Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Who Doesn't Love a (True) Love Story? by Carol Ross

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




24 comments:

  1. After reading your post I googled celebrities who have been married over 20 years and I was happy to see that there were quite a few. Some mentioned were: Michael J. Fox, Kevin Bacon, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal, Samuel L. Jackson, Dustin Hoffman, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more. I have to admit that I felt very happy when I saw Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. I've loved Tom Hanks since childhood and I'm glad that he's had an enduring marriage. But, the 20+ year marriage I'm most happiest about is my own. ( : Thanks for a great post Carol. Now I know the inspiration behind your character named Reagan.

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    1. Laurie, this is fantastic! Interesting, because I really like all of these stars. I absolutely adore Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. Just reading this makes me happy - and hopeful. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on your long and happy marriage!

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  2. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have always fascinated me. I think there's more love there than we ever hear about. And I'm with Laurie--I'm pretty excited about my own marriage. 45 years in May!

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    1. Liz, I really hope you're right about there being more love than we hear about! There has to be, right? Because love truly does make the world go around(: Congratulations on 45 years!

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  3. What a beautiful, insightful post, Carol! It's just one of the reasons your stories are so touching and REAL! Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, my talented friend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Loree. I'll admit to getting a little lost in researching all the fun stuff out there about both of these couples. It's great inspiration, too. HEA forever!

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  4. Carol, I so enjoyed reading Ron and Nancy's love letters. The sad part is that their children felt so locked out of their lives. I think only after their dad became so ill were they able to bridge differences and hard feelings. I watched the service for Nancy on TV and their love for each other was what stood out in all the eulogies. I think Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had a long and interesting love life.

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    1. I feel the same way, Roz. I've read that about your their kids, too. Very sad. It was a complex family dynamic that's for sure. I'm so glad you mentioned Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward! They seem like the real deal to me also.

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  5. Hi, Carol. So agree about the Regans. My all time favorite love story is John and Abigail Adams. Their letters are amazing and filled with the language from another time. "I long for us to dance through Cupid's Grove together." Isn't that dear? I think they spent more of their life apart than together, lost half their children, their farm, she was often left to cope alone and did it without complaint because she believe in his work. History insists he was a very principled man who was difficult to like, but she loved him so much! And then, there's Ron and Muriel. 48 for us in August!

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    1. Hi, Muriel. What a great couple to mention. I have a copy of their letters, too. They are wonderful. What a fascinating life they had. Congratulations to you and Ron! Forty-eight years together is amazing.

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    2. Oh, me, too, on Abigail and John! We went to 1776 lately and I was reminded of their relationship and the term "Cupid's Grove."

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  6. The real-life love story that's fascinated me since I was old enough to appreciate it, is my parent's story. Unfortunately, as my mother's dementia progresses, my father is losing the woman he's been devoted to for 56 years. It's so difficult to see him in such pain. Much like Nancy, and how she cared for Ronald, my father's patience on those rough days, is a testimony to his never-ending love for my mother.
    I really enjoyed this post, Carol.

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    1. Oh, Jill. I am so sorry. What a beautiful thing to say about your parents. Dementia is the cruelest of diseases. Your father sounds like an angel. Prayers for you all.

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  7. Aw...thank you, Carol. Yes, my father is an angel...a stubborn one, wanting to do it all, but yes, definitely an angel. I appreciate your prayers.

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  8. Great post, Carol!

    As you know, I recently read If Not for a Bee and really enjoyed it. I loved Reagan--both the name and the character--and it's great knowing that he is the namesake of such an admirable man.

    In terms of real-life romances, the relationship between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward comes to mind.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kate. As writers, it's always fun to squeeze in a bit of the things we love into our stories, isn't it? Love Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

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  9. Politics aside, one thing you can say is that these two truly loved each other and that's definitely something in this day and age. My person fave? Paul Newman and Joann Woodward. They just always looked so in love. :) Great post!!

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    1. Absolutely, Anna! Well said. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward definitely looked like the real deal as well. What a beautiful couple they were.

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  10. Great post, Carol! I've always been a fan of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The Reagans were one in a million. But those letters of John and Abigail Adams bring me to my knees. And thanks for the mention about WLlace Simpson, she's a person in history I always wished I'd been alive to interview.

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    1. Thank you, Catherine. I remember the exact moment when I was a kid that my mom told me about Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward. I was stunned. The fact that he loved her so much he was willing to give up his crown. Talk about romantic. Grace Kelly giving up her fame to marry Prince Rainier is a lovely romance story as well. Such a tragic ending though.

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  11. What a sweet post. I love all the couples mentioned, and I think the fact that Nancy and Ronnie were both divorced before they found each other somehow makes their love more precious.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I agree with that. I imagine they were really aware of how truly special their love was.

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  12. Princess Grace and prince rainier of monaco.. though their story ends in tradegy.

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    1. Oh, so sad! They seemed like a wonderful couple as well. At least they had that love for a while.

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