Bookish Thoughts for St. Valentine’s Day

Spoilers for the Shatter Me series, the Lunar Chronicles, the Kiss Quotient series, Persuasion, and Alexandria Ripley’s Scarlett.

I’ve never really been one of those people who celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. I hate crowded restaurants. Forcing someone to buy me something to prove they love me on a specific day doesn’t appeal to me. Flowers are for any time of year and none all at the same time and so is lingerie. That said, I have always loved the stories I grew up hearing about St. Valentine himself illegally marrying Christian couples, falling in love with the hangman’s daughter, writing love letters to the people about God’s love for them. Though some of these are apocryphal, I find them much more entertaining than just about anything the boys of my youth could come up with. Even better is the story of how St. Valentine’s Day turned into a Catholic holiday from it’s pagan roots and how the people totally subverted the intent of the church.

Still, I also appreciate the opportunity to talk about love in other ways, especially love in books. The first thing is my favorite love letter. I was not one of those girls who grew up loving Jane Austen because I totally missed boat that on accident and really wish I had heard of her in the right way from the start at a younger age.

Favorite Jane Austen: Persuasion. Favorite adaptation: Clueless. I can go on forever about how much I absolutely adore Clueless but I’ll spare you. I had no idea it was an adaptation of Emma until I was reading Emma for a college class that focused on Jane Austen. It was all too familiar and I finally gave in and watched Clueless in the middle of it. Then I got to Persuasion. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Darcy. I have adored Darcy since the rather loose adaption where he had the same name that I did read in high school known as Bridget Jones’ Diary. But Wentworth.

Okay, Persuasion is basically my life and Wentworth is pretty much my husband, aside from the actual writing if a love letter which my husband didn’t do for a long time and I totally don’t mean that as a dig because times have changed for all that. Getting back to the point, I love Wentworth and the letter he writes to Anne is one of my favorite love letter in any book ever.

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

“I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the scene directly before this that prompts him to write it too. I love it so much.

I have never been a romance fan either but I’m learning. I have, on the other hand, always appreciated a romantic subplot or romance scenes in books. Some of my favorites are:

Favorite Romantic Moments

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer; Winter and Jacin are cute enough but for me, the kiss with Cress and Thorne is the best. The real kiss in that other room when he realizes that she still has a crush on him and she’s trying to get her stuff together after thinking he wasn’t into her. Love it! I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, clearly.
  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi; I was really trying not to be Team Warner for all of Unravel Me but I couldn’t help it. By the time they finally get it together at the end of Ignite Me, I was so excited. Having finished off Restore Me and Defy Me, I wish I had his internal monologue in those first books too. I actually really adore Warner at this point and am anxiously waiting Imagine Me next month.
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang; I know the rest of these were traditionally romantic, but when Michael takes Stella back over to his mother’s house after realizing she was autistic was great. I love that he figured it out and wanted to give it another try in a way that she could be comfortable. I also really loved the second book when Khai asks Esme to give him a second chance after he messed up their first time. It was adorable.

Favorite Romantic Quotes

  • Scarlett by Alexandria Ripley; this is one of the several sequels written to Gone With the Wind, none of which were by the original author. There’s a scene in a boathouse, though that gets me every time. It’s not so much the kiss as the monologue after it. There’s a bunch of things that happen right before it that gets both characters full of unreasonable feelings and things are bound to bubble to the top. When Scarlett insists he take her in his arms before telling her he doesn’t love her or she won’t believe it, he breaks down and yells at her. Not normally one to find yelling sexy, what he says gets me every time:

“Yes, by Christ! I do want you, and sicken for you. You’re a poison in my blood, Scarlett, a sickness of my soul. I’ve known men with a hunger for opium that was like my hunger for you. I know what happens to an addict. He becomes enslaved, then destroyed. It almost happened to me, but I escaped. I won’t risk it again. I won’t destroy myself for you.”

  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin; Mara had just pointed out that they were too young for Noah to feel that way about her and his response is delightful.

“Fuck seventeen.” His eyes and voice were defiant. “If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”

  • Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi; yeah, I’m back to Warner. He’s my favorite love interest ever and only gets better. The back and forth in Defy Me as they’re remember each other gets me all the time. It’s probably my most reread book ever. Still, there’s something about this line:

I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body, Juliette-

When I sit down and think about it, it’s couples like Ella and Warner or Anne and Wentworth or even Mara and Noah that are my favorite. It’s the couples that may not have come together perfectly but fight for each other, that fight to be together.

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