The most swoon-worthy literary sweethearts
Francesca Sylph discusses her favourite literary couples that’ll undoubtedly make your heart melt.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me (i.e. single and alone), you’ll use the day as an excuse to dress entirely in pink and shamelessly devour several soppy romance novels in one sitting. Reading becomes a lot more fun when you free yourself from the shackles of “good” vs “bad” books and simply allow yourself to enjoy fluffy romances. Without further ado, here is my list of trope-heavy and unapologetically cliché romantic couples to keep you company this Valentine’s Day.
Adam and Olive from The Love Hypothesis
If you haven’t heard of this one, I’m going to assume you don’t have TikTok. The Love Hypothesis follows third-year biology PhD candidate Olive (we love a woman in STEM) who stumbles her way into a fake relationship with Adam, a disgruntled professor. All of our favourite tropes are here: grumpy meets sunshine, fake dating, workplace romance, and so many more. If you devoured this in less than a day like I did, get excited: Ali Hazelwood will be publishing four more steamy STEMinist romcoms this year.
Charlie and Nick from Heartstopper
I’m switching gears a bit here to talk about my favourite graphic novel and ongoing webcomic, Heartstopper, which tells the story of secondary school sweethearts: soft-hearted rugby player Nick and shy, overthinking Charlie. A relatively simple story (“Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love…”), Heartstopper is a sweet and sensitive portrayal of queer first love and coming-of-age. The fifth and final volume will be released later this year, as well as a Netflix adaptation dropping this spring.
Evelyn and Celia from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
An epic romance for the ages, Evelyn and Celia’s love story spans more than forty years. Ageing Hollywood starlet Evelyn Hugo sits down with an unknown journalist in a tell-all interview to discuss her glamourous and scandalous life – from her seven husbands to the one woman she loved throughout: “I spent half my time loving her and the other half hiding how much I loved her”. Beautiful, heart-wrenching, and meticulously crafted, you will be rooting for Evelyn and Celia until the very end.
Alex and Henry from Red, White and Royal Blue
Red, White and Royal Blue is big on the tropes and big on the cheese. I’m talking “love declarations in the rain” levels of cheese. But, honestly? I ate it all up. The relationship between Alex, extroverted First Son of the United States, and Henry, reserved Prince of England, is classic enemies to lovers with a dash of fake dating (more like fake friendship, but close enough). If you’re looking for a big escapist cliché queer romcom, then this might be the one for you.
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
There is no way I could have written this list without including the greatest literary couple of all time, without whom the romance genre would not be what it is today. Lizzie and Darcy, the original enemies to lovers, practically invented romance and witty verbal sparring. If you’re trying to get into classics but don’t know where to begin, Pride and Prejudice is the perfect place to start: it is accessible and so well-known that it will already feel familiar. It is a truth universally acknowledged that every lover of romance novels must read Pride and Prejudice at some point in their lives.