To be a romantic, notes Fay's brother, "is to believe anything can happen to us."
Despite sometimes remarkable odds, people find love and happiness in this world. The Republic of Love is a celebration of love as ordinary occurrence, and it is an ambitious task in this age of cynicism.
The subject of love is treated neither with pure romanticism nor with out-and-out mistrust. Shields is very much aware of the fashionably dim view of love taken today. As Fay notes: We turn our heads and pretend it's not there, the thunderous passions that enter a life and later its course.
Love belongs in an amateur operetta, on the inside of a jokey greeting card, or in the annals of an oldfashioned poetry society . . . It's womanish, it's embarrassing, something to jeer at, something for jerks.
Just a love story, people say about a book they happen to be reading...