February 7, 2023
Michelle Nicole Gerrard
Love is meant to be celebrated every single day. In all the tiny, thoughtful things people do. February has a little extra emphasis on loving, and we are believers that love can be any kind you desire. Self-love, familial love, friendship love, the love of a kind stranger, or the spark between you and your lover. Pen to paper, we have created some of the most exquisite love stories of all time. Writer, Michelle Gerrard, has put together a short list of various tales of love that have lingered on her heart over the years.
So often we are taught that fairytale love is about bringing the stars to our beloved. But what if love is the star? What if love is found in the very act of existing? What if we never had to beg to be loved or to be enough but rather the light that is within us has always been bright enough on its own? Neil Gaiman explores coming of age, adventure and of course love in this delicious novel. Filled with magic, intrigue, growth and wonder, you will not soon forget it.
“You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful.” - Neil Gaiman
A book that delves into all encompassing grief, loss, betrayal, abuse, and above all else love. Alice Hart learns the language of flowers, learns the depth of familial love and the love of strangers who were always connected. Most of all, she learns the truest love of her own heart. The heart that has continued beating through her entire life, no matter what landscape she found herself in, no matter whose arms held her at night. This may seem like an unexpected choice, but every single word of this book speaks of the most radiant love. It may not be traditional, a classic tale as old as time, it is something different. Something true.
“Trust yourself. Trust your story. All you can do is tell it true.”
― Holly Ringland
The story of Janie Crawford. Zora Neal Hurston was one of the most prominent writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of her most beloved novels. That explores themes of gender and race. Janie really spends the whole novel looking for a love that does not own nor control. A love that is free. Janie recounts her three marriages, and through her voice, one feels the depth of what so many women have felt through the ages. When our voice is too loud, being quieted. When our wanting is too much, submission. And yet, so many have pushed the boundaries and have continued to reach for fulfillment and love that is equal and kind. A powerful novel that will stay with you long after you have finished.
“Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”
― Zora Neale Hurston
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be born, to love, to die? What is the definition of family and how do we heal the wounds of simply existing? Ocean Vuong shares the core of humanity in this novel. The complicated nature of loving, the lasting effects of generational trauma and war. I chose this book because it really goes into the foundations of loving in all of its forms.
“In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.”
― Ocean Vuong
Shane and Eva. This book is honest, filled with passion and possibility. It explores so many of the things that can keep us from loving, and then the medicine that love provides. Really, my words will fall short at capturing this electric novel. I highly suggest reading it and getting lost in this romantic dream.
“And maybe that was what real, adult love was. Being fearless enough to hold each other close no matter how catastrophic the world became. Loving each other with enough ferocity to quell the fears of the past. Just fucking being there.”
― Tia Williams
There are many other Austen novels that I could have chosen, but none that move my heart quite like Persuasion. Persuasion tells the story of a second chance, the reawakening of a timeless love between Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, whom eight years earlier she had been persuaded not to marry. While Persuasion might be more melancholy in tone than some of her other works, it perfectly utilizes Jane Austen's signature satire and irony to add conflict to what is one of the most beautiful romances ever written. In essence, Persuasion is the ultimate second-chance love story. Filled with the hope that is never too late for love to begin. Ahhh, excuse my hopeless romantic heart as I swoon.
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you.”
― Jane Austen
Michelle Gerrard is a writer, brand consultant, photographer and creator. She has published two books. A book of poems, Bruised Fruit and a cookbook, Olfactory. Her background and education are rooted in creative writing and literature. She loves the romance of Goldie, and the dedication to self love and expansion.