Wednesday, February 12, 2014


By Clare O'Donohue
I have to admit this question has me stumped. What love story could be improved by a murder? I'm not thrown by the "improved by murder" part - as much as the love story part.
I'm not much for classic love stories. I read Wuthering Heights and wanted to kill of Heathcliff and Catherine pretty much from the beginning. Ditto Romeo and Juliet. Their deaths didn't come a moment too soon. Anything by Jane Austen annoys me. (Send hate mail to See also Little Women.
It's not that I'm not a romantic. I was just as pathetic as anyone early on, rambling on about how he did this or said this, or blinked in the most adorable way on earth... But I'm a romantic about real romance - long-haul - and that's rarely the stage that's written about.
Romance in its early stages is either "He/She smiled and the world seems brighter" or "He/She did not smile and I'm filled with dread" It's a lot of staring into each other's eyes, followed by agonizing, worrying and obstacles thrown in the way of THE ONE TRUE LOVE IN ALL THE UNIVERSE until they either get on with it or die trying.
I spent years as a teenage girl, and as a woman in her 20s, so I've listened to this over and over (and said it a few times) in my own life. I'm not that excited to read about it - even expertly done - unless there's another reason to be there. Unless, while they are agonizing, worrying, staring into each other's eyes etc... they are actually doing something. Stepping over a body, for example. Running away from a man with an ax. Trying to figure out who was poisoned. (I could go on but you get the idea)
So, my answer to what classic love story could be improved by a murder? All of them.


Robin Spano said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. I agree re: Little Women. (I did love Wuthering Heights, though.) Great post.

Lori Rader-Day said...

You're such a romantic, Clare.

Lisa Alber said...

I'm a Jane Austen fan, yet I have to admit, Pride & Prejudice came to mind. Someone murder Collins already!

Or, how about the twitty littlest sister? Now that would be quite the murder mystery!

Susan C Shea said...

What about modern love stories like The English Patient or Brideshead Revisited, where there's already damage being done by and for love? That might be more your kind of challenge!

Meredith Cole said...

"What classic love story could be improved by a murder? All of them.

I second Lori's comment! Your post is too funny, Clare...

Clare ODonohue said...

Susan- Actually ditto on more modern romances as well. For example Nicholas Sparks (I don't want to kill his characters, I want to kill him) But I actually am a romantic, just not a schmaltzy romantic.