Like many bloggers at Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights, I’m a reader and writer of romance. I crave the happily-ever-after (HEA) ending at the finish of each romance. In fact, I will refuse to read a romance book that can’t promise that. This may seem inflexible, but I escape into romance not for the realism, but for the fantasy. If I want tragic relationships, I only have to turn on the TV, talk to a friend--basically just visit the outside world for that dose of reality.
I can’t say exactly what draws me so strongly to romance over every other genre out there. But I think there’s a certain optimism in romance, the belief in the HEA that attracts me. While I can’t be guaranteed that happiness in real life, I can be sure to get it from a romance, as long as the author keeps his/her part of the deal. Though rare, I’ve come across an author or two who’ve broken this not so unspoken rule, whether it happens in the couple’s actual book or in a related novel further in the series. Unfaithfulness and death of a romantic partner are my wall bangers.
Those books that break with the traditional HEA become taboo for me. I may love the series in question, but my mind tries to wipe the knowledge these HEA breakers from my memory stores. Unfortunately, the opposite often happens, and they’re seared into my brain with a branding iron. I abhor these books, but can’t stop thinking about them.
Why? Well, they upset me, destroy my faith in the HEA of romance. And, yes, shock, repulse, and fascinate me with the realism they display. But if I can’t have a HEA in a romance novel, where can I?
What are your reasons for writing/reading romance? Is the HEA dispensable for you or a must-have? And what breaks the HEA deal for you like no other?