Did anyone see that newspaper article last week? This one? If you didn’t I’ll summarize real quick. It’s about a husband who has a heart attack and loses oxygen to his brain long enough to suffer permamnent damage to both his intellect and personality. Basically, he reverts back to a six year old in cognitive abilities. And the wife sticks by him and cares for him with dignity and love. Yes, she eventually remarries, but her ex husband remains an integral part of their life. She never abandons him, despite him having family willing to take over.
And that’s marriage.
Rarely do romance writers delve into the gritty often ugly world of “Til death do us part.” We start at the cute meet, go through the courtship and end at love and marriage. Every so often, an author will write a novella giving a glimpse into the future of a married couple, and it’s almost always showing them with kids and still madly in love.
There’s never illness, or infertility, or financial troubles. And we all know why. Readers read romance as escapist, for a vision of a perfect beautiful world. And I’m okay with that. It’s why I read it and why I write it. If I wanted the reality I’d close my book look around. Not to say there isn’t love. There is. In fact, I’d argue there’s a heck of a lot of love to stick around through the bad times. Through 3 AM feedings and job layoffs and countless menstrual cycles. The love loses the glossiness and fades to something grittier. Something real.
What do you think? Could romance novels delve deeper into marriage and keep the readers? THere are some authors doing it. JR Ward comes to mind. In her Black Dagger Brotherhood, she portrays, head vampire Wrath lying and betraying his wife. Their sex life has basically stopped and they can’t seem to communicate. I loved reading it, and I especially loved the make-up sex. She doesn’t pull punches and it’s raw and real.
Are there any other examples. Share, share!