, with a wan little smile.

Barney looked at her.
"So you don't believe me--yet?"


"Oh--damn!" said Barney violently.

Valancy looked up startled. She had never seen this Barney. Scowling! Eyes black with anger. Sneering lips. Dead-white face.

"You don't want to believe it," said Barney in the silk-smooth voice of ultimate rage. "You're tired of me. You want to get out of it--free from me. You're ashamed of the Pills and the Liniment, just as she was. Your Stirling pride can't stomach them. It was all right as long as you thought you hadn't long to live. A good lark--you could put up with me. But a lifetime with old Doc Redfern's son is a different thing. Oh, I understand--perfectly. I've been very dense--but I understand, at last."

Valancy stood up. She stared into his furious face. Then--she suddenly laughed.
"You darling!" she said. "You do mean it! You do really love me! You wouldn't be so enraged if you didn't."

Barney stared at her for a moment. Then he caught her in his arms with the little low laugh of the triumphant lover.

1. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

OK, technically this is not a love story. On the other hand, it is the only story that really approaches the true meaning of love for me. It was read by my father at our wedding, and will always have a special place in my heart…

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


NotSoSage said...

Ooh, I'll have to think on recommendations. I'm not usually one who reads romantic novels, but I do happen upon them now and then. I'm so glad you mentioned Anne of the Island and Blue Castle, because I was going to, but worried they'd be too juvenile. Unfortunately, I think they've left their indelible mark on my romantic nature and it cannot be undone. I'll come back to see other people's recs, too.

bubandpie said...

I love the endings of Persuasion and Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Kyla said...

Confession. Out of the list, I've only ever read the Velveteen Rabbit. I know, I know. *gasp* But I enjoyed the quotes nonetheless.

Beck said...

Sob! I love romantic novels.... love. I need to come up with some good mushy recommendations.

Christine said...

I'm with Kyla, haven't read any but the Velveteen Rabbit--I know, I know! I should get reading.

Wuthering Heights has always been a romantic favorite. I don't have a copy here, so no quote.

My Antonia is wonderful, though not romantic in the traditional sense: "I had the sense of coming home to myself, and of having found out what a little circle man's experience is." This is Jim talking about his last visit to Antonia.

painted maypole said...

thanks for sharing the love!

Bloor West Mama said...

Call me mushy but I loved all your quotes. I will have to see if I can get myself a couple of the books 'cause I sure need to read books like these at the moment.

BTW, I loved Pride and Prejudice and have read it about a billion times.

Great list.

ewe are here said...

Awww, I really loved the Anne of Green Gables books... Never read the Blue Castle, though. Hmmmm.

Good books!