Tea and Biscuits Book Discussions: Tough Issues in Romance

September 12, 2016 Loverofromance Tea and Biscuits Discussions 18 Comments

Have you ever wondered that when you are reading a romance and it deals with a tough issue how much more filling it feels when your done? Or do you prefer romances not to deal with any tough problems or issues? I have been thinking about this for quite a while and the reasons why I just love books dealing with difficult issues and why they just get to me so much. I don’t know why these topics just get me so thrilled and excited at times, but I have found that these tough issues that authors tackle can be the most rewarding. I love finding realistic tones to a romance novel, the characters and the setting just seem real life.

Kidnapping

I have never had real problems with this type of topic. Of course, it depends on the circumstances and the actions that certain characters take when it comes to captive themes. Now normally if its the main hero or heroine, it has to be the reason behind it. Most of the time, I am more understanding about it, especially when it comes to historical themes especially if its in a era where this was a common practice. For example, the scots in the medieval era stole their brides from various clans. Or if it was war time like in Conqueror’s Kiss by Hannah Howell. There was war between two factions, and the heroine was part of the losing faction at the time. The hero actually saves her life, but in order to keep her safe, she has to be his “captive”. Now other times I will discover a story where the villain kidnaps the heroine or hero sometimes and that always adds a new twist and I don’t mind when this circumstance happens.

Abuse 

Now this topic can be pretty tough to handle for many. I am always interested to see how characters get away from these abusive relationships whether its a spouse, or parents or siblings. I actually don’t mind abuse as long as it isn’t the main hero/heroine being abusive. And there are also different types of abuse. Now there are some situations that I am not a fan of when dealing with the main characters because this is where some authors will throw in emotional abuse situations. Now this can be a pet peeve of mine, because it drives me up the wall. For example, one of my favorite authors did this recently. In Spider Game, the hero was pretty abusive emotionally, always putting the heroine down all the time and really got worse at the end. I hated how controlling he was and gave no leeway on situations that weren’t her fault at all. So in these moments I can’t stand it. However there are other situations that I am okay with. For example, when a character has suffered abuse in the past and is recovering and I especially like when the hero/heroine of the story helps them in recovering. This may be sentimental, but I do love seeing how love can heal the deepest of wounds.

Rape 

Now Rape is definitely a tough topic, but it doesn’t bother me to see them in romances like it does others. When I was a teenager, I read a rape romance. It was written by a christian author, Anita Stansfield. The heroine ends up being raped in the beginning, but our hero helps her recover and they fall in love. I really don’t mind these type of situations, because we see how real life people recover from this and I like how authors (that I have read) treat this situation, and seeing the way that they recover from this type of trauma. One of my favorite couples is Dimitri and Skyler. Feehan wrote this pair. Skyler was practically gang raped and sold by her father until she was a teenager and rescued from him. Now her lifemate, was so patient with her and understanding and never rushed her and I truly loved that. Some of my all time favorite books have featured this tough topic, mostly because it turned out to be memorable and well written.

Mental Disabilities 

I really love seeing any kind of disability in a romance, whether its physical or emotional. Its always interesting to see how authors handle these type of disabilities and different each person reacts to them differently. And they work so dang well in romances, honestly…if you haven’t read a romance with a disability in a character you are missing out. For example, one of my favorite books Yours Until Dawn. Our hero has gone blind. The heroine has come to help him adjust to it and learn to do things while being blind. And boy loved these two and seeing the challenges they both face. Another favorite of mine was Flowers From the STorm, where out hero is recovering from a stroke. Now back then, they called it “madness”, but the heroine takes him from the mad house and aids him in recovering and boy you can tell the author really did her research on that one.

War Trauma 

Now this one you tend to see more often than the others, probably because so many can relate to it no matter the genre you are reading. It is pretty popular in both contemporary and historical’s. What I really like seeing is the way that authors implement this into romances. Each one I have read has been a bit different and that is what I love. There is so much leeway when it comes to trauma from the war. So authors have quite a bit to work with and I like see how they handle it and deal with the PTSD of war time. Suzanne Enoch did a great job with dealing this type of trauma. Its not always to read, because we see some hard and traumatic events certain characters go through. But what is so wonderful is seeing how they overcome the past and heal.

