"Why is the measure of love loss?"

Lost love is a popular theme in literature, from the plays of William Shakespeare to the novels of Barbara Cartland to the poetry of - well just about everyone.

The 'love found, love lost, love found' format is also exceedingly popular in romantic fiction, its prevalence perhaps explained by its guarantee of a happy ending.

Romeo and Juliet
Public DomainRomeo and Juliet - Credit: Frank Bernard Dicksee

However, literary fiction with a romantic theme doesn't necessarily follow the same rules, so - reader beware! - a happy ending is not always guaranteed!

Audio extract from the start of Written on the Body, read by author Jeanette Winterson.