Tea and Biscuits: Love Triangles–Love or Hate?

March 27, 2017   Loverofromance   Tea and Biscuits Discussions   16 Comments

The past week I have stumbled upon a couple of love triangle themed romances and I realized that this is a touchy subject for many especially if you like and read romance as much as I do or even on occasion. I am one of those readers that believe that any trope can be likable and written right if the author knows what they are doing and most especially not trying to cater to a certain “audience”. I know in YA–Love Triangles are used very frequently, and the way they are used is probably one of the main reasons why I don’t go near YA very often, in fact its rare for me to even be tempted by the genre. The closest I come to it is NA. Now I believe there are two types of love triangles. We have the most commonly used love triangle in general—which is where we have a character that is in love with two others and must choose and I have noticed this is pretty straining to read. In fact, I stay clear of this type of love triangle, it just is not what I like at all so I have learned to stay clear from it most of the time. Especially since adult romance doesn’t really go this way when writing love triangles. There is a another type of love triangle, that is popular in romance and one I don’t mind at all. It’s most commonly used in historical romance, although I have seen it ocassionally in Paranormal and Fantasy and rarely in Contemporary. Now this type of love triangle is where we have a conflict of interest. Now normally this only really happens often in Historical romance for a reason. It normally is where there is an “arranged marriage” but our character falls in love with someone else and you see how they overcome certain challenges that crop up due to the time period and culture. If you haven’t read Historical Romance, then it might be hard to understand this concept and since I don’t read YA, I am not sure if this type of triangle even happens, unless it’s a Historical YA perhaps? But in adult Historical’s this happens frequently and I really don’t mind it. Of course, there are other variations to this love triangle.

I would like to share some of my favorite books where we see this theme crop up in romance. For example one of my more recent reads “A Perfect Gentleman” we have our hero, who falls in love in his early twenties. But due to financial and social reasons, he is forced to marry someone else. Years later, he and his wife reconciled and have some interactions with the woman he once thought he loved but it was written so well. What I liked about the way Candace Camp wrote this type of triangle, was that this “other woman” was a friend to our main couple and I liked that she had no hard feelings about the past and just wanted to help them when they needed it and to make a life for herself in the process.  The next one that I really enjoyed reading was from one of my all time favorite authors Lisa Kleypas and yes she wrote a love triangle theme. In Wallflower Christmas where we have our hero Rafe, who is always trying to meet his father’s expectations, who demands that he marry a stranger, but her companion Hannah is the woman Rafe really wants to marry. But if he chooses her, everything he has worked for in his life could be lost. So Rafe has to make a difficult choice and I liked seeing him muddle through it. I enjoyed the way this story developed and most especially the romance between Rafe and Hannah. I really have a blast seeing a couple find their HEA when the odds are against them.

Next we have Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath. Our heroine of the story has been writing letters with Dallas Leigh with the intention of being his “mail order bride”. Dallas sends his brother, to transport her to his home. So Amelia and Houston fall in love along the way, I really enjoyed how they end up together and what Dallas does for them in the end. There isn’t a three way love triangle, just more a conflict of interest. What I liked most about this book is seeing the tender relationship that builds between Houston and Amelia. I truly loved these two together, especially for Houston. He is scarred from the war, and always thought he would be alone for the rest of his life and it was truly wonderful to see him find love and as you read the rest of the series you learn to admire this couple through the other books as well and see the growth in their relationship over the years. Now the final book I want to mention is the type of story set up is that is used on occasion but not very often, in fact it is a bit rare but I really enjoyed the way this author wrote this story. Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore. Now I feel like Haymore is such a talented historical romance author, and in fact one of the best when it comes to writing a solid regency romance that I will never get bored of. In this story, we see Sophie our heroine of the story in love with Garrett. But then he goes missing in Waterloo believed to be dead. She is alone, a single mother. She then falls in love with another man Tristan who becomes the new Duke. But then Garrett returns, alive….and yeah that is different isn’t it? And probably a very realistic theme and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have seen this in other genres as well. But I really enjoyed the way this story plays out in the end and Haymore did a good job in writing a very sensitive topic too.

Honorable Mentions:

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Sinful Scottish Laird by Julia London

Night of Fire by Barbara Samuel

Come Love A Stranger by Kathleen Woodiwiss

There are probably many more books I could list here, but I just wanted to touch base and show the few books that I have really enjoyed and that for some you might love or hate the love triangle theme….I like variations to the love triangle set up. Where there is the main romance with certain entanglements along the way. I am not a fan of the equal love between two parties…nope that is not for me, but I do like seeing a main couple find their HEA with this set up.

