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!