I learned long ago that romance works much better in fiction than it does in real life. Here are my favorite fictional romances:
- Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
It’s the most obvious choice, but also a good one. Jane Austen pioneered the romantic comedy, a genre that delights many to this day. Though her novel was written in a tongue-in-cheek style, the characterization of her main protagonists, no-nonsense Elizabeth and aloof Mr. Darcy, are deep and engaging.
The tale of this unlikely couple has lept onto the silver screen numerous times with varying degrees of success. As always, the novel remains the best source for experiencing the classic tale.
- Vin and Elend, “The Mistborn Trilogy” by Brandon Sanderson.
“The Mistborn Trilogy,” more than any other series, turns the fantasy genre on its head. The romance found at its heart is no different. Our girl Vin is a former street urchin-turned-assassin tasked with taking down a physical god, when she falls for idealist and politics nerd Elend while undercover.
Vin and Elend’s relationship develops naturally over the course of the trilogy, morphing from dangerous romance to committed relationship as both fight to save their world from crumbling around them. “The Mistborn Trilogy” is available from all booksellers.
- Locke and Sabetha, “The Republic of Thieves” by Scott Lynch
The third novel in Lynch’s Renaissance-era “Gentleman Bastards” fantasy series features the return of master conman Locke alongside his former lover Sabetha, the only person who could possibly beat him at his own game. A mix of fantasy and high-stakes intrigue, “The Republic of Thieves” spins the romance from Locke’s perspective both as an inexperienced boy and an older, but not much wiser, man.
Locke and Sabetha’s complex relationship gets more interesting as they are pitted against each other in a contest where success is as deadly as failure. Though the book is available from all booksellers, would-be fans should begin with Lynch’s first novel in the series, “The Lies of Locke Lamora.”
- Marko and Alana, “Saga” by Bryan K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Billed as “Star Wars” meets “Game of Thrones” meets “Romeo and Juliet,” the hit comic book series “Saga” is perhaps the strangest blend of fantasy and science fiction I’ve ever read. “Saga” follows Marko and Alana, two former soldiers from opposing sides of an endless galactic war.
Unlike most love stories, “Saga” begins with the birth of their child and follows them as they evade pursuit from both of their governments and pick up allies and enemies along the way. The series features equal parts action and heart and is highly recommended for its realistic depiction of romance in a fantastic era of war. Four volumes featuring the first 24 chapters are currently available.
- Bella and Edward, “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer
You know, even I don’t think this is funny anymore.