What Books Have Taught Us About Big Romantic Gestures

What Books Have Taught Us About Big Romantic Gestures

Harold walks the length of the country to see Queenie in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold walks the length of the country to see Queenie in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Scottish musical legends ‘The Proclaimers’ famously state in their hit song that they would walk five hundred miles. Well Harold Fry beats that: his pilgrimage covers a staggering 626 miles! Harold receives a letter from a colleague of 20 years ago, Queenie Hennessy, stating that she has cancer and is residing in a hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed. When he goes to post his reply, he decides to walk to the next post box… and then the next… and then… you get the idea. His journey to Queenie gives him time to reflect on his life, and the simple but sentimental premise of the story got us thinking that, whilst it’s more effort, nothing beats seeing someone you care for face-to-face. While we probably would have just jumped in the car or on the train, his on-foot journey allowed him to meet various people on the way, all with their own words of wisdom.

Oliver giving up his family’s fortune to be with Jenny in Love Story

Oliver giving up his family’s fortune to be with Jenny in Love Story

Love Story, a romance novel released on Valentine’s Day 1970, is both romantic and tragic in equal measures. Oliver and Jenny are worlds apart: Oliver is heir to his family’s fortune and legacy; Jenny is a musician and daughter of a baker. Jenny and Oliver decide to marry, but his father disapproves and quickly cuts all ties with his son. Showing that love conquers all, Oliver doesn’t give finances a second thought, giving it all up to be with the woman of his dreams. They know they’re going to struggle, but when you’ve got love – what more do you need? We won’t give away too much about the ending, but be prepared to shed a tear or two.

Mitchell giving Thea the house and firework display in A Place Called Home

Mitchell giving Thea the house and firework display in A Place Called Home (SPOILER ALERT!)

Ad executive Thea and cartoonist Mitch are thrown together as joint guardians of the orphaned children of their best friends. At the beginning, they can’t stand each other and are both in relationships with other people. We watch the romance develop slowly throughout the book, all culminating in the heartfelt final chapter. Some may find it too sickly/sentimental, but we think it’s the perfect romantic gesture: Mitch takes Thea to view a house – a beautiful pale yellow Victorian home with a wraparound porch – and leads her onto the balcony to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. After showing her his cartoon of the day (with the caption reading ‘Of Thea I Sing’), an overhead of fireworks contains two words: Marry Me. It is particularly special as we know that, until now, Thea has never before had a place she can call home.

Amy’s treasure hunt in Gone Girl

Amy’s treasure hunt in Gone Girl

OK, so Gone Girl is anything but a romance novel, and the treasure hunt Amy prepares for Nick on their fifth wedding anniversary is designed to frame him. However, the treasure hunt was originally a tradition for Amy’s parents – so perhaps it was an endearing gesture at one point in the distant past? If we take the good bits from the scavenger hunt – leaving clues containing personal nuances that only your significant other half would be able to decipher, going to lots of effort (she writes a fake diary, for goodness sake!) and leaving a thoughtful present at the end – then could we actually be inspired by this anniversary gesture? Let’s just leave out the manipulation and bitter-fuelled mind games.

What’s the best romantic gesture that you’ve ever read? Let us know in the comments box below!