Friday, February 13, 2009

Romance: The Splendor of Silence

I hardly had time to read this week, let alone write about what I’m reading. So, with this spare moment, I tried to think of, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, any romantic books I would recommend.

I’m not a reader of romances, per se. But, I found romance, though high-school romance, in the Twilight series and Traveling Pants series. There’s romance in plenty of Chick Lit-type books, though it’s mostly cliché. But, when I think of romance, the books that really demonstrated love – all parts of love - were all three books by Indu Sundaresan: The Twentieth Wife, The Feast of Roses and The Splendor of Silence.

I’ve posted previously about The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses, a story and its sequel about the Indian Queen Mehrunnisa and her love for her husband the Emperor, set in 17th- and 18th-century India.

The Splendor of Silence, which is instead set in the 1940s, is about the love between a U.S. Army Captain and the daughter of an Indian politico. Their love is brief, very brief, but it produces something wonderful. The story of the couple’s love, pretty much forbidden, is heartwarming and heart breaking all at the same time. The book is told mostly through flashbacks, and tells of beauty, courage and romance. I saw this book on my shelf the other day and I want to read it all over again. While it's not a love story that's typical - we can't all have four-day, love-at-first-sight, forbidden love affairs, and everyday love is good too - it's still magical and I got swept up in it. And that's my definition of a good romance novel.

End note: While many may think Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up by Hallmark as a way to sell more cards, I think it’s wonderful. In times like these, when we’re unsure of what the future may hold and we’re stressing out, it never hurts to take a moment and celebrate the love you have for those around you. And if Feb. 14 causes us to do that, then more power to cupid.

What are your favorite romance stories - true or fictional?

1 comment:

CMS said...

I love The Notebook.

Another wonderful story about true love is Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-and-son team from MA who compete in marathons and triathlons together.
From their website: "It's a remarkable record of exertion—all the more so when you consider that Rick can't walk or talk."
For the past 25 years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in a small but heavy, firmly stabilized boat being pulled by Dick." Dick does it for Rick because his son doesn't feel handicapped when they're competing. It's such a great story about inspiration and dedication and motivation and love and trust and just a really wonderful bond between a dad and his boy.