Elmore Leonard said: I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances ''full of rape and adverbs.''

Monday, 13 October 2008


Many moons ago, I agreed to take part in a meme over at Tumperkin's. This involved getting a random letter from Tumperkin (in this case, the letter ‘C’), then thinking up five fictional characters whose names begin with that letter.

Easy, I thought. Easy peasy.

Not so much, as it turns out.

I ran out of steam after two. Strange how the names of so many romance heroes and heroines are totally interchangeable: I couldn’t think of any. Below, I’ve listed two romantic characters from the classics. I guess they’re classics for a reason, no?

Cyrano de Bergerac

Ah, poor Cyrano. Witty, smart, creative, sensitive, dueler extraordinaire - and in possession of a large, a huge, nose that completely inhibits him. Believing himself to be hideous and unlovable, he is too scared to admit his love for the beautiful Roxane.

This story has been done to death by Hollywood, in various permutations (including Steve Martin’s Roxane and The Truth about Cats and Dogs) but the play written by the French poet Edmund Rostand in 1897 came to my attention when I found this quote -
A kiss is a rosy dot over the ‘i’ of loving

This is the passage that the above quote came from. I think you’ll agree it’s a whole lot better. (Cyrano is pretending to be his handsome friend, Christian, who is also in love with Roxane).

A kiss, when all is said,--what is it?
An oath that's ratified,--a sealed promise,
A heart's avowal claiming confirmation,--
A rose-dot on the 'i' of 'adoration,'--
A secret that to mouth, not ear, is whispered,--
Brush of a bee's wing, that makes time eternal,--
Communion perfumed like the spring's wild flowers,--
The heart's relieving in the heart's outbreathing,
When to the lips the soul's flood rises, brimming!

Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights

I can’t say anything about this that hasn’t been said before, but I loved Wuthering Heights when I read it as a teenager, then read it again when I was older and wondered what crack Emily Bronte was on when she wrote it. Its a great classic for teenagers, actually, and a great romance, too, disregarding the death and tragedy of it all. I think Kinsale has a bit of the Emily Bronte crack in her, and there are some Kleypas heroes that might fit the Heathcliff mould.

Here’s a snippet from the mouth of the delightful Catherine.
"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."

Ah, romance.

(Feel free to suggest all the obvious C's I've missed)


Tumperkin said...

You are a disgrace.

1. Christian, Duke of Jervaulx (Flowers from the Storm)

2. Cole Thingumyjig from A Woman Scorned by Liz Carlyle (I have this idea that you like that book?)

3. Colin Bridgerton from Romancing Mr Bridgerton.

4. Isn't the older brother of the hero of My Reckless Heart also a Colin and doesn't he have his own book?

5. Christine from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh (aka 'Balogh does Pride & Prejudice')

6. Lady Catherine de Bourghe from the real Pride & Prejudice

7. Charles - hero of the Grand Sophy by Heyer

8. and Charles Audley (swoon) is the hero of an Infamous Army by Heyer

9. Camille is the heroine of Never Romance a Rake which you read approximately five minutes ago!

10. and 11. There are a few Kits which I would count as Cs as short for Christopher - e.g. Kit from Balogh's A Summer to Remember and Kit from Beauty and the Spy.

12. I'm sure Meljean Brook has a heroine called Charlie though I've never read the book.

13. I'm sure the heroine from Vampire Lover by Charlotte Lamb was a Clare.

Well, there's a few off the top of my head.

Tsk Tsk

Meriam said...

Oh dear.

I don't really have a defense, do I?

Except - except - I wanted to do this off the top of my head, a sort of instinctive, gut level type thing and... I couldn't remember anyone.

PLUS, I only wanted to add great characters. Not just random anybodies. (unfortunately, Camille from the latest Carlyle falls into this category...)

And 1, 2, 3 and 10 have to be excused, as I've not yet read 'em.

It is terrible. I'm going to cogitate and add to my feeble little list.

Kristie (J) said...

Cat from The Windflower is the first one that comes to mind for me.

Tumperkin said...


You. Must. Read. Flowers from the Storm.

You must.

RfP said...

Based on the epilogue to whichever-Jo-Goodman-I-just-read (the funkily-named one), there must be a book about a Cybelline and the Duke of Errr. Ferrous? Ferris? Fern? Ferocious? Ferchrissake. I seem to have a block about her names.

Meriam said...

You are correct. One Forbidden Evening. I quite liked that one (although Goodman's last three have bled into one another). Maybe you'd like it too, RfP: the ending is suitably wtf-ish.

I must read The Windflower. I see one Amazon.co.uk retailer has it going for a tidy £108.94...

Oh - but the paperback is only £24.25 - thank goodness for that. (Snarking aside, I actually like how certain books, like Ivory's Dance and Bliss, and The Windflower, have grown in value. It's a testimony to their status as classics of the genre).

Ditto Flowers from the Storm. The recent Haiku madness over at the SB reminded me of the fun I had with her other works. I'll pick it up in my October book binge.

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