Death and Destruction in Romance

July 20, 2012

Conflict, angst, scars, they’re all a part of romance. Stories of two people falling happily in love without a bump in the road don’t get published, and even if they did, they’d probably end up being pretty boring to read.

Romance readers typically want some heart-wrenching stuff to happen to the fictional characters they’re investing in. Thus it becomes common for the hero or heroine or both to have some pretty horrible pasts that have scarred them deeply enough to be suspect of love.

Earlier this week, I tweeted:


After these two tweets and the conversation that ensued, I tried to think about romance novels where parents, dead or evil, weren’t used as background for conflict.

After looking through my entire Goodreads collection, I could only come up with Shannon Stacey’s Exclusively Yours. I know the heroes parents were alive, nice people. The heroine’s parents don’t make an appearance, but if I remember correctly they are alive and left her with no lingering scars.

So, out of the 100+ books I have in my list, that’s it. (There is a Sarah Mayberry book I read that has both sets of parents being alive and moderately non-scar-inducing, but a major plot point in the book is the father’s early onset Alzheimers, so I’m weary about adding it to the list. There are a couple others where I couldn’t remember the parental background, so maybe there are more than I think).

Can you think of a romance novel you enjoyed that didn’t suffer from the Disney syndrome (dead or evil parents)? Did you like it? Would you recommend it?

Because, I swear, one of these days a lucky hero and heroine will have normal, living parents!



2 Responses to “Death and Destruction in Romance”

  1. Funny. I was just thinking about this. There is an element of disfunction in so much of what I write and read. Better entertainment, huh? Who wants to read about happy people without mountains to climb? Apparently not many people. LOL.

  2. Miss Alexandrina Says:

    I always thought it was a random twist that had my heroine’s love interest be abused as a child, but, reading this post, I’ve just realised that it’s the natural evil parent syndrome. I guess that’ just another layer that help to mould the 3D character.

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