I watched the movie Possession last night. It’s based on the book by A.S. Byatt. In it, two modern scholars research (through happenstance and creative digging) the lives of two 19th century poets. The poets seemed to have little connection in the beginning, but our modern couple discovers that the two had a torrid affair and a great love, which they managed to conceal from the world. They had one month together and then they had to return to their lives, never to be together again. I won’t give away the entire plot, but there are surprises thrown in, and some wonderfully bittersweet moments. The historical couple is played Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle. The modern couple is Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. The two of them grow closer over the course of the investigation, and the whole theme of the movie seems to be — in my opinion — is if love is worth the risk of giving yourself to another person. In the case of the poets, he is married to a lovely, but seemingly frigid woman. Being with his lover risks ruination for them both, and so they have their time together and then go back to their lives.
For a romance author, you can see where this would be heartbreaking. Frustrating. I would have found a way for them to be together. Of course, adultery is frown upon in the romance world, so I would have had to make the wife the heroine, which sort of defeats the point.
Anyway, while I really enjoyed the movie, I lamented their lost love (as I was supposed to). And I think I wasn’t so upset by their lack of HEA because the main couple seems to have a good thing going by the end. Nice ploy on behalf of the author and those who wrote the script.
So, I want to know what YOU — romance readers and writers — think of the lost love plot. And please, fans of Byatt let me know what I should pick up by her. I’m ashamed that I have not read her yet!