Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Valentine’s Day-themed freebie. I chose to do Favorite Series Couples.
I love a good romance, but even in series romance, each couple only stars in one book. So I decided to pick my favorite couples who star in a series — in other words, they’re the main characters, or at least significant characters, in at least three books. To make it harder, I decided they have to spend at least one of those books together as a committed couple — the series can’t end with the moment they get together, or get their initial problems worked out. I wanted series where I get to see them building their relationship over time.
My guidelines for choosing these couples tended to rule out most YA series and many fantasy series, because they tend not to focus on a pairing once they achieve committed couplehood. (I know there are some long-term relationships and marriages in the urban-fantasy subgenre, but I haven’t read them.) That left mystery as the biggest contributor.
So here they are, in genre groupings:
- Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe. I love the dynamic between these two, as they evolve from enemies (on Anne’s side, at least) to friends, fall in love, marry, and have children. They are the epitome of a strong, loving relationship. (L. M. Montgomery: the Anne of Green Gables series)
- Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Russell is the only woman I can imagine Holmes with. She’s a match for him intellectually, and under his tutelage becomes his equal in disguise, detection, and a number of skills pertaining to both. It’s a May-December relationship, but it works exceedingly well — for them, and for the reader. (Laurie R. King: the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series.)
- Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Intelligent, sensitive, and erudite, these two are perfect for each other. (Dorothy Sayers: the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries)
- Roderick Alleyne and Agatha Troy. Another intelligent, sensitive couple, both slightly more ascetic than Peter and Harriet. One thing I love about these books is that while most have Rory as the POV character, a few feature Troy instead. She’s not significant in all the books, but when she is, she’s wonderful. (Ngaio Marsh: the Inspector Alleyne mysteries)
- Tommy and Tuppence Beresford share an affinity for excitement and danger, along with a flair for solving crimes. . . which they go on doing right from their 20s, after WWI, right into their old age. (Agatha Christie: the Tommy & Tuppence mysteries)
- Lori Shepard and Bill Willis. I love this couple, because they are relatively ordinary people with a relatively normal happy marriage. It’s refreshing and somehow reassuring. (Nancy Atherton: the Aunt Dimity mysteries.)
- Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. The forbidden relationship of this witch and vampire is complex and often surprising. . . and addictive reading. (Deborah Harkness: the All Souls trilogy) (I stretched one of my rules with this one — it’s a romance. It’s just so much more besides.)
- Elspeth and Darkwind. Unlike some of the couples in Mercedes Lackey’s books, these two aren’t fated “lifebonded” mates, and their cultural differences mean they have to work harder at their relationship. They star in one trilogy, and are significant characters in another, broader, more “ensemble” trilogy, so we get to see a fair bit of them. (Mercedes Lackey: the Mage Winds trilogy and the Storm Winds trilogy)
- Marguerida (Margaret) Alton and Mikhail Lanart-Hastur. Marguerida and Mikhail are perfect for each other — stronger together, because each supports and brings out the best in the other, and (eventually) both the bearers of powerful laran matrices. Too bad that family and politics both stand in the way, at least for a while. They star in the first two books in which they appear, are important characters in the third and fourth, and appear peripherally in another which I haven’t read yet. (published under the name Marion Zimmer Bradley: Darkover novels #24-28. Note that #24-26 were actually written by Adrienne Martine-Barnes; Deborah Ross wrote #27 and #28.)
- Will Laurence and Temeraire. OK, I’m really cheating here, because there’s nothing romantic or sexual about this partnership between a dragon and his captain. But there are all the other elements of a truly epic relationship: a deep if largely unspoken love, commitment and unshakable loyalty, self-sacrifice, and a sincere respect for one another. All that plus humor, honor, and integrity. (Naomi Novik: the Temeraire novels)
So who are your favorite series couples?