What are the most romantic moments of your life?
As a mystery romance novelist I have my own ideas!
The setting for my novel Mystical Circles is a gracious farmhouse in the Cotswolds; surrounded by garden, orchard, and its own land rising up the steep side of the valley to a ridge overlooking the panorama of the Severn Vale, it also boasts a fine tithe barn. It’s my idea of a romantic location. Though I will admit that some of the things that go on in it do not quite qualify for that description! For intrigues, liaisons and relationships flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly within this close circle.
Nevertheless, there are genuinely romantic moments in my novel. There is a sunken garden with a water lily pond; an African thatched gazebo reached by a winding path through azaleas and rhododendrons; and up the wooded slope behind the farmhouse, a hermitage, ideal for “one-to-one counselling sessions”. Also the sitting room, with its leaded window panes, through which the morning sun streams, tinting the oak floor timbers gold, and enriching the colours of the silk long- fringed rugs is often the venue for a romantic get-together; or maybe the library, with its mellow oak panelling, the dreamy atmosphere, the softly glowing lamps. These are all suitable locations for romantic moments.
But in real life true romantic moments are few and far between.
To me, the essence of a traditional romantic moment is this: a serendipitous conjunction of beauty, happiness, dreams, and a loving relationship between a man and a woman. Notice my use of the word ‘traditional’!
You need to inhabit a romantic moment fully to claim it.
I can think of moments which had most of the ingredients of being romantic… except that I lacked the confidence to be fully alive to them.
You need to be relaxed, accepting, and totally at one in the moment.
These are some examples of romantic moments garnered from my own memories (the names of the ‘romantic heroes’ concerned are disguised!:
1. lemon souffle in a restaurant in Albemarle Street, London, with Mr X
2. on a London underground escalator when Mr X turned to me and said: “One day we’ll be together forever.”
3. On the shore of a certain Balearic Island, near dusk, watching a sea that looked like caramel silk, when Mr X turned to me and said “When I become Y (naming the promotion he was hoping to get, which we’d discussed), we’ll come back here and stay at the Z Hotel (naming the Hotel Romantic-but-Very-Posh-and-Expensive which we on that trip had been unable to afford to stay in).
Here are my further ideas of what would constitute a romantic moment:
1) A chance meeting with an ex-lover in a supremely beautiful place (and I spent ages trying to make that work in a previous novel but it just didn’t come off).
2) The “bone fida mini-break” beloved of Bridget Jones – in a fine country house hotel such as the one which Daniel Cleaver whisked Bridget off to, filmed at Stoke Park (although it all went sour when they met up in the foyer with Mark Darcy and his attractive companion Natasha).
3) The spontaneous / surprise weekend in Paris in the springtime (referred to in a stage farce I greatly enjoyed, when the main character, a philanderer played by Leslie Phillips, spirited his mistress Janie off on just such a break, having purchased beautiful lingerie to lay out on the bed for her, and was then interrupted by other visitors whom he hadn’t bargained for).
True romantic moments are few and far between in real life. That is, of course, the nature of serendipity. And it’s why romance fiction is the most popular literary genre.
I hope that when those moments come, you are able to fully inhabit them.
What are your romantic moments? Dare you let me know about them in your comments – disguising the name of the romantic hero, of course?