Day 28 Nalini Singh – Hope Even in the Darkness

Happy Ever After & Hope

Heart of ObsidianI’ve always loved the hopeful nature of the romance genre. We can go to terrible places, dark places with our hero and heroine, explore wounds painful and old, because we know that there is hope even in the darkness.

For me, the happy ever after ending (HEA) offers a dizzying freedom, because it allows us to go on journeys that might otherwise be too grim or too hard to bear. Our characters aren’t perfect people – no, they have histories, scars, wounds, and often, that gives them a tough road to walk. Yet no matter what, we know that in the end it will be all right. This doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect, all wounds healed. That is an impossibility, except in cartoons.

In a good story, the HEA for the characters will be shaped by who they are and the lives they’ve lived. For one couple, a happy ending might be a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage on the Eiffel Tower, while for the next couple it might be to sleep in one another’s arms all through the night, safe from the nightmares.

There are no limits to how our characters find happiness, and that’s how it should be. As each story is unique, so is each ending. The only constant is hope and that I think, is a beautiful thing.

The best happy ever after endings have me releasing the “good book sigh” – that moment where I close the book and I’m content and happy and may even have a goofy smile on my face. I believe that the characters’ love will endure, and only grow stronger going forward.

My question for you is: What are some of your favorite happy ever after endings from your own reading?

Recommendations: Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy is very dark, very romantic, and every romance reader I’ve ever recommended it to, has become a huge fan. I’d also recommend the Liaden books by the writing team of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Don’t be put off by the science fiction label – these are stories based around a family, and there are several very strong romances in the series. I can’t wait to find out what Clan Korval will get up to next.
(I could keep going with my recommendations, but I’ll stop there!)

Questions for Nalini:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

I’ve actually become very good about getting rid of things that take up space and exist only for dusting purposes! Which reminds me, I need to clean out the garage…

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called?

How To Write A Book On Chocolate Cake and Tea.

What’s the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

The time to write.
Family members have cooked countless dinners for me and done a myriad of other errands so I could have more writing time. I can’t ever thank them enough.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of your books, which would it be?

Tough question, but I’ll go with Lucas and Sascha in Slave to Sensation. This was my first published paranormal and it’s where many of my readers first discovered me. It’s a passionate love story but it also has a very warm heart because we see this couple not in isolation, but within the bonds of family and of a tight-knit leopard pack, and these are people who we continue to get to know throughout the series. Watch out for the twin leopard cubs – they’ll steal your heart.
If you’ve never read a paranormal story, this is also a great starting place. I’ve been told many times by readers who hadn’t tried a paranormal story before Slave to Sensation that it was a very accessible, readable book that hooked them on the genre.

For readers who like things darker and edgier, I’d recommend Angels’ Blood, the first book in my Guild Hunter series, the story of a human hunter, Elena, and an archangel, Raphael, who fall in love. It’s a little more violent, but just as romantic. And while it’s a love story that continues through multiple books, it is very much a romance – Angels’ Blood is the story of their courtship, while the ensuing books are about how they’re going to make the relationship work.

Excerpts from these books and all my others are available on my website:

Any picks for romance novels in general?

I love Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago…I have loved none but you.”

How utterly beautiful is that? And if you love Persuasion, you should try Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, a stunning futuristic romance inspired by Anne and Wentworth’s story. I adored it!


You are reading this essay at Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.

Nalini is generously an autographed copy of either Angels’ Blood or Slave to Sensation to a US reader and International reader (International readers enter here).  To enter the domestic contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 27 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.

Also visit the Awesome Contests page to register this week to win a Kindle Paperwhite and “A Month of Romance” (31 books) from Amazon Montlake, or  the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

Nalini SinghNew York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series, Nalini Singh is passionate about writing.Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the Highlands of Scotland, and the temples of Japan, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.

You can find out more about Nalini and her books on her website:
Nalini is also on Twitter ( and Facebook at


Buy Nalini’s Books on Amazon

  • Melanie Backus

    I love that good book sigh. I am always slow to end a book because it is so good I just want it to last but I sure can give that good book sigh!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I’m so happy that you’ve given Sharon Lee and Steve Miller a shout out! Val Con and Miri are one of my favorite, and most romantic couples, in fiction. Lucas and Sascha are wonderful, too. I love the way Hawke teases Lucas. Thank you for your terrific writing.

  • Cheryl C.

    I love both of your series. I have a couple of bookshelves full of books I haven’t got around to reading yet but, once in a while, I have to go back and reread a favorite. I’ve gone back to yours several times. Actually, there are several authors on this blog that I love to reread.

    • Thank you Cheryl – it’s a bit of a breathtaking list! xoxo

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    I love the HEA where they can just spend the night in each others’ arms with no more nightmares!

  • Laurie W G

    I like the Beauty & the Beast themed stories.

