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The Best Couples in Books Ever!

I have loved many a fictional romance. Sometimes I love them because of how well they are done, sometimes I love them because I love one of the characters and like or can tolerate the other one.

Sometimes I love both the characters, and the way they get together.

I have chosen books in which the story's finished and the characters do get together: there are some couples I love but have not mentioned as they are NOT YET TOGETHER in ongoing serieseses...es (Kate and Curran in Ilona Andrews's Magic series, Derek and Chloe in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series). There are some couples written by authors I know who I will leave out lest I be accused of partiality (even though Ravus and Val from Holly Black's Valiant are the best ever). There are some couples I love but who never actually became couples, which is a HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.

But those couples who do get together, and who are the best ever:

Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Of Course, Everyone Says That. My favourite example of attraction without Austen ever mentioning such a thing: even when Elizabeth hates Darcy, you notice how they talk to each other, zinging back and forth.

Maud and Sue, Sarah Waters's Fingersmith - They spend most of the book lying to each other. And being brilliant, one in a very intellectual and one in a very street-smart way. And through lies find truth, and love. In a library.

Kitty and Freddy, Georgette Heyer's Cotillion - She believes he's a complete fool, nice but only capable of thinking about his waistcoats. He believes she's an utter nuisance, nice but totally uninterested in fashion. All of London seems to believe he is sexless or gay or at the very least incapable of attracting a woman. His rakish cousin believes he can insult a lady in Freddy's presence. Everybody's wrong.

Gen and Irene, Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series - How do I put this? It's sort of like the Artful Dodger falling for Snow White's Evil Stepmother.

Sophie and Howl, Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle - A vain, cowardly Welsh wizard and a grumpy, practical hat-maker enchanted to look like an eighty-year-old lady. What could be more romantic? Again, they learn about each other through interacting: Sophie's impressions of Howl start off from Step 1) Cold-blooded murderer, eats hearts, to 2) Total idiot, in love with his own hair.

Laura and Sorry, Margaret Mahy's The Changeover. The best YA romance I have ever read, possibly the best YA I have ever read, and I will explain why. For this post was meant to be a no-holds-barred recommendation for The Changeover before I got carried away.

Laura Chant is a Maori-appearing girl in New Zealand with a blond mother and brother and an absent father. (The Maori-appearingness is a cool detail Mahy never goes into. I wish she did! But I find it awesome that it's there.) Sorensen Carlisle is a blond witch guy, which came as a bit of a shock to his all-female witch family.

Laura's on a mission to save her little brother. (UM. Apparently, I got the idea that was an awesome mission to be on from somewhere. Sorry, Margaret Mahy, that was unconscious. I can only blame how OVERPOWERINGLY AWESOME you are.) He's having the life sucked out of him by the creepiest toy shop owner in the world, and when Laura goes to Sorry for help, he thinks she's arrived because they have a ROMANTIC CONNECTION. Awkward!

Also turns out, only Laura herself can save her brother. Luckily, Laura is really awesome. In other news, Sorry is the least smooth operator in the history of time.

I have also decided to give you some SUMMARIES of these magnificent love tales.

Great Love Stories, Spoilers For Everything AboveCollapse )

As you can perhaps see, I don't seem to care for love at first sight at all! I do seem to care for people examining and taking apart classic 'romantic' ideas, and sensible ladies, and guys who don't care about stereotypes and are willing to embrace things like a) fashion, b) romance novels, c) awesome ladies. I like romance to take place in the midst of a ton of other stuff, like adventures, and crazy plots, because I like a couple with other stuff besides gazing at each others' beauty going on! I like people being equal but very different.

But what I like best of all, and what makes me believe most of all in a pairing, is seeing people communicate - use words rather than a Magical Love Connection to learn about each other, become real to each other. And in the process, to us.

So - words/Sarah forever! What are your favourite couples ever?


( 307 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 19th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
I must read that Margaret Mahy book. I read "Aliens in the Family" when I was younger, and loved it, but never got around to reading her other books (mostly because nothing could compete with The Baby-Sitter's Club at the time :)).

Well, I would have said Darcy and Elizabeth too, what's not to love? I can't think of any other book couple's at the moment (as my brain has turned to mush since it's nearly midnight and I should be in bed since my children will no doubt wake me at the crack of dawn) but there was a NZ children's TV series in the early 90s called "Mirror Mirror". I loved it (first series, not the second) and think Jo and Nicholas are a sweet couple. Jo's mirror allows her to time-travel back to 1919, and she befriends a girl called Louisa, the then-owner of the mirror, and Nicholas is Louisa's neighbour, a mysterious foreigner.

I'm sure some more book couples will come to mind later when I'm more coherent. Night night.
Jan. 19th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
Oh man, your summary of Changeover makes Sorry sound so much worse than he is. XD Still, this will always be my favorite YA novel too.

...okay, honestly, it's a tie with The Tricksters. But only because I have this thing for triplets. ♥ But hey, both Mahy!
Jan. 19th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
I protest: everything he does in the summary, he did in the book. Not that I don't love Sorry: I do very much! (And I am fond of the Tricksters too, though I always wanted more Teddy as his whole self.)
(no subject) - thistle_dear - Jan. 19th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thistle_dear - Jan. 19th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
also by having to apologise every time I introduce myself.

Oh, the dear boy. He's going to have to hustle to keep up with Laura.

