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Top Five All-time Favourite Literary Romances (of this moment) - She doesn't know what I do...
...but she knows who I am.
Top Five All-time Favourite Literary Romances (of this moment)
Everyone loves a good list right?

5. Penelope and Odysseus.

Out of all the messed-up relationships in Greek mythology and literature (Oedipus the original motherfucker, Agamemnon hacked to pieces in the bath, Freakin' Zeus and Achilles' IS THERE NO ONE ELSE), Odysseus and Penelope are a bastion of common sense and decency. Sure, he sleeps with every female he encounters, takes ten years to get home from war and then kills off all the handsome young men in the village. But he's a Greek. That's just how they rolled. He sleeps with the pretty ladies and then hangs out on the beach crying like a girl for Penelope.

And Penelope. What a star. Using the power of awesome, she holds off 108 suitors; she comes up with the idea of the contest; she's the only character in the entire epic to outwit Odysseus, in my favourite scene ever.

ODYSSEUS: Honey, I'm home!
PENELOPE: Don't believe you.
ODYSSEUS: Seriously, it's me, baby. Come to bed.
PENELOPE: I'm not sleeping with you. I'll have a servant move my bed into the hall for you.
PENELOPE: Snap. Welcome home, honey.

The adjective that describes Odysseus and Penelope is like-mindedness. Basically, they are both as sneaky as each other.

4. Alec and Rose from A Little Love Song by Michelle Magorian.

Michelle Magorian is one of those writers whose writing just draws me in so that I cannot stop and I cry and laugh and get to the end and realise it is three in the morning and I have five empty tea mugs beside my bed.

So I quite like A Little Love Song, as you can imagine. Rose and her beautiful sister Diana go to live in the country during World War II, and both fall in love. Rose meets the nice man who owns the bookshop and gives her Jane Eyre and DH Lawrence poetry and encourages her to write stories. She also meets and dates his cousin, Derry, who is a douchebag.

DERRY: Hey baby. I'm going to war.
ROSE: Okay. Your cousin's pretty cool.
DERRY: Alec's a coward. We should totally have sex.
ROSE: Um, I don't feel comfortable about that.

I think about halfway through reading, I made the mistake of talking to Katie. The conversation basically involved me yelling "IF ALEC AND ROSE DON'T GET TOGETHER IN THE END I WILL BEAT YOU WITH YOUR OWN BOOK."

So yeah, Derry doesn't get into the RAF because he has bad eyesight and flat feet, and goes home. Rose doesn't get pregnant (THANK GOD) and confesses everything to Alec who is like, 'It's okay, Derry is an ass and SOMEONE TOTALLY PUBLISHED YOUR STORY'. And he asks her to help him out in the bookshop. And eventually they cut the crap and just start being together.

And it is excellent.

3. Christopher and Millie from the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones

I was going to write about Sophie and Howl, but I'm in a Millie mood. When we meet Millie and Christopher they are an old, married couple. Christopher wears fancy dressing gowns and forgets people's names and Millie is suprisingly un-beautiful and the kindest lady in the world. So that's very nice.

And then The Lives of Christopher Chant and Conrad's Fate happened and we get backstory. Millie is an enchantress from another world who steals one of Christopher's lives and is addicted to school stories and Christopher is a nine-lived enchanter who is allergic to silver and just wants to play cricket. THEY FIGHT CRIME.

In Conrad's Fate, Millie makes the mistake of telling Christopher that she's unhappy at school:

"And Christopher was just as overbearing as I knew he would be. You know, 'My dear Millie, set your mind at rest and I will fix it' - and this time he was worse. He decided we were going to go and live together on an island in Series Five. And when I said I wasn't sure I wanted to go and live all alone with Christopher - well, would you want to, Conrad?"
"No," I said, very definitely. "He's far too fond of his own way. And the way he makes superior jokes all the time - I want to hit him!"


2. Elizabeth and Darcy.

Well, obviously. Does anything else need to be said?

