The Winning Couples

Hi, all! Reading through your votes for the Top Fictional Couples of All Time provided an unexpected trip down memory lane, with each couple evoking a favorite reading experience. With so many millions of books out there, it’s pretty incredible just how much of a fictional lexicon we all have in common.

Out of the Pink couples, the hands-down winners appear to be Letty and Geoff (sorry, Hen and Miles!). That book was one of the hardest to write, so I’m thrilled that Letty and Geoff have acquired such a following.

In no particular order, I’ve made donations to IASPR of $2 apiece in honor of:

— Letty and Geoff (“The Deception of the Emerald Ring”)
— Beatrice and Benedick (“Much Ado About Nothing”)
— Scarlett and Rhett (“Gone With the Wind”)
— Anne and Gilbert (“Anne of Green Gables”, et al)
— Alanna and George (Lioness Quartet)
— Westley and Buttercup (“The Princess Bride”)
— Elizabeth and Darcy (“Pride and Prejudice”)
— Margaret and Mr. Thornton (“North and South”)
— Claire and Jamie (“Outlander”)
and, of course,
— Marguerite and Sir Percy (“The Scarlet Pimpernel”)

Looking at all these couples, several of whom received multiple vociferous votes, I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that draws us to them. I can track similarities among specific couples within the group (there’s a touch of Anne and Gilbert in Letty and Geoff, and more than a bit of Beatrice and Benedick in Elizabeth and Darcy), but, on the whole, the couples run the gamut from domestic types to out and out rogues, from relationships formed in quiet circumstances to those forged amid high drama. With all the discrepancies among them, what do you think it is that makes these particular stories and characters so compelling?


  1. Stephanie Stoddard on May 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Yea for Alanna and George.. oh and of course Letty and Geoffrey

    Alanna (a young girl hiding her sex so that she may become a knight of Tortal. George (king of thieves in Tortal. I love their relationship because Alanna says she would never get married but George kisses her on her 16th birthday and then just waits while she makes up her mind knowing her and knowing that she would come back to him. Its so sweet and romantic.

    Letty because she is the doubt in every girl, were not pretty enough, not smart enough and Geoffrey is the guy who she holds on a pedestal thinking she could never be good enough. Then he tells her how amazing she is and she sees he is more suited to her than she thought .. its soo sweet they were perfect but didn’t know it.

  2. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on May 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I think it proves were are all hopeless romantics who believe that love conquers all and there is such a thing as True Love!

  3. Diana on May 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    One of the reasons the above stories are so compelling to read (although I haven’t read all of them, yet) is that there is inevitably misunderstandings and lack of communication, which everyone can relate to. The characters are often making assumptions about the others (Letty & Geoff definately fall into this). One of the hardest scenes is when Scarlett lays ill calling for Rhett and Mammy doesn’t hear her. Rhett later says he would stay if Scarlett would have only asked for him.

  4. Eric Selinger on May 15, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I’m so glad to see Beatrice & Benedick there near the top! Faves of mine as well.

    Thank you so, so much for your generous support to IASPR, Lauren! With your help, we’ve raised almost $350 on line in donations–along with several new memberships to the organization. Quite a week for us, and for the study of romance!

  5. am7 on May 16, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Okay first of all I haven’t read all of them. the three I am missing are North and South, Outlander, or the Lioness Quartet. however I think I see some similarities and a pattern emerging.
    1) The heroines are all strong independent women, who for different reasons are being pushed in love, commitment, marriage, etc. (For Anne Shirley, Elizabeth Bennett, and Beatrice its societal and familial pressure. For Letty, its being compromised. for Scarlett, and perhaps Marguerite its society and war. For Buttercup she’s kidnapped. After looking up Outlander my guess is time travel.)
    2) The heroine resists giving into love right away, tries to run away from declines the hero and forces him to pursue her. ( Anne, Elizabeth, Scarlett etc. refuse first proposal. Letty tries to get out of marriage.
    3) After awhile the hero gets tired of chasing her and usually the heroine has to step up. (For Letty its going to Ireland, for Scarlett its the end, for Anne its when Gil gets sick although she really doesn’t lead herself) Fo the Princess Bride its anytime he obeys her command, which leads to something dangerous. etc.)
    4) The hero never completely loses feelings for her.

