I know I am really behind! However, this day is based on love and family relationships. Sometimes the best stories are the stories of families or of someone's search for a family. Of course, love and romance novels have been popular for years in both the Christian and secular community. I, myself, enjoy stories about love, family and friendships, because it's what I'm around all the time, but I also enjoy reading about someone else POV on love and relationships. No two person's ideas are the same. So, I'll just do an overview of one book series on love/family and one on love/friendship.
Love Comes Softly series
by Janette Oak
I love anything by Janette Oak and these books have been favorites of mine for as long as I can remember. Love Comes Softly (which inspired the the movie series of the same name) starts with 19 year old Marty Claridge and her husband, Clem, who move out west to start a new life together. However, Clem is killed in an accident and Marty is now alone and pregnant with no family or friends and winter on the horizon. Then Clark Davies, a handsome widower with a one year old daughter, offers Marty a 'marriage of convenience.' Marty and Clark will legally marry to allow Marty to stay with him and his daughter (Missie) until the wagon train comes through in the spring. Left with no choice, Marty begrudgingly agrees.
After a rocky start (with some hysterical chapters!), Marty begins to find a happy life with Clark and Missy and is befriended by wise and comforting Sarah Graham whose own marriage to her husband Ben was also one of convenience. Marty also witnesses with the incredible power of faith when she sees Clark's godliness in his life as a man, father, and a friend. and soon begins to question her own life and if God has had a plan for her all along. When faced with the choice to stay or go, Marty remains with Clark, Missie and her new son.
Marty's decision to stay sets of a chain of personal stories of young women and their families that spans three generations. Love Comes Softly goes beyond romance in the west, but it's not preachy or over-Christianized in any way. It's wonderful blend of drama, romance and comedy that deals with love, loss, grief, joy, happiness, hope and above all family. The roles of wife and motherhood are most heavily emphasized in this series, which what I also enjoyed.
by J.K. Rowling
While Harry Potter can be used for a plethora of writing inspirations, the series greatest attributes is the unending theme of friendship. Harry Potter has been alone his whole life and so when he finds out that he's going to Hogwarts, he's excited, even a little scared. Upon meeting Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry's world is expanded in ways he never thought possible. With Ron, Hermione, Harry has a sense of belonging and acceptance that he has never had before. While they tend to get into trouble constantly, the trio usually have their hearts in the right place.
As they grow older, Harry and his friends (including other students) go through their own personal trials where their boundaries and loyalties are frequently tested. This is especially seen with Ron Weasley who tends to live in the shadow of his best friend. While Ron never betrays or hurts Harry, he does conform to jealousy from time to time. Yet, when the time calls, Ron is there for Harry no matter the situation. Ron and Harry's loyal, but at times, rocky friendship is one of the best relationships in the whole story! While Hermione never falters in her faithfulness to Harry, Ron gives a realistic look as to what it's like to be friends with the popular kid, especially when you yourself are not popular. I've always been able to relate to Ron as the kid from a big family who never seemed to find their place.
Harry Potter deals with love in almost every form from romantic love, sacrificial love, selfish love, platonic love, long distant love, family love, secret love, unrequited love, triangular love...yeah just about every definition of love you can find somewhere in a Harry Potter book! Yet, Harry's whole existence (and survival) is based on love; and that love from his parents is what guides him through every trial and obstacle he is made to face.