I've been wondering, what makes a great fictional couple? Well, let’s see… some times it’s the chemistry, and sometimes it’s the bantering that leads to misunderstandings or hurt feelings which leads to fighting, which can often lead to making up, which leads to… more chemistry.
There are also those moments of will-they-or-won’t-they mixed in with moments of revelation, understanding, tenderness, and romance. Oftentimes it’s that moment of realization that they’re meant to be together that cements them as a great couple. It’s hard to define exactly what makes a great couple, but one thing I do know is that in order to be a great couple the two fictional characters have to grab hold of both our emotions as well as our intellect. When they grab hold of our intellect, whether it's through humor or drama they inevitably find a way to carve a place in our memories for a long time.
In movies the very thought of Harry without Sally, Ronny without Loretta, President Andrew Shepherd without Sydney Ellen Wade, or heaven forbid Lady without the Tramp, leaves me disturbed.
In romance novels I just can’t fathom a Jamie sans Claire, or Eve still single with Roarke dating every NY socialite in town. If Zsadist had not found Bella he might very well be dead right now; Sam would be a shell of his former self without Alyssa and Jessica without Sebastian is unthinkable.
Now a new pairing comes to light that I just can’t imagine the fictional world without—that would be Catherine Marks (Cat) and Lord Ramsey (Leo) in Lisa Kleypas’ Married by Morning, the fourth book in her Hathaway series. Both Cat and Leo captured not only my emotions but sparked my intellect.
When Leo finds out that he must marry in order to save his family fortune and literally the roof over his head his first thought is of Catherine; the only woman who despises him. Ah, you may think, now the hijinks can commence, but you'd be wrong. Miss Kleypas is an exceptionally talented author and her building of character traits, story arcs and sub plots is meticulous and finely tuned. In the previous Hathaway books, Mine Till Midnight, Seduce Me at Sunrise, and Tempt Me at Twilight, we were introduced to the delightful Hathaway family and with each successive book she has made this family come alive for us and fall in love with all their eccentricities, peccadilloes, and foibles. In fact Cat, a paid companion and not a family member, has also fallen in love with them, all except for Leo that is. It’s up to Leo to persuade this contrary woman of the charms that everyone else can see he possesses.
So, dear reader, you may be asking, what makes Leo and Cat a great fictional couple? Well to put it plainly, Cat is a strong, determined woman who has made it in the world almost on her own, she is spirited and can hold her own with the best of them. She has faced great adversity in her life and has secrets that have made her the woman she is. Leo is also extremely intelligent and determined. He too has faced hardships but has come out the other end stronger for it. He has a passion for life, learning, and love. Together they begin as chalk and cheese and end up as a glove to a hand; they fit perfectly. All thanks to Lisa Kleypas, who has exquisitely fashioned these two characters by putting pen to paper with her ability to write dialogue and prose that is pleasurable, poignant, and poetic. Cat and Leo will stay in my memory for a long, long time.
Until next Monday, remember, there’s a book waiting to be read.
Who are your favorite fictional couples? And what makes a fictional couple great?
Don’t forget to stop by and visit with Eloisa James today; she’s talking about innocent heroines in Reading Romance.
Marisa O’Neill is an avid reader and television producer.