1. Anne and Gilbert.

I read the Anne series as a small child travelling around the East Coast of Canada. I have never forgiven my parents for not taking us to Prince Edward Island. Anne's hilarious melodramatic personality and Gilbert's decency and sense of humour just mesh.

So on her first day of school she breaks a slate over his head because he calls her Carrots (he just wants her to notice him!) And Anne refuses to speak to him ever again. She pretends to be dead and floats down the river in a boat, which springs a leak and leaves her stranded, Gilbert saves her and she still refuses to forgive him.

The excellent thing about Anne and Gilbert is EVERYONE knows that it's going to happen, except Anne, and she is genuinely surprised and upset when he proposes to her. And she dreams about the tall, dark, handsome stranger and is super-confused when Gilbert keeps turning up in her house of dreams to rearrange the furniture and lift heavy boxes.

Gilbert is also completely supportive of her educational and literary aspirations. They compete academically and keep coming first equal (because they are first equal in awesome) and Gilbert is always genuinely happy for her and pleased that she's done so well. And he thinks clever girls are cooler than pretty girls.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that Gilbert is such a Canadian. He's unfailingly polite, decent and friendly. And able to make fun of himself.


Honourable mentions to:
Margaret Hale and Mr Thornton in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Peeta and Katniss in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (it hasn't happened yet but if it doesn't, Katie, Kirsten, Jerome and I will potentially have to start a support group)
Derek and Chloe in The Darkest Power trilogy by Kelley Armstrong (again, hasn't happened yet. Again, support group)
Kitty and Freddy in Cotillion by Georgette Heyer.
Basil and Betony in The Willow Tree's Daughter by Pamela Freeman (the gardener's boy and the princess. She claims him and saves him from an evil spirit, he woos her with sunflowers)
Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.
Agnes Grey and Mr Weston in Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (oh, they are so lovely)

In other news, exam in five days. Also, at roleplaying on Saturday, I had Charlie use her limp as a reason for her agression at the riot Jane started. The next day, the bottom of my foot had some sort of blister and so I spent the whole day limping at work. As Anne and Liz said, Irony is a bitch.

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18 comments or Leave a comment
plumeriandeity From: plumeriandeity Date: February 15th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I only know nos 5 and 2 from you list, sadly. But I say YES to your first honourable mention :)

True, Odysseus and Penelope are one of the most rock-solid couples in Greek mythology. I can't even think of one that didn't end badly or was a relationship fueled with so much rage and jealousy.

I'm always looking for new stuff to read and this list provided plenty :)
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
:) You haven't read Anne of Green Gables? Oh, LM Montgomery is marvelous.
Heh, Thornton. See, at the beginning of the book I didn't buy it. And by the end I was a wibbling mess and yelling MARGARET, ACCEPT HIM YOU FOOL at the book.

In a contemporary context, Odysseus is a dirtbag, but despite everything, he and Penelope have the most functional relationship.

Definitely read A Little Love Song. Michelle Magorian is just one of those writers I can't get enough of. She writes exquisitely.
plumeriandeity From: plumeriandeity Date: February 15th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I once started reading Anne of Green Gables, or I thought about it, and that was that. I will look those up.

LOL on Thornton. Honestly, that proposal scene gets me every time. I will have to see how well the series captured that from the book when I read it.

I remember watching "The Odyssey" in high school and thinking, what will Penelope say when she finds out about her hubby's trysts with Calypso and Circe? I mean really! But I'd rather have a happy coupling out of those Greek myths rather than one that ends horribly. Too many of those!

I will check out A Little Love Song. What time period is it set in?
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha, I've been making one of my best friends read Anne, giving her one book at a time.

I've talked to Liz about the adaption of N&S and I think the problem would be sympathy for Margaret, whereas in the book it's at least partly from her perspective and so it's a little more understandable that she refuses him.

Yeah, in a modern context, Odysseus is kind of a jerk, but for the Ancient Greeks, it's doing pretty well and they can be super-cute.

