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Just Grousing Now . . .
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:26 am    Post subject: Just Grousing Now . . . Reply with quote

+IHS+

This is a spin-off from a small discussion in the Ratings thread.

We mentioned HEAs which we didn't believe in because either the hero or the heroine failed to make us confident that he or she wouldn't cheat.

At the top of my list was An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley. I thought the hero ended up really liking the heroine, but not terribly concerned about marital fidelity. I could see him setting up a mistress a few years down the line.

I feel this way about several other Beverley novels, come to think of it. That's strange, when she happens to be my favourite Romance writer. Confused

What about you?
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall posting a review of Jo Beverley's An Unwilling Bride some years ago and saying how much I liked it. There were lots of unhelpfuls and some rather nasty comments about the author posted as many people could not accept that the hero hit the heroine. I went back later and wrote a further anonymous review saying that I felt readers had to take the story in its historical context, that one wouldn't consider applying normal conventions in reviewing fantasy or science fiction. In reality, the past truly is another country and very foreign to those of us residing in the 21st century. Therefore, I think the question one has to ask about an HEA in an historical is: "Bearing in mind the ethics, morality, customary behaviour, social standards, etc, etc, is the ending in tune with the timeframe in which it is set?"

I think that the way we view an HEA today is probably about 200% different than how our great, great, great grandparents did. Jo Beverley is, IMO, excellent at planting her characters in historical soil and making them bloom accordingly without applying modern mores and behaviour.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Possibly headed for divorce court someday or just total disenchantment with his marriage would be Kevin from This Heart of Mine by SEP. I did enjoy their story once I got beyond Molly's immature/unconscionable antics, Dan's forcing of Kevin to marry Molly and her miscarriage. As the story progressed and they got to know each other one could see the love or respect that was growing between them. That I could buy but future happiness forever, just not completely sold on it for these two. Kevin was forced into the marriage so to me he would always feel a little resentment towards Molly. I think it would erode their relationship eventually. If Molly and Kevin don't work extra hard on their marriage, I can see him looking elsewhere.
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jebe



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 821
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
If Molly and Kevin don't work extra hard on their marriage, I can see him looking elsewhere.


Ohheeww, KarenS, have you ever got cojones!! Wink I'm just kidding you and I'd like to preface this by saying that THOM could possibly be one of my all-time favs. I love the evolution of the relationship between the two leads, BUT I seriously tend to agree w/you. Even when they showed up again as minor players in MMIYC, I still wondered about their HEA. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it more than anything to see those two crazy kids stay together for the long haul, but sometimes I do wonder... Confused
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course these characters are going to be HEA. They've got the author on their side! She's already decreed it.
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KayWebbHarrison



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1239
Location: SE VA. USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Just Grousing Now . . . Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
+IHS+
At the top of my list was An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley. I thought the hero ended up really liking the heroine, but not terribly concerned about marital fidelity. I could see him setting up a mistress a few years down the line.


Well, he hasn't strayed, has he? We have certainly seen Nicholas and Eleanor in successive Rogue books; IMO, their marriage seems to be healthy. Maybe Nicholas was so sickened by what he had to do to serve his country that even the idea of straying has not occurred to him, and if it has, he immediately rejected it.

I agree with dick:

"Of course these characters are going to be HEA. They've got the author on their side! She's already decreed it."

Kay
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
Possibly headed for divorce court someday or just total disenchantment with his marriage would be Kevin from This Heart of Mine by SEP... Kevin was forced into the marriage so to me he would always feel a little resentment towards Molly. I think it would erode their relationship eventually. If Molly and Kevin don't work extra hard on their marriage, I can see him looking elsewhere.

IIRC, it was Kevin's decision to marry Molly - based in large part on his religious upbringing. In this respect, I honestly don't see them as different than Cal and Jane in Nobody's Baby But Mine, except Molly's behavior is somewhat less problematic than Jane's; personally, I liked THOM better. As for other SEP couples, I have reservations about Heath and Anabelle and Dean and Blue.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1549

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hitting in AUB doesn't bother me because it's very clear that the hero is learning and growing tremendously as a person. I think she is a little too ready to assume he won't do it again - but then, I come from a culture with a lot of knowledge of patterns of abuse, so that is something I would naturally be concerned about.

