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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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Feb. 11th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
On your recommendation I read Cotillion, and it was really quite lovely. I Heyer's characters. They feel like real people who are not at all perfect, and the scene when Freddy punches Jack is so so funny XD

Thanks for a lovely rec.

>__> Do you happen to have any other Georgette Heyer recs?
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
My next-favourite Heyers are The Unknown Ajax, Devil's Cub and Frederica, but I admit Cotillion is my favourite by miles - glad you liked!
Mar. 17th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
Cindy and Watch from Spooksville. I grew up with those books

Btw, I miss your fics :)
Mar. 17th, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
Please don't talk about them, so much horrible stuff has happened to me because of them that it makes me sad to think of them!
Mar. 17th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
I could ask 'what happened?' but I don't think you are going to tell me. Anyway, for what it is worth, I spent some of my happiest afternoons reading you. I loved your fanfictions way more than I loved the books, and I am still surprised about it :).

I read the books in spanish, but I learned to read in english thanks to your fanfictions. I was always with the english/spanish dictionary near me.

So, again. THANK YOU (♥)
Mar. 17th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm happy to tell you what happened. Basically, a lot of malicious sabotaging of my career, the blog deletion, daily hatemail for more than a year now, and me being made very unhappy to the point that I do wish I'd never written them: life would be so much better and easier for me if I hadn't.

Thank you very much for the kind words and I am pleased you enjoyed them but I hate talking about them: if people enjoy my writing, I hope they will talk to me about my books. ;)

Edited at 2010-03-17 07:25 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
I don't know if you can do anything but I live in Ecuador, and in my city (Guayaquil) we have a couple of 'Mr Books', which are HUGE book's stores. But even if I've asked (first), and then ordered your books so they could bring them, they never arrive.

I think I am going to buy them using ebay. Maybe my library doesn't bring them because there is not a version in spanish yet?

I am sorry about what happened with your fanfictions, but think of them as writting practice that helped you to be the amazing writer that I am sure you are (♥).
Mar. 19th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
There will be a version in Spanish from Versatil publishers, if that helps. :)
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( 307 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Rees Brennan
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