Risky Regencies

Crazy Young Love

A few weekends ago, I went to an old college friend’s bachelorette party at a fun local dance club. And what do a bunch of sophisticated 30-somethings with jobs, mortgages, boyfriends/fiances/husbands/kids/pets, talk about when they have too many pomegranate martinis? You guessed it–they talk about the Twilight books! It is my shame in life that, deep down inside, I am a Twilight-loving, Gossip Girl-watching 14-year-old. (Speaking of GG, did you see the news that Ed Westwick is going to star as Heathcliff in a new Wuthering Heights movie opposite Gemma Arterton???)

My friends and I, it turns out, are united in many opinions re: Twilight. We share a deep dislike of Bella (weird, since the story is in 1st person and thus all about Bella). We sometimes get mired in details that have no explanation (how do vampires have sex if they have no blood? How did the Volturri get from Italy to Forks anyway? They’re not exactly inconspicuous, and they probably don’t have passports). We would love to see a book all about Alice and Jasper (because Alice is never a passive dishrag like Bella, and Jasper seems like a total bad-ass). But we do not all agree on one very important point–who is the real hero, Edward or Jacob?

The bride-to-be finally announced (loudly), “Come on, Manda! You know as well as I do, Jacob is the guy you marry. Edward is just the guy you ****.” (Because she’s now the arbiter of things marital! And it’s not a party without a few f-bombs, of course). And there you have it. Literature, and life, in a nutshell. There are guys you marry, and guys you ****. In romance novels, he is one and the same, because we want a HEA we can believe in. When we’re young, it’s not always so clear which is which; not always when we’re grown-up, either.

But it made me think. What I like about Twilight is not the whole vampire/werewolf thing (the world-building here is flimsy at best). It’s the fact that it’s really just a framework for a good old-fashioned Forbidden Young Love story. It could just as easily be a Regency tale of the gorgeous young heir to a dukedom who falls for a vicar’s shy daughter. She knows she should marry the nice young shopkeeper’s son who is courting her, but she just can’t stay away from the duke…

I don’t often see this whole Crazy, Unstoppable, Force of Nature Love in romance fiction, and sometimes I do crave a Romeo and Juliet, Cathy and Heathcliff kind of story. I know that it’s not especially realistic, and I definitely do not want to go back to being 16 myself, and live again through my first breakup (whimpering in my dark room as I clutched a dried-out corsage from a dance we went to, and my parents thinking I had gone completely insane). But I do like reading about it at times. Do you? What are some of your favorite “crazy love” books? (And if you know some good romances that fit, let me know!!).

(For the record, I would not want to marry Jacob or Edward. Talk about baggage. You either get the whole unpredictable phasing into a werewolf thing, or you get in-laws in your business for eternity).

And now I have to finish packing and decide what to read on the plane! Tomorrow I’m off to meet Diane and trek to New York for BookExpo America, Lady Jane’s Salon, and all kinds of fun things. If you’re in the area, let us know!

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Jane George
13 years ago

Your post reminded me of the line from Dan in Real Life, yelled in utter anguish from young teen daughter to her father, “YOU ARE A MURDERER OF LOVE!” 🙂

Jane Austen
13 years ago

“If you can’t be a good example you’ll just have to be a horrible warning”. Gwen Goodnight

This quotation is from one of my impossible love stories. He’s a conman and she’s a forger, but she’s been straight for years and he’s taking her to the dark side. I love Faking It by Jennifer Crusie. It seems impossible, but the two actually make it together and there are some really touching scenes and some really steamy ones too.

I don’t know how many of you have read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, but there’s a scene where people try to kill Heathcliff because they hate him so much and Thursday has to save him in a free for all gun battle. It’s great and while she’s shooting it out OK Corral style she’s leading an anger management group session with Heathcliff and the rest of the gang from Wuthering Heights. Too funny.

Gabi Stevens
13 years ago

You mean we’re supposed to grow out of that teenage crazy love thing. I think I skipped right over it and my fear it that it will rear its ugly head at an inappropriate time. Maybe that’s why I write…to tame the beast.
–Gabi

Susan/DC
Susan/DC
13 years ago

My problem with Edward was actually that he didn’t strike me as all that dangerous. Yes, he was a vampire, but he ate game, not humans, and he was the one who restrained himself whenever Bella wanted to take the physical relationship farther. He was everything a teenage girl wants but doesn’t get in a Real Life teenager boy: beautiful, controlled, thoughtful, and no smelly socks lying around after gym class. OTOH, one reason I liked Jacob was precisely because he was so much like the hormonal teenage boys hanging around my house (at least until that whole imprinting thing, which I seriously did not care for; I’ve never been a fan of the Fated Mate story).

Judy
13 years ago

My thoughts exactly, Susan, that Edward was the kind of boyfriend I wish I had had at that age. He didn’t push boundaries, was respectful, and protective, always there, totally devoted… what more could a teenage girl (the-world-revolves-around-me) want? I know I did! But what did I get? Not going there. I found myself a Twilight fan for my nieces. They love it, and it was all they talked about. If I was going to be able to relate, I had to give over. I don’t care for first-person fiction, and also found Bella grating. Maybe because she reminded me too much of myself… Didn’t care for Wuthering Heights or Romeo and Juliet. All I could think was “Get over it and move on!” I’ve known guys who simply couldn’t get over a girl, and it’s really… annoying and totally unhealthy. I enjoy a good they finally found each other story, but not if they aren’t reasonably healthy.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“she’s leading an anger management group session with Heathcliff and the rest of the gang from Wuthering Heights.”

