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The romance of the sunset

The romance of the sunset

The romance of the sunset

'It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream,' said the English philosopher Bernard Williams. I quite agree: for me, the sunset can be so stirring and poignant and romantic.

At my French home, on the southern coast of Provence, I see the most breath-taking sunsets imaginable. Here is just one of so many stunning Riviera sunsets I have watched. I love the dusky tones of the colours – dreamy and romantic.

Beautiful sunsets are, of course, the perfect backdrop for a scene in a romance novel, and they create an opportunity for the heroine to pause and reflect: after all, the sunset spells an ending, and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.’

In The Echoes of Love, Venetia watches the sunset in Tuscany, and it creates a peaceful and serene moment for her:

The evening was still. Venetia sat on the veranda of the little cottage, La Sirena, sipping a glass of chilled white wine… She looked up to her left, gazing at the crimson sun that was declining drowsily on the horizon, its burning light making golden patches on the sea, smooth as a lake at this sunset hour. To her right, the distant countryside lying beyond the trees seemed bluer with those powdery white branches of apple blossom, and as the shadows lengthened, it deepened to a celestial Italian blue. The old brick of the outbuildings was empurpled, shining with an intense, yet soft glow. The luminous light was magnificent; the fiery orange, bright pink and patches of serene blue giving way to the swift advance of dusk.

The Echoes of Love: available from my shop

The passionate, sultry Spanish setting of my novel Masquerade is reflected in my description of the sunset viewed by Luz:

On the way back, the boat hugged the coast until they reached the secluded beach in the cove of Puesta de Sol. Afloat in twilit waters, sliding across the setting sun, they watched an orange sunset flow like molten gold behind the cliffs, while along the bay the lights of Cádiz twinkled on. Dazzling colours filled the sky. Lonely white clouds turned into flaming swords, deep orange and red marking the west; the peak of the many rocky hills rose like church steeples, shooting forth tongues of flame from the reflecting sundown. In the distance the sinking orb gilded the houses of Cádiz with a special fleeting glory, their windows winking and flashing in the fading sun. Small vessels and steamers were moored alongside the quays; work was over for the day, everything still and tranquil. Soul stirring, the scene was all poetry and romance, depth and mystery.

Masquerade: available from my shop

And in my novel Aphrodite’s Tears, the hero and heroine take in the sunset in Oia, on the Greek island Santorini, which is near-mythical in its splendour:

The gasp of awe that rose from the crowd, which had gathered outside the nightclub a few metres down the cliff to watch the sunset, kept Damian from answering her, and Oriel turned her attention to the incredible view that stretched endlessly as far as the eye could see.

Long tongues of fire spread from the sun’s dazzling rays over the twisted rocks, the houses of the beautiful white town ablaze with a transparent copper glow that reminded her of barley sugar. Smouldering, the molten flames in the sky moved further, changing its smooth azure to violet streaked with apricot, to apple green blending into scarlet, bright yellow and cobalt blue. Within this veil of complex, glorious colour, the golden globe seemed alive with a magnificent sort of agony. Suddenly it faltered, tumbling down behind the horizon – a burning death. The drama and the splendour of it all filled Oriel with a wistful emotion and she sighed.

Aphrodite’s Tears: available from my shop

The 19th-century French poet Leconte de Lisle wrote a wonderful poem entitled ‘The Sunset’. It depicts the Roc, a legendary bird of prey from the One Thousand and One Nights, flying with the sun in his beak, but then being shot down by Orion and dropping the sun so that it ‘falls burning, / And shatters its bulk’. You can read the poem, translated from the French, on my website here.

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