|Image Credit: Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library|
I’ve been fascinated with President and Nancy Reagan since my childhood. My dad was a great fan of President Reagan’s politics, so I’m sure that’s what initially sparked my interest. (I even named a character in my third book If Not for a Bee after the former President. In the book, my little “Reagan” is an ardent fan of the former President he was named after and enjoys sharing trivia about him, much to the embarrassment of his older brother.) The Reagans, as a couple, are what held my interest.
Watching last month’s news reports about the death of Mrs. Reagan, a strong, classy, intelligent woman in her own right, commentary always seemed to circle back to the great “love affair” this former First Couple shared. After Ronald Reagan’s death, Charlton Heston stated that these two had “the greatest love affair in the history of the American Presidency.” Their own children have commented that, above all, they will remember their parents for the great love, devotion, and affection they held for one another.
By all accounts, this couple shared something special. The kind of love that left one yearning for the other after only being apart for mere minutes. When business took him away, President Reagan would attempt to comfort them both with letters, "You should...be aware of how essential you are in this man’s life. By his own admission, he is completely in love with you." And Mrs. Reagan said that when she received the letters from her love, “…the whole world stopped so I could read them." (She published a collection in 2000, entitled I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan.)
For me, one of the reasons their romance is so compelling is that often it seems that those who live in the public eye, be it Hollywood, the music industry, professional sports, reality TV, or politics, change partners more often than I change my socks. Occasionally, a couple will come along that leaves me believing – fervently hoping - that they are the real deal. Alas, I have fallen for too many of these “power couples” over the years, only to be disappointed when word of their breakup hits the news.
(Please don’t send me hate mail. I’m not advocating for people staying together under the wrong conditions. I know Ron and Nancy were divorced before they found each other. I believe divorce, and/or breaking up, has its place in the world. Even in romance novels.)
|Who doesn't love a good "true" love story?|
As a romance writer, and a lover of romance in general, I celebrate Ron and Nancy’s story, and those like them. Shouldn’t we all? Because when we do get married, when we commit our life to another person, isn’t this kind of lasting love our ultimate goal? The Happily Ever After we all seek, not just as romance readers and writers, but in real life, too? And as heartbreaking as it is to see our favorite couples separate, it’s even more fun to watch them stay together.
On that note, I thought it would be fun to list some of our all-time favorite, heartwarming love stories. You know, those couples who appear to be the real deal. Maybe they have sacrificed money, fame, or power, or maybe they’ve thrived in spite of it. For whatever reason, they just exude devotion, passion, affection, commitment, and true, enduring love.
In addition to Ron and Nancy, here’s another of my favorites:
King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson; quite the scandalous affair in 1930s England, when this soon-to-be king admitted that he was in love with a twice-divorced American socialite and intended to marry her in spite of royal dictates. So, he did what any man truly in love would do – he abdicated. What could possibly be more romantic than a man literally sacrificing the most royal of titles for the sake of love? They were married for 35 years before the Duke passed away.
|Photo credit: The National Archives (UK) document record PC11/1 (from Wikipedia)|
What real-life love story have you been fascinated with? Has there ever been, or is there, a famous couple that has confirmed your belief in true love?
For more information about Carol and a complete list of her books, visit her website: carolrossauthor.com