LOL! I must read this. I loved ‘The Eyre Affair’ but somehow never got around to reading the other books!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“I think I skipped right over it and my fear it that it will rear its ugly head at an inappropriate time”

My fear is that I haven’t quite left it far enough behind. 🙂 But hopefully writing gets it out of my system, too!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“at least until that whole imprinting thing, which I seriously did not care for; I’ve never been a fan of the Fated Mate story).”

LOL! It often seems a lazy way to try and convince readers two people are Meant To Be. (and I also did not like the imprinting thing idea, especially not with Jacob and the monster baby! He deserved better. But then again, I like to pretend the story ended at the end of “Eclipse”…)

Jane Austen
13 years ago

Amanda,

I think that scene is in the second book, Lost in a Good Book. Another one of my favorite scenes is in that book as well. I’m blogging about it today or tomorrow at http://www.janeaustenregrets.blogspot.com

But it deals with Fanny Dashwood and kicking the Elinor and Marianne out of the family home. Too funny!

I’ve never read Twilight. I love youth books, but I think I go more for the 8-10 year-old group….if you want to talk about Percy Jackson or the Mysterious Benedict Society totally give me a call, but Twilight….can’t help.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

What a great post! I love Twilight, too, although I don’t hate Bella. Of course, Kristen Stewart’s off-film personality makes me want to shake her.

It’s funny, though, that although I love Twilight and some other younger (than me) stuff, I’m not into Gossip Girl or any of that other stuff.

Of course, I would still take Heathcliff any day. Especially if it were Timothy Dalton-style Heathcliff.

See you soon, Amanda!

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“I love Twilight, too, although I don’t hate Bella. Of course, Kristen Stewart’s off-film personality makes me want to shake her”

LOL. I liked her in the first book just fine–I do like a brainy, gawky heroine. She was even okay in “New Moon,” with the motorcycles and all. But then she started spending all her time whining and curling up in Edward’s lap, and I got fed up with that. 🙂

Strangely, I never did like the “Gossip Girl” books at all, and was reluctant to try the show, but once I did I was hooked. The characters have much more depth than in the books. (and now that I think of it, maybe Ed Westwick is a pretty good choice for Heathcliff! Chuck Bass is something of a Heathcliffian character anyway, and Westwick is handsome in a creepy way, so we’ll see)

Another YA book I really liked was Melissa Marr’s “Wicked Lovely”

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Jane Austen, I, too, have let the whole Twilight thing pass me by. Even the movie. I just don’t CARE.

I’m delighted that girls still react to such a phenomenon, though.

All the romance in my adolescence took place in my head. Good practice for a romance writer!!

(Give me Gerard Butler any day, although his real life persona is acting a little silly lately. Positively adolescent!)

Cara King
13 years ago

I’d marry Edward in a heartbeat–not that he has one. Okay, so the in-laws would be problematic, but still…

And I don’t buy that Jacob is more the type you marry. Sure, he was sweet and supportive in New Moon, but then he turned into a bossy jerk, even more so than Edward turned into! But without Edward’s redeeming features… 😉

BTW, I will state here for the record that I thought the fourth book was *utterly* fab.

Judy
13 years ago

Thanks, Cara, for the positive vote for the forth book. I’ll be reading all of them for the nieces, whether I like them or not, so I know what they’re talking about. 🙂

Jane George
13 years ago

**Another YA book I really liked was Melissa Marr’s “Wicked Lovely”**

Ditto! I recently finished it. Marr does inventive things with traditional Celtic fairy mythology.

I love Jonathon Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy. So smart and dark. Sometimes it’s shelved in YA, sometimes in middle grade. I think the themes are better suited for teens. Not that I think tweens need protected, not at all, but older kids are more likely to get it.

I haven’t read Twilight, but my 12 year old daughter is, “Team Edward,” as she puts it. 🙂

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“I haven’t read Twilight, but my 12 year old daughter is, “Team Edward,” as she puts it”

LOL–Yay Team Edward! 🙂

It’s weird–I enjoyed “Breaking Dawn” as I read it, sped through it, then after I put it down I thought “Well, that just had everything and the kitchen sink.” 🙂 My hairdresser liked the non-stop craziness, but I would have liked a few things explained a bit further…

Jane Austen
13 years ago

Diane, you can come over to my house and instead of watching Twilight we’ll watch all 6 P & P DVDs I have and debate issues of which Darcy is better and why.

Jane George: Thank you for the Wicked Lovely tip. It sounds delightful and is available on Kindle. Hurray! Let me know if you have any other YA tips.

Bill
13 years ago

“We sometimes get mired in details that have no explanation (how do vampires have sex if they have no blood?”

Two explanations:
1. magic (the whole undead thing)
2. vampire Viagra?

Those are my theories and I’m sticking with them! 🙂

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