Five Fictional Couples That Will Tumble Your Heart

This week, to celebrate (or revile!) Valentine’s Day the Debs are talking all about love. True love, real love, fictional love, breakups, relationships, star-crossed sorts of love.

To me, one of the most amazing things about books is that a good story will truly move you. At a very young age I found myself drawn to stories of incredible love and as I have grown older, it’s often those stories that still move me the most, particularly when the story is about love lost. To celebrate Valentines Day, I give you my five favorite fictional couples.

King Arthur & Guinevere

When I was 12 I read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. It was a book that shaped so much of my early ideas of love, of religion, of feminisim and of story itself. Within the book there is deep love, and incredible betrayal, told from the point of view of the women of Camelot. It is a big book, but I remember that it wasn’t big enough for me. I never wanted the story to end. I have ever been smitten with the story of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, ever since.

Rhett & Scarlett

I have to confess that I saw Gone With the Wind on television long before I ever read the book. I think that this is one of the rare instances where both the movie and the book are stellar. The casting of the movie was perfect and the on-screen chemistry between Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable still resonates with viewers today. And while I can’t ever picture the characters as anyone other than those who played them in the movie, the book still reaches into your heart and rolls it over and over, wrenching you with the “My dear, I don’t give a damn (‘Frankly’ was added for the movie).”  And it leaves you hanging, wondering if she’ll be able to get him back.

Almásy & Katharine

Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient, is a gorgeous and masterfully wrought story of forbidden love. I wept at so many points in this novel and again when I saw the film, which differed a bit from the book, but still captured the spirit of the war-torn lovers Almásy and Katharine. She is married to another, but their passion is impossible to ignore. I’ve seen the film twice now and have decided that I never want to see it again. The memory of the book and the incredible story told on film just wrecks me–completely wrecks me.

The Doctor & Rose


The only non-bookish couple on the list (although there are many books that have resulted from the BBC Doctor Who series), The Doctor and Rose win the prize for the couple that shredded my heart in such a way that I’m not sure it will ever be the same again. That their relationship could have that sort of effect on me and millions of others is a testament to the writers of the series. She was his ultimate companion and he was a flawed, unwilling lover. With The Doctor living forever and Rose doomed to a human death, he struggled to protect his hearts from what would inevitably be heartbreak. Or was it?

Buttercup & Wesley 

Since all the other love stories I mention end in heartbreak, I thought it a good idea to close with the couple I consider to be the ultimate love story. The Princess Bride is probably the only movie that I know nearly all by heart. I’ve seen it at least a hundred, if not more times. And the book itself is also delightful. Nothing can tear them apart. Not the ocean, not pirates, not the R.O.U.S.s in the Fire Swamp, or even Prince Humperdinck.

Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for awhile.


Characters We Love and Loathe, by Deb Eleanor

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownOne of the highest compliments I get talking to readers of The Weird Sisters is when they say something like, “The characters were so real!” or “Character X is just like me!” (though usually they use the name of the character and don’t call them Character X).

I love that, and I love “the shock of recognition” when I see a character that’s so very real, or so like me – it makes me trust and care about the story that much more. And that goes for fiction and non-fiction.

But what about wonderful characters who don’t seem real, or aren’t like us?

Take Scarlett O’Hara, for example. She is a capital-G, capital-C Great Character. She’s got loads of personality, rules every scene she’s in, and you’ll desperately want to know what happens to her at every page turn.

But she’s not, to be truthful, a very realistic character, and if she is realistic – well….and I say this as a great fan of Gone With the Wind…she’s kind of a horrible person.

And I love her anyway.

Can you think of other characters – real or fictional – in books, movies, or television that you both love and hate at the same time?


Summer Re-Reading With Deb Eleanor

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownI was recently on a panel at the South Carolina Book Festival where our topic was “Great Summer Reads.”

At the outset, I mused that there is no corollary to the summer read. No one ever says, “Hey! This’ll make a great winter read!”

I think this is all due to the way we set up our educational system. Because we grew up with summers off from school, those months still give us a feeling of decadence. Of hedonism. And yes, the weather is lovely and the days are long and the sprinklers and Popsicles are cold and the gardens overflow with flowers. But our association of all those things with vacations means they are even sweeter.

For me, summer is a time to re-read some of my favorite books. I’m not a big re-reader, but I generally read these books in the summer:

Gone With the Wind

The Stand

The Lords of Discipline (often followed by The Prince of Tides)

Evening Class (sometimes followed by Tara Road)

To Kill a Mockingbird

This summer I’ve set myself an additional challenge – I want to re-read the Little House on the Prairie series.

Do you have any summer reading goals or favorite re-reads?