Girl Crush: Love Story Leading Ladies
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Scarlett O'Hara2 of 12
By Natasha Burton
Lesson: Get over your old flame. Especially if he marries your cousin. Scarlett’s obsession with Ashley ended up contributing to her downfall in Gone With the Wind. Not even Rhett Butler was man enough to compete with her longing for another man. (We’re not sure any man is, actually.)
Catherine Earnshaw3 of 12
Lesson: Don’t let social pressure get in the way of true love. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine chooses Edgar over Heathcliff (whom she really loved) in the hopes that the marriage will help her raise Heathcliff’s class by association. Of course, this plan didn’t unfold as she’d hoped.
Allie Calhoun4 of 12
The Lesson: True love is unforgettable. Nicolas Sparks’ The Notebook chronicles the lives of Noah and Allie, a couple torn apart by social class (and a mother who won’t allow their relationship). While they end up together, we don't meet them til later in their lives, as Allie battles Alzheimer’s and Noah helps her remember their story. (The other lesson here is to always read Nicolas Sparks books with a full box of tissues handy. Seriously, people.)
Elizabeth Bennet5 of 12
Lesson: Don’t let your misconceptions get in the way of love. Mr. Darcy is the pride to Miss Bennet’s prejudice in the famed Jane Austen novel. Luckily, Elizabeth finally sees the man’s true colors by the end of the book and realizes he’s a good guy after all.
Anna Karenina6 of 12
Lesson: Cheaters never prosper. Ah, that old adage. The title character of this novel defies her husband to have an affair with Vronsky, a man who at first regards their relationship as merely something fun, but he later appears to love her. When she leaves her husband for him and things don’t go as planned, Anna commits suicide.
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Katharine Clifton7 of 12
The Lesson: Cheaters never prosper … but neither do vengeful spouses. In The English Patient, Katharine falls in love with the (very dreamy) László de Almásy, and when her husband Geoffrey finds out, he tries to kill them by crashing his plane. The lovers survive the crash (Katharine just barely), but circumstances (death) prevent them from ever being together.
Hester Prynne8 of 12
Lesson: Taking the high road isn’t easy. The Scarlett Letter’s heroine shows poise by refusing to divulge who the father of her child is, despite the fact that she has to wear a giant “A” on her dress while the man in question (the minister, Dimmesdale) is free of scorn. We suppose it helps, though, that Dimmesdale burns an “A” onto his chest in solidarity (or, ahem, guilt).
Juliet Capulet9 of 12
Lesson: Being “hard to get” really works. Sure, there are many other pieces of love advice we can learn from Romeo and Juliet (“Love transcends all boundaries,” “Young people’s hormones really are out of control,” etc.), but we’re most fascinated by human nature here, namely how intense love was created by how off-limits Romeo and Juliet were to each other.
Jane Eyre10 of 12
Lesson: Don’t ignore red flags. While it all turns out okay in the end, Mr. Rochester neglects to tell his soon-to-be-wife Jane that he is already married. To a crazy woman. Living in his attic. Who came into Jane’s room in the middle of the night and tore her wedding veil in half. (Rochester blamed this incident on a maid.)
Clare Abshire11 of 12
The Lesson: Love requires patience and trust. In The Time Traveler’s Wife, Clare’s husband, Henry, has a rare disorder that causes him to travel involuntarily through time. (Which, we must admit, must get a little frustrating.) Still, the couple prevails, and even after they are unable to prevent Henry’s predicted death, he finds a way back to her.
Bella Swan12 of 12
Lesson: You can’t help who you fall in love with. Of course, it’s not hard to fall for a hot vampire whose every attribute is supposed to draw you in as prey. But, even when Twilight’s leading lady realizes her man is more of a monster, she’s pretty nonchalant about the whole drinking blood thing. She accepts him and wants to be with him anyway.
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