“She reminded him that the weak would never enter the kingdom of love, which is a harsh and ungenerous kingdom, and that women give themselves only to men of resolute spirit, who provide the security they need in order to face life.” — Love in the Time of Cholera

The best books are ones that makes the reader feel. They take us on a compelling journey, along with the characters. When it comes to loves stories, we all have our favorites – those that even decades later stick with us. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked our community to tell us some of their favorites.

Love in the Time of Cholera

This masterpiece by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez has been called one of the the greatest love stories ever told.

In his youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. David Stewart calls the last chapter “one of the most brilliant pieces of modern lit. Genius.”

Jitterbug Perfume

Tom Robbins’ novel begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight [Paris time]. The hero is a janitor with a missing bottle – an very old, blue bottle that is the secret essence of the universe. We won’t give away the ending, but as this passage about a beet illustrates, the writing is beautiful and unique:

“The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies. The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.” 

Persuasion

While Pride & Prejudice is a Jane Austen favorite, this classic focuses on Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman. At the age of 19, she fell in love with—and was engaged to—a naval officer, the fearless and headstrong Captain Wentworth. But the young man had no fortune, and Anne allowed herself to be persuaded to give him up. Now, eight years later, Wentworth has returned to the neighborhood, a rich man and still unwed.

This novel is often described as autumnal, since it was Austen’s last complete work, and the main characters are not  “in the bloom of youth.” However, just because the love story is quiet does not deprive it of passion as Frederick Wentworth’s letter to Anne shows.

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.” 

Lady Chatterly’s Lover

“We fucked a flame into being.”

Banned in England and the United States after its initial publication in 1928, this classic wasn’t  available in America until 1959 after one of the most spectacular battles in publishing history.

With her soft brown hair, lithe figure and big, wondering eyes, Constance Chatterley is possessed of a certain vitality. Yet she is deeply unhappy; married to an invalid, she is almost as inwardly paralyzed as her husband Clifford is paralyzed below the waist. It is not until she finds refuge in the arms of Mellors the game-keeper, a solitary man of a class apart, that she feels regenerated. Together they move from an outer world of chaos towards an inner world of fulfillment.

 

 

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Michelle Breyer
While working as an award-winning business reporter for a daily newspaper in Austin, Michelle Breyer co-founded NaturallyCurly 1998. NaturallyCurly - which empowers, educates and inspires world for women with curly, coily and wavy hair - into one of the largest media companies dedicated to hair topics. She has written for a number of publications.