I’m a bit stumped. I admit it…and so I’m reaching out to any of you in the blogosphere who might want to comment, to get your opinion on this.
Here’s the short version of what caused the controversy that has erupted in my mind:
I had a conversation with a colleague today. She is someone who loves books and is well-read. We were discussing my upcoming Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, and I was telling her about how it was a different genre from what I’d written before – Women’s/General Fiction rather than Historical Romance – and that is would therefore be appropriate for most age groups, as it has no explicit content, unlike my historical romances.
Here’s where the turn of the conversation kind of made my mind bend.
She says (and I’m paraphrasing, but it’s pretty close): “Oh, I read your first two books. I like historical fiction, so I liked the history in them.”
I think I see where she’s going here, and so I interject, admitting, “I know the love scenes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.”
But she shakes her head, adding, “No, I didn’t mind the romance – I can skip over some of those parts if I want.” She looks vaguely uncomfortable. “It’s just…the happy endings! You know, at the end, everyone goes off happy…” She makes a wry face. “I read historical fiction.” (which I’m surmising she added to try to make it clear that historical fiction books DON’T have happy endings and therefore are her preference).
I was floored, I admit it.
I’ve had people tell me they don’t like historical romances because they’re not “historical enough”.
I’ve had people tell me they don’t like historical romances because of the focus on the romantic relationship, which often includes some explicit love scenes between the hero and heroine (who BTW are monogamous, according to the traditions of the genre).
I’ve had people tell me they don’t read “those” kinds of books (which basically means they won’t read romances because of the stigma attached to romance, as books that are somehow less worthy/well-written/complex/”real”…you can supply your own negative adjective).
But this is the first time anyone has ever said to me that they basically objected to/disliked historical romances because they ended happily.
So…what’s your take on happy endings? Please enlighten me, as I really, really want to hear from everyone, regardless of your perspective. Of course I’m a reader before I’m a writer, and I have my own opinions, but I’m interested in hearing about this issue from other readers’ point of view. So please, chime in! 🙂