Questions For My Readers: 

Do You Like Reading Tough Issues in Romance? 

What Is Your Favorite To Read? 

 

  • Michele H

    Great topic! I know a lot of readers want a happy perfect romance when they sit down to read, not that there’s anything wrong with that…but I love a realistic and sometimes brutally honest story. I’ve read books with all of the different scenarios you’ve mentioned and think–if done right–they can greatly enhance a story. It seems like the New Adult genre deals with abuse and disabilities a lot and authors Monica Murphy and Jennifer Armentrout do lovely jobs with these storylines. Mary Balogh and Jennifer Ashley come to mind in regard to Historicals that center around disabilities, war trauma and abuse.

    • Oh I agree Michele, I like happy stories too, but sometimes I get more out of a story when its more tough and gritty. I do like that New Adult has been dealing with tough issues, some issues I have never EVER read before but find I like surprisingly. Have you read Linda Kage? She does fabulous. I do love Jennifer Armentrout, she does great work. And yes for Ashley, especially her historical’s….don’t you love Ian’s story? She did a great job dealing with his mental disabilities, all the brothers have it though and I enjoyed the unique take she did on them.

      • Michele H

        Oh, Ian…Ian…Ian… LOVED his story! His and Mac’s actually, although the whole series is great. You know, I haven’t read any of Linda Kage’s work yet. Thanks for the recommendation! I’m going to have to check it out soon 🙂

  • I don’t need a perfect and overly happy romance, but I definitely prefer lighter romances that don’t deal with really tough topics. I don’t need my romances to be completely realistic, I want to able to forget most of the bad stuff that is happening in real life when reading a romance.

    • Oh I understand that, and I do love the happy romances too but I do enjoy the tough and gritty ones as well.

  • Depending on how the rape scenes are portrayed, I can either ignore them or absolutely hate them. Kidnapping in the historicals doesn’t bother me though 😛

    • oh yay….I do love captive themes in historical’s….they just work so well.

  • Rape in romance is not exactly a favorite, it has to be done right. I hate when the magic penis appears and suddenly she is cured from her fears even if it was a week ago. Therefore, they are a no for me

    • oh I agree about the magic penis hehe its like really??? But I do feel it has to be written just right.

  • I have to be in the mood for heavy reads with tough topics but if it’s handled well, I don’t tend to mind them.

  • I like to see tough topics in romances more often than not. Fluffy and light has it’s place, but I’m not drawn to it as often. I actually don’t have a favorite topic though I do gravitate toward those with military themed issues or disabilities when I see it in the blurb.

    • I am like you Sophia!!! I really have to be in the mood for light and fluffy. I do admire the disabilities tropes in romance…they just fit.

  • PTSD and abused characters always tug at my heartstrings. All of these issues are fine if the author does them justice. Great topic!

  • I like reading about tough stuff because it just feels like it means so much more. It feels weird to say I “like” reading about these subjects… but I feel a lot when I read about– School shootings, death, bullying, abuse, eating disorders. The romance can be there or not, but if it is there, it better make sense for the character and not forced in!! Great post 🙂

  • Interesting topic! It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I just want a fun romance … a heartbreaking romance, and yes, even those that involve issues like you listed. Honestly, I’m good with it all as long as it’s done well.

  • I tend to prefer lighter reads. But, that said, I think that lighter reads, can still talk about tough issues. I’m more interested in the whole tone of the book, that the actual topics, if that makes sense.

  • Eva

    I think I kind of stay away from tough topics in romance except for some ancillary issues that might arise in romantic suspense, my favorite genre. I think you’re right, though, that everything can be done in a good way and a book with any issue can work for you if the author does a good and respectful and realistic job with it. Great post!!

  • RO

    When I was a kid reading romance, it seemed that kidnapping was the thing, and it never really bothered me because there was a HEA. Now, I’m a little more iffy about the topic. I can handle if there was talk of abuse in a previous relationship, but to have it actually happening during a read really, really bothers me, and it most cases it will end up being a DNF. If there are disabilities in a book, I consider that a realistic picture of people, and it will definitely make me want to hang around for the HEA. Great topic! Hugs…and Happy Friday!