Liz Bankes, Armadillo reviewer and now author provides this week's guest Blog spot on Romance and romantic comedies...
What is it about the romantic comedy formula that makes people fall in love? Well, I will speak for myself – a rom com nut. For me there is nothing better than a story that combines love and laughter. Rom coms give you hope that among all the moments of humour and awkwardness that make up everyday life, you find love.
I think as well there is an excitement in embarking on a story and knowing that love awaits. You know it will be there, but you don’t know how, why or in what way it will happen. You can sit down at the beginning of a Shakespeare comedy, for example, knowing that come the end everyone will be coupled up and sharing a dance. But that doesn’t prepare you for the character pouring her heart out because the person she loves doesn’t notice her, the sparks flying between a bickering couple who haven’t realized yet that they are made for one another, or the moment when two people realize that they’ve fallen in love.
So here are three of my favourite tales of love and laughing:
1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The ultimate romantic comedy, in my opinion, and containing my absolute favourite literary couple. I find it hard to decide who I love more out of grumpy Darcy and witty Lizzie. Sparks fly and moments build between them, all contained within the rigid social structures of Austenland, which I think serves to make them all the more powerful and moving. I read this book probably about once a year – mainly for the line ‘dearest, loveliest Elizabeth’.
2. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Viola is washed up alone after a shipwreck and separated from her twin brother. She dresses as a boy and goes to the court of Count Orsino, who she falls in love with. They become inseparable, but Viola has to listen to Orsino talking of his love for local noblewoman Olivia, while she can’t tell him who she really is or how she feels. This is my favourite Shakespeare play, all because of Viola and her speech ‘She sat like Patience on a monument, smiling at grief’, which goes right to the heart of unrequited love.
3. P.S. I Love You
Not quite the same formula as the others – the book sees Holly struggling to cope after Gerry, the love of her life, dies. He left her a series of letters, which she reads one by one, and Gerry guides her towards building a life without him in it. This book combines laughter, strong emotion and the message that love never dies.