BOOKSHOPS have lots of great love stories on the shelves, but the most romantic tale of all is in the window of one particular store with a special Valentine’s Day card display.

Among a sea of red, heart-shaped cards in the window of Hodges Figgis in Dublin was one larger one, bearing a marriage proposal from Karl Devlin to his girlfriend Louise Fitzpatrick.

And last night, as the rain fell, Karl led her to the bookshop, on the pretext of doing some publicity for the store which explained the waiting photographer.

Innocently Louise examined the messages of love inscribed from customers until her eyes fell on the one intended for her: “To Louise, let’s not wait till 2028, love Karl.”

With a shocked scream, she turned to her partner, eyes already brimming with tears. The reference to 2028 was their private joke – the reply Karl would always make when other couples teased them about when they would tie the knot.

Louise’s delighted face was enough answer for any man to one of the most important questions he will ever ask.

So Karl, a landscape gardener from Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow, was spared going down on bended knee in the puddles.

He had already taken the traditional step of asking Louise’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Louise, who is from Bray, and Karl are expecting their first baby together in May and plan to spend the next few months planning the perfect wedding.

But Louise’s first call last night was to be to her mum.

Karl’s brother Stephen is the window dresser and event organiser in Hodges Figgis. His idea for a window of St Valentine’s Day messages was a big success, attracting over 160, from the truly romantic to the witty.