    ALWAYS A LADY by Sharon Sala- a model is disfigured, she accepts a job as a cook on a ranch where the owner slowly tears down the barriers she has placed between her accepting a loving relationship and both of them finding a HEA.

    Elizabeth Hoyt’s emotion packed Legend of the Four Soldiers ( wounded warriors) series: TO BEGUILE A BEAST (scars), TO DESIRE A DEVIL (captivity), TO SEDUCE A SINNER (nightmares) and TO TASTE TEMPTATION (revenge)

  • Azucena Rodriguez

    HEA’s is the reason why I read and love romance books. I can’t deal with any other type of endings. I’ll stick to my HEA, thank you very much. I can’t think of many HEA’s that had me so content this early in the morning lol. Remembering some of the latest books I’ve read, I would have to go with Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt. Godric and Megs coming to terms with their losses and finding love again… *sigh*

  • Valerie

    HEA’s are amazing and the reason I disappear into the world of romance novels most times..

  • Nancy Huddleston

    So enjoy your books.

  • MK

    My favorite HEA is when Claire goes back in time to Jamie in the Outlander series

  • Britney Adams

    I love all happily ever afters!!

  • mariannewestrich

    Love that the characters in romance are flawed and not perfect! Otherwise, how would I ever identify with them?!?!?! 😎

  • christinejensen

    I love a book that leaves me with that Good Book Sigh 🙂 It is was separates a 4 and 5 star read for me.

  • Karin Anderson

    Ah, the twins… If they ever get a story, I’d like to volunteer as their heroine. 😀

  • Kareni

    I’m now envisioning a book inscribed on top of a chocolate cake! (Inscribing it on tea would be significantly more challenging!)

    A favorite happy ending? I liked the one in The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal; it showed such hope.

    • Lovely book! (and I’m from El Paso, TX – so the New Mexico/Southwest sub-theme resonated with me, too.) Thanks, Kareni.

  • I’ve been collecting quotes from women about writing for VIDA. I am definitely adding “the happy ever after ending (HEA) offers a dizzying freedom, because it allows us to go on journeys that might otherwise be too grim or too hard to bear.” I’ve never heard that idea said so precisely. Thanks for that and for your stories! Big fan! Huge!

  • Oh, and what cover is that? I LOVE it . . . and it’s not the one I’m used, too.

    • Sorry, my fault, I used the UK cover. I will be switching it out soon, so grab it while you can. ;o)

  • M Kuxhaus

    I recently read Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss; I smiled much during the ending.

    • I know so many people who love this book and I have yet to read it! Wish I had time to tackle *my* TBR list! xoxo

  • Katy M

    I love a happy ending where the love of the hero and heroine has been tested, more internally than externally, and they come through it with a stronger bond and deeper understanding of each other. I also love when they see the other’s perceived faults as strenghths and the other can begin to let go and see themselves through the eyes of someone who really knows them and loves them.
    I don’t like when everyone is cartoonishly happy because every problem is solved; I like seeing that the H&H have built a strong foundation and that they’ll be able to weather any rough seas ahead.
    Thank you for your amazing stories!

  • Larena Hubble

    I love Joey W. Hill’s book because she really pulls you into them and you get emotionally invested in them. But knowing they will always have an HEA makes them worth reading through the emotions of the characters and knowing that no matter how difficult things get for them they will get the HEA at the end. I also love Cynthia Eden’s books because her’s have action and her characters a lot of the time have some emotional baggage that they need to work through to get to their HEA too.

  • christieMI

    Oh, you picked my very favorite Jane Austen–how I love Persuasion! Thanks for the Diana Peterfreund recommendation; so many other writers do the Bennett/Darcys, it’s nice to see another Austen novel reimagined.

  • Dear Nalini, thank you so much for your words! Thank you also to have told in your blog about this RAR month! A month of surprises and discoveries!! 😀
    One HEA that I always remember is from David Grossman’s “Someone to run with”. Beautiful story, wonderful characters, mesmerizing ending. But I have a special place in my heart also for Mercy and Riley, and the ending of their book is magnificent! (Like the beginning, truely…).

    • Adding my thanks to Nalini and her blog. xoxo

  • Amiee

    I absolutely love Nalini Singhs books! I listen to the audio versions of both the Guild Hunter novels and Psy/Changeling series the narrators are brilliant at bringing the characters that Nalini has created to life 🙂 I think Heart of Obsidian is the book of the year for me (at least until Archangels Legion releases) Any new readers definitely read both series, you will love them and wish you were a part of them yourself! lol Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Beth Re

    I discovered you reading an anthogy I really enjoy your work

  • Alissa

    I love a happy ending- but especially love an epilogue. They are satisfying little gift from an author: a glimpse of the couple’s enduring and maturing love. It’s like an extra goodnight kiss.