I tend to take HEAs at face value, but I have a lot of problems with Shannon McKenn's Out of Control. The hero and heroine literally do nothing but fight, have sex, then fight some more. I can't see them being happy together.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The HEA I have problems believing in was the main couple from Suzanne Brockmann's Hot Target, because they were very different people and got married after knowing each other for barely three weeks, whereupon he immediately left again for Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever that made-up country Brockmann uses instead is called. It would have been okay, if they had decided to meet again once he comes back and pursue the relationship, but getting married after barely three weeks of extreme excitement is simply too fast.

I could vividly imagine what would happen when he came back after six months or so abroad and she thinks, "Okay, what is this six-foot tall Navy SEAL doing in my bed? Oh yes, I got married to him last year. Oh crap, I think I've made a huge mistake there."

Of course, I found the secondary gay romances much more interesting anyway and am very happy that those two eventually got their own HEA.

Regarding This Heart of Mine, I had serious issues with that book, because Molly was such an idiot, giving away her fortune and letting her sister and brother-in-law force her into a marriage she did not want. I also found the "Let's get married because you're pregnant and get divorced a year later" attitude appalling. Newsflash: This is not the 1950s and single motherhood is no longer a stigma. Plus, the timing of the miscarriage was mighty convenient and I dislike the "unexpected pregnancy as a plot device, to be resolved by miscarriage when no longer convenient for the plot" device enormously.

However, I did believe that Kevin and Molly had grown as people and gotten sufficiently close that they would have a stab at happiness. The Susan Elizabeth Philips couple whose HEA I don't buy at all is the couple from Ain't She Sweet?
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:31 am    Post subject: Re: Just Grousing Now . . . Reply with quote

KayWebbHarrison wrote:
Schola wrote:
+IHS+
At the top of my list was An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverley. I thought the hero ended up really liking the heroine, but not terribly concerned about marital fidelity. I could see him setting up a mistress a few years down the line.


Well, he hasn't strayed, has he? We have certainly seen Nicholas and Eleanor in successive Rogue books; IMO, their marriage seems to be healthy. Maybe Nicholas was so sickened by what he had to do to serve his country that even the idea of straying has not occurred to him, and if it has, he immediately rejected it.


To me, that sounds a little like, "Maybe he was so hurt when he had that car accident that he never went over the speed limit again." That is, it has nothing to do with Eleanor; it would have happened with any other dignified, dutiful woman he might have married at around the same time.

At worst, I do see him straying. At worst, I see them as brother and sister.

KayWebbHarrison wrote:
I agree with dick:

"Of course these characters are going to be HEA. They've got the author on their side! She's already decreed it."

Kay


Well, it's hard to argue with that! Laughing However . . .

I remember both Beverley and Lisa Kleypas saying that they abandoned whole stories--including those planned and promoted in advance--because no matter what they did, the characters seemed to have minds of their own and would not just blindly obey their authors. (On the other hand, there's Julia Quinn, who says that she has never had that problem. All her characters simply do as she likes.) Well, it's a little like that. The author may decree whatever she likes, but the reader can still think, "Yeah, but if that had happened 'in real life' . . ."

Then there are some pairings which I think would have worked out okay, despite the authors' clearly stated reservations. When I was reading Kleypas' Worth Any Price, for instance, I wanted Lottie to choose Westcliffe instead of Nick! Razz
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Rosario



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: Liverpool, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elaine S wrote:
I recall posting a review of Jo Beverley's An Unwilling Bride some years ago and saying how much I liked it. There were lots of unhelpfuls and some rather nasty comments about the author posted as many people could not accept that the hero hit the heroine. I went back later and wrote a further anonymous review saying that I felt readers had to take the story in its historical context, that one wouldn't consider applying normal conventions in reviewing fantasy or science fiction. In reality, the past truly is another country and very foreign to those of us residing in the 21st century. Therefore, I think the question one has to ask about an HEA in an historical is: "Bearing in mind the ethics, morality, customary behaviour, social standards, etc, etc, is the ending in tune with the timeframe in which it is set?"

