Literary Swoon, Day Nine: The Midnight Garden!

February 14, 2012 2012, discussion post, literary swoon, Wendy 48

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! 

Thanks so much for joining us on our week-long celebration of literary swoon with some of your favorite YA authors. It’s been a pleasure to revisit some beautiful book moments, as well as to add to our ever-teetering TBR lists.

We’re concluding our series today with a few more romantic book scenes, this time chosen by The Midnight Garden Bloggers. As always, enjoy! And beware spoilers if you haven’t read the book yet.

K.’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene

One of my favorite romantic scenes is from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. It comes near the end of the book, and it’s a beautiful moment between young Cathy and Hareton. It is so sweet and delicate it makes you want to aww until your heart breaks. For me, it stands out so fiercely mainly because everything else around it so dark – a little flicker of light fighting to stay alive in a storm. There’s really no better way to prove it but to let you read it for yourself.

So without further ado, in Emily’s eternal words…

That was a great advance for the lad. She didn’t thank him; still, he felt gratified that she had accepted his assistance, and ventured to stand behind as she examined them, and even to stoop and point out what struck his fancy … he contented himself with going a bit further back, and looking at her instead of the book. She continued reading … His attention became, by degrees, quite centered in the study of her thick, silky curls: her face he couldn’t see, and she couldn’t see him. And, perhaps, not quite awake to what he did, but attracted like a child to a candle, at last he proceeded from staring to touching; he put out his hand and stroked one curl, as gently as if it were a bird.

Reynje’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene

From On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta:

“I take deep breaths, looking at the town stretched in front of me. When I turn around he cups my face in his hands and kisses me so deeply that I don’t know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it instantly.”
This is definitely one of my favourite kisses in fiction. In just three lines, Marchetta packs so much emotion into this moment between Taylor and Jonah – it’s romantic and sad and abrupt and full of longing. No matter how many times I read this passage I still experience the same need for these characters to find happiness, a connection to their story and their relationship. I love how Marchetta writes romance between flawed people that is realistic, and yet still so compelling and swoon-worthy.

Wendy’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene 

I enjoy romance in many forms, but I have a special affinity for stories that have some element of sadness or self-sacrifice. There is a great deal of tragedy in L.M. Montgomery’s unabashedly romantic Emily of New Moon series, which features a young orphan who must start a new life after her father passes away. 

Emily harbors a secret hankering for Teddy Kent as soon as they meet in a small Canadian village, but over many years of friendship, their relationship is estranged after a series of misunderstandings. In fact, she has even promised to marry another man…until one night, Emily has a dream in which she goes to see Teddy at a London station just as he’s embarking on his journey home on a boat-train. 

She was in that strange, great room–she was among those throngs of people–she was standing by the man who was waiting impatiently before a ticket-window. As he turned his face and their eyes met she saw it was Teddy–she saw the amazed recognition in his eyes. And she knew, indisputably, that he was in some terrible danger–and that she must save him.

“Teddy. Come.” 

She wakes up the next morning, shaken by her dream. She isn’t surprised to find that Teddy’s ship collided with an iceberg at sea, presumably killing everyone on board. But Teddy never got on that ship, because just before he boarded, he was quite sure he saw an impossible sight–Emily, beckoning him to follow her until she was lost in a crowd and it was too late for him to board. Later, Emily explains:

“You see,” she concluded miserably, “when I can call like that to him across space–I belong to him. He doesn’t love me–he never will–but I belong to him.”

It’s bewitching to think of a love so powerful that you can reach across time and distance to your soul mate, isn’t it? That scene from Emily’s Quest makes me clutch my chest every time I read it.   

Tell Us Your Favorite Romantic Book Scene!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series. And now that we’ve shared a bundle of swoon-worthy moments with you…we’d love to hear what makes your heart go pitter-patter! Tell us YOUR favorite romantic book scene in the comments below.

Check out the rest of the Literary Swoon series! 

Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
Gail Carriger, author of Soulless
Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy
Deborah Cooke, author of Flying Blind
Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly
Shirley Marr, author of Fury 
Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium

Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
The Midnight Garden Bloggers

48 Responses to “Literary Swoon, Day Nine: The Midnight Garden!”

  1. Leanne

    Thanks Wendy, you just reminded me that Blue Castle, the Emily trilogy and Rilla of Ingleside are waiting on my shelf for me:)

  2. KM

    *sigh* Wuthering Heights. SUCH a good book! But I think I loved it because it ends so sadly. lol Great picks!

  3. Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    Oh I loveeeee that Taylor/Jonah moment. There are some great ones in Jellicoe Road.

    It’s tough to pick just one, but of recent books I lovedddd the first kiss between Anna and Etienne in Anna and the French Kiss. There was just sooo much build up.

