This time last year I talked about how reading has given me unrealistic expectations of men. Many of you were similarly afflicted, so much so that there probably should be a support group somewhere. As you all know my secret fictional crushes, this Valentine's I thought I'd recommend what I think are five of the most romantic classics.
Persuasion by Jane Austen/North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Both of these novels featured in my post last year and I couldn't not include them this year. These two are my ultimate romantic classics.
The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham
This is probably an interesting choice given the relationship between Kitty and Walter, but I would definitely argue for its romantic elements. I think the way their relationship changes, evolves and eventually teaches them both things about themselves and the world, makes this a very subtle and powerful romance. The film version makes more of it and suggests a certain degree of passion between the pair towards the end.
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Oh Benedict! This my favourite Shakespeare play and I love how it reminds us that sometimes we can be blind to the most obvious things in our lives.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The two key romantic relationships in this novel - Anna and Vronksy and Kitty and Levin - are so different, but equally as readable. One is a mature love, the other immature. No matter your romantic predilections, Anna Karenina is a perfect classic for Valentine's day.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Did you think I could make a list and not include my love, Wilkie? Although this is a mystery novel, the romance between Walter and Laura cannot be ignored. He goes to some startling lengths for them to be together in the face of seriously adversity (and Percival Glyde).
Ok, that was actually six. Can you blame me? Ever since my first reading of Jane Eyre when I was somewhere around 14, it has the been the classics that have made me fall head over heels in love with fictional characters. A couple of contemporary novels have come close, but none have had me swooning over Captains, painters or bacteriologists as much as the classics.
Which classics would you recommend for Valentine's Day?