Blessed be! With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m going to be putting in a ton of hours at the day job. Which, naturally, means my body has decided it’s time to get sick. So, while I fight my way through this chest cold and the bottomless work hours ahead, here’s a list of literary ships that I’ll gladly sail on!
- Damen and Laurent, Captive Prince trilogy
This is a classic slow burn pairing. The two start off despising each other–with very good reason–but are forced through circumstances to work together. Grudging trust gradually turns to respect and then something more. It’s realistic, though, in that it’s not a straight line from loathing to forever. They both fight it for a long time, push each other away, and come back together again several times over the course of the story.
- Alanna and George, The Song of the Lioness quartet
This was one of my very first ships from waaaaay back in my high-school days. George and Alanna were cute to me even then, but I didn’t understand just how rare their relationship was in fiction until I was much older. They have a mutual respect almost from the start, and George helps Alanna chase her goal of being a knight with no expectation that she’ll ever pay him back for his kindness. Of the three potential romantic interests Tamora Pierce gives us for Alanna, George is the only one who doesn’t try to change her to fit his expectations of what his ideal partner should be.
- Lauren and Kit, A Summer to Remember
Remember when I said I generally don’t like romance novels? This seems to be the exception that proved the rule. When I was first working on my vampire historical, I picked up any book I could find that was set in roughly the same time period, including this one. And I absolutely hated the protagonists at first, both as people and as a couple. Lauren was rigid and unapproachable; Kit was brash and a downright cad. But they brought out the best in each other and, through the course of the story, I came to genuinely care for them even as they grew to love each other. I found myself fully invested in the pairing and crossing my fingers that they’d stay together in the end.
- Daja and Rizu, The Will of the Empress
Not all of my ships are happy ones. Even though they don’t get much screentime, this is the first time a relationship in a book has actually made me cry when it failed. The affection between them is so tangible and sweet, but circumstances just don’t let it work out in the end. Despite that, it’s not treated as either of them being in the wrong, which is rare in fiction.
- Seyonne and Aleksander, Rai-Kirah trilogy
Now, I haven’t finished the series yet, but I am completely invested in these two. I know nothing romantic will come of it, but I don’t care. The utter devotion between these men is enough to drive the narrative. Like Damen and Laurent, it’s a slow burn from indifference at best to hatred at the worst to being as close as two people can be. Even if nothing romantic or sexual comes from them, it’s a ship I will go down with.