Four of My Favorite Literary Love Scenes

I think singles can enjoy Valentine’s Day. I dislike the sour SAD and accompanying attitudes. Don’t be a spoil sport. Anticipating future romance and reveling in romantic stories and eating chocolate are all quite enjoyable ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile. I reread 3 of these books last year and by the time this posts will have reread Persuasion again.

For Intensely Romantic

North and South

“Mr. Thornton did not speak, and she went on looking for some paper  . . . While she sought this paper, her very heart-pulse was arrested by the tone in which Mr. Thornton spoke. His voice was hoarse, and trembling with tender passion, as he said:—

‘Margaret!’ “
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, page 426.

You can literally feel the intensity in this scene as you read it. The pauses, the unspoken meaning, the implied and described touches. Who could withstand Mr. Thornton’s oh, so tender appeal?!

“Again, stepping nearer, he besought her with another tremulous eager call upon her name.

‘Margaret!’ “
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, page 426.



“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you my such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope . . .

I have love none but you . . .

You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan.”
Persuasion by Jane Austen, page 1223

This letter!!! The juxtaposition of this intense letter with strong language against the overall controlled and formal background of the novel makes the emotion that much more intense and sincere. Usually strong language is overused and abused to the point of insincerity and weakening of meaning, but here, it is perfect.

For Sweetness and Humor

Little Women: Meg and John Brooke

“His tone was properly beseeching; but stealing a shy look at him, Meg saw that his eyes were merry as well as tender, and that he wore the satisfied smile of one who had no doubt of his success.”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, page 248.

The blundering, the perfect timing of awkward arrivals, the inconsistencies of Meg, the sarcastic descriptions. I laugh every time. The originally haughty female who submits quite humbly to loving “her John” and his triumph after pain reminds me of North and South though of course at a much more trifling level and with hilarity and less tenderness.

“Meg stopped there, remembering, all of a sudden, that she hadn’t made up her mind; that she had told “her John” to go away, and that he might be overhearing her inconsistent remarks.”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, page 251.


Old-Fashioned Girl

“Polly looked up to thank him, but never did, for there was something deeper than gratitude in the honest blue eyes, that could not hide the truth entirely. Tom saw it, flushed all over his brown face, and dropping the rubbers with a crash, took her hands, saying, in his old impetuous way—

‘Polly, I want to tell you something!’ “
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, page 298

No silly reserve, no formality, no dignity yet no absurdity just bluntness and hilarity and sweetness from jolly Tom. Why are characters named Tom in books and sometimes movies and TV so hilarious?

” ‘That I was in love? Well, I am, but not with her.’

‘Oh!’ and Polly caught her breath as if a dash of cold water had fallen on her, for the more earnest Tom grew, the blunter he became.’ “
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, page 299


Copies Used
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. Random House Value Publishing. 1995.
The Complete Novels by Jane Austen. Penguin Books. 2006.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Wordsworth Editions Limited. 1994.
Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. Anness Publishing Limited. 1995.


  • Erudessa Aranduriel

    🙂 You know, I was joking around with my friends about being single yesterday and "oh it's so awful!", but seriously? I actually enjoy it!! As long as I have friends to chat and hang with, I will never be lonely on Valentine's Day. Even if I am 80 years old and still unmarried and never been in a relationship!

    OOOOhhhhhhhhh!!! The North & South scene!! Now I have to go re-read the book!! Have you seen the mini series? If so, do you agree with me that the book ending is better?

    Awwwwwww!! Tom and Polly!! They are are so sweet and adorable!!

  • Erudessa Aranduriel

    I saw the miniseries first, and then ending bugged me to no end because it was sooooo period incorrect. (That's the same reason the '05 P&P drives me so crazy) Then I read the book, which I started at 9:00 pm and stayed up till 4:00 am to finish, and I was so glad when I read the book ending!! It is so much better and I don't see why they didn't use it. Even if they wanted to have her go to Milton and them met so he knows she has been there, why couldn't it have happened in the Mill?

  • Livia Rachelle

    I know the period incorrect stuff in an overall period correct movie really mess up things up (like Frank C. putting his head in Emma's lap in the 2009 Emma, like WHAT?). But I think the 2005 is so wrong in almost everyway that its almost not worth it to complain. We laughed our way through the ridiculousness and awkwardness of it again last year. But at times it was painfully embarrassingly awkward (Bingley).

    I "bribed" myself to read North and South; I saw Richard Armitage was in the miniseries and that motivated me to read the book before I let myself watch it. I reread the book twice and enjoyed it more this time.

  • Natalie

    These are all such lovely selections! I recently read N&S for the first time and ohhhh, it was so beautiful. I thought the '04 miniseries was romantic and intense, but the book is just as much so, if not more so. I fell in love with Mr. Thornton even more when reading the book. 🙂

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