Valentine Blog Hop

historyhopicon2Starting today and running until the end of this week is the Hearts Through History Valentine Blog Hop hosted by fellow Austen Author Maria Grace. To celebrate this season of love, dozens of participating bloggers are sharing their favorite mushy anecdotes from history. What better way to get your fill of sentimental warm fuzzies? My story of “true love” is posted below, followed by the links to read others.

On top of that, there are GIVEAWAYS attached to each story on the blog hop! With romance the theme-of-the-week, I saw no alternative but to offer a signed copy of Miss Darcy Falls in Love and a DVD of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice as my prizes. Cool! The entry form is after the historical story I have chosen to spotlight. Have fun reading across the blog-o-sphere, and good luck in the contests!

JacobRachel lovestoryThere are hundreds of beautiful love stories told throughout history. Many are the stuff of legends with dubious facts behind them: Lancelot and Guinevere, Paris and Helen. Some are tragic: Pyramus and Thisbe, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Others prove the enduring nature of true love: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Marie and Pierre Curie. All of them are fascinating and reveal the wondrous, unstoppable power of love.

I can’t point to one real historical account of love that is my absolute favorite above all others since so many touch me in varied ways. Yet as I looked through a few lists of great historical lovers, the first one that stood out was the Biblical tale of Jacob and Rachel.

As told in Genesis, beginning in Chapter 29, Jacob – son of Isaac and Rebecca, and grandson of Hebrew patriarch Abraham – was sent to far away Haran near Ur, not only to escape the wrath of his twin brother Esau (A whole other story not the least romantic!) but also to find a wife amongst his mother’s clan.

On the very day of his arrival, and while still introducing himself to the local shepherds, Jacob saw Rachel, a shepherdess, approaching. Clearly from the text as recorded by Moses, Rachel was exceedingly beautiful and Jacob was instantly smitten. Proving that men even so close to the beginning of human history instinctively knew that women can be impressed by brawn and selfless acts of kindness, Jacob singlehandedly rolled away the massive stone blocking the flow of fresh water from the well needed to hydrate the sheep.

WilliamDyce_Jacob_and_RachelI would bet money Jacob removed his shirt and flexed while he was at it! That is mere speculation, but what we do know from Scripture is that he was so overwhelmed by his emotions that he “kissed Rachel and wept aloud” (Genesis 29:11). Wow! A tough guy who is sensitive too!

Rachel was impressed, and lucky for Jacob she turned out to be the daughter of his mother’s brother, Laban. Before a month passed, Jacob asked for Rachel’s hand in marriage.

Now, at this point an argument can logically be made that Jacob may have been more in lust than true love. Whatever the case, when Laban’s stipulation was that Jacob work with him for seven years to earn the right to marry Rachel, Jacob did not hesitate.

Genesis 29: 20 says, “Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.”

Wow again! Superficial physical attraction may have been the initial impetus, but it was the power of deep, soul-binding love that maintained their passion for each other.

If you know the story at all, then you know it gets even more interesting. At the end of those seven years Jacob married Rachel. Or so he thought. The custom of the day was for the bride to be heavily veiled and silent during the ceremony. It was not until the light of the following day that Jacob woke to realize that the marriage consummated in the darkness of night was not to Rachel, but to her eldest sister Leah!

Whole sermons are preached on the topic of Laban’s treachery and Leah’s deception. The point of this post, however, is the devoted, consuming love shared between Jacob and Rachel. I am sure Jacob had choices before him, however when given the option of working another seven years for Laban, Jacob again did not hesitate. Fortunately Laban agreed to allow Jacob to marry Rachel right away rather than at the end of those seven years. I suspect he would have waited if necessary, such was the purity of his love.

Jacob, Rachel, and Leah would encounter many trials and triumphs during their intertwined lives. Not all was blissful in this mixed household of two wives – one loved and the other not – two concubines, daughters, and twelve sons. Love sustained Jacob and Rachel through the difficulties, including years of her barrenness. God’s Hand on their relationship is seen, mostly clearly in the special purposes fulfilled through the two sons they did create: Joseph and Benjamin. The eternal nature of their love is displayed in the pillar Jacob erected to mark Rachel’s grave, that an unusual ritual for nomadic tribes of those days.

