Conemporary 'classic' love stories
“Atonement,” by Ian McEwan
(hardcover, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2002, 351 pages, $27.50). On the hottest day of 1935, Briony, 13, sees her sister Cecilia undress and plunge into the garden of their home. Watching her is Robbie, her childhood friend, who like Cecilia, recently has come down from Cambridge. By day’s end, the lives of the three will have been changed forever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not imagined and will have become the victims of the younger girl’s imagination.
“The Bridges of Madison County,” by Robert James Waller (hardcover, Warner Books, 1992, 171 pages, $12.95). Robert Kincaid, a photographer and free spirit, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, reveal what it is like to love and be loved so intensely that life never is the same again.
“The Solitude of Prime Numbers,” by Paolo Giordano (hardcover, Viking, 2010, 271 pages, $25.95). Misfits Alice and Mattia bond as teens over shared experiences of suffering before mathematically gifted Mattia accepts a research position that takes him far away, a situation that restores their isolation before they meet by chance years later.
“Water for Elephants,” by Sara Gruen (hardcover, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006, 335 pages, $23.95). Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression as well as his
friendship with Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope.
“The Notebook,” by Nicholas Sparks (hardcover, Warner Books, 1996, 214 pages, $22.95). A man picks up a faded, well-worn notebook and begins reading to a frail elderly woman, his voice recalling the heartbreaking story of two star-crossed lovers and their poignant, 50-year journey to happiness ... So begins this touching novel that is a dual tale of love lost and found and of a man’s gentle battle to reach an aging woman who cannot remember the most-cherished moments of her life.