An irresistible love story

So I've read some books recently - The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted and The Winter Sea, and most notably, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy - that have pushed my buttons. This is hardly a book review of them collectively. They're quite different books, but they had something in common.

You see it really annoys me, when I'm reading a book and a devilishly handsome, charming man with electrifying chemistry (conveniently unattached), appears magically on the scene and is magically just as attracted to our heroine as she is. And not just on the scene, but in the first scene of the book. Or the first chapter. Or just too darn soon. Or just too conveniently. It makes me feel as if I already know what's going to happen. As if it's all laid out in front of me. Is love really as simple as instant ramen noodles - add hot water, microwave, and slurp?

(And maybe in some ways magical insta-love rings false to me. Things never have just fallen easily in my lap, love included. Some people see life as this magical game - that everything is destined and meant to be, and orchestrated for perfection and happiness - their own happiness. But me, I see life as a mysterious dance, that bittersweet symphony immortalized in a 90s hit song, in which not every note is sweet, not every secret is revealed, not every moment understood.)

I say this. But then I begin to question myself. I mean don't many great books introduce the love interests pretty darn quickly? Gone with the Wind, for example. At least the movie version. Rhett and Scarlett meet quite quickly. You know, as you see these two characters that sparks will fly. It's obvious.

But... what happens after that is not so obvious. There are sparks, but there are ups and downs. There are obstacles. Love triangles and quadrangles. And you wait, eagerly to see what these two will do next, when, when, when will the inevitable happen. It takes awhile to get there, for things to build between the characters and when it finally happens, it's deeper for the wait.

What I do not enjoy, is when I don't feel that tension. When it all seems too easy. When it happens too fast. When the characters fall in love effortlessly.

But maybe I'm wrong. I think I might be over-reacting. I'm going to be pondering this, as I read, and watch movies. What IS the secret to an irresistible love story?

What are your favorite love stories? Why?

p.s. speaking of irresistible love stories, this week is my husband and I's tenth wedding anniversary. Whoohoo! Match that, insta-love. ;-)


  1. Just off the top of my head, because I've quoted this movie recently - Knocked Up. Love the awkward, fumbling, humbling relationship development between the mismatched leads. Probably not exactly what you had in mind, but there's my two cents.

  2. I too have found myself wondering why in movies people, admittedly attractive people, see each other across a room and fall madly in love. Not lust, which is frankly more appropriate, but love. Then you have the geeky guy/girl who suddenly becomes attractive due to a physical make over and lo and behold the other lead, already attractive, suddenly finds the geeky person attractive. It annoys me on so many levels, mainly due to the fact that kids grow up ingesting this drivel and become unsatisfied with real life not happening the way it is portrayed.

  3. I so agree, V. I prefer much more realistic books / love stories that show that love is about overcoming the things that bug us about each other vs. just falling madly in love and being all "pale white flesh" from that point forward. The Outlander Series is one of my faves that shows strong individual characters who act like real people and fight, misunderstand each other, but in the end will turn on everyone else to protect the bond they have.. that's what I prefer to see.

  4. Fiction bores me to tears for the most part because of this. Withing two chapters, you usually know exactly what's going to happen and how. I like a little build up, too. Or maybe just a little realism.

  5. I love Rhett Butler and get so frustrated with Scarlett every time I read the book (which I haven't done for several years.)

    A similar romance where the lovers meet early and take forever to finally get it right is Emily & Teddy in L.M. Montgomery's Emily books. They are best friends from childhood, and in the third book it's heartbreaking to read along as Emily continually makes choices - based on false information, false assumptions, and misplaced pride - that strain the relationship, and even the friendship, to the point of extinction.

    But you root for them, and for Rhett and Scarlett, because the characters are well-written and their feelings and reaction are real (frequently stupid, but none the less real for that!) The whole "their eyes met across a crowded room, and they both knew that this would be forever" thing just doesn't seem that real - and, to me, it doesn't seem as valuable as a romance that has had to overcome obstacles and fight for its own survival.

    Maybe it's the old truth from Anna Karenina: "All happy [romances] are alike..." and therefore are frequently predictable and boring.

  6. I don't think it's the secret to all love stories, but "Next Stop Wonderland," my very favorite movie of all time, waits until the end to introduce the lovebirds to each other. Part of that is because the love story takes second place to the protagonist's personal search for contentment, but it also gives the audience a chance to really get to know and like both characters before they fall in love. I wrote more about how much I love this movie (and how it's affecting conflict in my own writing) here: http://thatsagirlscar.com/2011/07/20/dont-you-go-changing/

    You stated very well why I avoid most romantic comedies: formulaic plots, and characters who are supposed to be in love but have zero chemistry. If two characters are immediately compatible, how are they supposed to develop and change? Bor-ring. Give me something with a car chase (even an unrealistic one) over that.

    Many many congrats on your anniversary!!! Ten years -- that is fantastic!