Women need romance like flowers need sunshine and rain; we need it to survive and thrive and without it we wilt and die a little inside.
Being in love is such a magical, rejuvenating experience and even if it doesn't last, even if the object of your affections chooses to break your heart, you still have the memory of the first dance to sustain you through darker days ahead, though the memory may be bitter sweet and tinged with heartbreak.
Romance should be part of every loving relationship, but sadly, it tends to wane as familiarity creeps in. He doesn't hold your hand anymore; you don't get butterflies when you see him...the love has faded into day to day responsibility and duty always calls loudest.
It's hard to keep love alive when you're with someone and its hard to keep hope alive when you're alone; and if you are separated for any length of time, it becomes even harder to make it work.
One thing life has taught me in recent months though, is that distance will only get in the way if a man wants it to. All it takes is a quick text, Skype, Tweet, call or email, just a few gentle words, to set a woman's heart a flutter and put a smile on her face again, yet some men just can't find the time for so little effort. If it's a one sided love affair; if he's not giving you his contact details - he's not looking to a long term future with you. He's just passing on a bit of time and what self-respecting woman has time for that? You shouldn't have to beg for his phone number! Either he will step up to bat, or he won't, but he can only waste your time and your love if you allow him to.
When your love life lets you down, you need to find your romance from somewhere else - and no, I'm not suggesting you have a meaningless fling! But you could have a secret liaison with a literary lover instead. The romantic heroes of novels are a good way to get all the feelings of being in love without any of the risks that a relationship brings. If you find a male character you can connect with in your mind, you can rest assured that he will never be a disappointment.
If you like what he does, you're always going to like what he does because he cannot deviate from the story. He exists only within the book and therefore solely for your reading enjoyment. He's never going to stand you up, beat you up or wind up in a strip joint sampling whats on offer and blaming it on the drink! In short, he is always going to be there for you, whenever you need a little romancing - all you have to do is pick up a book and meet him at moonlight, on the page. Here then are some of my best loved romantic heroes and literary lovers to tide you over until the real thing comes along...
1. Jamie Fraser - Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
Hands down, no competition, Jamie Fraser is quite simply the bravest man I have ever read. I adore him. A gorgeous Highlander (my favourite kind of man) he is bold, daring, fearless, handsome, 'so faithful in love and so dauntless in war' - he is amazing. Read more here
2. Arragorn - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J R R Tolkien
Tolkien knew what he was doing when he wrote Arragorn into being - the Ranger who is born to be King; the mortal man in love with an Elven Princess; the leader of the Fellowship and Protector of the Ring Bearer - Arragorn has it all. A faithful lover, though he is tested when he meets Eowen, he remains true to Arwen - and I love him even more for his loyalty to her. A brave fighter in battle and a noble king. The perfect all rounder really.
3. Mr. Rochester - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I fell for Mr Rochester when I was 13 years old and I first read Jane Eyre. I love the way he and Jane meet - she thinks he's a phantom horseman, he accuses her of being a witch and calling up the mist that made him fall from his horse. He is tetchy and arrogant, troubled and brooding. She is feisty and indomitable, refusing to be anything but his equal and his match. It's Gothic, romantic and superb.
4. Mr. Knightly - Emma by Jane Austen
As his name suggests Mr Knightly is the epitome of gentlemanly conduct. Always polite, always chivalrous, always knightly. He is the sexy older man who never puts a foot wrong. He gives young Emma a ticking off when she needs it, and because she respects him and his judgement, she accepts his chiding and his guidance. He is the 'father figure' lover; significantly older and wiser, but still young enough to be hot!
5. Chevalier, Sir Tristan de Jarnac - My Lady's Crusade by Annette Motley
Set during the Crusades this is a pot boiler romance published in the 1970's, so it is very sensational and has every taboo you could think of in its story-line! That said Sir Tristan is a fantastic character and he spars constantly with the heroine Lady Eden. She is on a mission to find her husband in the Holy Land, so she is forever dashing off and getting into scrapes, which means that Sir Tristan has to keep rescuing her. He is frustrated that she won't just do as she is told, though secretly he admires her courage. She is irritated that he is always following her and interfering, though secretly glad to see him when she's in a fix. It's a classic love/loath scenario, very funny in places and extremely romantic. If you're looking for a classic knight in shining armour story - this is great, but you will probably have to look for it second hand on Amazon, as it is an old, out of print book.
So there you have it - five literary lovers waiting for you in the wings of the local library. And if you're not much of a bookworm, all (except the last book) are available as films on DVD, so you can watch them instead. Grab a bar of chocolate or some ice-cream, curl up under the duvet and allow yourself to be well and truly romanced by these gorgeous fictional men. They always set my heart racing between the covers!
Who said romance was dead?