Monday, June 30, 2008

A Thousand Ships

by Jo Robertson

You’ve heard the stories. You know their names.

Helen of Troy -- whose face launched a thousand ships -- and her lover Paris.

“Helen, thy beauty is to me like those Nicean barks of yore that gently, o’er a perfum’d sea, the weary way-worn wanderer bore to his own native shore.” (Edgar Allan Poe)

Elizabeth Barett, who defied her parents’ wishes and married an up and coming young poet named Robert Browning.

“How do I love these? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach when feeling out of sight for the ends of Being and ideal Grace.”

Thomas Moore who, it is told in an apocraphyal story, wrote a love poem to his wife after she contracted smallpox which left her face scarred.

“Believe me if all those endearing young charms, which I gaze on so fondly today, were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms, like fairy gifts fading away! Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment
thou art, let thy loveliness fade as it will . . .”

Peter Abelard, who suffered castration for his love of Héloise.

“But if I lose you, what have I left to hope for? Why continue on life's pilgrimage, for which I have no support but you, and none in you save the knowledge that you are alive, now that I am forbidden all other pleasures in you and denied even the joy of your presence which from time to time could restore me to myself?”

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, whose love inspired a song and was captured in movies?

“We had it all, just like Bogie and Bacall, starring in our own late, late show, sailing away to Key Largo.”

But what of the others? The unnamed, unknown lovers down through the centuries whose stories and lives have stirred our hearts? Plain, ordinary men and women in the lives they live around us and flashing and flamboyant ones in the books we read.

Benjamin Lewis, who left love notes lying around the house in odd places – inside a book, on the nightstand, on the kitchen window sill, where Mary Elizabeth Burton would find them.

You haven’t heard of the latter couple because they’re my parents, married fifty years when Dad died, but believing their love would transcend the eternities. Every day of their married lives together my father wrote my mother a love note. After her death, while cleaning out her house, we still found them scattered here and there.

Who are YOUR favorite lovers through history, literature, or real life? Here are my three all-time favorite lovers:

1. Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara – because he’s so rakishly desirable and the only man who truly understood her

2. Nancy Regan and Ronald Regan – because I’ve rarely seen a real-life c
ouple in the public eye so devoted to one another

3. Biblical Jacob and Rachel – because he worked seven years for the privilege of marrying Rachael, and then another seven when Laban tricked him into marrying her sister Leah first

Readers, who are YOUR favorite lovers? I'm offerring a $15 Amazon gift certificate to a lucky random commenter. Be sure to say why they're your favorite.


Gannon Carr said...

Could it be that the GR fancies another day in the mountains?

Gannon Carr said...

Hmmm, my favorite lovers. I'm sure I can come up with more after I've had some sleep, but right now Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy come to mind. They overcame everything, including their pride and prejudice to be together. *sigh* I love that book, but I must say that I love watching Colin Firth even more. *bigger sigh*

jo robertson said...

Wahhhooooo, Gannon! It's great that the rooster gets to go to the mountains, much appreciated in all this heat.


jo robertson said...

I deliberately left out Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Gannon. I knew they were bound to be the favorite of many readers. At the end of every school year, I always showed the A&E production with Colin Firth to my seniors. I must've watched that show hundreds of times and I never get tired of it.

The guys always grumbled (I said, hey you got to read Lord of the Flies), but the girls adored it!

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow, Gannon! That trip to the mountains must have been great for him to take the trip again!

Hmm. Favorite lovers. I have to give this some serious thought!

Louisa Cornell said...

Okay, here is my list.

In romance novels I love :

Sinjin Butler and Anne Jewel in Mary Balogh's SIMPLY LOVE. He is a scarred war hero and she has born a child of rape. They are both wounded souls and their story is so simple and so sweet!

Sebastian St. Vincent and Evie in Lisa Kleypas's DEVIL IN WINTER. He is the worst sort of rake and reprobate and she is such a shy, stuttering girl. Yet, he falls in love with her because of her goodness and she loves him and nurses him back to health because she sees the goodness in him when nobody else does.

Matthew and Grace in UNTOUCHED by La Campbell! Their's is such a pure beautiful love that blooms in such a dark, barren place. He sees it through all sorts of muck and trouble. He just sees that love and won't give up on it. SIGH!

Ulysses and Penelope in the Odyssey. What a wife! Weaving that tapestry by day and unweaving it by night all because she refuses to believe he won't come home to her. And the bed built with a tree as a bedpost. Come on! That whole story is romantic!

Cupid and Psyche. In spite of the fact that each of them lies to and hurts the other they still rescue each other and search for each other. Poor Pysche wins the award for the WORST MIL ever!

Camille and Armando from the novel Camille or the opera La Traviata. She is such a jaded lady and he makes her fall in love. And she loves him so much she lets him go, only to have him return to late as she lays dying. My very favorite tenor to sing this role with was my dear friend, Michael because he would fall across my dead body and weep as if his heart would break while the curtain came down. And yes, ladies, he was ONE HOT GUY! The bad news? He was gay!

Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre. I KNOW he tried to be a bigamist, but good grief he deserved SOME happiness and the fact that he saw it in this little wren of a woman endeared him to me.

Scherazade and King Shahryar - I like this pair for her, for the most part. A woman who can tell stories night after night AND make a ruthless man fall in love with her gets my vote! Gotta love a storyteller! :)

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal - Don't we all wish a man would love us enough to build that kind of monument when we go. I could do without the 18 kids, but hey, he REALLY loved her. I think of all the things man has built for war and other negative purposes and then look at the glory of the Taj Mahal - a monument to love. Makes you feel all gooey inside.

Cheri2628 said...

I also really like Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Rhett and Scarlett from Gone with the Wind.

A non-fictional couple that I like is Warren Beatty & Annette Bening. He was the ultimate Hollywood playboy, but he has really settled down with her and seems to have become a good husband and father of several children.

Of course, there's also Barbie and Ken who should be admired for their many years together and for keeping their relationship fresh! They have also never looked at another doll! LOL ;)

Keira Soleore said...

Gannon, looks like the chook certainly like to stay put in the mountains. 'haps it's cooler there then elsewhere.

Jo, I loved your post, particularly that look into your parents' marriage. Those are the kind of marriages we hope for our heroes and heroines to have. Fifty years later, we want their children to relate such stories to us.

The Sound of Music love tale fired up my young imagination. In books, Darcy and Elizabeth come to mind. Though there's a certain someone's Matthew who captured my heart, but whose HEA with someone not me, I gloried in. Some of Vermeer's portraits of ladies have made me wonder: How many of the women he had an affair with.

Keira Soleore said...

Louisa, your list made me laugh. You always do that to me. We have to meet in SF. I insist.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gannon,what's with you and the chook? Inquiring minds wanna know! Congratulations! You're obviously doing something right!

Goodness, La Cornell! I'm blushing! What company to include my Matthew and Grace in! Thank you! Hmm, someone wants Tim Tams at nationals, doesn't she? ;-)

Cheri, giggling at Barbie and Ken making your list. Didn't they get divorced recently?

Jo, what a wonderful post. I can think of so many, so I'll just put down a couple here:

Cupid and Psyche - you're so right, La Cornell. And as Beauty and the Beast is C&S retold, I'll include them in the same mention.

Jane Eyre and Rochester. Again, check out La Cornell's reasons.

Jervaulx and Maddie in Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. Such a heartbreaking story about two people who the world feels are so mismatched but who are matched in their souls.

Nicholas and Ghislaine from A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart. Both of these characters are so tortured and they find their redemption in each other. Amazing stuff!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Keira, how could I forget The Sound of Music? That's still one of my all-time faves! And what about the old Ghost and Mrs. Muir with a very gorgeous Rex Harrison longing for a very gorgeous Gene Tierney. Hey, and thanks for putting Matthew there too! And I already know you want Tim Tams!

Christine Wells said...

Jo, lovely post, particularly the Lewis/Burton one. No wonder you're a romance writer!

Movies--I love Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in Affair to Remember and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long Hot Summer.

Ficton--so many, but Venetia and Damerel in Venetia or maybe Sophy and Charles in The Grand Sophy. I also love Vicky Bliss and John Smythe in Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss mysteries.

Real life: they didn't end happily but I'm intrigued by Stevie Nicks and Lyndsey Buckingham's relationship since so much of it played out in the songs they sang as Fleetwood Mac.

Oh, and I love the Barrett/Browning story. I was very young when I saw the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street, but the memory has stayed with me all these years.

Gannon, congrats on the Golden Rooster!

Jane said...

My favorite real life couple is Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. They've been married for 50 years, which is an eternity for Hollywood couples. There were never any rumors of extramarital affairs. One of his famous quotes in regards to adultery was "Why Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Margay said...

Although I do adore Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, I have to give a shout-out to Jane Austen's other couples, led by Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley. She is a strong, independent woman who likes to gossip and interfere in the affairs of others and he is the gentle, understanding man who loves her anyways despite all of her flaws. I love how he doesn't try to change her, but wants her to see the error of her ways. And I love how he loves her unconditionally. He is the perfect foil for her.

A real life couple that I absolutely adore is Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Wat an incredible love story and partnership they have! Simply amazing in this day and age, regardless of their profession. No one has the staying power or the commitment of these two. They should be recognized for that fact alone somehow.

And this may be a little off the beaten pat, but I also love the connection between Belle and the Beast because she saw in him what others could not and her love made him a better man. I think that is a great lesson to pass down to our children about looking beyond the surface of a person to find the true beauty that lies within.

Helen said...

Well done Gannon

Great post Jo I loved the story about your parents.

I too love Rhett and Scarlett totally agree with you he really did understand her.
As for books I loved Matthew and Grace as well from untouched Louisa said it so well
I have just finished Jeanne's book Dark and Dangerous and I would add Caine and Dana to this list two people who really needed someone who understood exactly what they had been thru and who drew on each others strengths and gave all to each other when really needed.
Real life couple I would have to agree with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward to be still together in Hollywood for that long is amazing.

Have Fun

Maureen said...

