File photo by Tom Wallace.

File photo by Tom Wallace.

Is the scene in "Persuasion" when Capt. Wentworth leaves the love note for Anne Elliot the most romantic love scene ever written? (Oh, to get a letter that says, "You pierce my soul!")

Or maybe the tragic, true story of Abelard and Heloise is the most romantic book ever. The version I read, back in high school, was one I discovered in the stacks of the Duluth Public Library. It was written by George Moore, and the Duluth library had a first edition from 1921--bound in black leather, with yellowed, deckle-edge pages,.

The dialogue was not set off by quotation marks, but flowed through the text in what seemed to me to be a very poetic manner. I devoured that book, weeping a little, wishing, perhaps, just a little, that I, too, could be seduced by my teacher, who would then be castrated, and I would then flee into a nunnery where we would write passionate letters to each other for the rest of our lives.

It seemed, at age 16, to be the perfect relationship.

(And oh, the books you can find in your library!)

And of course there's Catherine and Heathcliff, though they left me colder than they did my friends. And that moment in "These Happy Golden Years" when Laura and Almanzo get engaged, and she offers her cheek to him and says, primly, "You may kiss me." It doesn't take much; it's all about timing and context and, of course, the way the author builds to that moment.

What are your favorites? Your most romantic books, or stories, or scenes? It's Valentine's Day. Let's get those hearts a-pumping.






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