I think that the way we view an HEA today is probably about 200% different than how our great, great, great grandparents did. Jo Beverley is, IMO, excellent at planting her characters in historical soil and making them bloom accordingly without applying modern mores and behaviour.


Hmmm... I don't know. Right, so maybe 200 years ago a woman would consider a marriage in which her husband strayed occasionally but was always discreet about it and kind to her, a good, happy marriage. But do I want that ending in a romance novel? Would I consider it a HEA ending? No way. So I'm probably guilty about applying my modern mores to historical scenarios, at least when I'm reading romance. *shrugs*
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elaine S wrote:
I recall posting a review of Jo Beverley's An Unwilling Bride some years ago and saying how much I liked it. There were lots of unhelpfuls and some rather nasty comments about the author posted as many people could not accept that the hero hit the heroine. I went back later and wrote a further anonymous review saying that I felt readers had to take the story in its historical context, that one wouldn't consider applying normal conventions in reviewing fantasy or science fiction. In reality, the past truly is another country and very foreign to those of us residing in the 21st century.


For me, it's not about twenty-first century conventions clashing with historical mores. It is possible, as we see in this thread, to be convinced that a contemporary hero will stray or that a contemporary couple will always be at odds.

I haven't read An Unwilling Bride, but from what I've seen of Lucien and Beth in later books, I don't think he ever hit her again. I am not similarly convinced about adultery in the case of Nicholas and Eleanor.

Elaine S wrote:
Therefore, I think the question one has to ask about an HEA in an historical is: "Bearing in mind the ethics, morality, customary behaviour, social standards, etc, etc, is the ending in tune with the timeframe in which it is set?"


My grandfather has a mistress, as do many of his friends. Some of those wives shrug, look the other way, take comfort in the fact that at least theyre the legally married women, and do manage to be happy. So, yeah, I guess they have HEAs, too.

Yet I know of one man in my grandfather's generation who has never cheated. (Well, okay, I take that on faith, but it's not a claim one makes unless it's true.) So I do think it is possible to have a non-adulterous hero in a historical without being anachronistic. Of course, I'd expect him to have a moral code very different from mine (or from the gentleman I mention here).
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
My grandfather has a mistress, as do many of his friends. Some of those wives shrug, look the other way, take comfort in the fact that at least theyre the legally married women, and do manage to be happy. So, yeah, I guess they have HEAs, too.

I'm sure they feel they have HEAs, too, Schola. Not knowing the women, that's all one can really say. However, I believe we can convince ourselves of feeling anyway we want to, if we feel strongly enough. I'm not judging here, because everyone has choices. However, the more a position is tolerated or accepted (whether one wants to truly support it), the longer that action continues on, then becomes status quo. Just because an act may become common practice, doesn't necessarily mean it's good (or bad). But we can fool ourselves into thinking whatever we want, can't we?
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, they quite excel at fooling themselves! I remember one of them was interviewed in a local broadsheet when her husband was running for public office. She oh-so-sunnily mentioned that she had caught him with two different women since they had gotten married. Just like that. It wasn't a big deal. It was something husbands do. Sad

Well, I know that we have to make allowances for historical mores when we read Historical Romances, but it seems to me that a faithful marriage, with both partners secure in the knowledge that the other will never stray, is an older ideal than our modern age. It doesn't seem too demanding for a reader to expect fidelity from a Regency character who is being portrayed as a good husband.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think of an HEA as something different than just a satisfied marriage. For some people, having a nice home and some decent pocket change can make up for any deficiencies their spouse has. They can get over things like affairs because to them the heart of the marriage is whether or not the spouse is doing something so intolerable it puts health, wealth or home in jeopardy and that doesn't fit their description of something that does.

An HEA, imo, goes beyond that. It says these people are happier together than they ever could be apart even if their financial and physical lifestyle didn't change. Most wives I know that have been cheated on have said that if that were the case, they would have walked, not stayed. So it was less a love decision and more a practical one. To me, the HEA is the love decision. An HEA is that element that says "these two people shouldn't make it but somehow they do. They have something we can't see that makes their relationship really strong."

maggie b.
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