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|Henry and Catherine - an unusual couple in literature
Written by Tracy W
(4/21/2006 5:35 a.m.)
It's sort of the relationship I can see my great-great ....great-grandparents having back in Regency times.
They meet at a party. She kind of likes him, he kind of likes her. But they don't fall instantly in love at first sight. Catherine's flattered by another man's complimenting her. They meet again, they talk, they meet again, she's delighted when he asks her to dance so soon after joining them (chpt 10). There's some minor misunderstandings, like over the walk in chapter 11, but they're quickly cleared up. Setting aside the bit where Catherine thinks Henry's father is a murderer, this relationship develops in such a natural way. And even the murderer belief does not dominate the novel, but instead occurs and is disproved in two chapters.
I can't think of a single other novel that has such a normally developing relationship as a centre. JA has other examples for more minor characters, e.g. perhaps Henrietta and Charles Hayter's relationship in _Per_, or Mr Weston and Miss Taylor's in _Emma_, but her other heroines go through all sorts of complexities, secret engagements, broken hearts, only realising they love the hero in the final chapters, etc. And other authors - I can think of plots where the couple fall in love at first sight, I can think of plots where she hates him, or they hate each other, I can think of plots where they fall in love while rushing from world-threatening crisis to world-threatening crisis. But I can't think of any novels where a couple just meet at a party, and enjoy each other's company, and things develop from there.
Yet such a plot describes the relationship not only of my husband and I, but of so many of our friends (without the believing his father's a murderer bit of course :) ).
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