Emma and Dexter – One Day
Each chapter of One Day covers the lives of the two protagonists – Emma and Dexter – for 20 years. And with every chapter, we hoped the couple would finally realise that, however much they kid themselves, they are meant to be together. Coincidences prevent Emma and Dexter from a romantic relationship, so they stay best friends, both longing (secretly) for each other. As a reader this is very frustrating, and there were times where we wanted to bang their heads together. Just when we thought things could work out, we realised that a happy ending isn’t possible in every book. Top tip for getting through the end of this one: buy yourselves a box of tissues and a pint of ice cream.
Cecelia and Robbie – Atonement
Cecilia admits to herself that she is in love with her childhood friend Robbie Turner, and all is going well until Robbie is accused of rape and dragged off to prison. After this, we never get to hear Cecilia’s voice or thoughts again; only through her sister Briony’s eyes. Briony is the author of the novel, and in the last three paragraphs of the book she makes a revelation about her plot that changes our hope and optimism for how things worked out between Cecilia and Robbie. Atonement certainly showed us that wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so.
A and Rhiannon – Every Day
Like Henry in The Time Traveller’s Wife, there’s never any warning where “A” will end up. But with A, every day is a different body and a different life; sometimes he wakes as a girl, with a different ethnicity or with a different sexual orientation. He’s taught himself one thing, though: don’t get too attached or involved with anyone. But that rule gets thrown out of the window when he wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Both Rhiannon and A are kind and extremely likeable characters, which meant we were really rooting for them to find a way to be together – especially because Justin is a horrible man who treats Rhiannon badly. Ultimately, though, the ending of the book comes with more questions than answers.
Augustus and Hazel – The Fault in our Stars
A novel based around teenagers with terminal cancer is never going to end with dry eyes. When Hazel meets Augustus at a support group and embarks on a romantic relationship, they are just as aware of their limited time frame together as the reader is. The couple tell each other that they wouldn’t trade their short time together for anything in the world. But, despite knowing the inevitable, we couldn’t help wishing that there was a miraculous cure, meaning the couple could live long and healthy lives together.
Frank and April – Revolutionary Road
One of the most dysfunctional couples in literature, Frank and April Wheeler are a pair of self-assured Connecticut suburbanites who long to break out of the rut they have found themselves in. As the reader, we go through the ups and downs with them: the marital angst, adultery, boredom and excitement at the prospect of moving to Paris. When April falls pregnant with their third child, we thought maybe it could bring them together. How wrong we were. Manipulation continues and, after the shocking ending, one of them is left feeling like a hollow shell of a person. If only they’d eloped to Paris.
You can find more tales of romance and heartache on our Romance and Erotica page.