Friday, July 13, 2007

50 Most Romantic Things Ever Done by Dini Von Mueffling

A box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers – lovely but gone in an instant. Here, in a book that can be treasured forever, are fifty priceless bouquets of romance for the person you love. From Antony and Cleopatra, to Hepburn and Tracy, from the Taj Mahal to the Rainbow Room, The 50 Most Romantic Things Ever Done gathers the most extraordinary stories of what historical figures, celebrities, and just plain folks have done for love.

The thing that first attracted me to this book was, I’m not ashamed to say, its cover. I love roses, and the cover was surrounded by them…what was a girl to do? Lovely cover aside, I’m glad I bought it, for its stories had warmed my heart in the 7 years that I’ve had it.

The author, a journalist and producer of television news, compiled 50 true love stories in this slim 131-page volume. It was quite an eclectic selection. Some of the famous personalities featured were:

* composer Richard Wagner and his wife Cosima
* Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
* poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning
* gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner
* King Edward of England and Wallis Simpson
* Tsar of Russia, Nicholas and German princess, Alexandra
* Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly

There were also many love stories of ordinary folks, which were no less romantic and some, heart-breakingly tragic.

All the stories were condensed versions, but they were complete, i.e. all the important details were there. One would get the gist of the stories without having to pore through entire autobiographies.

There was a very poignant moment for me that I particularly want to mention here. It was in the story of King Edward, who abdicated the throne for Wallis Simpson. They later became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. After she died, her jewels were auctioned by Sotheby’s to benefit AIDS research. Celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Calvin Klein warred over the Duke’s tokens of his devotion to Wallis. “Prince Charles also tried to win some Cartier panthers for his wife, Princess Diana. Unlike the Duke, the current heir to the throne felt the price of love was too dear.” These last two sentences broke my heart a little, as we know what had happened to Prince Charles and Princess Diana since. And the still-fresh memory of the recent commemoration of the 10th anniversary of her demise only served to reinforce the sadness of those words.

Conclusion: A nice, succinct collection of some great love stories. 3.5 out of 5

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