Saturday, February 11, 2006

And the axe falls...

I was reading a romance this morning, and in the 50 page "prologue," the heroine's fiance and true love is killed, setting up the rest of the book, which takes place two years later. That's all well and good to have some solid motivation established for the heroine, but in this "prologue" where her sweet, darling, devoted true love is killed, the author wrote this guy's death from his POV. We're in his head as he's being killed, and it SUCKS (obviously, I guess).

I read romance for the happily ever after. I want to feel restored and rejuvenated. I want to feel like there is goodness out there. I do NOT read Oprah's book clubs because I do NOT want my soul to be ripped to shreds while I'm reading. Life is tough enough as it is, I don't need to read about it too.

And usually romance fits the bill.

But then I was in this wonderful guy's head while he was being killed. Murdered. It was HORRIBLE. So I shut the book and walked away. I don't need that. I don't want that. There's plenty of room for that in other genres. If you read mainstream suspense, you know you might get that, and that's fine. I read Lisa Gardner. I'm prepared for grit when I open her books, but I have to be in the mood to read hers, because often, I don't want to be faced with that side of life. So when I read a book with romance on the spine, I don't want to have to steel myself from these kinds of moments.

I've heard before that one of those "rules" of romance is to never be in the POV of someone who is being killed, and now I know why.

Maybe I'll pick that book up again.
Or maybe I won't. Right now, I don't entirely trust the author anymore.

What do you guys think?


At 10:17 AM, Blogger Milady Insanity said...

I'd read it.

And I'd admire a romance author who dared take such a risk.

IMHO, there are too many so-called unwritten rules in romance, especially that pesky HEA one. LOL--I love to color outside the lines.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Shesawriter said...

I think this author obviously wrote one hell of a character. Why? Because you actually cared when the man died. You cared so much you put the book down. The guy's death affected you. No author worth her salt would be upset by your reaction. In fact, if I'd written that book, I'd be jumping for joy.

Since that's the case, I'd pick the book up again because that tells me the author knows character. She pulled your heartstrings. If she'd written a cardboard cutout, you wouldn't have given a flying fig what happened to the guy. :-)

True, the unwritten rule is for a HEA, but you haven't reached the Ending. LOL! Give the book another chance. Stay the course. I would.


At 1:11 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Much the same reason I stopped reading The Lovely Bones. Even though that's not a romance. I just don't need that level of reality in my entertainment.

At 5:00 AM, Blogger Amanda Ashby said...

Wow, now I'm curious as to whether you would be able to bond with the heroine and hero for the rest of the book. I think I'd be yelling out 'he died a big hurty way and you two are being all lovely dovey?'!!!!!

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Although I do not like rules...I do have certain expectations when I open a romance book...and a long painful death in the POV of the character who is dying...I don't know if I would read it or not. I do love reading Gardner though, but like you, I have to be in the mood. Interesting post.


At 4:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie Rowe said...

I loved all your points! So interesting! I am continuing to plow forward with the book, so I'll see how it goes. I'll keep you guys posted!


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