My pick is Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward for being able to have stay married for all these years when so many other famous couples just can't deal with the media pressure.

Gannon Carr said...

Absolutely yes on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward! Their fifty year marriage is the exception in Hollywood, where most marriages have a shorter shelf life than a quart of milk! Kudos to them.

I do believe the GR enjoys the cooler weather here, but I think it may be the wine that lured him back!

Gannon Carr said...

Oops, I forgot to say how much I loved your parents story, Jo. That is so lovely.

Ann M. said...

From historical fiction...
Katherineby Anya Seton - the story of Katherine and John of Gaunt. Although John never became king of England, at the end of their lives they were happy. (or the book leads us to believe.)

Gillian Layne said...

Gannon, congrats on the GR!

Jo, this was a beautiful post. I love Amelia and Emerson from Elizabeth Peters because they completely adore each other while accepting each other's true personalities, even and especially the quirks that would aggravate anyone else to death!

Lois said...

Well, yep, Lizzie and Darcy of course. . . and the Phantom and Christine is another. . . but my favorite real life one is 18th dynasty Eqyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut and Senenmut -- at least, the possibility of, no one's entirely sure, but there is plenty of speculation. There's just too much to really get into here about why they could have been lovers or not, but I just really like the idea. :) And since Senenmut is the only name attached to Hatshepsut at this point. . . it sure is a big difference compared to Ramses II. ;)


Louisa Cornell said...

Keira, I agree! We have to meet in SF! Hey, I tell the truth, La Campbell. If the reward for the truth is Tim Tams, all the better!

Jo, I loved your parents' story as well. It is the little things that make love wonderful.

I concur with everyone about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. What a great marriage between two beautiful, talented and busy people. Their marriage will help him through his current health problems. And how could I forget The Long Hot Summer? What a great film!

Minna said...

Fiction: Eve Dallas and Roarke
Real life: Adolf and Karin-Birgitte Ehrnrooth

Minna said...

And another example from real life: Linus and Tove Torvals.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Congrats again Gannon!

Jo, what a beautiful post.

I agree with the Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward ideal of a Hollywood marriage. Do you think it's because they lived outside Hollywood?

How about Matt Damien marrying his high school sweetheart after becoming famous?

Then there's Johanna and Gabriel from Garwood's Saving Grace. Or James Mallory and Georgiana of Lindsey's Mallories. Ah, be still my heart!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Louisa/Pam, great choices and explanations for why you love these lovers.

Ah, Mr. Rochester, how can he not be everyone's favorite? So doomed for a foolish mistake of his wild youth! Who is your favorite actor to play him in film?

You know what they say about men -- all the good ones are married or gay LOL.

jo robertson said...

Cheri, Barbie and Ken, what a good choice! And after, what 50-plus years together, they still look as good as the day they got together!

jo robertson said...

Tell us more about Vermeer, Keira. I only know what I saw in the movie (VBG). Did he have one true love or just lots of affairs?

jo robertson said...

Oh, and Louisa, I forgot to say that Mary Balogh is one of my favorite romance writers. At National several years ago, I stood right behind her and wanted to tap her on the shoulder and totally GUSH over her. But I restrained myself. We Banditas are nothing if not classy!

Cheri, when I was a girl, I'd put on a record (yes, back in the Dark Age days of vinyl) and sing and dance along with Julie Andrews -- "the hills are alive with the sound of music" la, la, la -- to my heart's content.

jo robertson said...

Oops, that was Keira, not Cheri. Sawwwweee.

Anna, we ALL want Tim Tams at National. You'd better come armed to the teeth! And, of course, Matthew and Grace must be included in any list of lovers!

jo robertson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jo robertson said...

Christine, An Affair to Remember is one of my old favorites and wasn't it wonderful how it was further immortalized in the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie "Sleepless in Seattle"?

I love the scene where Hanks' real-life wife re-tells the story and Hanks and his buddy give a parody of her account using "The Dirty Dozen" war movie. Hilarious!

jo robertson said...

LOL on the steak/hamburger comment, Jane, about the Newmans. They are truly amazing for a Hollywood couple, especially considering how sexy Newman was in his heyday. Even now! That's an amazing marriage.

jo robertson said...

Margay, I totally agree on Belle and the Beast! That's my all-time favorite Disney movie. I love animated stories. I take my grandchildren and pretend it's for them, but it's really for me (G).

Speaking of Beauty and the Beast stories, I love the film version with George C. Scott as the Beast. Has anyone seen that one? It's quite old.

jo robertson said...

Hehehehe, Gannon, wine will always be a powerful lure! Don't get the rooster too tipsy, k?

Thanks to everyone for mentioning my parents. Their's was by no means a smooth relationship, but those small demonstrations of love made me realize how much they truly loved one another.

jo robertson said...

Heck, Ann, I'd give up a throne in a heartbeat for true happiness, wouldn't you?

Gillian, accepting each other's quirks and idiocyncracies is half the battle, isn't it? You have to laugh at them or pull your hair out!

jo robertson said...

