Bitchery reader Jessica has a rather odd request in her search for romances to read. In fact, when she first emailed me, I said that I didn’t think what she was looking for was precisely a romance. I’m as much curious about your opinion on that as much as on whether there’s a book that might meet her criteria.
I just get a little bored with the predictability of most romances. Boy and girl meet, are horribly attracted to each other on first sight, but deny it/are torn apart/decide to be attracted to someone else for a while/are in some other complicated situation/etc., lots of stuff happens, boy and girl end up together. You ALWAYS know from the very first page (or chapter, at any rate) who will ending up doinking whom.
So, maybe The Bitchery can help me out. Any suggestions for books where the hero/heroine DOESN’T end up with the first attractive, named character of the opposite sex they see and get moist for? And it’s not because said named character is a ginormous asshole/the villain/secretly their sibling/etc. I’m looking for a little healthy surprise here.
It happens to people all the time. You meet someone and you think they’re just the best thing since BEFORE sliced bread but after a period of time (a date, a few weeks, a month, whatever) you realize that maybe they’re not for you. They’re not BAD or anything, but it’s just not as right as you had hoped. But this other person you met at the same party/event/etc. or shortly afterwards or before, or somewhere along the line is finding a place in your heart.
And I would debate that it COULD still be a romance. The hero or heroine is just not who you would expect. I guess it’s [more the idea of] surprise. I want to NOT be hammered over the head from the very beginning with “these two are going to do the dirty!” I still can’t think of any novels I know of that have the type of plot I’m looking for. But, last night my DH, reminded me of the movie, “While You Were Sleeping.” That’s almost exactly the plot I’m looking for. Still definitely a romance, but the first “hero” she gets excited about is not the hero she ends up with.
I’ve read a few books like this, and it’s a delicate balance for a writer to sustain. On one hand, you don’t want the reader getting all invested in a hero who isn’t going to be The One, but you also don’t want to lose the respect of the reader if the heroine falls for the wrong dude or chases someone that the reader KNOWS isn’t right for him.
While I’m a very big fan of friends-to-lovers plotlines (*sigh*) that’s not quite what Jessica is looking for, but it’s also not merely a triangle “Which one will she choose” romance either. But I’ve read romances where the heroine has, for example, a lifelong crush on Dude A, but then realizes that Dude B is The One – and sometimes the reader knows it all along, while other times the reader figures it out along with the heroine.
What’s your take? Got any books to recommend?