Love. First love. Passionate love. Consuming love. Undying love. Unrequited love. Protective love. Family love. Love at first sight. Love that lasts a lifetime. Whatever its form, love is a subject that inspires poets, writers, artists, songwriters and screenwriters. Great literary works are based on the subject of love. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’ve rounded up the top three love stories that make me cry, swoon and fall in love every time I read or watch them.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Oh Mr Darcy. The aloof, proud gentleman who falls in love with the very (un)suitable Miss Elizabeth Bennett. This is a classic tale of love conquering situation and misunderstanding. Who didn’t go weak at the knees at Darcy’s about-turn, when he began to make his true feelings obvious during Elizabeth’s tour of Pemberley? Hearts were set aflutter when he finally re-declared his love. This story has a beautiful English setting, old English manners and a protagonist who you take a shine to from the minute you meet him. It is one of those books that you read more than once.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
There’s something about this haunting tale that intrigues me. A disfigured, misunderstood, abandoned soul forced to live in hiding who falls in love with a young, beautiful dancer who lives and performs in the theatre above his lair. He teaches her to sing and turns her into the star of his performance. She at first mistakes him for the spirit of her deceased father, fears him when he reveals his true identity, then feels compassion as she begins to understand the life he’s led. There is a love triangle, and a poignant moment when she kisses him not through coercion but because of her feelings in that instant. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version is just as beautiful as the book; his score is a thing of beauty.
The Notebook (2004), based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Without fail, by the end of this movie I’m a mess. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember, yet the beautiful twist has me in tears every single time. This story showcases undying love at its very best. Love that endures through circumstance, distance and illness. You won’t be disappointed if you run out to watch this movie this weekend; just be sure to have the tissue box handy.