Lois, tell us the story of Hatshepsut and Senenmut. I've heard of him, but not her. What's the skivvy on that one?

jo robertson said...

Ooooh, Minna, Roarke can put his slippers under my bed any day of the week. Shhhhh, don't tell Dr. Big!

jo robertson said...

I didn't know Matt Damon married his childhood sweetheart, Suz! Nor that Newman and Woodward lived outside the Hollywood limelight, but I suspect their long love affair is built on mutual respect and admiration. They're both pretty amazing people, inside or outside of Hollywood.

Nancy said...

Gannon--you're on a rooster roll. Congratulations! I think we could all use some cool mountain air by now.

What a fun post, Jo! Favorite lovers . . . changeable and hard to pick. In real life, I pick Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Staying married as long as they have is hard for anyone and doubly so in Hollywood.

In fiction, I'll go with Wren Valere and Sergei Didier from Laura Anne Gilman's wonderful Retrievers series (from Luna-book 5, Free Fall, which I just finished, now available, but starting at the beginning with Staying Dead is advisable.). And Francis Crawford of Lymond and his Phillippa from the late Dorothy Dunnett's fabulous, epic Lymond Chronicles.

Hmm. Those are both sets of lovers torn apart by circumstance and both going through their own hells in the process, with a romantic arc spanning several books. Is my choosing them indicative of a pattern? Or coincidence? I'm not sure.

Of course, I've always loved Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriett Vane, who had their own trials and tribulations. Also Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland playing opposite each other in anything. Like I said, it's hard to pick.

Kennan said...

great post, mom! i loved seeing the picture of my grandparents at the end.

i like to think of my own marriage as the greatest love story ever told (hee hee). last night my husband gave me the best compliment in our 13 years together. when speaking about somebody who doesn't like me (and is quite rude to me at that!), he said: "now, i can understand why somebody wouldn't like me...isn't it obvious? but kennan? anybody who doesn't like kennan is an ass!"

now there is romance! he actually made me cry (could it be the pms?) because i felt so loved.

mike's favorite couple is Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth (just thought i'd throw that in there). he loved that book! he always wanted lots of daughters just like Elizabeth but instead got just one Elizabeth and a couple of Wickhams! :)

one great fictional couple is in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. talk about unrequited love! Florentino swears to love no other than Fermina (despite the fact that she has a long enduring marriage with Juvenal, another long love story) and although he has lots of exotic affairs (though he truly never loves them!), he finally gets his true love in the end. a strange double love story that one, but a good read!

terrio said...

What a great topic. And I love the story of your parents, Jo. How special to have all those notes.

I agree about the Newman/Woodward answer. And there have actually been some great love stories out of Hollywood that lasted the years. James Garner and his wife have been married since his early days in the business I believe and I love the story of Hepburn and Tracy. Though she was technically the other woman, their love was just meant to be.

I couldn't pick just one from fiction. Though I might be able to narrow it down to either a LaVyrle Spencer couple or maybe Dorothy Garlock. Anything from her wild west/pioneering stories to her mid-20th century ones. That woman can write a love story so beautifully.

shannon said...

My favorites are Ross and Racheal. :) Come on! That crazy crush Ross had forEVER and how he watched her date these other guys like the Italian hottie that couldn't even speak English (Paolo) and then finally they have a fight and he storms out of the coffee shop and then comes back and kisses her!! You literary divas have to admit it... that was HOT! :)
And of course my husband has had his moments too. He is quite the poet. His most recent love poem goes a little like this...
My wife is like sunshine so bright and shiney.
My wife is perfect, like a Supermodel's heiney.
My wife smells sweet, like the morning dew.
My wife never smells like dog poo on a shoe.
My wife is real skinny and looks great in clothes.
My wife's face is lovely, now that she fixed her nose.
Really, the truth is, my wife is the breast.
Oops. I meant to say, my wife is the best!
Can you see why I love him?!

MsHellion said...

Favorite book lovers: Ron & Hermione from the Harry Potter series. They were such a real couple. *LOL* They bickered incessantly; and I love when in book 7, Ron returns and Hermione goes off on him. I rooted for them the whole time; you just knew those two were hooking up. They just seemed real and they complemented each other...and they had a HEA, unlike Rhett and Scarlett.

Celebrity couple: James Garner and his wife (granted I don't know who she is), but I think he's an absolute sweetheart and his advice to longevity in a marriage was: RESPECT HER. Don't do anything to embarrass her should it come out. What great advice!

(And my heart broke when Nancy put her head on Ronald's casket to say goodbye...)

Movie couple: Definitely the Captain and Maria. What a romantic film! Pride & Prejudice--Colin Firth version--OMG, he had the best bad proposal ever. *LOL* OH, I know: Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility. Alan Rickman was amazing as Colonel Brandon--and he was a man who you'd gladly take a quiet, lasting passion over the passionate-unlasting whirlwind of the young Greg Wise. (Of course, this story was rather ruined for me since it was pointed out that both these women were "settling"--and I didn't think of it that way. I always thought Brandon was the better man.)

Nancy said...

