Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What is love?

"What is love?" was my DH's question after he'd told me on our first date that he "just about loved me" - and then took it back. Talk about back peddling. It actually sounded more like, "Oh come on, what is love anyway."

Eventually he figured it out because here we are many years later, but I look back at that now that I'm a writer and when I'm reading another writer's story and ask myself, what are we looking for? As writers and readers, how is true love expressed in your favorite stories, movies?

What is the love readers want to see portrayed in fiction? Is it the HEA (For anyone who's never heard that term, it's "happily ever after".) Is it some more "realistic" depiction of love with all its challenges no matter how it ends? Or is it somewhere in between?

When I read or write or dream the love between two committed individuals this is what I think of it as:

A "You're it for me" and "All I want is you" desire whether hot and passionate or burning slowly and deeply that can keep the attraction alive through the years, a desire for the other person's body but even more for their stellar humor or intelligence or kindness.

Acceptance of each other for who they are, appreciation for how the other's differences can challenge and complement the relationship, and at least respect for how they are different.

Consideration and kindness and care for each other's well being.

An "I'm-on-your-side" mentality when everyone else isn't.

Trust and a lack of competition.

Someone who shares the same vision of life, the same priorities.

My favorite contemporary depictions of love are Jamie and Claire in Gabaldon's Outlander series, Roarke and Eve in Robb's In Death books and most recently the Windhams in Grace Burrowes' books, especially Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal.

How about you? Who are your favorite lovers portrayed in recent movies or books?


  1. Great blog, Livia! What's love, indeed. Hmm...my favorite portrayal of true love in film would have to be Daniel Day-Lewis' Nathaniel Hawkeye to Madeleine Stowe's Cora. When he vows to find her before throwing himself off the waterfall, it is gripping to say the least. While she no longer writes historical romances, Julie Garwood's heroes and heroines always displayed true devotion and commitment. There was none of the "I love him / I hate him" business that one sees in many writers' works. It made her work unique.

  2. Oh, Last of the Mohicans was a wonderful example. And I've thought of a couple of my other favorites - Aint She Sweet with Colin and Sugar Beth, and Pretty Woman. But see those two have a common theme - a man who helps a woman overcome a stigma either deserved or not.

    And of course our preferences for certain stories reflect a need in ourselves for some sub theme in the love relationship. Need for family, acceptance, and like you a rejection of certain game playing aspects that are typical of so many romances. it's one reason I never re-read Gone with the Wind.


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