A good love story can fill one’s heart, and such was the experience of Saturday’s performance of Marguerite and Armand, a San Francisco Ballet premiere.

First created by choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton for the Royal Ballet, Marguerite and Armand is a classic piece first danced by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. The iconic pair danced this love story for the San Francisco Ballet in 1964, one year after it was created.  What a performance that must have been!  This year’s performance by the SF Ballet, however, did not disappoint, performed by Missa Kuranaga and Joseph Walsh, though it seemed that the piece was over far too quickly.

It is Valentine’s Day, and all hearts are on display.  Children exchange valentines at school and tall stemmed red roses keep the florists busy preparing and delivering bouquets.  My 21-month-old grandson distributed his perfect valentines to his preschool friends, with the theme of trucks.  “We’re a great Mix,” and “I really dig you,” were some of the messages, alongside an illustration of the appropriate truck.

Romantic films also can bring a lot of pleasure.  My late husband was a particular fan of romantic comedy, or rom-coms.  Among his favorites, watched multiple times, was Sleepless in Seattle (1993).  Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Sleepless tells the story of an eight-year-old boy who has found the perfect partner for his widowed father.  One little problem is that she lives in Baltimore, the other side of the country from Seattle.  The film is co-written and directed by the late Nora Ephron.

Co-written by Nora and Delia Ephron, You’ve Got Mail (1998), also starring Hanks and Ryan, is another often watched romantic film.  Oh, the perils of online dating – the person you are falling for may actually be your worst enemy.

Perhaps my husband’s favorite film in the rom-com genre was Notting Hill (1999), starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.  Who wouldn’t be enchanted by a love story about the romance between a bookseller in the UK and a famous American actress?  The story is charming, and often laugh out loud funny.

I am not a fan of romance fiction and it is a genre I skip over when reading book reviews.  Recently, however, I inadvertently downloaded a romance novel that had been recommended by a friend on GoodreadsBook Lovers by Emily Henry sounded promising, featuring a literary agent in New York City and her rival, an editor for a major publisher. 

Immediately into this book, I realized that it not only is a classic rom-com, but that the story acknowledges the genre and its various stereotypes through the oh-too-clever dialogue and musings of the heroine. 

Like all fantasy fiction, the plotline of Book Lovers was often predictable, unexpectedly steamy, and filled with ridiculously unlikely twists and turns.  Did I enjoy it?  Mostly, yes.  Would I read another romance novel, either by this author or another?  Probably not.

But this is the holiday for romance.  I send love to all my readers, including you fans of rom-coms.  Hoping you find a good love story, and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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