A Blast from our Past: Declarations of Love

Here’s a column from three years ago. It holds up well, we think. What are your favorite proposals? We at AAR wish all our readers a happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day known for over-extravagant, “show me you love me” gifts that sometime mimic scenes from one of our favorite romance novels. We are all familiar with the grand gesture, like the hero declaring his love in front of room full of people, or buying the perfect gift.

When I was younger I loved the over the top scenes, thinking that they epitomized true love — maybe because some of my co-workers actually did experience them too. One woman’s boyfriend proposed by having a plane fly over a beach that they were at — sky-writing “I love you, marry me.” Talk about green with envy. Wow, he must really worship her.

Today you can find numerous proposals online. Or even the flash wedding — from proposal on air to wedding within 30 minutes, which happened yesterday on Good Morning America. If you missed it, you can read more about it.

Maybe it is my age showing, but now scenes like the above seem more for the giver than the recipient. When I watch the two women in the proposal scenes, I am not sure how they really feel. Maybe a little embarrassed, of course touched, but did they really want this poignant moment shared with the world? And I can’t get over a wedding in 30 minutes with the bride having almost no input, just for 15 seconds of fame. I can’t say that I dislike showy, grand gestures in books, because sometimes they can be touching and romantic.

Cindy and Dabney both recall the touching ending to Unlocked by Courtney Milan. The hero bad-mouthed the heroine in front of the ton. Years later they meet again, and he realizes that he was in the wrong, and attempts to convince the heroine that he has feelings for her with an extremely moving grand gesture.

One of our newest reviewer, Jenna’s, favorite scenes is from Suzanne Brockmann’s category Get Lucky. Lucky O’Donlon gets his SEAL buddies involved in his proposal. I loved one of the scenes toward the end of I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, when Sam Broxton attempts to stop Poppy Wyatt from making a disastrous mistake. Both LinnieGayl and Wendy have fond memories from Elizabeth Phillips’ Heaven, Texas, of Bobby Tom Benton’s final public declaration of love after his first one failed.

Still, many times they don’t seem as poignant as the quieter ones. I remember feeling that the way Sir Elliot March declares his love to actress Letty Potts in Bridal Favors, a favorite book by Connie Brockway, was almost overdone. And if I recall correctly, in The Other Guy’s Bride, also by Connie Brockway, there is an extravagant ending as well.

I much prefer the scene from Eloisa James’s A Duke of Her Own where Leopold Dautry, the notorious Duke of Villiers, proposes to Eleanor, The Duke of Montague’s daughter. It is only later that we discover a hidden significance. The ending from Match Me if You Can is a favorite, too. Annabelle distrusts Health Champions first proposal, thinking he is doing it for all the wrong reasons, but the final private one is moving and emotional. Maggie’s eyes teared up in the touching ending from Nobody’s Baby But Mine also by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – it seems we have a theme. Cal is not sure how to show Jane that he loves her. But he remembers something she wore from the first time they met.

Carrying that theme a little farther, it is the quiet scenes – like the hero taking care of the heroine while she is sick, such as the ones in The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry that pull at my heartstrings. Lynn mentioned one of her favorites — for sweet caring gestures — is from In For a Penny by Rose Lerner. The hero knows the heroine is very nervous about dealing with plates of food at social gatherings and there is a scene where he puts together a plate of refreshments with everything precut and arranged for her so she doesn’t have to worry about being clumsy.

Of course romance novels are fantasy. Many have men in their lives who are steadfast, rather than guys who exude smoldering danger, caring and loving over fervent desire. Still, there is nothing wrong with dreaming that someone declares to the world that you are his reason for living.

So, what are some of your favorite heartfelt scenes from your favorite novels from very public declarations of love to the quiet avowals? Of course if you want to share what your sweetie did for you for yesterday or in the past feel free to do that too.

Leigh Davis

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12 Responses to A Blast from our Past: Declarations of Love

  1. maggie b. says:

    What really caught my eye about the bow Cal kept in Nobody’s Baby but Mine was that their first encounter wasn’t a special first date – he thought she was a hooker or worse, a football groupie. And it wasn’t an enounter they thought would go anywhere. Neither had plans to see the other ever again. So when you find out he had kept that ratty old bow – wow!

  2. Michele says:

    I really enjoyed the end of Rush by Maya Banks. He does alot of groveling in public and proposes in a grand way at the very end. I’m not usually into stuff like that in books, or real life, but this time it was very touching.

  3. Heather says:

    One of my favorites is in LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory, when Will gets back and sees Ellie caring for the bees. Then she sees him and takes off across the meadow toward him. I cry every time!

  4. Ash says:

    two scenes have stayed with me from books that Iv read somewhat recently.

    *spoilers ahead*

    In Tessa Dare’s ” A week To Be Wicked” I loved the part where Collin proposes to Minerva outside the royal geological society, I loved the whole speech however my favourite bit was when he gives her his singet ring saying that now both of the things he cherishes most will now be together.

    The other scene is from Courtney Milan’s “The Duchess War” the part where Robert makes his declaration of love using the primer really tugged at my heartstrings!

  5. Paola says:

    Captain Wentworth’s letter in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
    How can any woman resist at such declaration?

  6. LeeF says:

    Awwwwww- now I need to spend some time this Valentine’s Day pulling up these books on my Kindle, re-reading fabulous proposals.

  7. Blackjack1 says:

    Favorite romance ending is from Untie My Heart, Judith Ivory – After a series of terrible limericks and attempted poems, aristocrat Stuart proposes to working-class Emma honestly and purely, complete with his stutter intact. It makes my eyes water every time.

  8. Monique says:

    You asked for favorite proposal and right now, I am loving (all over again) Horse’s proposal to Marie in Reaper’s Property (Joanna Wylde). From the outside perspective of what is supposed to be romantic, it’s a failure but the emotion in the scene and all the little details in it that symbolize important moments and special things really make it amazing. It’s all about the context.

    Oh, and I absolutely loved Unlocked. It’s the book that turned me on to Courtney Milan.

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