  • Lucile Stenger

    My favorite author *_* ! Thanks to Nalini for the words (and the opening to international readers 😉 !) and thanks to Read-A-Romance Month for this awesome contest and the opportunity to learn more about the authors 😀 !

    • Thanks so much, Lucile! Glad you found us. xoxo

  • Lisa Glidewell

    I love Jude Devereaux and Julie Garwood’s Knight in Shining Armor themes to Jane Austen’s Love Stories to the early , early Vampire Love Stories from Linda Leah Miller. I love the variety I get from Romance Novels!

  • MaryC

    Love Kaleb and Sahara.

  • Briana Hammonds

    I think one of my top HEAs was Riley & Mercy. I reread that book at least every other month. They went through so much and there was such a possibility of loss for both of them that the HEA was just amazing. I think the HEAs where there was really some sense of struggle to get there are the most satisfying. Not the “the whole book was based on a misunderstanding” type HEAs.

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    I love single HEA books but I really love the ones that develop over time. Like with Raphael and Elena. It’s been so sweet watching their relationship develop every book. But I do love the HEA at the end of every Psy/Changling book, especially Lucas and Sascha, they hold a special place with me.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I love HEA’s that also come with an epilogue. Or if I’m lucky, a connected book/series that shows me the characters I love after their own book has ended.

  • Ann Mettert

    I look forward to reading a new to me author. Austen would probably be among my favorites for HEAs.

  • HEA’s are what it’s all about. I love looking forward to that in romances.

  • Terri Norris

    My favorite HEA is Dimitri’s in Heart of Obsidian. Love him getting together with Honor and the past life part. I thought that was so well done. I’ve read it at least four times now and I still cry in certain parts even though I know what is coming.

  • Madeleine Kenney

    My two favorite romance authors are Maya Banks and Nalini Singh. Their stories and romances are so real, so believable, that it makes you truly believe everyone has a soul mate.

  • Melinda Utendorf

    I love Julie Jame’s Something About You.

  • Lois Headley

    HEA’s make life better! Especially Nalini’s HEA’s. All of her books are excellent, but Sascha and Lucas does hold a special place in my heart!

  • Elizabeth Gray

    One of the best for me was Hawke and Sienna in Kiss of Snow. I have re-read the ending many times. There are a few others, but this one just has me coming back to it many times.

  • I am so grateful to you, Nalini, for all you have done to help get the word out about Read-A-Romance Month — and for those few behind-the-scenes desperate cries for help, too! ;o)

    Yes, “the good book sigh.” I tend to only get those with romance novels. One of the many reasons I decided to launch this project. You’ve stated it so perfectly.

  • Lee Ann Daugherty

    I’ve read several of these essays posted by some of my authors, and I’ve just shared this on my timeline. I’ve also been posting recommendations throughout August for Read-a-Romance month…you’ll get the final night as my favorite author. My favorite ending is Dev & Katya’s in Blaze of Memory, one of the emotional standouts in the Psy/Changeling series for me. I cried buckets and still do with every re-read.

  • Nancy

    While I love a good epilogue, my favorite HEAs are the ones that don’t need an epilogue because the reader is so certain of the couple’s future happiness. Some of my favorite HEA endings are How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn, The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, and These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I enjoy the hard-won HEA’s in such books as Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, Larissa Ione’s Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series, and Naughton’s Eternal Guardians series.

  • Ann

    “The good book sigh” – what a great term for it! That is one of the best endings of all!

  • Meredith Richardson

    I recently purchased Angel’s Blood and am looking forward to reading it 😀

  • Glenda

    To many wonderful happy endings to list. But my favs are the ones I can catch glimpses of in other novels.

  • Mary McCoy

    The older I get and the more unhappiness I see in real life, the more I need the HEAs I find in well written books like yours, Nalini. I love Diana’s book, too.

  • crankyotter

    A friend from my book club recommended Slave to Sensation but qualified that I should make sure I liked it before diving into the series because it’s not for everybody. I found it to be quite enjoyable. Even more, I found the futuristic worldbuilding, romance, and paranormal worldbuilding elements to be equally strong. That combination is quite rare.

    I went back the next day to buy the rest of the series (4 or 5 at that point), and put you on my autobuy list. Thanks to your recent US tour, those early books are now all signed. Thank you! (and if I win, give the book to someone else who needs it! )

  • rebecca moe

    A Persuasion story! So excited–it’s my favorite Austen! Thanks for the rec 🙂

    (I’ve got both of your books that you recommend on audio, ready to be read. Can’t wait!)

  • MaddBookish

    I’ve loved the entire psy-changeling series.

  • Ketta Peters

    I’ve added Anne Bishop to my wishlist on your recommendation. 😉 Thanks for a great post.

