In an unexpected, but by no means unwelcome, departure from her usual cakery, the Cake-Maker Virtuoso has been cooking her way through this:
Every few days the biscuit jar in the kitchen is filled up with new morsels of deliciousness. Chocolate, date, peanut butter - such much! And the speed at which they disappear is bordering on scary.
In honour of the all the lovely sweet nothings we are being spoiled with, and because it's coming up to Valentines Day, here are some of our favourite literary romances.
Sabriel and Touchstone, Sabriel by Garth Nix
Romance is not high on Sabriel's list of important things to worry about now that her father, the Abhorsen, is dead and so is basically everyone else around her - only not dead enough, most of them. It also doesn't feature in her impressive list of past accomplishments. But then there's this handsome young man with a curse on him, and the poor thing desperately needs her help, and one thing leads to... a scene in an inn where Sabriel thinks Touchtstone is, ahem, having it off with someone in the next room - GENIUS!
Tom and Alice, Somebody's Crying by Maureen McCarthy
It's wrong in some fairly major ways. Wrong, and yet so right. The chemistry between them is extraordinary. The scene where he's developing photos of her in a dark room (A DARK ROOM, people) and she comes in - but he has a cold and his nose is blocked and... and... KISSING!
Jem & Mackenzie, Always McKenzie by Kate Constable
Jem is an Invisible Girl. Mackenzie is a Golden Girl. And at school camp they solemnly swear never, ever to be friends, as long as they both shall live. And we all know what tends to happen when rash statements like that are made...
Katniss and Gale... and Peeta, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
We are Team Both! They each give her such different things. She needs both in her life. We, the reader, need both in her life. What if, in the new world order, Katniss shacked up with Gale AND Peeta? Gale would hunt, Peeta would cook and Katniss would be the president of Panem, coming home to have her... um... feet rubbed.
Amelia and Chris, The Good Oil by Laura Buzo
She's young and inexperienced and head-over-heels. He is a bit older and a good bit more streetwise, but a bit lost and a good bit infuriatingly attractive. The shifting viewpoint of this novel lets you see both sides of this relationship - and boy is that interesting!
Anna and Flynn, About A Girl by Joanne Horniman
What happens when bookish, daydreaming Anna gets her girl, Flynn, a rock chick gleaming with light and danger? Uncertainty and heartbreak, that's what. But such beautiful, wistful heartbreak to read about rather than live through. There are teapots, and guitars with names, and shabby share-house twilit kitchens with cats and bowls of apples on tables, and mother-of-pearl buttons that stand in for kisses like in Peter Pan, and real kisses, most tender ones...
Leah and Adam, Being Here by Barry Jonsberg
She has a powerful imagination and is lonely and lives on an isolated farm with a puritanical mother. He has scuffed boots, wild hair and a sense of adventure. They meet in the orchard. And what happens next is extraordinary.
Anna and St Clair, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
He's French-American with a British accent and great hair. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?
Another Country by Julian Mitchell, directed by Marek KanievskaGuy Bennet (Rupert Everett) and James Harcourt (Cary Elwes).
1930s British public school. There is sneaking out of the boarding house in the middle of the night to recline together in boats. There is secret Public School Business. There is conspiracy. There is trouble. But there is also '... a little hollow at the base of his throat which makes me want to pour honey all over him, and lick it off.'
Margaret Mahy excels at good romance:
Laura Chant and Sorenson Carlisle, The Changeover - She remakes herself. He learns to be a better him. Together they are pretty much invincible. He has some rather odd romantic notions, but Laura gives him what-for, and gets to ride on his motor scooter.
Angela and Tycho, The Catalogue of the Universe - She is better looking than any person has any right to be. He is... not so much. But he knows about the stars; he is brave and true. And that makes all the difference.
Harry and all those Carnival brothers, The Tricksters - It's a little bit muddy exactly who they are. It's a little bit cloudy what they might be. But their magnetism is crystal clear.
And, of course, a bit of JA:
Lizzie and Darcy, Pride and Prejudice - NOTHING FURTHER , YOUR HONOUR.
Marianne and Willoughby, Sense and Sensibility - even though (or maybe because) he is BAD.
Elinor and Edward, Sense and Sensibility - oh wub.
One Onion has only just dipped her toe in the crystalline stream of romance that apparently flowed from Georgette Heyer's pen. She read The Nonesuch and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Okay - so that's just a very small sampling. What else? What is compulsory Valentines Day reading?