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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. 20th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
SOPHIE & HOWL. ♥♥♥♥♥

I also love Millie and Christopher Chant from The Chronicles of Chrestomanci.
Jan. 23rd, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, Chrestomanci books! Millie and Christopher were so ridiculously perfect for each other.
Jan. 20th, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
Aral/Cordelia from Vorkosigan books
Miles/Ekaterin from Vorkosigan books
Mickle/Theo from the Westmark trilogy
Snow White/Bigby Wolf from Fables

...and so many of the ones already listed.
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:16 am (UTC)
There was, once upon a time, a book called The Great Rip-Off, by Lavinia Harris. Josh and Our Heroine met each other under Poor Circumstances and *loathed* each other, even though he was alarmingly hot. And lo! They were geeks! There was a telepathic computer! Tasty food! Appallingly heteronormative activity! Hilarity! I am afraid, dear Sarah, that after this I had no taste for non-geeky men.
Jan. 21st, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
I loved this book, and these characters, SO much! Ruined me too. :) There was a sequel that I had, too, with the same couple, about a mystery on the set of a soap opera.
Jan. 20th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
"I love you more than waistcoats." is an EXCELLENT line XD
Jan. 20th, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC)
So in the "muffin, sandwhich, pastry" headings what would Howl be? Pastry? Also what wuld general sexy dandy lads be? Inquiring minds want to know (I completely heart the whole food allocation system btw)
Jan. 20th, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC)
I too think that "I love you more than waistcoats" is a brilliant line. Sarah you are a genious. I have never come across Cotillion before, but I think I may have to seek it out.
I absolutely adore Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels series. I love how they clash, and how it has taken them a long time to admit their feelings for each other. It is definately one of my most favourite series.
I also love Henry and Claire in The Time Traveler's Wife, especially the ending. It had me really emotional.
Nikki xxx
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)

Oh my god, Fingersmith sounds so amazing. (As does the Margaret Mahy book, but I am completely and utterly in love with Fingersmith, just from your description. I hope my bookshop has it. *prays*)

As always, you are a glorious harbinger of the incredibly on-point funny. ♥

Jan. 20th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
They are not yet together, are they? (But they will be! Death to Team Gale.)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 26th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ayamizuno - Jan. 20th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
I just began "the Thief" by Turner with a lot of expectations. Well, they seem to be justified ! One of the best love stories ? Bigby and (Snow) White in the "Fables" series. Such a delight !

Jan. 21st, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Bigby and Snow are like a punch to the solar plexus; make me lose my breath thinking of them. Sooo good!
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Hey, Sarah? CONGRATULATIONS ON THE YA BEST BOOKS AWARD! I am so very pleased for you! Hope to see you again soon,


Rachel Caine
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)

Hey, Rachel? Thank you for telling me, I had no idea! You are the best!

When I do see you again, hopefully soon, I owe you a drink. ;)
(no subject) - ex_rachelca - Jan. 20th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
Came across this entry when it was linked on Justine Larbalestier's Twitter. The Changeover has been one of my favourite YA books since I got it from the library when I was a teenager. I have since purchased two copies; the first because I wanted the book, the second because it had the same cover as the one I got from the library back in the 1980's. Ah, nostalgia.

I've seen your book in my local Easons and other bookshops in Galway so yay for published Irish writer! Wishing you continued success.

I've also friended you. Hope that's okay.
Jan. 21st, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
Of course, welcome!
Jan. 21st, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
Pretty much WORD on Howl's Moving Castle! (Haven't read the others, cept for P+P.)
Jan. 21st, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
"FREDDY: Hi Kitty, I brought you that thing you needed? Also a toothbrush."

Definition of hero, RIGHT THAR. Brings your toothbrush too.

"EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD: But... she cut off your hand.
GEN AND ATTOLIA: Every relationship has problems. Don't be a hater."


Did you see the Miyazaki version of Howl's Moving Castle? Howl gets so despondent over his hair that he, like, melts. It gets even weirder toward the end.

Thanks for the hyena laughter!
Jan. 25th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
"I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful!"
Howl is excellent.
Jan. 21st, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
I think I should take it as a bad sign that I rarely like couples in books. The only exception at the moment is Chloe/Derek, which isn't even a
couple (Yet! *prays to the skies*) Most couples annoy me, either because I don't like one of them, so don't like that the character had ill judgement, or I don't like what the relationship turns a character into. Also! Even when I don't oppose the pairing, I still find it more interesting to read the lead character in their own, especially if the separation makes them angsty, which can make for good reading. My favourite example of this being The Princess Diaries series.

I also can't ever bring myself to support Elizabeth & Darcy. Think it's because I love her too much. He was so very rude to her, and I wouldn't care less what someone did for me after that, a flat out insult is something I can't forgive. Though of course if I met Mr Darcy my opinion might differ. :) Though Bingley & Jane I was happy for, as they were both just adorable, even if they were too soft. Probably an indication of my bizarre brain that I would find it easier to forgive Mr Rochester's pyromaniac wife loving than I would Mr Darcy's insult. :) And someone still needs to write the "Jane Eyre
rescues kids from pirates story" A swashbuckling tale of a mother's love on the high seas! Oh dear, I think I require more coffee.

I really do want to read the books you mentioned though, your summaries have this effect on me.
Jan. 21st, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
alanna and george, tamora pierce. otp forever.

Jan. 21st, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
I loooooove Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments, but I think if we're going for the couple I've loved the longest, it would have to be Johnny Foxxe and Maggie Black from Terri Windling's incomparable The Wood Wife.

The only couple I would like better is Johnny Foxxe and MYSELF . . . but I imagine the hubster would object, so I suppose it's better this way! HA!
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( 307 comments — Leave a comment )


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