Author Guest Posts, Pop Culture Recaps

What I’ll Be Watching This Valentine’s Day: The Best Slow-Burn Romance Films


What I’ll Be Watching This Valentine’s Day: The Best Slow-Burn Romance Films

Diane Hester writes binge-worthy romantic suspense fiction. To celebrate Valentine’s Day we asked her to tell us about her favourite slow burn romantic suspense films.

When it comes to romance in fiction and film I’m a fan of the slow burn. I love relationships that develop slowly with so much else going on in the story you don’t even notice it’s happening at first. Or when it is obvious and events prevent or distract the couple from acting on their mutual attraction.

In the case of Disney film National Treasure, it’s clear the moment hero Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage) and heroine Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) meet in her office at the museum that they’re both

equally smitten with each other, but circumstances prevent their taking things further. Even when they’re thrown together in a bid to save the Declaration of Independence, they’re so focused on their mission they barely have time to look at each other.

Ah, but when those moments come!

Like when they use their combined breaths to warm the back of the Declaration to bring the secret code to light – necessary from a scientific standpoint, but oh so erotic! Or when Ben stops in that underground passage, sweeps Abigail into his arms and kisses her for the first time.

In the film Witness it’s a conflict of worlds that keeps hardened Philadelphia detective John Book (Harrison Ford) and Amish widow Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis) from acting on their growing attraction. The element of forbidden love adds an extra layer to this gripping suspense. A barrier that, in the end, can’t withstand the force of their passion.  

Nothing works quite as well for me as love on the run and for vintage science fiction fans there’s the original War of the Worlds with Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. This relationship develops so naturally and is woven so seamlessly through the story it has long been one of my favourites.  

But for top prize in the slow burn romance category my vote still goes to Long Hot Summer with Don Johnson as Ben Quick. A multi-layered family drama based on two plays by William Faulkner, this story has at its heart an opposite-side-of-the-tracks romance with the ultimate of smouldering passion and happy endings.


Born in New York, Diane Hester is a former violinist with the Rochester Philharmonic and the Adelaide Symphony. Her debut thriller, Run To Me, short-listed in the 2014 U.S. Daphne du Maurier Awards. She lives with her family and numerous pets in Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Must reads