  • leah g

    The book I am currently reading has had me in fits of tears several times now, but I keep going just because I know that what you said is exactly right. I know at the end they will have their HEA and the journey for all of us will be worthwhile.

  • Marcia Berbeza

    Last August I attended a workshop with a young librarian that hadn’t seemed to connect with the others in our district. I reached out to try to find some common ground and we started speaking of our favorite series. She mentioned the Psy-Changling series which I had never heard of. A couple of weeks later, Audible ran a great sale and I saw your books listed and contacted this young woman. We both invested the bucks and bought the entire series on Audible. Must say, that was the best investment I ever made. Those books were sooo great. Unfortunately, the young librarian left our district this year, but she certainly introduced me to a writer that has the ability to engage me on all levels. Thank you. Oh, and when I finished the last one, out of desperation, I started and got hooked on the Guild Hunter series as well. <3 your story telling ability!!

  • BookLady

    I love the happy ever after endings in the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon and the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance.

  • donnas

    Great post. And I love the Black Jewels books, there are so many levels to them.

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    What a lovely and thoughtful message, Nalini; thank you for a wonderful blogpost today.

  • E.L. F.

    I love Ann Bishop’s books…and enjoyed her new series and I am a great fan of the Liaden Universe! I enjoyed the interview, thanks for sharing!

  • Kim

    I really enjoyed your take on romance. I love the satisfaction I feel when a couple has had to work for their HEA and at the end they are committed to each other.

  • Aarati S

    My favourite romantic couple would be Oliver and Jenny from Love Story. They don’t have a happy ending, but they sure as hell have a happy life and that’s more than many people get.
    Then there’s Lucas and Sascha, Mercy and Riley, Drew and Indigo, Hawke and Sienna(but I’m damn jealous of Sienna. I actually cried when on their date, Hawke feeds Sienna ice-cream, I was so jealous.), Raphael and Elena and I loved Jason and Mahiya.
    Then some of the others are Lizzie and Darcy, obviously, even Jane and Bingley, Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniels series and there are so many more…

  • Sara Tassoni

    I love Nalini Singh’s books 🙂

  • CYP @ A Bookalicious Story

    Nalini Singh is my FAVORITE of all favorite adult authors across all genres! My favorite so far has been the entire Guild Hunter series, Hawke’s story in Kiss of Snow and Heart of Obsidian. Nalini would be my first recommend to any romance readers. :)) Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Nalini Singh

    Thank you for the lovely comments everyone. I’m really enjoying reading them. 🙂 Thanks also for Bobbi for running this great event.

  • Mary Holden

    I have loved ever one of your novels, and can’t honestly say just one is my favorite. You are on my keeper shelf, forever!

  • Suzanne Clune

    Hi Nalini, I just wanted to say how much I love your work. To answer your question one of my favorite HEA is from Heart of Obsidian. Kaleb has devoted his life to the one goal of finding Sahara. I love that he did find her and without giving anything away to those who haven’t read it, they eventually find their way to their own HEA. Another favorite of mine is Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan. As you mentioned in your post above, they both have dark pasts which have shaped them for all time,yet they too eventually find their own particular HEA. I look forward to reading your books for many years to come, so keep up the fantastic work <3 <3 <3

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    I love Hawke and Sienna from Kiss of Snow. Their love story gets me everytime and I love seeing them in Tangle of Need, trying to adjust to normal life.

  • Pamby50

    I love Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunters series. Looking forward to reading your books.

  • Becca Luman

    Nalini, I love your Psy-Changeling series! I was hooked the second I started Slave to Sensation, and I can’t wait for the next story in the series! I’ve often wished I lived in your world, even as a human (although having psychic or shapeshifting powers would be fun too!) Thanks for all your stories!

  • MooMoo Cake

    I know I didn’t post by the deadline (I’d feel selfish if I won since I already own copies of both books and want my people to read them) but I feel compelled to comment. I love your books and your post reminded me how much I’m looking forward to reading the next book that continues Elena and Raphael’s relationship. I also love when a favorite author shares that she likes another favorite of mine (Daemon was one of my first and favorite romance heroes, especially with his bonds to other characters). Thanks for contributing to this event!

  • J.L. Serrano

    I can’t wait for the next books in both the Psy/Changling as well as the Archangel series!!! I religiously follow your work!

  • Jen C

    That’s a tough question to answer — I really like series, so I guess I’m not satisfied with just a HEA. I guess you can say, like you did!, that HEAs vary. And a conclusion that leaves me with a cathartic HEA sigh is just fine, no matter how it is made up.

  • Courtney Lewis

    Nalini Singh is one of the BEST romance writers out there – she simply cannot produce a bad book and I think this post describes why. Her insight into romance and what makes a couple makes her books reveal how two people can truly see each other in the right circumstances (and sometimes the wrong ones). I think this is the best Read-a-Romance post yet!