What is the difference between a love story and a romance?
Which do you prefer?
We sat down at the Bryant Corner Café to talk about love. Valentines Day had everyone thinking about it, but we got into a pretty substantive discussion about the difference between love stories and romances. Finally, different kinds of love, between different people emerge as our main theme.
Nancy started out, however, by calling our attention to a recently published novel she found remarkable by an author she follows.
“A God In Every Stone,” by Kamila Shamsie, is the story of a young English woman who goes on an archeological dig in what would become Pakistan just before WW1 just breaks out. Nancy says, “What we get in this wonderful, wonderful novel is a perspective on WW1 from the Indian soldiers who went to fight for the British and died in great numbers.” It is also a story of the beginnings of the fight for independence on the sub-continent. She says it opens up a period of history as only fiction can, bringing new insights and revealing the roots of our present turmoil in the struggles of the past. It is a challenging book for the way the story is told and for the subject matter, but she says it fabulous.
Here are the books we talked about. Some are romances. Most are love stories.
What do you think, what is the difference?
“Romeo and Juliet,” by William Shakespeare
“Soulless” by Gail Carriger, a romance about a young woman who is rudely attacked by a vampire. Nancy loved it.
“Astrid and Veronika,” by Linda Olson. Sharon says two women, one young, one old, share a love, but not a sexual love.
“Me Before You,” by JoJo Moyes. A young woman takes care of a wheel-chair bound man. Nancy loved it because JoJo Moyes doesn’t give into the easy way out andturned what mighthave beenaromance into a love story.
“Plainsong,” by Ken Haruf a love story between two old men and the young girl they care for.
“Dancing Alone Without Music” by Larry Gildersleeve, who is a friend of Jenny’s. She says it’s an evolution of different loves.
Diana Galbadon’s long and involved books.
“Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson. Judy says it is about love within a family.
“Boys In The Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. Judy said that what amazed her was the love of Mr. Pocock for the boats themselves and the young men in the boat.
So now, when defined so broadly, what book isn’t a love story?
“Angle of Repose,” by Wallace Stegner, in which Nancy asks, who loves whom? ( well, she said “who loves who,” but you know how autocorrect can be.) Another love story by this definition can be Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety.”
“Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova
“Cocoon of Cancer” An Invitation to Love Deeply,” by Abbe Rolnick with Jim Wiggins
“Chocolat,” by Joanne Harris is Roz’s choice. That prompts Nancy to plug her other books, which she says don’t get the attention they deserve. She recommends “Gentlemen and Players.”
“Like Water For Chocolate,” by Laura Esquivel
“Bettyville,” by George Hodgman is the story of a son who leaves his life to take care of his 90 year old mother. Susie says it is funny and delightful.
“Cold Mountain,” by Charles Fraser
“Love In The Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Love Again,” by Doris Lessing. Not about romantic or erotic love, but about the trembling between them says Elwyn. He also loves the episode in Tom Sawyer where he explores his passion of Becky Thatcher.
“Middlemarch,” by George Eliot
Wrapping, we had shout outs for Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries, Dorothy Sayers’ romance between Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane and to get into the western genre, “Shane,” by Jack Shaefer about the love of a young boy for his father and the man who rides in to help.