Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Must a Romance have a Happy Ending?
Fashions in literature change over time. In the 70s and 80s, romances were filled with rape fantasies, which women shudder at now. I've been involved in a discussion over at GoodReads for the last couple weeks that has me wondering if another distinctive of the romance genre may be on its way out.
Does a romance have to have an HEA ending?
Purists contend that it does. A "happily ever after" is part of the romance novelist's contract with her readers. No matter how awful things get, somehow it will all end well.
Still others say "happy for now" is sufficient or even just a "satisfying" ending, will do. Insisting on a HEA means even classics like GONE WITH THE WIND, which is primarily about a love/hate relationship cannot be technically termed a romance.
Where is the balance between "formula" and realism? Do you feel cheated if the H/h don't fully commit to each other by the end of the book?
What do you think?
PS. After you leave a comment here, please pop over to my STROKE OF GENIUS Name a Character Contest and cast your vote for your favorite name if you haven't done so already. Voting continues till August 1st and then the drawing will be held and one lucky voter will receive a WHOLE BOX OF BOOKS (all of them with a guaranteed HEA)!