One of my favourite quotes about love is from the book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières:
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. … That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
As a romance author, of course my stories are filled with the very essence of romance – the elements that de Bernières classes ‘being in love’. I suppose it is what many refer to as the ‘honeymoon phase’. At the point at which I leave my characters at the end of the book, they are very much in love. But where do they go from there?
The answer is, love. I like to think that the romance, the attentiveness, the passion, and the longing for each other continue; but of course over the fifty, sixty, seventy years I hope my characters will be together, life will sometimes diffuse the romance. The foundations are what matter – and in my book Burning Embers I endeavour to set up more than just romance and attraction, but something deeper, something lasting, something worth fighting for and working for. That’s love. And when we read a romance novel, I believe that’s the happy ending we’re all looking for – beyond the champagne and flowers and compliments.