Mary Balogh is on my automatic-buy list and for good reason. She’s unfailingly fantastic. The Escape, her latest historical romance, is yet another amazing book from this great author.
The Escape is the story of Samantha and Benjamin. Samantha is a widow in mourning who is living with an oppressive in-law. Ben is a former Major who still has trouble walking because of injuries he suffered during the Napoleonic Wars. Samantha’s in-laws give her an ultimatum she cannot live with and, in stead of bowing to their demands, she sets off to Wales. Ben goes with her as an escort.
Like all of Ms. Balogh’s stories, this one doesn’t rush. We get to see Samantha find her voice and discover her love for Ben. She sets off to Wales to find her independence and a new life and does so but it doesn’t come over night. They travel together and get to know each other and, doing so, discover their own independence, her from her past, he from his injuries.
I cried with this book, a definite good sign, and by the end, I truly believed the hero and heroine were in love. From the descriptions of the countryside, to the love story between Samantha and Ben, this one will have a special place in my keeper shelf. It’s a fantastic read for any occasion and a beautiful love story like only Mary Balogh can create.
I read S.K. Nicholls‘ excellent post on this subject and it got me thinking. What do I think about sex in romance? Should the author have a responsibility towards the reader and guide their moral compass?
Personally, for me, the task of guiding someone else’s moral compass is way out of my field of expertise. I have enough trouble keeping my own morals and finding the right choices in my own life, let alone guide others. So, I’d like to keep writing clear of morality–again, just for me.
I do write romance and that means a love story. My books are meant for adults, not children. I hope that’s the audience they find their way to (ahem…right now the ‘audience’ is very limited in number…and I only have one book out, but you get the point).
But I do think that, for me, if there’s sex in romance, it should add something to the story. It shouldn’t be there just because nothing else was going on in the last 100 pages. It shouldn’t be there gratuitously.
I’ll add that most books I love fall under that category. Romance isn’t just about sex. It’s a love story, hopefully, a beautiful love story.
Just after that post on awesome things, I started thinking about romance. What’s awesome about it? Why do I love it so much?
The first thing that comes to mind is the happy ending. I love happy endings. They give me closure on the story and the characters. I can finish they book knowing they’re happy and in a good place. It might be unrealistic but I hope for a happy ending all the time, even in real life. When my husband went to have a mole checked out, I was hoping for the best and was thrilled when we learned it wasn’t cancer. A young teen visited me this week fearing she was pregnant. I waited for the results with her hoping she wasn’t (not that there’s anything wrong with being pregnant…just not at 16).
Happy endings are unrealistic but maybe just because of that reason, they’re so lovely. In romance, they’re guaranteed. In every book. Isn’t that great?
Point number two in favour of romance is the boy-meets-girl tale. I love stories of how two people came together. Whether they are like cats and dogs and fight their way to each other, or he rescues her or she rescues him and they fall in love, or perhaps he’s given up on love because of a horrible traumatic event but she helps him find hope in it again. Sigh! It just tugs at my heart. Will she love him? Will he love her? What about their issues? What about her fears? I can’t wait to find out.
Great romance doesn’t stop at happy endings and a love story. That’s only the beginning. There is excellent writing, humour, angst, pets, ridiculous characters, scary villains, awesome dialogue, intriguing plots, great historical references…you get the idea. But, for me, those are all icing on the cake. My greatest reasons for reading this genre are the first two I mentioned above.
Now, you might not agree with me but… are you still wondering if that teen girl was pregnant? See? You might want that happy ending after all.