Happy Ever After & Hope
I’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: www.nalinisingh.com
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 ReadARomanceMonth.com. 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!
New 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.