Happy Valentine’s Day!

Eek, I don’t do Valentine’s day and then I’m writing this post about it. I must be mad. I see Valentine’s Day as a commercial success and nothing else. But there are romantic people about who do appreciate the special day and use it to spend some quality time with their loved one. And that is really nice!

Last time I celebrated Valentine’s Day, which may also have been the first time, my (now) husband and I, having only got together a few weeks beforehand, went to a (what seemed) nice pub in a small town near Brighton (England) for our dinner. How romantic can you get? How romantic it wasn’t! The food (spaghetti) was nothing special and there was no romantic atmosphere at all. There were some (heavily dressed up) people trying to make the best of it, but I think the romance was within our hearts only!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLainRandom House sent me this link to a free excerpt of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and that seemed just the thing for Valentine’s Day!

I know lots of people have read this book. I haven’t and I was curious about it, so I read the excerpt and I found it very good. I don’t know if the subject is quite my thing, but the writing is beautiful. The story takes place in the 1920s and to me, that was very convincing. I definitely felt as if I was transported to the 1920s.

About the story: it seems to be a memoir (fictional) of a wife or lover (given the title I guess ‘wife’) of Ernest Hemingway. In the Prologue, she is looking back on being in France after the war (WWI), about which Ernest said he died briefly on the battle fields and then came back to life.

The story then starts in 1920 in Chicago, where the protagonist, who is known as “Hash” is at a party with her friend Kate, who also turns out to be a friend of Ernest Hemingway, also present at the party. Hash and Ernest dance and kiss and, as they are staying as guests in the same house, meet again over breakfast.

When she leaves after another week in Chicago, Ernest insists on dropping her off at the train station and there is the understanding that they love each other.

I found it a really romantic story. You can read it here. The book is ideal when you’re in the mood for a quiet, beautiful book.

[On the same website, I also found an excerpt of The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak. Maybe of interest to some!]

An Equal Music by Vikram SethI am reading An Equal Music by Vikram Seth, which is also a story of love, but then of lost love. The protagonist Michael is an English violinist who used to live in Vienna where he had a lover, Julia, also a violinist. But troubles with his music teacher made him leave Vienna and Julia, and she never understood what happened.

Ten years later, Michael tries to find back Julia, but she doesn’t want to be found.

He sounds rather obsessed with her, which isn’t very handy after ten years! He doesn’t have much of a life, the only thing he does really is play in a quartet, nothing much else.

This is also a quiet and beautiful read and I’m curious to know what will happen next. It is a re-read but I don’t remember much about the book after 7 years. So, a good read for Valentine’s Day.

Are you doing anything on Valentine’s Day?

And do you have any fitting book suggestions?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

26 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Chinoiseries says:

    That Brighton reataurant doesn’t sound very romantic, no😉 I guess forcing romance just does not work. Still, spaghetti worked for The Lady and the Vagabond :p

    Thanks for sharing these book suggestions and links! The Paris Wife has been on my to-read list for a while.

    I’ve just started Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and I understand it feautures some romance🙂

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Judith!

    • Sabrina says:

      I just finsihed Major Pettigrew and it has indeed some romance. And the voice of the Major is quite adorable, too. He expresses himself in this very English polite and obliging way.

    • Leeswammes says:

      And a Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Chinoiseries! I think you’re right – it was a matter of forcing romance. I don’t remember The Lady and the Vagabond but my culinary treats usually don’t involve spaghetti (nice as it can be).

      Yes, Major Pettrigrew himself has a romance at some point – hope you’ll enjoy it. I did!

  2. I’m actually reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay. I’m just over 100 pages in so far and I’m not sure I’d call it a Valentine’s Day book, but it is an intriguing story.

  3. parrish says:

    Hope you enjoy this Valentines day regardless of the commercial claptrap that attends it & just remember It’s just an extra chance to tell those you love what you would do on anyday.I’m reading The Alexandria Quartet at the moment & have posted a poem for this day.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Parrish! My husband will actually be out for a chess match later on so I have about 20 minutes at dinner time (no romantic thing, either!) to declare my everlasting love. I’ll check out your poem!

  4. JoV says:

    I read Unequal music and I was pretty meh about it. can’t think of a good valentine’s read, maybe The Time Traveller’s Wife? (Sorry to hear about your Brighton’s Valentine’s experience…)

  5. Tes says:

    My husband used to be against celebrating Valentine’s day. Like you, he thought it was like a commercial thing. I somehow convinced him that maybe it’s nice to let loose and try to enjoy it and we did ever since🙂 Tonight we’re out for a romantic dinner🙂 It’s not only two of us though… we always include Yaseen in our Valentine’s plan….after all, he’s the most precious symbol of our love. I’m looking for some romantic poem book at the moment….any suggestion?

  6. Rikki says:

    ITA on Valentine’s Day. Just like Mother’s Day a big rip-off, really.
    I have The Paris Wife on my TBR list and will get around to it eventually. It is probably a nice complementary read to “A moveable feast”…

  7. mpartyka says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    We don’t make a big deal of the day, it’s a silly fun holiday. Nothing more. That said, we are making dinner tonight (we usually order chinese) so this is a big deal for us. We will eat while watching news shows no doubt. 🙂

    I listened to The Paris Wife. It’s a good story but does have a slow moment.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mari, nice to make a special meal. Glad to hear you’re watching tv during dinner as I’m guilty of reading during dinner – well, all the family does. Is it bad? We do listen to each other if we have something to share so we’re not totally antisocial.🙂

      Have a nice meal & evening.

  8. Leslie says:

    I’m in the ‘holiday contrived by the flower/candy/restaurant industry’ camp. Although I do accept gifts of chocolate if they should come my way.🙂

    I have a copy of The Paris Wife but I was putting off reading it until I read A Moveable Feast. I’m listening to Moveable Feast now and informally following the readalong at Unputdownables.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I never say NO to chocolates either, Leslie, I don’t mind under what guise they enter the house.

      Sounds like a great idea to read a book BY Hemingway, followed by one ABOUT him. Hope you’ll enjoy them both.

      • Leslie says:

        I thought it might help to learn a little more about Hemingway’s early life before reading a fictional retelling of the same time period. While I did read Hemingway in high school, I don’t remember any discussion about his early years.

  9. Mystica says:

    Its becoming quite popular with the younger urban people here as well but to the average Sri Lankan its madness!!! They don’t quite get it. I have tried to get to the Paris Wife but so far no luck. Hopefully it should surface soon.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Mystica, funny how in Sri Lanka they think totally different about something like Valentine’s Day! I like and dislike it in equal amounts, I think. Hope you’ll find the book, it seems worth a read.

  10. Karen says:

    I’m not a Valentines person so hadn’t planned any reading for it. I LOVE Equal Music. It was years ago when I read it too but I do remember devouring every word and getting lost in those pages.

  11. We didn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day this year (both because it fell on a Tuesday and because we don’t have any money right now) – but I do love it. It’s only cheesy/commercial if you let it be cheesy/commercial. I choose to allow it the opportunity of becoming what it should be – a day to celebrate love, romance, magic, and permanent affection.

    I’m such a dude, right? Haha

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