When a book chooses to put a relationship into the narrative, that can sometimes make or break the story. Done well, it can create something truly magical that keeps you going back to the story over and over.
I'm a sucker for a good romance, but here are ten of the relationships that have stayed with me long after I've finished reading a book.
Puck & Sean
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
“I say, 'I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.'
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, 'It's late for that, Puck.”
Slow and creeping and utterly captivating, I adore the relationship that gradually builds between these two. A fascination with each otherness, a foundation of mutual respect and admiration, and a slow heat and intensity that rewards the slow build between them over the course of the book.
Celia & Marcus
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“I would have written you, myself, if I could put down in words everything I want to say to you. A sea of ink would not be enough.' 'But you built me dreams instead.”
This is such a beautiful story, with a wonderful, haunting relationship threading throughout. I love the way these two express their feelings - how the circus arounds them reflects their love. It's beautiful and magical and I love coming back to these two.
Fire & Brigan
Fire by Kristin Cashore
“I don't want to love you if you're only going to die.”
This book is one of my all time favourites. It's magical and wonderful and heartbreaking and beautiful, and I love Fire (and all of Cashore's heroines) fiercely. They are complex and flawed and wonderful. I love this quiet relationship that grows up until it has filled in all of their cracks and they couldn't be torn apart even if they tried. I love how hard and difficult and painful it all is, because it feels realistic. And I love the quiet intimacy and beauty that can be found around that. I love them.
Claire & Jamie
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This love deserves the term epic. It truly is an epic love story, one spanning centuries and continents, and it's hard and realistic and wonderful. I adore watching these two come together, forced into proximity by circumstance only to come to respect, trust, and love the other. It is timeless and complex, and a meeting of two equals, which I adore it for.
Alex & Henry
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Alright technically this book isn't released until May this year. But it is one of the best romances I've read. I'm completely in love with this book and these two boys, and I cannot wait until it's out in the world and I can squee about them properly. Forewarning, get this on your pre-order list, you're not going to want to miss this.
Julia & Brisbane
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
It's dark and quiet, and doesn't overwhelm the mystery of the other stories interwoven around theirs, but I adore the relationship that builds between Julia and Brisbane. It's the kind of quiet, simmering thing that really takes its time, and is all the more wonderful for it. They want to protect each other, but aren't afraid to call the other out and engage in some fantastic verbal sparring. It's a meeting of two equal minds, and I love watching them together.
Feyre & Rhysand
A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J Maas
“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.”
This relationship is wonderful. I love the balance between the two of them. The respect and care that Rhysand offers Feyre. The fact that they're both a bit broken but they're working through it together. Whilst I love a bit of a bad boy in fiction, it always frustrates me when men treat their lady loves like a pile of poop. None of that here, and watching Feyre come into her own, secure and happy in the knowledge that she is loved for who she is, is something wonderful to behold. I return to this book so often I know it almost by heart, and this relationship is one of the reasons that I do.
Adam & Ronan
The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater
Oh these two. Ronan is all sharp edges and anger, and Adam is dark and quiet and they are so damned perfect for each other it hurts, and I adore them. Maggie has announced there will be an offshoot novel "Call down the Hawk" focussed on Ronan, and I cannot wait for more of these boys.
Alanna & George
The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
One of the very first fantasy books I read, this quartet shaped my reading loves from the outset. And one of those was a complex relationship that evolved over the course of the series. Plus, George is just wonderful from the very first moment.
Kami & Jared
The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
“Hark,” he said, his tone very dry. “What stone through yonder window breaks?”Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”
I will never get over my love of Kami and Jared. They are sassy, brooding, snark pants, and I cannot fully articulate my love for them. And just compiling this list and looking at quotes from the series has made me want to go back and re-read them.
There you have ten of mine. Now it's over to you to tell me some of yours!