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WV Book Team: Books that star great romantic couples

Some of the greatest romances happen in the pages of books. Will Jane Eyre end up with Mr. Rochester? Will Rhett return to Scarlett? A number of classic couples have been featured recently, but many remain. The reader’s investment in the ups and downs of the relationship make it hard to put the book down.

In Jojo Moyes “Me Before You,” neither Louisa (Lou) Clark nor Will Traynor are looking for love, but they unexpectedly find it. Lou, a cautious individual who has never strayed far from her hometown, finds herself working as a home health aide for Will Traynor, a reclusive paraplegic who used to live life to its fullest capacity.

Lou and Will weave their lives together in this funny and heartbreaking romance novel that will pull at your heartstrings, and maybe even make you shed a few tears. Lou and Will’s love story will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Dorothy Sayer’s sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, had solved a number of mysteries by the time she wrote “Strong Poison.” At this point, Wimsey solves crime as a distraction from his experiences in World War I.

Harriet Vane was earning her living writing detective stories after the death of both of her parents. Unfortunately for the industrious young woman, her former lover dies by the very method being researched in her next book.

After Vane is arrested for the murder of her lover, Wimsey visits her in jail and offers to help. During their initial meeting, he asks her to marry him. Does he truly see his match in this serious, educated woman?

Stuck in an untenable situation, Vane follows her moral code and says no. It is her conflicts about balancing her own goals and ideals with those society promotes that makes her so appealing. Many feel Vane mirrors conflicts that Sayers had herself. Read on in the series to find out what happens.

“Carol” was written by Patricia Highsmith under the pen name Claire Morgan in 1952. Young Therese is working in a department store when the glamorous, older Carol comes in to buy a gift for her daughter.

At the start of the novel, each is in a relationship with a man, but they find themselves attracted to one another and begin an affair. The novel deals with the repercussions of their relationship when it is discovered.

Highsmith broke with conventions of the time with her realistic — yet happy — ending, giving the book its longevity. “Carol” was made into a film in 2015 starring Cate Blanchett and Mara Rooney.

In Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day,” Lord Darlington’s butler, Stevens, recounts the story of his life in service. Stevens’ life is defined by service, formality and propriety. After the death of Lord Darlington, his somewhat rigid choices and view of the world have come home to roost.

The catalyst for his re-examination is a letter from the former housekeeper at the estate, Miss Kenton, now Mrs. Bunn. Did Stevens miss an opportunity for happiness? Was his blind loyalty to Darlington, who worked to appease the German fascists, justified?

This Man Booker Award-winning novel eventually was turned into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in 1993.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Every generation has its weeper. “Love Story” by Erich Segal was that tale for the early 1970s.

Oliver Barrett, the rich jock at Yale University, meets studious blue-collar Jenny Cavelleri, a student at Radcliffe College. Against all odds, they fall in love.

“Love Story” got no love from the critics, who trashed the novel. Readers, on the other hand, kept the book on the New York Times Bestseller List for 41 weeks.

Segal was able to balance the tears with playfulness, which really appealed to readers. Fans of Nicholas Sparks will enjoy this classic tearjerker.

In “Twilight,” Stephanie Meyer mixed elements to make for an addictive love story. It was a literary phenomenon featuring Edward, a sexy vampire, Bella, a strong, yet innocent heroine and a forbidden love. Meyer was inspired by fragments of a dream and the novel “Jane Eyre.”

Bella has moved to the Pacific Northwest to live with her dad. While Edward is in her biology class, it seems at first that they don’t have a lot of chemistry. After he saves her life, their dynamic changes, and they begin a dance around the dangers of a human-vampire love affair.

At the height of the stories’ popularity, the Kanawha County Public Library had hundreds of holds on the books. Fans divided into “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” as two characters vied for Bella’s affection. Staff heard over and over how readers just couldn’t put down the book about forbidden vampire love.

Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” bubbles with the mishaps and moments found in the best romantic comedies, as Bridget and Mark Darcy try to work out their relationship. This famous literary couple meet again at her family holiday party, while they are both mortifyingly wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.

We follow the ups and downs of their love story by reading Bridget Jones’ diary entries. Their love story is a modern reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, written in diary format, with work problems, cocktails and dieting thrown into the mix.

J.K. Rowling created one of the most beloved literary couples in modern fiction. Ron and Hermione are the couple you root for throughout the “Harry Potter” series. Hermione, the smart, strong-willed Hogwarts student and Ron, the best friend of the famous Harry Potter, could not have been less interested in each other. However, through trials and danger, their love for one another grows as they advance through their years at Hogwarts.

Together they encounter some of literature’s most mythic and beloved characters while falling head over heels for each other.

It is often said, there is no love like your first love. Explore the trials, tribulations, infatuation and fragility of young love in “Norwegian Wood” by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

Twenty years after his first love, Toru hears the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood,” and begins to reflect on his college days when he fell in love with fellow student Naoko. Naoko and Toru are drawn to each other by a mutual tragedy and their resulting sadness.

However, Toru begins to break free from his sadness and meets another woman, Midori. Toru faces tough choices about whether to continue his relationship with Naoko or to follow his heart to Midori. This heartbreaking love triangle elicits feelings that often prove that with great love also comes great sadness.

Westley and Buttercup from “The Princess Bride” are one of the most famous on-screen couples. But first, they were a literary couple in William Goldman’s novel of the same name.

Farmhand Westley falls in love with Buttercup, widely known as one of the most beautiful women in the kingdom. When she, too, professes her love, Westley sets off on a journey, seeking a fortune he feels will make him worthy of marriage. Believing him dead, Buttercup finds herself engaged to the evil Prince Humperdinck.

The readers will find themselves asking, have Westley and Buttercup sealed their fate? Will they reunite happily ever after? Their love story takes the reader on a magical ride through a series of dangerous adventures, hilarious moments and encounters with unforgettable characters. It would be inconceivable that it doesn’t end well.

Catch up on a good love story during the final weeks of winter at the Kanawha County Public Library. If love is not in the cards, ask staff to recommend another wonderful story to borrow.

For more information on these books or others, contact the main branch of the Kanawha County Public Library at 304-343-4646 or visit www.kanawhalibrary.org.

Funerals Today, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Childers, Margaret - 1:30 p.m., Ravenswood Cemetery.

Duppstadt, David - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Farris, John - 2 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Lehew, Anna - 2 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Manley, Alice - Noon, Spring Fork Missionary Baptist Church, Campbells Creek.

McLaughlin, Gary - 1 p.m., Maranatha Baptist Church, Charleston.

Siders, Joan - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Snead, Ruby - 1 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.