5 of the Worst Romantic Match-Ups in Literature

By Alexandra Israel, Publicist


Confession: I’ve been on a Thomas Hardy kick. I recently finished Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and now I’ve begun reading Jude The Obscure. What inspired this blog post was thinking about Hardy’s match-up of characters – he likes to test out the concept of “fate” by pairing characters together that are much better off without each other, to the point where their lives would have been totally different had they not crossed paths!

Working with Hardy’s theme, the following are five of the most ill-fated romantic matches in literature:

[click on the photo for photo credit]


Matches_ErnestJakes Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises  by Ernest Hemingway.  Jakes Barnes has no idea what’s in store for him when he meets Lady Brett Ashley—a charming but divorced socialite—who isn’t willingly giving up her wild ways in order to settle down with him. Lady Brett Ashley leaves Jake heartbroken when she decides to marry another war veteran. This might not be your typical first date, but enough to make the reader thankful that they were able to steer clear of Lady Brett Ashley’s wooing ways themselves.






Matches_TolstoyAnna Karenina and Alexei Vronsky in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Anna should have paid attention to the signs—when she first meets Vronsky, he is currently pursuing her neice Kitty. Ironically, Vronsky meets Anna and falls in love with her instead. Their torrid love affairs cost Anna a great deal, including custody of her son, and ultimately ends her marriage.








Matches_HomerPenelope and her suitors in the Odyssey by Homer. It’s no secret by now that the Odyssey is one of my all-time favorite reads. Penelope has been waiting patiently for her husband to return home from war, but her suitors are forever hopeful that Odysseus won’t return. If only they hadn’t feasted at her house and pestered Penelope! Once Odysseus comes home in disguise, he kills all of the suitors.





Matches_BronteJane Eyre and Bertha in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. What would you do if you came face-to-face with your husband’s crazy wife who is locked up on the third floor? This accidental meeting leads to an unfortunate chain of events—Jane leaves Mr. Rochester and their manor, knowing that she can’t pretend to be with someone who is already married.







Matches_HardyJude Fawley and Arbarella in Jude The Obscure by Thomas Hardy. Poor Jude Fawley—all he wants to do is study Latin and Greek and go to school in Christminster. His accidental encounter with Arabella, a local girl who is desperate to get married, leads him astray from his studies. Thinking that she is pregnant, Jude marries Arabella—only to discover that she has created an elaborate lie!








Related: 4 Anti-Heroines in Literature Who Are Inspiring, Admirable and Tough as Nails


This entry was posted in publishing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.