    Okay those are the arcs.
    Now one of big aspect of any romance it that true love creates a feeling of coming home. From Cinderella to Pink I, from the Odyssey to Pink 5 etc. all romance novels deal with the idea of home
    so for our favorites
    1) Letty wants to stop Mary from leaving home, but winds up putting herself in exile. At the end she and Geoff become home for each other
    2) Much Ado About Nothing
    Ben discovers he wants a home life.
    3) Scarlett rejects Rhett and a new home. At the end she plans to return home and find a way to get him back.
    4)Anne notices the balance has shifted at Green Gables while she is at college. She realizes Gilbert is part of her hometown. Gilbert proposes by describing their future home. More LMM’s favorite orphan finds theme.
    5)I am not familiar with someone else may try
    6)A literal journey. Buttercup leaves and is kidnapped. Wesley rescues her and they return home.
    7)Elizabeth’s home is entailed away and she will be forced to leave when her father dies. Darcy provides with a new home, which she will probably be to stay in longer.
    8)Again I don’t know these people. probably something to do with the upheaval.
    9) I assume again the time travel thing fits in somehow.
    10) okay I’m out someone can play with this one too.
    I am sorry if this is all way too Eng lit exam. Just a few thoughts.
    final thoughts my fav couple fits in well Ron and Hermione certainly have a lot of back and forth. hermione sort of becomes an orphan when she joins the wizarding world. Eventually she marries Ron and into his family. (The Weasleys are sort of like the Uppingtons appropriating all sorts of strays into their family, who then tend to marry in. In the case of the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione, eventually, Teddy, etc. in the case of the Uppingtons Miles, being the best example, but also to large extent Amy, Geoff, as a best friend of Hen’s perhaps Charlotte.) The extension of family creates again the feeling of home.

    Also okay one more though some couples just sound good together, as alliteration as B & B, repetetive sounds Rhett and Scarlett, or matching styles such as Letty and Geoff are both nicknames. My parents both use formal names.
    All right I am way off topic. Sorry this is so long and feels like a school composition. Good Night.

  6. Natalie! on May 16, 2009 at 3:52 am

    YES!!!!! That makes me happy! I knew I was right when I said Letty & Geoffrey for the win!

  7. Gina on May 17, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Yes! I love all the winners.

    I’m glad Alanna and George were honored – that makes me smile. Their story is so sweet, and George is so likable…very patient, and rogue-ish, and really the complete opposite of Alanna in some ways. It makes for fun reading.

  8. Stephanie on May 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I’m so happy to see Alanna and George up there!!!! I had no idea they were that well known! They were my first ever favorite romantic couple, and I STILL go back and read those books when I’m feeling sentimental. If you all liked those, check out the books about their daughter, Ally (Trickster’s Choice and Trickerster’s Queen); they’re just as good, if not better.

  9. Kristen on May 18, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I think it may have to do with love being such an individual and personal experience. It is never the same story twice, so it’s only fitting that the characters are different and enduring for different reasons.

    Also- of those that I’ve read (and I’ve read most of them), the characters are complete and beliveable.

  10. Camille la Flamme on May 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Because Rhett and I – er, I mean and Scarlett, my physical/personalitial (??) doppleganger – rock. 🙂

  11. Francesca on May 23, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Yeah Letty and Geoff!! They are such a good couple because the entire time I was reading I kept thinking, “well they will just get divorced when they get back.” But they ended up realizing how much they complimented each other. AND they Letty never really tells Geoff exactly what happened that night, he doesn’t care anymore. That was what makes them special.

  12. Annie on December 9, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I get your point

  13. Arianna on December 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    A good read

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