I love to read romance stories. While I prefer the paranormal sub-genre, I also enjoy historical, erotic, contemporary, and GLBT romances. The one thing they all have in common – and the primary reason I read romance – the HEA… the “happily ever after” or even the HFN: happy for now. In general, romance stories tend to focus on one or two primary couples, who, by the end of the book are together and there is a sense of HEA/HFN. Even books in long-running romance genre series tend to be “stand alone” when it comes to the romance part. This is why I read these books – I love the sense of closure and happiness at the conclusion. While things may be rough during the book, I can get through it because I know in the end, things will be worked out.
Earlier this week, Sylvia Day released Entwined with You, the third book in her wildly popular Crossfire Trilogy. What came as a shock to many of those who read what they thought was the final book in a trilogy, is that the series isn’t ending… yet. While my post isn’t about Ms. Day’s decision nor about extending a series, the twitter discussion that centered around her book is what prompted this post.
What is with romance books that to not have an HEA/HFN at the end of the book? This does not sit well with me.
Books such as those in Ms. Day’s Crossfire series are examples of what I call the “non-HEA romance.” These are books in a series that focus on one or two couples; however, they do not get an HEA/HFN at the end of the book. Things are left open and incomplete. The couples are not fully together, and we have to wait until the next title to see if they do, in fact, make it. Another widely popular example of this is the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.
Why is this happening? What happened to romance? I want to be swept off my feet and know that when I’m done with a book, my new favorite couple will be riding off into the sunset. I don’t want to worry whether or not they will have their happiness.
What are your thoughts? Do you like a couple’s story to be at an HEA/HFN by the end of one book? (Note, I am talking about romance genre only – NOT urban fantasy) Why do you think authors are extending romance novels over the course of three or more books and not giving the readers an HEA/HFN? Is this a growing trend?
Thanks for stopping to chat!