I must admit, I’ve never bought into the hype surrounding Valentine’s day. I am however, completely drawn to great love stories. There is a power in love that transcends all that binds us to this world. For example, after having her dreams consumed by a chance encounter with Martin, Katherine Keyes in Francine Craft’s Black Peal, determines to make her dreams a reality no matter what may come. Lena showed us in Tina McElroy Ansa’s The Hand I Fan With how to conjures up an all-consuming real life love affair with Herman, a ghost from one hundred years ago.
Love is enduring and refuses to let go for any reason. In the love story between Noon and Herbie in Diane McKinney Whetstone’s Tumbling, we are reminded that even in the darkness of secrecy and pain, love exists and will ultimately triumph. Although Cara Lee knows that love with a solider is futile, in Beverly Jenkins’, Night Song, she learns that love will not be denied.
Love has a way of allowing us to see the best in others and ultimately ourselves. In Brenda Lane Richardson’s Chesapeake Song, we relate with Tamra and Charles as their love for each other seemed to be devoured by the responsibilities of owning one of the largest family-owned farms in Nanticoke, MD. Although both had to forsake their career dreams, love showed them that family is what matters most. With orphaned Leela in Anita Richmond Buckley’s Black Gold, we’re drawn into a dramatic love story amongst greed, lawlessness, and desperation. In the end, Leela embraces her beauty and the love that was meant for her.
Love relentlessly seeks us out, even in a dark and lonely world. Love found Pascale and Captain Jack, in Roberta Gayles’s Moonrise, on an exotic adventure to Spain in the wonderous world art. The love Shanti has for King Sanya, in Alyssa Cole’s, How to Catch A Queen, turns her into a fugitive on the run and her journey ends in the loving arms of her King. Love showed Lola, in Frances E. W. Harper’s Iola Leroy, that there is power in loving one’s self as she fought to gain her footing after learning she was of mixed-race ancestry and sold into slavery.
Love is formidable and shamelessly demands to be. So, it is no wonder that a well told love story speaks to the heart and the beautiful characters become a part of our evolving image of what love is.