Romance is NOT my favourite genre but our book club chose the theme of Romance for our February read as a tribute to Valentine’s Day. Like we did in October, for our Stephen King theme, we have all chosen different books which should lead to interesting discussion. I have been struggling to fit in a romance as I have a number of books to read before I meet authors in February (Lawrence Hill, Kevin Newman and Robert Hough) so Love Story ended up being a quick read.
As I searched for a book, I came across Love Story. Many will remember the sappy movie with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw which saw box office success in the early 1970s. Both leading actors were nominated for Academy Awards with O’Neal taking home the coveted statue.
The book was a quick read and told the tragic tale of two lovers separated too soon. Oliver the IV was preparing for law school and playing hockey at Harvard when he met Jenny who was studying music at Radcliffe. Oliver’s family was rich, with their names on buildings at Harvard, and did not approve of their relationship. Jenny’s was raised by her father, a baker, following the death of her mother. The two developed a quirky relationship leading to marriage.
Oliver’s father cuts him off as punishment for his marriage. Jenny gives up her dream of studying in Paris to support him in law school. The couple struggle to make ends meet but Oliver graduates and they decide to start a family. Without sharing a spoiler, fertility challenges lead to more medical tests and tragedy happens.
Love Story really is a sappy story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet style with lovers from two different worlds struggling with the displeasure of their parents. It was an easy read and it likely would be interesting to watch the movie and see a young O’Neal to compare with his aging character in the Bones series. If you are looking for a quick romantic read this February 14th, this is a book that does not require much time or energy to read.
Looking back over the books that I read in 2015, I have appreciated love stories woven into historical fiction. Here are a few others novels that I would recommend with romantic themes which I enjoyed last year:
- The Lost Wife (historical fiction with lovers reunited many years after experiencing tragedy and loss during World War II)
- Mrs. Mike (historical fiction sharing the stories of a couple that fall in love and live in the Canadian North due to Mr. Mike’s job with the RCMP)
- Somewhere in France or After the War is Over (more historical fiction weaving some romance into the history of World War I)
- Anne of Windy Poplars (a continuation of the Anne of Green Gables story when Anne and Gilbert finally share their love for each other)
- Our Souls at Night (a refreshing view of healthy aging and love through the eyes of seniors after the death of their spouses)
- Jane Eyre (a classic story of lovers from different social standings)
- The Paris Wife (the fictional memoir of Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife including the end of their love story as he becomes involved with another woman)