Lots of Elizabeth and Darcy fans, I see, and I can't quibble with those choices. I'm glad Paul and Joanne have so many fans.

Louisa, both Ulysses and Penelope and Cupid and Psyche would've been on my "extended list" (similar to the NYT one). Your reference to "meeting in SF" reminded me of genre SF, which reminded me of Cordelia and Aral Vorkosigan in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. Speaking of trials and tribulations in more than one book.

Cheri, LOL on Barbie and Ken! Let's don't forget their pals, Midge and Alan. *g*

Christine, you reminded me of Deborah Kerr and Robert Taylor in Quo Vadis, which still turns up on cable around Easter.

Gillian, I always liked Amelia and Emerson. Ramses eventually got on my nerves, though. Kind of like early Wesley Crusher on STTNG.

limecello said...

Oh - I love Rhett and Scarlet. I firmly believe at some point after the book ends they get back together. Book, movie, whatever. (I'm also going to ignore "Scarlet" and whatever other sequels beecause they are too much.) The Darcy's are good too - oh and the Persuasion - Anne and Wentworth finally getting together after years and years. Of course there are a lot more - but not enough space!

jo robertson said...

Shannon, ROTFLMAO about your husband's poem. What a catch! What a guy! You must be so proud of him, tee hee.

And how could I forget Ross and Rachel? Their on-again, off-again romance never got tiring.

"We were on a break!" Hilarious!

jo robertson said...

Limecello, I'm with you. I firmly believe Scarlett and Rhett got back together. Mitchell left it open when she had the heroine say, "Tomorrow's another day." And besides, didn't Scarlett always get what she wanted?

jo robertson said...

Nancy, I don't know the Vorkosigan series. Can you give us a quick run down? (Hangs head in shame for being so ignorant about sci-fi)

Mshellion, isn't Alan Rickman simply the most versatile actor ever? Remember him in the Robin Hood movie where he was the comical villain? Too funny. And then as Captain Brandon, so stoic, so strong. We should all be so lucky to settle for someone like him.

jo robertson said...

Kennan, I'm impressed! You actually made it through Marquez' Love in the Time of? Wahhoooo! He's not an easy dude to read.

Ah, Mikey's a sweetie, huh? Glad you like the pic of Ben and Betty, sweet, huh? It's hard to remember that our parents were once once and vibrant like that. Betty was the 17-year-old daughter of the town sheriff and Ben was the 21-year-old bad boy in town.

Now THAT'S the stuff of a romance!

jo robertson said...

Terrio, I'd forgotten about James Garner and his wife. Does anyone know her name? I loved watching Maverick on TV -- "who is the tall, dark stranger there," la, la. I always thought Garner was the more interesting of the two brothers.

Buffie said...

Jo, what a wonderful post!! I found myself smiling throughout the entire thing. And I love that fact that you included your parents. Yes, every day romances are what make the world go round!

I find myself shaking my head yes to all of the posts. You ladies have thought of everyone. I can't think of anyone else.

Shannon, I totally agree with your Ross and Rachel suggestion. That was the best scene of the entire show. Loved it! And loved your dh's poem :)

Gannon, congrats on another rooster nab!

Buffie said...

I just had a wonderful couple come to mind. Sin and Caledonia (Callie) from Kinley MacGregor's BORN IN SIN. Fabulously, wonderful couple. Sin is so tortured and Callie is able to show him the love she has and the love he has deep down inside.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and lovely post! I enjoyed it so much. My favorite lovers of all time are Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Shakes me up.

jo robertson said...

Anne, Casablanca's gotta be one of the best love stories ever. When she gets on that plane and leaves Rick -- heartbreak!

His name was Rick wasn't it? It'll always be Humphrey in my mind LOL.

jo robertson said...

Buffie, I have to confess not to having read Born in Sin. Another book to add to my already tottering TBR pile :-D.

Anonymous said...

Your post today resounded with me. I loved the photos and the entire theme. Emotional and beautiful. Your parents look wonderful. My favorite lovers are Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Unforgettable.

jennybrat said...

Allie and Noah in The Notebook. It's so touching the way they lost and found each other and how their love endured the heartbreaking effects of senile dementia. My eyes were blurry during the entire last quarter of the film.

petite said...

Unique post today which I appreciated. What else matters in life. Those photos are precious. I always think about my favorite lovers from books, or in real life and I do have a few. James Dean and Natalie Wood, and the novel, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristow.

Anonymous said...

Your post today was so special and original. What a great topic to explore. Loved the pics and especially so of your parents. Favorite lovers for me are: Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall in Diana Gabaldon's series. In the movie, Cinema Paradiso, I adore the combination of Salvatore and Elena. Thanks for memories and the best post.

Amy S. said...

Book- Rhett and Scarlet
Movie- Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride

Pat Cochran said...

I totally agree on the Paul Newman
and Joanne Woodward selections! Also Elizabeth and Darcy. One that has
not been mentioned (I think) is the
CBS show Beauty and The Beast and Vincent and Catherine!

Pat Cochran

kimmyl said...

