Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happily Ever After or Not?

Happily Ever After or Not? Current mood: annoyed Category: Writing and Poetry
.. I write Adventurous Romance. That means, at least to me, the heroine and the hero are thrown into danger, intrigue, harrowing escapes, monsters, betrayal, suspicion, disaster and so forth. They run, they fight, they hide and they sometimes distrust each other. But each and every time, they discover that they are the ones they can trust in. The hero discovers that no matter what happened, he can rely on the heroine. She learns that no matter how badly things have gone, the heroine is able to trust the hero. By the end of the book, The monster has been destroyed; The villain has been defeated; All is right with the world; and The hero and the heroine live happily ever after.
Some how that seems to be changing.
The other day I was reading a book that was heralded and reviewed as a romance. It was Urban Fantasy and both the location where I bought it online and the numerous reviews I read of the book before I bought it touted it as a romance. (No, I am not going to tell you the author, the name of the book or the place I bought it.)
The book was exciting. The plot was a page-turner. I stayed up until 2 AM reading it. The hero was dashing, handsome, tortured, heroic, all the things you want in a hero. The heroine was heroic, strong, self-assured, independent, learning to rely on the hero, growing, opening up, becoming less of a pain in the ass and more of the love of the heroe's life, in other words, everything you want in a romance heroine. I wanted to finish the book - I had to finish the book. I had to see how everything turned out.
..Everything Went to Crap.
The hero was killed. The heroine was mentally and physically destroyed. The object of the adventure was taken away and not rescued. The villain disappeared, not defeated, and not destroyed. The bad guys won, the good guys lost.
Now, I will admit, perhaps this is a book that is supposed to be the beginning of a series, sort of like the Star Wars saga. But I was terribly disappointed with the ending. The adventure throughout the book was great but the ending ruined the entire book for me.
I want a happy ending when I read. Life, the Universe, and Everything (with a nod to Douglas Adams) gives me enough of bad endings. If I want heroes to die, all I have to do is listen to the news. The same thing for the bad guys winning - listen to the news. I want my heroes to stomp the daylights out of the bad guys. I want my heroines to be taking a deep breath of contentment when everything is said and done. I don't want my heroine to be left crying her eyes out feeling bereft and alone when the book says The End.
What about you? Do you want your romances to be reflective of real life - as in the good guys do not always win and the bad guys walk away untouched? Or do you want a Happy Ever After in your romance?

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