By Christa Protano
Valentine’s Day. It’s perhaps the most anxiety-inducing holiday of them all. The reasons are obvious for singletons or those who recently had their heartbroken. But if you’re married or coupled up, the day can also be the worst. And if you’re a parent, you know this day comes with its own stressors thanks to the grandparent gifts, candy and the quest for the perfect Pinterest-worthy class valentine.
Yes, I’m dead inside.
I’m not sure when that happened — probably sometime after I had children, since caring for newborn babies is definitely a reality check. But I wasn’t always like this. In the early 2000s, rom-coms and chick lit (or should we say, “light women’s fiction“), inspired me not to give up on the fairy tale. Maybe it’s time I pick up some Jane Austen and get my forty-something self ready to celebrate a little l-o-v-e. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or in need of a literary aphrodisiac (like me, apparently), here are three classic authors to read this Valentine’s Day.
When I was in my twenties, it was the story of the extremely self-aware Jane Eyre that appealed to me the most of all the Regency period novels.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” – Jane Eyre
It was this independent spirit that I believe ultimately led her to meet her perfect match, Mr. Rochester. What’s more, the novel is packed with so much romantic drama even an Outlander fan will be entertained. Ready to transport yourself back to 18th-century northern England? Pick up your copy today.
Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense & Sensibility. There is no shortage of Jane Austen works that celebrate love. But did you know that there is even a cookbook inspired by these literary classics? If you and your significant other are planning to spend Valentine’s Day at home — and you don’t mind cooking — may we suggest the following menu from Jane Austen’s Table:
Recipe for Love
A Valentine’s Day Menu Inspired by Jane Austen’s Table
Mary Musgrove’s Meat Platter
Hunsford Parsonage Ginger Pork Chops
Last but not least, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the The Bard of Avon on our list. For his most popular play, Romeo & Juliet, is a romance to, ahem, die for. But that’s not the only love story Shakespeare had up his Elizabethan sleeves. Take your pick from Hamlet, Macbeth, and the magical Midsummer Night’s Dream. Any of these will have you reciting poetic love quotes to your paramour in no time. And hey, if you’d rather skip the reading on February 14th and watch a young Leo and Claire in Baz Lurhman’s epic ‘90s masterpiece, we’ll take our cue from Henry VI and forbear to judge, for we are sinners all.