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The Beach House

Jane Green

I even wrote a book about it, Passion Junkie, which was later changed to Straight Talking. I based it on a quote I'd read from William Wharton. What is love, his daughter had asked on the eve of her wedding. 'It is passion, admiration and respect,' he told her. 'If you have two, you have enough. If you have three, you don't have to die to go to heaven.'

Which two were enough? Could you live without passion? Passion had not served me well: placed me on an emotional rollercoaster, falling in and out of love, either deliriously happy with the thrill of the ride, or in a deep depression as I crashed and burned once again.

I decided it would be safer to live without passion. That respect, friendship, shared ambitions and aims were more important. I sat in friends' living rooms and told them earnestly that passion didn't last, and that once passion dulled, as it inevitably did, more often than not, you were left with a partner you didn't even like.

How much more sensible to choose someone who could be a friend, a true partner, and it wouldn't matter if the rose-coloured lenses fell off, for they were never there to begin with. And he loved me. It seemed like enough.

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