Questions For My Readers

What about you all? Do you love or hate love triangles?

Do you have a certain variation to this trope you enjoy or even hate with a passion? I would love to know

  • Karen

    Nope – noooo love triangles for me lol

    I actually don’t consider the historical ones you mentioned (except for maybe that last one) as a love triangle. There’s a conflict of course but not of the heart. One is an arrangement and the other is who they really want to be with it. And with rare exception you know it will end ok.

    I can’t handle the stress when they are actually – emotionally – torn between two people. My poor blood pressure lol

    But I know some readers really like all that tension. It’s just not for me.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    • Yeah I am not a fan of the love between two people, I had a close friend go through that and yeah NOT fun at all!! It does cause too much stress for reading too.

  • I dislike it when a character (usually the heroine) loves two people and has to choose. Because, in my mind, how can it be love, if you love two people romantically at the same time. I am all for love after a loved one has passed away. But not at the same time. I don’t mind the historical romance love triangle thing. But it doesn’t feel exactly like a love triangle, but it’s not love three ways.

  • Ann Lorz

    I’m not a fan of them. In fact I won’t finish a story if it has one that seems to take over the story. If the author just brushes on it, I’m okay, but I want my stories to be about the two main characters with the help of their supporting characters.

  • It depends. My first reaction is to say that I don’t like love triangle but when I really think about it, I think it depends on how they are written. I love Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas and thought she did a wonderful job with that triangle. I think it can sometimes go on to long and be too much.

    • I agree Carole, I think this trope can be written well if it is done right. Lisa Kleypas did Sugar Daddy so very well…and the guy left over…he had the most wonderful story in Blue Eyed Devil. But I do feel that some genres like YA overkill it to the extremes.

  • HATE. HATE. With the burning passion of a thousand suns. Yep.

    • AMEN!!! I hate most of them unless they are in a historical format, since HR authors seem to write them good. But from what I have seen most YA authors can’t do it well, and they just come off as selfish and “all about me”.

  • A few years ago when I was first introduced to YA, I would have stated unequivocally that I hate the triangles. Period.

    Arranged situations or being in a situation and then meeting the love interest was big in several older historicals I read over the years and I never really considered those triangles.

    I really only hate one definition of love triangle and that is when the character dithers and vacillates and strings people along for no apparent reason when it’s obvious from the beginning that ‘she’ (sadly, its usually the she) has a preference. A slight variation when the character literally loves two different people and must choose is an eensy bit better for me though I don’t like seeing a character hurt even if the next book gives them a new love interest.

    • Yeah I hate that aspect of love triangles as well, because it can be very selfish at times and I hate seeing one of the people involved get hurt so much. I had a friend who was in a love triangle and she basically had to choose and she didn’t handle the situation well. And yeah it can be pretty selfish, but I do know that there are some authors that write it very well.

  • I am definitely in the love triangle hate! Especically the YA variety of “oh I’m in love with two people, how will I ever chooooose!”. Blah. Like you, I don’t mind the conflict of interest. Basically as long as they know (sort of speak) where their affections lie than I’m okay.
    Great discussion!

    • I don’t care for the love triangle either, especially since its so hard to know who the main couple is especially in YA. Its why I can’t read that genre or one of the main reasons. Too immature for me to even do the trope decently.

  • I really really hate love triangles in YA books. They are so exaggerated in that age-group for some reason and you can’t ever start a series without worrying it will turn into a triangle or worse, there will be love interests switches. I’m not quite sure what the fascination with them is with YA authors tbh.
    Love triangles in adult books aren’t always as bad for me. Because you know who will be end-game in one single book and also even if there are triangles, they quickly disappear from what I’ve noticed.
    But yeah, YA love triangles … *pulls hair*

    • Yeah it can be so frustrating to read YA with all the love triangles themes especially since there are so many and its one of the main reasons I have stayed away from the genre. In adult books its more maturely written I feel like, and you pretty much know who the main couple is anyway. I hate NOT knowing hehe

  • Bookworm Brandee

    I don’t know that there’s any trope that, if done well, I’d hate. I try to go into any book with an open mind, so… I like love triangles in any genre if they’re done well but I think they’re often done well in historical romances. 🙂 I’m not surprised to see Kleypas on your list and I really must make a point to pick up a few from her from my library. Nice topic, Renee!

    • Thanks Brandee!! I do agree that if the author writes it right, any trope can be wonderful to read its probably why I love so many of them. But I do think historical romance authors do the “love triangle” set up the best.