Top Ten Tuesday:  Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

It’s Valentine’s Day! On the one hand, the cynical part of me mocks the overpriced roses and chocolates we see and balks at the saccharine offerings that often pepper our televisions at this time of the year; another part of me adores the excuse to set time aside to celebrate love, the love that led to marriage and the creation of a child – but even that part thinks that one day a year is a little tokenistic! But we have been away for a couple of days, without work, laptops or housework and it has been glorious!

In terms of reading though, romance is not my preferred genre – my imagination tends towards the darker areas, gothic and crime and literary fiction… Of Gooderads 100 best Romance novels of the last three years, I have read, well, one! I have read more romance recently than at any other time in my life, and in fairness thoroughly enjoyed them. But it is still with some trepidation that I embark on a list of my favourite romantic pairings from recent reads.

Cathy and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights

I couldn’t not offer up this book – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but the bleakness of the setting in the moors and the Romantic Byronic character of Heathcliff sang to my little juvenile heart when I first read it – and it is a novel that I return to time and again.

Cathy and Heathcliff’s love may ruin everything and everyone around them, but it is also transcendent in a very earthy way:

My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.

Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

Some nod to Austen seems apt for this topic and I know that most with cite Pride and Prejudice but I have just finished reading (re-reading) Northanger Abbey and I really liked Catherine and Henry – their love may not have had the Gothic melodrama of Cathy and Heathcliffe, but the novel showed that it didn’t have to! Not to mention, they bond over a love of reading!

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. I have read all Mrs. Radcliffe’s works, and most of them with great pleasure. The Mysteries of Udolpho, when I had once begun it, I could not lay down again; I remember finishing it in two days–my hair standing on end the whole time

Beatrice and Benedict, Much Ado About Nothing

Besides the uninspiring romance of Hero and Claudio, Beatrice and Benedick area breath of fresh air – bickering and fighting, sniping at each other in their “merry war”. A war that masked a genuine vulnerability on both parts, which makes their eventual union oh so satisfying!

I do love nothing in the world so well as you- is not that strange?

Tunuva Melim and Esbar du Apaya uq-Nara and, A Day of Fallen Night

Literally finsihed this last night, as we move from classics to more modern texts – and this is a reminder it me to review it properly. But one of the point of view characters, Tunuva Melim – a central member of the priory of female matriarchal warrior mages – is in her fifties and passionately and sensuously in love with Esbar. A love that survives both the machinations of a rival sorceress and dragon-borne apocalypse!

Is this an affair of the body, she had asked them, or of the heart…?
Prioress, must one preclude the other?

Red and Blue, This is How You Lose the Time War

A mind blowing whirlwind of enemies to lovers, amidst incredible imagery and language. Red and Blue are on different sides of the time war, meeting and crossing paths in different histories and futures, and leaving each other taunting notes which become increasingly passionate.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I’ll write it in waves. In skies. In my heart. You’ll never see, but you will know. I’ll be all the poets, I’ll kill them all and take each one’s place in turn, and every time love’s written in all the strands it will be to you.

Harrow and Gideon, Gideon the Ninth

Again, another enemies to lovers trope – Muir has great fun with the insults and threats thrown between Harrow and Gideon, bound together by virtue of their being the only surviving children of a generation and being necromancer and her cavalier. And yet as soon as one is in genuine danger, the other moves heaven and earth to reach them.

I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it

Maren and Ursa, The Mercies

Hargrave is wonderful at relationships generally in her writing and the depiction of the growing love and passion between Maren – capable, rooted in the earth and the sea after all the men on her island are killed – and Maren – insulated, innocent, infantilised by her family until married off – is glorious.

Again Maren feels that reach from inside her, a third, ghostly arm stretching out to seize hold of Ursa, as though she were drowning and found a raft among wreckage.

Celia and Marco, The Night Circus

The glorious and wonderful The Night Circus thrusts two children into a magical rivalry with each other – and Morgenstern manages to invest their inevitable falling in love with beauty and tenderness.

I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.

Vasilisa and Morozko, The Bear and the Nightingale

A glorious fantastical trilogy set in Ancient Russia, as it transitions from traditional to modern, from pagan to Christian – and celebrating the ancient, traditional beliefs that face the challenge of the Christian faith. Vasilisa is a glorious child, inheriting her mother’s ability to see and commune with traditional spirits; and Morozko is the spirit of winter who falls in love with her.

I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.

August and Jane, One Last Stop

The lovely tender story of August and Jane, one distancing herself from her mother’s obsession and the other trapped out of time on the subway in New York… Everyone fell in love with Jane but only August had the courage and determination to rescue her…

I fell in love with you the day that I met you, and then I fell in love with the person you remembered you are. I got to fall in love with you twice. That’s— that’s magic.

Linus and Arthur, The House in the Cerulean Sea

J. J. Klune became a favourite feel good author with this novel as Linus discovers the emptiness of his bureaucratic routine life when he meets the magnetic Arthur Parnassus and the found family of the orphans whom he looks after.

He felt as if he were on fire, burning from the inside out. He reached up, putting his hands atop Arthur’s, holding them in place. He never wanted this moment to end. For all the love songs he’d ever listened to in his life, he hadn’t been prepared for how a moment like this could feel.

Jean and Howard, Small Pleasures

I really adored this novel! Jean was such a quiet and self-effacing character, putting her mother’s demands of which there were many before her own needs time and time again. And when her work puts her into contact with Gretchen and her husband Howard and they start to develop feelings, she persistently does the right thing rather than what she wants… until an opportunity arises.

The journey into love was so effortless and graceful

So there we have a number of romantic relationships.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

February 21: Favorite Heroines
February 28: Genre Freebie
(Pick a genre and build a list around it. It could a list of favorites, a to-read list, recommendations for people interested in reading books in that genre, “if you like this, try this”, etc.)
March 7: Bookish People I’d Like To Meet (These can be authors, book characters, book bloggers/influencers, cover designers, cover models, etc.)
March 14: Books on My Spring 2023 To-Read List
March 21: TTT Rewind (Pick a previous topic that you missed or would like to re-do/update.)
March 28: Books for People Who Liked Author X

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday:  Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie”

  1. Such a cool list of varied reads!! I have definitely read the classics on your list and would add them to mine too.. As for the others (modern reads), I have only read The Night Circus (and yes, it would be on my list too, if I make a similar one, that is).. And I have had 4 of the remaining on my TBR for sometime now 🙂
    Here is my Valentine-y TTT

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the same way. I prefer reading romance as a subplot, not a main plot. Of your listed books, I’ve only read WUTHERING HEIGHTS and THE NIGHT CIRCUS. Both have been so long that I don’t remember much about them, actually. Might be time for a re-read of WUTHERING HEIGHTS, at least!

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great list of books that, while not romance, do contain a romance. I to dread the Hallmark feeling of Valentine’s Day. As a child, it became a popularity contest, seeing who had the most friends by the number of cards they received. As an adult, it’s all about the commercial aspect. Why should I show my loved ones love only on one day of the year? Shouldn’t I celebrate that love the whole year?

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Kel Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.