  4. Flannery Anderson

    I just don’t know what my favorite romantic scene in a book is. I guess I’ll need to think about it more. I definitely added a few books to my TBR here but I am most curious about the Emily books since I love Anne so much. I already own them:)

  5. Giselle

    Omg there are so many I don’t even think I could choose or even single one out. I really enjoyed Statistical Probability’s love story. I’m one of the only ones who only thought Jelicoe Road was ok – not great. But I think I just wasn’t in the mood for the type of story. Anyhow :) Great post Wendyloo! :)

  6. Lexie

    I absolutely love the sound of all of these. I need to add them to my TBR list! I own a copy of Jellicoe Road, so I’m even more excited for that one. :D

    I’m having difficulty conjuring a lot of my favorites, but I know one of them is the scene from The Fault in Our Stars that elena mentioned:

    “I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.

    “Augustus,” I said.

    “I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

    While I’ll agree that most teens would not speak like that, the scene was absolutely perfect. It was just . . . perfect. I’m not a big fan of declarations of love in most YA books, because typically they’re these cheap little things made after knowing each other for a few days where the two have fooled themselves into thinking they’re in love because they find each other extremely attractive. That’s not the case here. This is a boy and a girl who have known each other for months, a boy who knows the girl he loves is dying and knows she doesn’t want a relationship because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she’s gone and is still telling her because he feels it’s something she needs to know. I loved that so, so much.

    • Wendy Darling

      Love that, Lexie, thanks so much for copying it for us–I really need to read it! You and Elena picked the exact same moment from TFIOS as your favorite. :)

  7. Reynje

    This reminds me of how much I really need to re-read the Emily books – it’s been too long! The Blue Castle is definitely another of my L M Montgomery faves :)

  8. Missie, The Unread Reader

    Gah! All these epic romances are slaying me. And the tiny excerpts are only making me want to run out and read the book even more, they call the my romance starved heart. LOL

    I’m trying to think of the best romantic moment I’ve read, but I’m drawing a blank. They’ve all blurred together.

    Thanks for sharing all these swoon worthy moments. It definitely helped this single girl smile on a day for lovers. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      I don’t think we ever get enough of romance, even those of us who are attached! I’m glad you enjoyed this feature, Missie, especially since I read about so many swoon-worthy books on *your* blog. :)

  9. Mimi Valentine

    YAY! I was just waiting for this one where you guys shared your own Literary Swoon scenes — they all put the biggest smiles on my face! :) They were all so romantic, especially the “He doesn’t love me–he never will–but I belong to him.” Just broke my heart a little! <3

    It’s so hard to think of MY favourite LS scene on the spot LOL — I have so many! x) But a recent book I remember stuck with me was from Article 5 by Kristen Simmons. There were so many scenes in there that made me melt. I have the biggest weakness for childhood romances! x)

    Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Thank you so much again — I think I’ve said that a lot haha! — for hosting this amazing event! It should be an annual thing! ;) <3

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, thank you Mimi! This was a really fun feature to do, we’ll definitely consider doing it again next year. :) So glad you enjoyed.

      And I’ve heard good things about Article 5 in general, but it’s great to hear there’s a little swoon in there, too!

  10. chachic

    I love this post! I didn’t love Heart’s Blood as much as Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series but it’s still a good read. I’m always interested in reading Beauty and the Beast retellings. Leanne has a point though and it’s reminiscent of Jane Eyre as well.

    Love love love Taylor and Jonah. Great pick, Reynje! I feel like I need to reread Jellicoe Road soon because I want to be reminded of scenes like that.

    I don’t have specific scenes in mind but I did write a post about my favorite fictional couples in the past year.

  11. The Sagacity Quest

    I’ve heard about all 4 books but haven’t read any of those books. If Wuthering Heights is anything like Jane Eyre, then I’ll know I’ll enjoy it. Thanks for this awesome feature.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

  12. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    So much romance! The only one of those I’ve read is Wuthering Heights. I read it over and over as a teen, and watched the movies. My favorite version is the one w/Ralph Fiennes and Julia Ormond (I think?). Killer.
    Thanks for such a great feature!

  13. BJ @ Dark Side of the Covers

    Happy sigh for Emily of New Moon! Loved those stories. There’s another LM Montgomery book I loved, Blue Castle(s?) – not one of her more well-known stories, but a lovely and funny adult romance…and some lovely swoonworthy moments!

