Valentines – Give and Get?

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day and all. I listened as a mother told me she had to deliver valentines for the entire class at her daughter’s school. That got me to thinking about my own school days and the fact that we didn’t give valentines to everyone. It was a life lesson in anticipation, expectation, and disappointment. The grown-up emotions associated with those days (who knew?) inevitably found a way into my writing.


Oh, the joy! You gave and got, and life is good. The two main characters in our historical romance series have found each other. Yes, there were some tense moments and devastating heartache along the way, but they’re finally together and committed to each other. It’s an important foundation for the story. There are circumstances beyond their control that they will endure and challenges to overcome. They need to have a strong, committed bond so that they know whatever comes their way, they will face it together; knowing that gives them strength and the will to see it through.

Sent, But Not Received?

Ouch! That hurts. A valentine given to someone you like, but your decorated box doesn’t have one from them. It sounds like one of our characters whose affections were not returned. I hid my disappointment and avoided eye contact with them until the awkwardness subsided. What did our 13th century spurned suitor do? He pursued our main character, showing up where he wasn’t welcome, and tried to force her to care about him. In a final, desperate move, he forced himself upon her and raped her. Not really a spoiler, but it didn’t end well for him.

Received, But Not Sent?

Yikes! Here’s one in your box from that nice boy sitting behind you that you forgot about! It’s too late to race out and find a valentine to slip into his box so you smile, give him a red sucker, and hope that makes it okay. Our main character did not expect the soldier assigned to guard her to fall in love with her. Sure, he’s strong and attractive, but her heart belongs to her husband. She won’t be unfaithful to him, even in death. She must find a way to remain friendly and polite while she holds the soldier at arm’s length. It’s tempting, but her heart is unwavering. She wonders what might have been if circumstances had been different but doesn’t want to give him any glimmer of hope.

I can still feel my hand reaching into the box full of small, white envelopes. The characters in my story will experience the same myriad of emotions and react to them as they symbolically open the flap on each one.

Image credit:  Anne K. Hawkinson

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