Wow you guys have picked most of the good ones. LOL
Romeo and Juliet
Deirdre and Don Juan-The dashing Earl of Everdon from Lovers and Ladies by Jo Beverley
Matt Farrell from Paradise by Judith McNaught
Derek Craven, Dreaming of You
Jamie Fraser, Outlander

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hey, Jo, what a great post! I'm embarassed to admit this, but off the top of my head I can't think of a favorite couple. Every time I get sucked into a good romance, THEY are my favorite couple. What can I say? I'm easy. :-)

Your parents' story was beautiful. Love notes are wonderful, especially the ones you don't expect. And the fact that your mom continued finding them even after your dad passed? *sigh* It's a lovely thing.

Oh, by the way, as an avid reader of People magazine & a devotee of celebrity gossip, I must correct this bit of misinformation: Matt Damon did NOT marry his high school sweetheart. He married an Italian bartender, which has always offended me. I mean, yes, I was already taken but STILL. A bartender? Please. He could have just pined for me, right? He didn't have to go out & marry the girl serving his drinks.

Anyway, it was Chris O'Donnell who married his high school sweetheart. They look enough alike that I can see the confusion, though.

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, I like this post (purely self-interest, of course!). Thanks for picking out Matthew and Grace too, Helen. I'm just about to start Jeanne's book. It looks fantabulous.

Ann, Katherine was my favorite book in the universe when I was in my early teens. I cried my eyes out over it and loved the happy ending. I saw her grave in Lincoln Cathedral a couple of years ago - reminded me how much I love that story.

Lois, there's a wonderful book I read years ago about Hatshepsut which was so romantic - although sad at the end. She fell in love with her architect - is that the guy you mention? Wish I could remember what it was called.

Minna said...

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward reminded me of Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber (Dempsey & Makepeace). They haven't been married quite as long yet, though.

Anonymous said...

I cherish your post today since it is about life, love and something meaningful and lasting. Your parents story, the notes and photo brought emotions to the surface. So sweet and lovely. Favorite lovers bring back fond memories of another place and time for me. Emma Harte and Blackie O'Neill are my favorite lovers since they depict what love is forever.

catslady said...

I agree with the ones listed about but I was always partial to Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I :)

Kris Kennedy said...

Beautiful post. Otherwise, I haven't anything to add to others' wonderful suggestions. :-)

Well, maybe one. A friend's parents, whose kitchen I basically grew up in. They watched as their beautiful, vivacious daughter (my friend) died slowly over the course of a year from a sudden and fatal illness.

And through it, they kept loving each other. Kept turning towards each other, instead of away.

I love them so much for that gentle, relentless love, that made me believe


Suzanne Welsh said...

Well, if we're going for TV loves...Luke and Laura anyone?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Dang it Susan, I thought she was his high school sweetheart....must go check out my People connections!! Coz someone married their high school sweetheart!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Chris O'Donnel!! That's who I meant...really. (Fell in love with the boy in "A Circle Of Friends")

Minna said...

Did you know Matt Damon has Finnish blood in his veins?

jo robertson said...

Oh, Ruth, that scene on the beach with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. What WAS that movie? On the Beach?

And I loved her with Bogart, I think it was, in "Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison," where she was a nun. Talk about unattainable heroines!

jo robertson said...

And didn't The Notebook translate well into the movie, Jennybrat?

Can you imagine how heartbreaking it must be to have forgotten how much you loved someone? Or have them forget you?

jo robertson said...

Petite, I completely forgot about Fiona and Joe from The Tea Rose. That was a recent read of mine. And have you read the sequel? I won't say who's the hero/heroine in the sequel because it would ruin the first book for everyone, don't you agree?

Diane, Jamie Fraser is the best Scotsman ever! Well, actually, I'm starting to fall in love with Craig Ferguson on the Late, Late Show. He's weirdly goofily funny!

jo robertson said...

Great choices, kimmyl. I debated about Romeo and Juliet because they're so danged young! Can you really be deeply in love at that age? OTOH, you can see the maturity they develop from the play's beginning to the end, and oh, the tragedy!

Thanks, Susan, about my mom and dad's notes. And it was interesting that WE children found them after Mom passed, so there were a few that she missed LOL.

I'm like you -- there are so many great lovers to name (and the readers have done a superb job btw) that my favorites are the ones I'm reading about at the moment. I love to get immersed in their particular love story.

jo robertson said...

Thanks for correcting the misinfo about Matt Damon, and I'm with you, a bartender? But I understand they're very happy.

Isn't Chris O'Donnell a baby-faced sweetie?

Minna, if Matt has Finnish blook in him, we'll forgive the Italian bartender LOL.

jo robertson said...

Kris, thanks for sharing your friends' story. So often tragedies tear marriages (and families) apart. It nice to know that there are those who overcome that kind of heartbreak.

And thanks to everyone I neglected to mention for enjoying Ben Lewis and Betty Burton's picture. They were so young and hopeful and full of life in that photo. I love to remember them like that.

You can tell my dad was a bit of a devil. I think HE should've been the hero of a romance book.

Keira Soleore said...