  14. Karen

    I absolutely MUST read a book by Melina Marchetta this year. She is the author that is recommended to me above all others and my husband has been harassing me to read Wuthering Heights for years. That’s his favorite book.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  15. Julianna Helms

    Wow, I think my TBR list just collapsed. Oopseys. *eyes the mess*

    :D Anyway, my favorite romantic scene has to be the candy shop scene in Shiver. But I also have a favorite quote, too, from the same book:

    “’How long?’

    His smile was amazingly sweet. ‘The longest.’


    Sam’s lips smiled, but above his grin, his yellow eyes turned sad, as if he knew it was a lie. ‘Longer.'”


  16. Candace

    Heart’s Song sounds really amazing and I’m adding it to my list. I have Wuthering Heights but haven’t read it yet. These are all such amazing scenes though and it has me feeling all fluttery in my tummy.

    I can’t get a quote right now but my favorite couple is Phedre and Joscelin from the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. The first three books have the most epic romance EVER. It’s my favorite series of ALL time too cause it’s epic in every way possible. (Warning: It’s very adult!)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I’ve heard a lot of swoony things about the Kushiel’s Legacy series, Candace–thanks! And pish posh, “adult” just whets my appetite more. :D

  17. Sam

    I LOVE that scene from Jellicoe Road. That book is beyond amazing, and Marchetta does a brilliant job with the romance. I kind of want to read it again now! :P

    These posts have been so much fun! I agree, you should definitely do it again next year or something similar. :)

  18. elena

    ah I actually typed a comment up on my phone earlier today but it wasn’t working! So here it is again. Shamefully, I have never read any of these books and I can’t even think of any romantic scenes right now! It’s weird because I enjoy romance a LOT but none immediately comes to mind. The most swooning I can think of recently happened in The Fault In Our Stars where this happens “I’m in love with you,” he said quietly.” and there’s more after but that’s not what I love. It’s THAT quote in particular that made me stop because it was so intimate and subtle, it really took me by surprise.

  19. Jenny

    I really need to read Jellicoe Road! I’ve heard it’s amazing and I loved that little excerpt:) I don’t know if I have a single favorite scene, there are so many I could choose from. I can’t deal with being put on the spot! ;-) I think maybe one of my favorite scenes ever is in the Hunger Games when Peeta’s in his first interview and they ask if there’s a girl he loves at home watching him and he all he says is “She’s here with me”. *dies*

  20. Caitlin

    Taylor and Jonah are definitely my favourite romantic couple ever but I don’t think I could ever pick a favourite scene between them. Though the one when they’re in jail and she has an asthma attack and all he can do is hold onto her and tell her to breathe…the intensity of that one and how it happens so early on in the story has always stood out to me.

    Thanks for this series! I’ve really, really enjoyed it!

  21. Ace

    Wonderful post, as always :). My favorite romantic scene comes from a series I never really expected to fall head-over-heels for. It happens in the fifth book, and I won’t say who is talking because I don’t want to spoil anything, but fans of the book series should know exactly which scene this is ;).

    “But you kept pulling me back. You’re the brightest thing I’ve ever seen, Kaylee. You’re this beautiful ball of fire spitting sparks out at the world, burning fiercely, holding back the dark by sheer will. And I always knew that if I reached out—if I tried to touch you—I’d get burned. Because you’re not mine. I’m not supposed to feel the fire. I’m not supposed to want it. But I do. I want you, Kaylee, like I’ve never wanted anything. Ever. I want the fire. I want the heat, and the light, and I want the burn.”

  22. FABR Steph

    I still have not read On Jellicoe Road, but will have to give it a try. Most of my favorites in the romance line are classics. I love Pride and Prejudice, of course. My all time favorite is one that I have forgotten the name for and have done all kinds of searches to find out what it is. One day I will find it again.
    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews

  23. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    Wendy what a fabulous ending to a great series of posts.
    Emily’s books what a great pick. I fell in love with Emily and Teddy at ten. That scene your mentioned is amazing and what about the night Emily gets locked in the church with the crazy man and she screams for Teddy. They are a terrific couple. I am glad she answers his whistle.

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, thanks so much, Heidi. And I am so excited that you’re a fan of the Emily books, too! I think that scene in the church was when Emily first *really* felt something for Teddy, so I remember that scene very well. :)

  24. Amy

    Those are some great books. I love Wuthering Heights! I don’t know if I could chose a specific scene in a book, there are so many swoon worthy book scenes. This has been such a great feature.

  25. Heather

    Great books! And you reminded me I need to check out some more of Juliet Marillier’s work! Heart’s Blood seems like a good place to start. :)

    • Leanne

      Heather, Heart’s Blood was one of my favourite romances of the year, and I highly recommend it! I hope you get to reading it soon:)

  26. Rebecca

    I can’t think of one specific scene in a book, there are so many that I love. I have enjoyed this feature so much! I hope you do it again next year.