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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Great love letters are a lost art

As a writer, nothing touches me more than a sentiment written from the heart. Words are powerful, persuasive and lovely. Put together in a letter, they can win devoted love for a lifetime.

If you’re not convinced, read these examples:

I want to do things so wild with you that I don’t know how to say them
– Anais Nin, to Henry Miller

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!
You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.
- Napolean Bonaparte to Josephine

Dearest, - I wish I had the gift of making rhymes, for methinks there is poetry in my head and heart since I have been in love with you. You are a Poem. Of what sort, then? Epic? Mercy on me, no! A sonnet? No; for that is too labored and artificial. You are a sort of sweet, simple, gay, pathetic ballad, which Nature is singing
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dear First Lady,
I know tradition has it that on this morning I place cards   Happy Anniversary cards on your breakfast tray.  But things are somewhat mixed up.  I substituted a gift & delivered it a few weeks ago.
Still this is the day, the day that marks 31 years of such happiness as comes to few men.  I told you once that it was like an adolescent's dream of what marriage should be like.  That hasn't changed.
You know I love the ranch but these last two days made it plain I only love it when you are there.  Come to think of it that's true of every place & every time.  When you aren't there I'm no place, just lost in time & space.
I more than love you, I'm not whole without you.  You are life itself to me.  When you are gone I'm waiting for you to return so I can start living again.
Happy Anniversary & thank you for 31 wonderful years.
I love you
Your Grateful Husband
-Ronald Reagan to wife Nancy

I know just how Ron felt. Last November, my hubby and I celebrated 33 wonderful years together. It’s amazing sharing your life with your best friend! Unfortunately, he’s not much for writing letters of any kind, though he does give me cards with eloquent verses. :)

How about you? Have you ever received a love letter that touched your heart and soul?

For more inspiring love letters, visit

Sam Langhorne, the hero in my historical romance, Angels, Sinners and Madmen, wrote a lovely letter pouring his heart out to the heroine, Livvy Collins:

Livvie ripped it open. Out fell her mother’s pearl and sapphire necklace, and a sapphire ring. She unfolded his handwritten note—and her pages.

Dearest Livvie,
I should have returned this necklace to you upon my arrival. I had to bribe Pinder for it. From your description, I knew it to be your mother’s.
I hoped you would accept the ring and wear it as my bride. Not as a means to ensnare you, but as a token of my immeasurable love. Now that I know you will never accept me as a husband, I give the ring to you freely.  Use it to sustain you until you make your fortune through your writing career. For I know you will, dearest. Reading your pages thrilled me as no other to believe you might have been thinking of me when you put pen to paper and described your deepest longing. Foolish of me, I know. Your brilliance shines through on the page, and readers will fall in love with you. Not nearly to the depths I have.
I shall never forget you, Livvie. You’ve wrecked me for any other woman. I intend to return to mainland Florida, and live out my days on a farm alone. Except, of course, for my dog.
Try to remember me with some fondness.

“No.” Livvie’s thoughts raced. She must find him. It couldn’t be too late.

This fun historical's set in 1850s Key West. You can read another excerpt, view the trailer, and see who I’d cast as Sam and Livvie on my blog:
Angels, Sinners and Madmen is available from Freya’s Bower

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
Cate Masters



doxymom said...

What a romantic excerpt. Love the addition of the dog.

I love the purples and blues in your banner.

doxisrcool at

perisquire30 said...

Oh Cate, what fantastic love letter examples you've posted! I sometimes wonder if writing love letters is a lost art (I hope not!) I'll have to give it a try...

~Roni Lynne

Beth C said...

I agree that love letters are a dying art. When I hear letters people wrote to each other 100 or more years ago, I mourn that we don't still have such eloquent expression. My dh did write me a few sweet letters when we were dating. I saved them all!
Beth C

Jean P said...

No body writes letters anymore, it seems to be dying out.
I enjoyed watching the trailer for the book, love the music you have with it. Book going on my list!

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Joyce said...

I really enjoyed reading the love letters from famous people. I went and read most of the others from the link. Too bad writing has so gone out of style.

Beth Caudill said...

I never got into writing love letters. But I enjoy reading old letters from the past.

Maeve said...

*sigh* Love letters. How romantic. Definitely, a lost art that needs to be revived. (And I don't think texting counts!)


Maria Zannini said...

Hi Cate! How nice to visit someone I actually know. :)

I understand exactly how you feel. My hubby gave me a card once with the sentiments similar to what Ronald Reagan wrote to Nancy.

Like you, we've been married many, many years. But it still feels like we're still kids--only the joints don't work as well. LOL.

Thank you for sharing these.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks everyone!

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

My husband and I have been married almost 32 years (07/18) and I still have all of the cards and notes he sent me while we dated and for the first few years of our marriage. Yes, it is a dying art, but it doesn't have to be. It's the little things that mean so much. Nowadays, instead of buying cards for special occasions, I write poetry and create my own cards. My husband says they mean so much more than store bought ones.

Maria said...

I just adore reading love letters...I hadn't thought much about them until I watched the first "Sex and the City" movie and they referenced the book "Love Letters of Great Men-Volume 1"...I just had to have a copy after watching the movie and so off to the bookstore I went...I think it's a shame that more people don't write actual physical letters these days...yes email is nice but it's not the same:)

Thanks for a great post!


LuAnn said...

I just love this post! Yes, indeed, letters such as these are a lost art.

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

Cindy L said...

My hubby writes the best love letters. I love going back and rereading them!


Cate Masters said...

Vanessa, that's so sweet! Congrats on 32 wonderful years. :) You're an inspiration.

I didn't know about that book, Maria. I'll have to look it up! Thanks!

Thanks Luann! :)

You're a lucky woman, Cindy! Cherish that hubby!