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Romancing Love Biographies

Feb/11/2024 / by rashmi-gopal-rao

Books to share this Valentine’s Day with your partner

Heart made from folded book pages on a red background
Photo via Shutterstock

Love is a complex emotion and holds different meanings for different people.  But what is love, how do you sustain it, and what forms can it take? SEEMA recommends love memoirs offering interesting perspectives, fresh narratives, and anecdotes that you’ve not heard before, all about love!

“The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World”

Penned by Greg King and Sue Woolmans, this book is based on a true story that sparked World War I.  The story blends history, romance, politics, and tragedy, with a compelling narrative. The book looks at the assassination of Austrian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie Chotek whom he had married against heavy opposition.  The story has been told through a fresh perspective by considering Serbian complicity and studies the rumors of conspiracy and official negligence. A human story of pure love marred by assassination, war, and insurmountable tragedy, this one is a gripping read. 

“Hemingway in Love: His Own Story”

Written by Earnest Hemingway’s friend A. E. Hotchner, this book is an account of Hemingway’s affair that destroyed his first marriage.  Narrated with profound depth, the author reflects on notes, recordings, and memories of his conversation with Hemingway.  It recounts how the latter, at the peak of his career, was torn between two women in Paris, and how his first wife Hadley allowed him to marry his love Pauline.  However, the second marriage was unsuccessful, leaving Hemingway in a melancholic low. The engaging book reveals the complexity of love and aspects of Hemingway’s life which few know.

“Romance Is My Day Job”

Written by romance novel editor Patience Bloom, this book delves into the author’s experience with love. It deals with her ‘not so lucky’ experiences in love in terms of bad timing, poor choices, and other frustrating incidents.  Later she does find her Prince Charming, though he lives several thousand miles away.  Whether she is lucky this time is the plot of the book. The memoir is all about the author’s quest for true love.  It also touches upon the various factors that influence her journey and reflects on some ground realities of life.

“40 Days of Dating”

Written by Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh who are New York based graphic designers and best friends, this one is a best seller. Goodman and Walsh decided to date each other for 40 days.  The record of their experiences in the form of pictures, videos and artworks turned into a viral blog attracting over 10 million unique visitors.  The book is beautifully designed and includes a lot more material that is not on the site. In addition, the bold typographic artwork by Walsh is a great draw. 

“My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage”

In this book, author Ingrid Seward reflects on the journey of one of the most long lasting and successful celebrity marriages i.e. of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.  Prince Philip of Greek and Denmark was a Naval Lieutenant and the marriage of the sailor prince to the heir of the British throne was not without its own problems.  Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne within five years of their marriage and the book elucidates all the challenges faced by Prince Philip as he supported the queen quietly in the background.  The author throws light on the highs and lows of their marriage and the influence it had on their family, and more importantly, the nation. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Jinnah: The Marriage that Shook India”

This gripping tale by Sheela Reddy combines romance, history, politics, and power, covering the unconventional marriage of Ruttie Petit and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.  The union which took place in 1918 was much against the wishes of the bride’s father considering that she was only 18 while Jinnah was 24 years older.  The pair was also divided by community and religion.  Although ostracized by society, the couple were initially happy and while Jinnah was devoted to his young wife, tumultuous political events took charge of his life leaving Ruttie disillusioned and lonely.  Ruttie eventually died at 29, leaving her husband inconsolable. The book is a heart-rending account of the marriage and makes use of exclusive personal letters of Ruttie and accounts of contemporaries and friends. 

“An Uncommon Love: The Early Life of Sudha and Narayana Murthy”

In this recently released book, bestselling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni traces the journey of India’s famous couple Sudha Murty and Narayana Murthy much before they became well known as entrepreneurs and philanthropists.  The book reveals several interesting anecdotes and tells the story of their early courtship days, marriage, and parenthood with great emotional depth.  An insightful read, it is all about the challenges, joys, highs, and lows of the couple along with the sacrifices it takes to balance business, family, and marriage.