Oh, that Rex Harrison, ooh la la. I'd take him young or old in a heartbeat, unless Sidney Poitier came to call. And that reminds me of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. What courage of one's convictions and trust in love it must take to fly in the face of tradition and bigotry in that manner?

Fo m'dear, of course, there's a box of Tim Tams in your suitcase with my name on it.

Minna, I agree with you on Linus and Tove Torvals.

Louisa, the Taj Mahal. Of course!

Jo, Vermeer had a wife and a passel of kids and still carried on right under the noses of his wife and mother-in-law. The kind of detail and emotion that goes into his portraits of the women cannot be achieved without spending a lot of time with them. I'm alleging that he had affairs with them, too.

Keira Soleore said...

I adore Matt Damon. Glad to know that he can be claimed as their own on multiple continents, so hopefully, his movies are played everywhere to large audiences.

Gannon Carr said...

Ack! I can't believe I forgot to mention Eve and Roarke. One of my favorite fictional couples, no doubt. Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series are right up there as well. Love them!

Ann M, I remember reading Katherine when I was in high school--fantastic book. I saw John of Gaunt's suit of armor at the Tower Of London. He was incredibly tall.

flchen1 said...

Ooh, congrats on the GR, Gannon!

Favorite lovers... I agree with Sebastian and Evie from Devil in Winter are right up there--I do adore that in spite of how different they seemed on the outside, that they were kindred spirits and I also loved how his love for her redeemed him (and he was quite the rake...)

I also agree about the Newmans--any couple who can make it together in such limelight clearly has a lasting kind of love!

Anonymous said...

I was captivated with your post today. Who wouldn't? Love is what makes us complete.
A favorite choice of lovers for me is King Arthur and Guinevere.

Cheri2628 said...

Susan said, " Every time I get sucked into a good romance, THEY are my favorite couple."

That is so ME, Susan. I always love the couple in the current book that I am reading. There have been so many really good couples that I am now getting a filled-up bookshelf with keepers. Sometimes, silly romantic me will get one of the books off the shelf to re-read a favorite scene and sigh.

And, Suzanne, I really liked Luke and Laura and several other soap opera couples. I finally became disillusioned with soaps because my favorite couples never had a happy ending.

Keira Soleore said...

Banditas, I actually have a new post up, and on a Monday, no less (well, at least it's Monday in Seattle still).

shannon said...

Mom, it was "From Here to Eternity" wasn't it? With Burt and Deborah? I didn't even SEE that movie but I know the title :)

And as far as your favorite being who you are currently reading, I feel that way about movies too. When a couple of actors have really beautiful and believable chemisty onscreen I just LOVE it. And when they don't I get reeeeally bent! It can totally RUIN a good movie when you simply don't believe the romance.

jo robertson said...

I KNOW, Shannon, about on-screen chemistry being horrible when it's kaput! The worst I ever saw, I think, was Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte in a romantic comedy whose name I've forgotten. I adore both of them, but together -- not happening! Awful chem!

Thanks for the tip on From Here to Eternity. I was thinking that was Montgomery Cliff, whom you've probably never heard of LOL.

Nathalie said...

I have to say I used to love any romantic movie with Audrey Hepburn, wether with Gary Cooper, Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart!

jo robertson said...

Cheri2826, the trouble with soap operas is, unless you intro new characters, there are only so many permutations you can make of different lovers.

Like with Grey's Anatomy, which I adore, but finally everybody's got to sleep with everybody else to sustain the conflict and then it just gets yucky.

Lily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jo robertson said...

We must be showing our age, Nathalie, because I love Hepburn too. Those eyes, OMG. And what a classy lady in real life. I saw her in this horrible scary movie -- Wait Until Dark -- where she played a blind woman. Talk about a terrifying movie. M. Night Shyamalan, move over! But I adored her in the romances.

Lily said...

I have to say the heroes from Persuasion by Jane Austen!

But I have to say I love any nice romantic movie, so...

jo robertson said...

Yay, Keira, everyone rush over and read her Monday blog :-D.

Nathalie said...


I agree it is her eyes and her everlasting innocent look that does it for me... However, I discovered her movies by chance when they used to air them late at night!

I love their old charm... and I am in my early 20s!!

jo robertson said...

Lily, I never met an Austen novel I didn't like, but Persuasion, though not as well known as P&P and Emma, might well be my favorite.

Thanks, Ellie (my granddaughter's name btw), glad you enjoyed the post. Arthur and Guinevere, hmmmm, what about Guinevere and Launcelot? BTW, the film Excalibur that came out in the 80's is a terrific re-telling of the Arthurian legend, one of my favorites. Have you seen it?

jo robertson said...

Oops, sorry, Nathalie, I thought your "voice" was very young-sounding. Then I'm the only one revealing her age. I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's when I was a girl and I fell in love with her, although there were many more before that time.

Thank goodness for late-night shows or all culture would be lost! :-D.

jo robertson said...

Fedora, I'm a sucker for ANY book about redemption, whether or not it's a romance, but especially a romance. One of my favorite plays is The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Oooh, and there's another pair of lovers. Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. He wrote friggin' PLAYS for her. Sigh.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Keira, for the info about Vermeer. I'm woefully ignorant of painters and their lives. My, he was quite the womanizer, huh?