It's set during WWII (I love books set in this period).
plumeriandeity From: plumeriandeity Date: February 16th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE your icon. Every time I watch Sense and Sensibility now, I think of Dawn French and the blurrrgh hahaha.

Ah I suppose that's true about N&S. I loved Margaret's character, I think she's a great heroine, but every time I saw Thornton's anguished, heartbroken face, I would yell at the scream, "You stupid woman!" Hehe.

I loved the end of the Odyssey (the movie) when he comes back and saves Penelope. The one part of the movie that I actually liked him.

Ooh a story set in WWII. I do like that time period in general but I haven't read much fiction about that era. That will be good to read! I think the only romance/novel I've read that takes place circa WWII is "Atonement."
heartsinsync From: heartsinsync Date: February 15th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
You are correct. Everyone loves a good list. Especially moi.

OMG THE LAST THREE!! I wish there were more Chrestomanci books centred around Christopher's childhood/teen years. I reread Charmed Lives the other day and ahhh. Chrestomanci is the shizz.

Umm, Darcy + Elizabeth = OTP of LIFE. That is all.

Haha Anne annoyed me so much in Anne of the Island cause she was so IDIOTIC about Gilbert. *eyeroll* It only took her, ooh, maybe five years to finally get it? Poor Gilbert lol. He's such a patient guy.

aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want one written partly from Millie's perspective about her and Christopher and Conrad fighting crime post-Conrad's Fate. And Gabriel de Witt being all dry and snarky. Chrestomanci is so excellent.

It is true, they really are.

Anne of the Island is just this series of really frustrating proposals. Thank god for Phil is all I can say.

sherbert0lemon From: sherbert0lemon Date: February 15th, 2010 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)


Haha clearly I've been spending too much time with Anne, she's rubbing off on me >_<

That whole Penelope/Odysseus bit cracked me up XD

I just finished rereading Conrad's Fate. It might be my favourite. I can't decide, though. I also love The Lives of Christopher Chant. Christopher is such an awesome character.

I love Diana Wynne Jones.

Also, we HAVE to watch N&S when Lee and I move in. It will convince you further of Richard ArmitageThornton's awesomeness.
annemjw From: annemjw Date: February 15th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha, my evil plan is working!

Oh god, you're all going to be living together. I think the full consequences of this have only now truly set in.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's going to be terrible, isn't it? We're just going to quote stuff at each other all day and watch Doctor Who? I may fail.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)


Hahaha, oh God.

Conrad's Fate is fun because it's Christopher from an outsider's perspective and he's such a vague, patronising, adorable git.

YES DEFINITELY. Katie is coming over next week sometime to watch Anne of Green Gables with me, so we could potentially combine the two and introduce each other to awesome characters.
annemjw From: annemjw Date: February 15th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this list, and approve of those I know of, but especially Christopher and Millie, because they are so sweet.

And Kitty and Freddy! I heart them :D
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 15th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Christopher and Millie are adorable, it is true.

I kind of want a sequel to Cotillion about Freddy and Kitty's daughter and Freddy likes taking her shopping.
annemjw From: annemjw Date: February 16th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, that would so work. And Hannah and Dolph's daughter, who is super cool and clever, and all the boys like her, and Dolph has been told sternly by Hannah that only the best will do, but only if their kid really likes her suitor too. D'aww.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 17th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC) (Link)
YES. Their daughter would be AMAZING. And would come into town for a season and be best friends forever with Kitty and Freddy's daughter.
annemjw From: annemjw Date: February 17th, 2010 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Exactly! She would be much cleverer than her father, but she and her siblings would love him dearly.
sarahtales From: sarahtales Date: February 16th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I smile the sphinx-like smile of one who has read The Reckoning...

Edited at 2010-02-16 02:11 am (UTC)
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: February 16th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, curse you. It won't come out here for AGES.
18 comments or Leave a comment