The three books featured here have many things in common. They are set in an era gone by, having romance as their central theme. They are not ‘love at first sight’ kind of romances. All have been made into movies, TV Series. But, they do not have a typical ‘Happily ever after’ ending.
I am a fan of the romantic genre and not having a happy ending affects me. I carried the lump around my throat for days as I couldn’t take it that the protagonists are not going to be together. Is that why these books were so successful? What if they had happy endings? People may have just closed the books and gone on to the next ones. These books involve you right from the start. The loss at the end is personal and we cannot get it out of our heads. Despite having tragic ends, they have been made into great movies.
Other common ones are Romeo and Juliet, Laila Majnu.
The US civil war is the background for this 1000+ pages saga set in the South of the US in a ranch called Tara. The heroine, Scarlett O’Hara and the hero, Rhett Butler are as unlike a lovey-dovey couple. They never hit it off. Scarlett is arrogant, haughty and has a mind of her own. She never minces her words and says it like it is. Rhett is making profits out of the Civil War and he feels he is right as he does not agree with the reasons for the war. In his world of lies and smuggling, Rhett likes Scarlett for what she is, brutally honest. Scarlett thinks she loves Ashley Wilkes and goes at great lengths to have him. That Ashley is married to the sweet Melanie is not a deterrent. The book still ends in a tragedy with the most famous line of Rhett Butler, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ If you haven’t read the book, watch the movie. It is equally good.
Father Ralph de Bricassart meets Meggie when she was eight. It was a simple friendship between the child and the Father. But as she grows older, she falls in love with Ralph. But being an ambitious clergyman, he is torn between his love for Meggie and his destiny at the Vatican. Meggie is determined to see to it that Ralph breaks his promise to the church as she feels that in his heart, he has already broken it. She even goes on to marry someone else as Father Ralph is not interested in love or marriage. But destiny has other plans. It is a long drawn saga set in the Australian grasslands painting images of unending rolling mountains, men on horseback, back breaking work on the ranches. The book was made into a TV series and is available on YouTube for watching.
Rich boy Oliver meets poor girl Jenny and falls in love. They love each other and get married. But, the villains here are the father of the boy and of course a terminal illness. Oliver’s father is against the relationship. But then he also did not have a good rapport with his son. Jenny is a sweet girl and we can see why Oliver loves her. Oliver could fight his father. But, she suffers from a terminal illness and dies at the end of the book after a short marriage. It was something Oliver could not fight. I have read the book multiple times and the tragedy is still overwhelming. This book has been copied into movies several times. Hindi movies lapped up the terminal illness theory. See the 100% inspired from Love Story movie ‘Ankhiyon ke Jharonkon se’ starring Ranjeeta and Sachin.
Have you read a romantic story which has an unhappy ending, but you still loved it? I would love to read a good romance.