Have you read Mahy's latest yet?
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
Fabulous couples! Loved the recaps! May I suggest you try some of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's very tasty Liaden series couples? I adore the partnership between Val Con and Miri. (their work has been called a cross between Georgette Heyer, James Bond, and Space Opera)
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Tatiana and Alexander!!!! enough said.
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
The Bronze Horseman is Amazing!!! :)
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:39 pm (UTC)
how did i miss a Georgette Heyer??? i must remedy this IMMEDIATELY!! thank you for pointing out such a glaring error on my part.
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD: But... she cut off your hand.
GEN AND ATTOLIA: Every relationship has problems. Don't be a hater.

This sent me into a fit of laughter which turned into DREADFUL HACKING COUGHS and now I am going to DIE because of your funny. I HOPE YOU ARE SORRY.

No, wait, if I make you sorry you won't write any more of these glorious recaps. I take it all back! I am not unwell at all! *coughs discreetly behind hand*
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)



No seriously, Emma/Knightley is so many great relationship dynamics rolled into one:
- bickering/snark + witty banter
- lifelong friends slowly developing into something more
- two natural partners coming together to realize how very partnery they are *___*

plus, Emma/Knightley is (in my world) the direct basis for C.K. Dexter Haven/Tracy Samantha Lord of The Philadelphia Story, and they are *truly* the best romantic couple ever ever ever *swoons*

also also, without Emma/Knightley we couldn't have Cher/Josh, and this would be a most tragic and unacceptable loss to 90's culture and all of our hearts.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
IA totally about Cher/Josh (and, therefore by extension about Emma/Knightly) MEANT TO BE. And so cute :)
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
I'll second Heyer's Freddy and Kitty with enthusiasm. Almost all of her heroines and heroes are interesting, and the dialog is always fantastic. My personal favourites of hers are Sherry and Kitten from Friday's Child and Sylvester and Phoebe from Sylvester.
And Gilbert and Anne were definitely my faves when I was younger. And Howl and Sophie.
Personally, as a writer, I think that if you haven't read at least some of these books then you are ill-prepared to write your own romantic dalliances.
What a fun post, and the recaps are wonderful!
-Jo T.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
My favorite couple EVER is probably Dion and Aranur from Tara K. Harpers's Wolfwalker series. It starts off with a bang... And he totally likes her, but she thinks he lower than dirt. XXDD And while he does like her, he gets so upset at her. XXDD It takes about two books for them to actually "get together". But there's a lot of other stuff that happens along the way.

But your summaries sound awesome and now I want to read those books. XXDD I think I get too many book rec's from you, and its so much harder to read them all, when all of the English books I buy now are considered imports. XD
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
WAIT UNTIL YOU READ ABOUT HELEN AND SOPHOS!! THEY ARE AS AWESOME AS GEN AND IRENE!! For a lady who is writing adventure/mysteries, she CERTAINLY HAS A WAY WITH THE COUPLES. Although I still want to see Costis Hit That with somebody, because I love him like the hapless Gen-manipulated puppy that he is.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
I've read Conspiracy of Kings. ;)
You know my methods, Watson - _tigerfish_ - Jan. 19th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orexisbella - Jan. 20th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jan. 20th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - orexisbella - Jan. 20th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _tigerfish_ - Jan. 22nd, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 25th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adalanne - Jan. 20th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elucreh - Jan. 20th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adalanne - Jan. 20th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
I always end up pushing this I think, but whatever: Morgan and Hunter from the Sweep/Wicca series are awesome - when they meet she's totally in love with his half-brother, Cal, and since Hunter and Cal really hate each other it follows that Morgan and Hunter hate each other... and are also totally unnerved and confused by each other. And then Cal tries to kill Morgan, and then she slowly falls in love with Hunter and into one of the healthiest and most realistic and wonderful relationships ever.

Also: Rachel and Tobias from Animorphs; Newt and Anathema from Good Omens; Liesel and Rudy from The Book Thief; Lydia and Seb & Emily and Charlie from Finding Cassie Crazy; Arthur and Fenchurch from Hitchhiker. And a million others, but these come to mind immeadiately.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Seconding most of those, but especially the Jaclyn Moriarty couples, because I love them. (And even though there were only a few pages about them at the end of the book, I really believed in Elizabeth/Jared and was crushed when I heard that they'd broken up in a later book.)
(no subject) - ayamizuno - Jan. 20th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you posted this!

I did mine a while ago: Top Ten Romantic Couples though me being me, they're from movies more than books.
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Caroline and Torrens from the Westmark trilogy. They were together in their hearts, okay?

Another obscure favorite is Maura and Nathaniel from Beyond the Western sea. There's one scene, and it's the most adorable ever. Except for the "Class Day" chapter of Jo's Boys.

Can I say Aravis and Shasta?
Jan. 19th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
I for one will second your Aravis and Shasta, and I will also add Eustace and Jill, even though they never actually got together (but I maintain that if not for Certain Events, they totally would have. Eventually).
(no subject) - bookaddict88 - Jan. 19th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nocoward_soul - Jan. 20th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 19th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: _Cotillion_: From last year's Yuletide:

A Gentleman of Taste: "Five trials that the Honourable Frederick Standen endured with sang-froid and savoir-faire, or would have if he'd spoken a word of French."
Jan. 19th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
I love the summary, but no longer read any fanfiction, so please no links!
(no subject) - kate_nepveu - Jan. 19th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 307 comments — Leave a comment )


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