One of the aspects of romance that some folks LOVE and some folks loathe is the emphasis on children upon children and pregnancy as part and parcel to the happy ever after. For some people, a romance novel isn’t complete without a baby, either in the plot, or in the future, or a secret in the plot to be revealed in the future. For others, babies in romance are distinctly not-romantic (especially when one is tired to the point of blindness from taking care of one at all hours of the night) or, in the case of those going through infertility treatments or facing the inability to conceive, terribly painful.
Reader C. has asked for romance recommendations that aren’t about babies, and may even involve infertility as part of the plot- preferably a known condition that isn’t magically healed with frequent and dedicated applications of the spooge of healing from the Wang of Mighty Lovin™.
I’m hoping for some book recommendations, but I am also fairly sure it’s
a lost cause. Also, I don’t want to start a shit storm.
What I would really like to find are some romances (preferably historical,
but contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, etc. are all fine, too) where the story
does not make the hero/heroine’s reproductive abilities an integral part of
the plot/HEA. I’d like to find something that either lets the two main
characters just ride off into their heaving, purple sunset with no mention
at all of children or pregnancy, or I’d like to find something where
infertility is a real issue that is dealt with and accepted and the HEA
comes anyway. By that, I don’t mean one of these books where half of our
happy couple “just knows” that they can’t have kids, but then everything
is made all better via the magical uterus/invincible spermians.I also don’t
want any books where the infertility is legit, but everything’s okey-dokey
by the HEA thanks to some conveniently-placed orphans.
I understand that this whole issue can really set people off, but I’m not
trying to push anyone’s “kids vs. no kids” buttons. As someone who can’t
have children without divine intervention, I’d just like find a good
romance novel to read that didn’t hit me over the head with the, “you’re
not a REAL family until you have children” message. A lot of family trees
have branches that end in the words “no issue”. Those two words do not
automatically mean that there wasn’t some ragin’-hot lovin’ going on
anyway … I’m just hoping there are some books out there about it.
My first suggestion for C: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie – not because infertility is a big issue, but because the heroine is very frank about the fact that she doesn’t want children. Sometimes it’s not the idea that children are a prerequisite, but the idea that electing not to have children is a valid and acceptable option that makes a romance refreshing – this one in particular is a great example.
So: which romances feature infertility in ways that you appreciated, and which books were not so wedded to the idea that a Happily Ever After cannot occur without babies?