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And now that I have shared my favorite love story, I want to hear from YOU! Enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below, then be sure to visit the other websites on the Valentine Blog Hop. Links to all the blogs participating with love anecdotes and prizes are listed below the entry form. Deadline is Saturday, February 16. Also, my weekly giveaway of an advanced reader copy of The Passions of Dr. Darcy is ongoing and can be entered on the Giveaway Page. Don’t miss out on that!
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  1. Random Bits of Fascination (Maria Grace)
  2. Pillings Writing Corner (David Pilling)
  3. Sally Smith O’Rourke
  4. Darcyholic Diversions (Barbara Tiller Cole)
  5. Faith, Hope and Cherry Tea
  6. Rosanne Lortz
  7. Sharon Lathan
  8. Debra Brown
  9. Heyerwood   (Lauren Gilbert)
  10. Regina Jeffers
  11. Ginger Myrick
  12. Anna Belfrage
  13. Fall in love with history (Grace Elliot)
  14. Nancy Bilyeau
  15. Wendy Dunn
  16. E.M. Powell
  17. Georgie Lee
  18. The Riddle of Writing (Deborah Swift)
  19. Outtakes from a Historical Novelist (Kim Rendfeld)
  20. The heart of romance (Sherry Gloag)
  21. A day in the life of patootie (Lori Crane)
  22. Karen Aminadra
  23. Dunhaven Place (Heidi Ashworth)
  24. Stephanie Renee dos Santos

 

 

27 Comments for Valentine Blog Hop

  1. I don’t know that I have a favorite, but I do like how you speculate as to what might have been left out of Jacob and Rachel’s story, namely his likely shirt removal. I mean, it stands to reason given the weather and probable need to avoid risking undo soaking or tearing of fabric, right?

  2. Oops, just saw that it was supposed to be a real-life romance instead of fictional. Recently I read about Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and thought their story was sweet – she ran away to marry him against her father’s orders.

  3. I love the story you chose – I always did wonder whether Leah was forced to go along or did it purposefully. I lean more toward the former because she could not have gone against her father and who would want to willingly share her husband with her more-beloved sister?

    Of course Darcy and Lizzy are my supercouple but I also love Claire and Jamie from Outlander and (though it took a *bit* longer for their HEA), Jack and Rose from Titanic.

  4. I have to say I loved how Jane Eyre was able to hear Mr Rochester cry out for her miles away. So romantic and definite true love!

  5. I have enjoyed all the beautiful love stories you have shared with us Sharon, here and at AuAu. I’ve already learned so much as I’ve hopped around this tour and have only hit the first few stops. Can’t wait to see what more is in store. I was trying to think of unique a lovestory to share and what popped into my mind is that of Audubon (of bird fame) and his wife Lucy. I recently watched a documentary about him, and from that show it really seemed to me they had quite the love affair — one that persevered through sickness and health, wealth and want, all the ups and downs of life. And at the heart of it all was their love of nature and… birds. 🙂

  6. Great post Sharon, I enjoyed it. Reading through the bible for the first time cover to cover now, so this is timely for me.
    As far as my own favorite Historical Love Story: I love the Wallis Simpson & King Edward story and how he abdicated the throne for the woman of his heart. Romantically speaking, that’s pretty awesome!

  7. Thank you for the Valentine’s Day celebration with your story.
    My favorite “true life” love story is my own parents – their love, partnership, mutual respect and sense of fun together!
    And, of course, in fiction Elizabeth & Darcy and Anne & Wentworth are my very favorite to read and reread.

  8. Oh what a lovely choice for an historical couple. I had asked Grace if it HAD to be a historical couple, or if I could do something about something historical to do with Valentine’s Day and she was AOK with my post about Valentine’s Day candy. I have been trying NOT to eat it, so I wrote about it. Sorry that I tempted you a bit..lol.. But what is Valentine’s without candy!

    Glad to be a part of the hop with you, Sharon!

    Barbara

    • One could easily argue that a woman’s love affair with chocolate is, at times, stronger than her love affair with a man. LOL! I loved your post. Now I am off to CVS for some heart candies…..

      🙂

    • Oh yes! I forgot about that one! I have never researched the historical truth, but from how it was portrayed in the movie, they had a strong love. I think their story has always gotten lost behind the Wallis Simpson and King George affair. Thanks for mentioning it, Susan.

  9. my favorite “real” love story was the one between my parents…they married young, very young but have been married 37 years 🙂

    • How awesome! I love hearing of triumphs in marriage, especially these days when it seems to be less and less the norm. Thanks so much for sharing, Emily. 🙂

  10. I don’t think I have one – all the ones I can think of didn’t end well for the couple – I think I much prefer the fiction that has an HEA.

  11. I was always struck by the devotion that Jacob showed to labor that long for Rachel. Not just court, but labor. I always felt a little sorry for Leah too. I’m sure she had to do what her dad dictated back then and it couldn’t be easy knowing you are part of a trick.

    Nice choice! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for emphasizing the “labor” part, Sophia. You are correct that is wasn’t like Jacob was employed as the bookkeeper! He, like all men in those days, performed heavy physical labor. And it is interesting about Leah. The Bible isn’t 100% clear on whether she went willingly and was happy to be part of the deception, or was forced. It is clear that she loved Jacob, or grew to love him, and was tortured as the wife who was unloved. Sad, but in a way it is hard to feel sorry for her. Not a simple story by any means.

I love to hear from you!