Interesting question -- do we forgive "genius" their flaws? I know we do with our "romance geniuses," but that's b/c in a romance we KNOW the heroine will tame the wild beast, ha ha.

Maybe this is a question for another blog post!

Cherie J said...

My favorites are Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.

Keira Soleore said...

Jo asks, "Interesting question -- do we forgive "genius" their flaws?"

Oh yes, we do. We make the mistake that the narrow field in which the person is a genius is the whole person. A pianist is defined by his musical talent; no matter what sort of personality the person might have. (Our Regency heroes complain that prospective bride hopefuls see them as Titles and Wealth, not as flesh-n-blood men.)

And since we admire the talent, we're ready to excuse everything so that we may bask in the reflected light of that talent.

OK, I'm off my soapbox now.

Keira Soleore said...

And Jo and Nathalie, no, you're not showing your ages. I ADORE Audrey Hepburn, the actress and the woman and her activism.

Louisa Cornell said...

Jo, would you believe one of my favorite Rochesters is Timothy Dalton? I have the mini series on VHS and he was young enough to do tortured very well. When she left him and he called out after her it was agonizing and beautiful. I also have a version with William Hurt in it which is not bad at all.

And who mentioned Yul Brinner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I? Read the book Anna and the King of Siam and you will get much more detail about the relationship between these two VERY opinionated people. Really lovely.

Oh yes! Wesley and Buttercup. Love that movie!

And Alan Rickman is just one of the best actors in the business.

I think you all know that my parents wrote to each other for a year before they ever met. They dated for one week, actually had only one date. Married 7 days after they met and were married for 40 years before Dad died. He bought her a ring every Christmas for 40 years, each one different. We love to sit and look through them as they tell a real story about our lives and their love. You can tell the years when things were lean and when they were better. You can tell that he ALWAYS saw her as this delicate Southern lady. But he would be the first to tell you "If you sleep with a squaw, you'd better be sure you behave. She'll scalp you in your sleep!"

Beth said...

Great post, Jo! I agree with the couples already named and will add one of my own favorites: George and Mary Bailey *g*

Yes, I adore It's A Wonderful Life (as I believe I've probably mentioned here a time or two) and my favorite scene is when George and Mary are sharing the phone (listening to Sam) right before their first kiss :-)

flchen1 said...

I have to agree, Jo--I'm a huge sucker for a good redemption story, romance or not :) Oh, and while I do agree that Jacob's love for Rachel was amazing, it always made me a little sad to think about Leah...

jo robertson said...

Isn't that a wonderful story, Beth, and we're so lucky It's a Wonderful Life went into the public domain so we can watch it on TV every Christmas.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Fedora, I always think of Leah as a conniving woman so I can enjoy the Jacob and Rachel story better. But you're right; she was probably a victim in the whole situation.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Louisa, what a beautiful story about your parents. The whole rings thing just makes me cry. I guess with writing each other for an entire year they got to know each other better than if they'd met in person first.

That reminds me of that old story about a woman writing a soldier for a long time and she'd never send him a picture. They fell in love through the letters and arranged to met after the war. He asked how he'd know her and she said, "I'll be holding a yellow rose." At the station the woman carrying the rose was a worn-out, older woman, but he went right up to her. Of course, the beautiful heroine of the story waited in the wings to "test" his true love for her.

Sappy story, but I always loved it!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, everyone, for making today such an enjoyable blog. All your suggestions of lovers was spot on! And thanks for the compliments on my folks.

I'll be posting the winner of the Amazon gift certificate within the next few days, so be sure to check back!

peggy said...

my favorite lovers
would have to be roy rogers and dale evans they were the true romantic couple .
mark anthony and cleopatra
afer watching the movie with elizbeth tayor and richard burton
i fell in love with this couple and still watch this movie every chance i get.
rory Macleod and Isabel MacDonald
in the highlander untamed written byMonica McCarty. a forced handfast marriage. that truns into a deep and true love.

Caffey said...

Oh I love the beaufiful historical pictures you found! Just so beautiful to look at! This was hard to pick out 3!:

1. Annie and James in ANNIE'S SONG by Catherine Anderson. Just a beautiful romance of a woman who is deaf and a man you loves her for all she is. A very special read for me.

2. King Arthur, Gueneviere, Lancelot. This was a love triangle but I so love to read the romances that come out and as I learn more about Camelot and more. I have tho lots left to learn, but fascinated
by this triangle.

3. From D. H. Lawrence's LADY CHATTERLY'S LOVER, which was one of my first 'romances' I remember reading and Lady Chatterly, Constance and the Gamekeeper, Oliver (I think that is his name). Even with a forbidden love, I was enchanted by their need for physical love and attention as well. One I should read again soon.

kim h said...

veyr hot couples. love romeo and juliet. so romantic and tragic

Cassondra said...

JO, what an amazing blog! I'm so sorry I'm late to the party, but I think your parents' love story is the best of all. It made me cry!