Fourteen years ago, I walked into a room and looked into a pair of eyes.

Something peculiar happened. An invisible tendril snaked over the grey carpet, wound its way up my leg and started all sorts of shenanigans in my stomach. A consummate professional, I shook it off and began the lesson on phrasal verbs.

Fourteen years later, we’ve been married for six, weathered various storms, celebrated glorious highs and look forward to more adventures and experiments.

That four-letter word, so often over-used, the subject of so many songs, books, films, artworks and clichés. That emotion so elusive which can poleaxe the mighty and ennoble the tiny.

Love is a perennial literary theme, especially on an epic Wuthering Heights scale. Yet the books that have affected me most don’t always fit the epic traditional mould. To celebrate my anniversary of meeting the right person, here are fourteen of my favourite novels on the subject of love.

Le Grand Meaulnes, by Alain Fournier: love never recaptured14 grand meaulnes

My Ántonia, by Willa Cather: love for place and person entwined14 Love Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: lasting love

Tristan and Iseult, by JD Smith: tragic legend retold

Maurice, by EM Forster: love is not a phase

Betty Blue, by Philippe Dijan: love in extremis

14 Betty-Blue

The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles: did love win?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera: the agony of love

14 PossessionPossession, by AS Byatt: echoes of love and shared passions14 Brilliant Friend

Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand (Anthony Burgess translation): eloquence, wit, disguise and honour

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro: love reduced to its essence

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante: the powerful bonds of friendship

Ghost Town, by Catriona Troth: nothing is ever black or white

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson: Love is strong as Death, as hard as Hell


What love stories have I missed? What are your favourites and why?





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