Hey there, fellow singletons! Fed up of being patronised by varying dating websites into thinking a) that being single is something you can ‘give up’ (what do you get? A progress chart with points for each day spent solidly in the company of someone else?) or b) that someone demanding you smile for them on a station platform isn’t actually harassment but is in fact romantic and fun? Never fear! Here are my three favourite books to throw at the wall when Valentine’s Day calls.
God, I hated Meggie Clearly. Heroines that we are told are amazing and brilliant without actually been shown an example of them being so (well hi there, Fanny Price, how are you today? Oh, insipid and dull, what a massive change for you…) nark me off like nothing else. And Meggie is a classic example.
Moving with her large family from their New Zealand small holding to her rich aunt’s farm in Australia as a young child, Meggie soon becomes the firm favourite of the (then) young ambitious priest, Father Ralph. He becomes obsessed with her natural qualities and innocent nature (think Shirley Temple meets young Cathy Linton).
As she grows up into the beautiful young woman the genre demands, this friendship/obsession becomes something more tangible and, worried that his growing position in the Church shall be affected if he succumbs to the charms of the woman fifteen years his junior, Ralph tells Meggie to leave him and find love elsewhere.
Meggie decides that the best plan is to completely mess up the rest of her life and marries someone who looks a bit like Ralph, who she doesn’t love. They then spend the next forty odd years hating each other, whilst also loving each other desperately.
The Thorn Birds is basically Wuthering Heights, but set in Australia, and, whilst fantastically written for the most part, made me very very very glad I’ve got the friends I do, who won’t let me ruin my own and everyone else’s lives, just to prove a point.
Now, Danielle Steel has written some lovely couples. If you want some genuinely good, if trashy as anything, romance books you can’t go wrong with either Fine Things or Star, which I also read for my Steelathon back in 2010.
Lightning, however, was the book that I threw against the wall, entirely because of the relationship between Alex and her husband Sam. Alex is a successful lawyer living with her husband and their child in New York, when she is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her husband Sam then proceeds to act like the biggest shit since time began. His mother died when he was young, leaving him with Massive Issues, and Alex being ill is clearly her fault, trying to make his life hell.
The worst moment for me was when Alex, having gone to chemo on her own for three months is throwing up on the bathroom floor and Sam asks her, not very nicely, if she wouldn’t mind putting her wig back on.
See, I wouldn’t mind if Alex left this sack of shit and found herself a wonderful partner who is everything that someone you love should be, which she almost does.
But no, no, even after he has treated her so appallingly, cheated on her, ruined her life even more than the disease, she takes him back. Because she loves him. Because love is ridiculous.
There are many, many reasons why I hated the relationship between Matthew, King of the Manpires (like vampires, but more manly) and Diana, who starts off well but then goes rapidly downhill to end up a simpering wreck, flooded with a power she doesn’t want to understand, clutched frailly against her man’s chest. But the line that made me throw the book against the wall has to be:
” Matthew took my hands in his, ‘That’s enough bravery for one day, ma lionne’.”
How about you? Which fictional couples do you hate? Bella and Edward? Cathy and Heathcliff? Tell us in the comments…