Sunday, February 07, 2010

February - the month of love? by Kate Walker

When I was a child and still at school, I learned a rhyme that was about all the months. It began with the lines

January brings the snow,

Makes out feet and fingers glow.

Well, here in the UK we certainly had that one coming true - we had snow, snow and more snow. And I (and my cats) was more than happy to see it finally melt away. But as I write this there is yet more snow outside, and more promised if the forecasters have got it right. And even if that snow doesn't arrive, then - according to this rhyme - the next thig we can expect is that:

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

Oh yes. February is a cold, wet month. It was always known as 'February fill-dyke' as the rain lashed down, filling the rivers and the dykes, and often causing floods.

So this had me wondering - why then would anyne choose Febraury 14th as the date to celebrate love, passion and all things romantic? A day in a cold, wet usually pretty miserable month where beauty is hard to find, the glow and excitement of Christmas and New Year is well behind us, red roses cost a fortune, and it takes an effort to even think of trying to be romantic.

Or perhaps that's the point? Perhaps it's the fact that because it's hard to make an effort that's what makes it more romantic. It's the effort, the trying, the doing something out of routine, something a little different and a bit special that makes Valentine's Day - or indeed any day - really romantic.

Because isn't that what romance is really all about? It certainly is in the books I write. People - people who don't know the truth - tend to think of romance novels as being about soft and pretty, chocolate box, kittens and flowers sort of love. Boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, boy falls in love with girl, they marry and live happily ever after. It's soppy, cheesy, a 'soft'.

Not the books I write. I write about people who have real problems in their relationship. People who have reason to dislike, even to hate each other. Reason to believe the worst of someone, even as they are acknowledging that this person is really affecting them like no other person ever has in all their life. People who have to fight - with their hero or heroine, with their mistaken beliefs, and, ultimately, with themselves to reach a real, honest, deep and long-lasting love. It's an adult affair, not boy meets girl, not hearts and flowers, not pretty pink cards easily picked up in the local supermarket.

After all, St Valentine himself didn't have things easy - St. Valentine was a Priest, martyred in 269 at Rome apparently beaten with clubs and then beheaded, and was buried on the Flaminian Way. He is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

So perhaps that's it. Perhaps it's because February is such a dark, gloomy, apparently unromantic month that we celebrate romantic love in the middle of it. And Valentine's Day is really like love and romance itself isn't it? Just when everything is dark and gloomy and bleak, we have a day that reminds us to make an effort for the person we love. To show them, tell them how we feel. It may be cold and wet but with the one you love you can curl up safe and sheltered and let love keep you warm

And in that case February is probably the perfect month.

(Of course this idea only works right on this side of the world - my Australian and New Zealand readers and all of you in the other hemisphere will have a warm February anyway!)

So will you be celebrating Valentine's Day or do you think it's just commercial rubbish? What's the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you? Leave you answers in the comments and as always I'll get Sid the Cat on the job of picking a winner who'll receieve a signed book from my backlist.

Kate Walker's latest Presents release is The Konstantos Marriage Demand which was published in Mills & Boon Modern on January 15th and is in Mills & Boon Sexy in Australia this month. It will be out in Presents EXTRA in March and is already available for pre-sale on

Romantic Times called this a ‘ terrifically well-paced and fiery romance’ with a ‘very rewarding conclusion,’ and chose it as one of their series romance Top Picks for March.

One of Kate’s earlier books, The Twelve Month Mistress is also featured in a brand- new ebook 'Bundle' - one of the Blogger Bundles now available on This is a special selection of favourite Presents authors chosen by We Write Romance.You can find out more about Kate and her books by visiting her web site or get the really up to date news on her blog.


Alison said...

Like most men, my husband thinks the whole Valentine nonsense is dreamed up by shops to scare us into spending money. But he does do some lovely things, just not at this time of year. WHen I graduated, he made a graduation robe for my teddy bear, and even though the sewing isn't as good as mine, I was so thrilled and touched to receive it.

Caroline said...

My DH2B *always* manages to get me a card that make's me cry - the words - the picture. He says he feels under pressure each year just in case he *doesn't* get a card that makes me cry! Bless! Take care. Caroline x p.s and this year he says he's under even more pressure as we are getting married in March!

host said...

We actually didn't celebrate it until the 90s, so we don't have a tradition. I do get the flowers and a small present but it's nothing big like in other countries

Laney4 said...

This is one of the rare years that my husband and I will not be working on Valentine's Day. Does this have any bearing on what we'll do? Nadda. We write notes to each other that morning, but no longer exchange cards or do something special. We do something special throughout the year, instead of only celebrating on one day.

After 28.5 years, we take advantage of "alone opportunities", enjoying our time staying at home. I love to cook and bake, so we usually have friends and family over as often as possible. Perhaps we'll have some friends over that day for supper and cards.

Most romantic thing? Sorry. Can't tell you. That would come under the category of Too Much Information, LOL! I CAN say that "just a look" (you know that look) can be VERY romantic, at least to me. Why? Because it's a look that is for my eyes only....

Rebekah E. said...

We don't celebrate valentines day anymore. I think it is just rediculous. Half the time we forget our anniversary anyway. We know that we love each other and that is enough.

Linda Henderson said...

I think Valentine's Day is a little overhyped. Cards are so expensive I always tell my daughters not to get me one. My grandkids make cards for me and that is more special anyway. My ex husband used to get me yellow roses every year for Valentine's Day because he knew they were my favorite.

Estella said...

Valentine's Day is just another day to me.

Mary Kirkland said...

My husband also doesn't like the whole Valentines day thing. But I'm lucky ebcause my brithday falls on the 17th of this month so he usually gets me a little something for Valentines day anyway.

Pat Cochran said...

We have celebrated a special event
on Valentine's Day since 1962. It
was on that day that the first of
our children was born. We are in
agreement that David was the best,
and most unusual, gift we have ever

Pat Cochran

Laurie G said...

We really don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Married 32 years. We both hate to shop.

Best present/Only present: a dozen red roses from an ex-boyfriend

I'd love to read your book for my Valentine's Day treat!

runner10 said...

We are planning a nice quiet evening at home. I can't think of a better evening!

chey said...

Valentine's Day is just a commercial holiday. The best part about it is the left-over chocolate sales after it's over.