Tea and Biscuits Book Discussions: Domestic Abuse in Romance

Welcome to the feature “Tea and Biscuits Book Discussions” where every monday we get together to talk about issues in the bookish community and our love of books and romance.

This week our topic will be “Domestic Abuse in Romance Novels”. I understand that this is not an easy topic to even think about. We all want to think that no man or woman is in a situation where they are being abused or taken advantage of and that everyone has uplifting and healthy relationships…but life doesn’t always work that way. Lately I have been hearing a lot of negative talk towards seeing domestic abuse in romance novels, that they can’t imagine relating to the character that is suffering from such abuse. I honestly am trying not to judge if this is what you think or feel but I think we need to be more open minded and considerate of those that suffer such abuse.

My first encounter with seeing Domestic Abuse in a Romance Novel was my first romance, I wouldn’t call it a romance novel per say because its a LDS/Christian romance novel so it wouldn’t work for everyone especially since there are certain aspects that if you aren’t familiar with the faith you might be a bit confused. But it was one of the most beautiful stories that I have ever read, and to this day Colin and Janna are one of the most memorable couples I have ever read. In this story though Janna and Colin were once high school sweethearts and life got in the way. And now Janna has been married for seven years and has been severely abused. I am talking physically, emotionally and sexually. But she has such strength, and she isn’t weak and she finds her own way out of the situation with some help from Colin and his family since he is a lawyer and his father a judge. I never found Janna weak in any way, in fact, she is stronger than most women I know in real life.

I want my readers to understand that the women in abusive situations aren’t weak and you can relate with them. In many cases, there is a lot more going on than you think. In real life, these situations happen slowly. I mean if a woman is beaten in the beginning, she will leave the guy right? But there is much more manipulation especially since the majority of these cases, the abuse happens when there are children to consider. I haven’t read this book but I have listened and read many reviews on it but Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan. ( I plan on reading this book very soon though) In this book we see how the heroine is caught in abusive situation and when he closes all of her financial accounts and she has a young daughter to consider, her hands are tied. She can’t exactly go anywhere if she has no funds. Especially when the man she is with has strong connections with high end lawyers and judges. So the situation is NEVER as simple as the person being abused just walking out the door and moving on with their lives. It just is never that easy. I have started to see a trend in romance lately that shows the complexity of these situations and I am so grateful.

The book that really got me thinking seriously about this topic though was a much more recent read which is Axel by Harper Sloan. And man, this book was SO good. I just loved it so much. But we really see the challenges that the heroine faces when she is in a abusive situation. She gets herself out of it, but we see the lasting effects of the abuse and of course there is some other emotional trauma she hasn’t recovered from in the story. But I really liked the way that Harper Sloan implemented the domestic abuse situation in this book. It really helps you look at those that suffer from this abuse in a different light. I really admire authors that can write about characters that deal with physical and sexual abuse and it happens in many forms and I respect an author that brings this topic to light because it is something we really need to think about, understand and have empathy for those that are in these situations. I always like to think like this to myself “Until I have been in the situation, I can’t possibly be judgemental on that person because I have no idea what they are really going through” And I believe in the world of Romancelandia, we are way too judgy over those that deal with this type of abuse. We vieew these women and sometimes men as weak and that is just not the case. In many cases, these victims are protecting their children even if that means being abused horribly. I have so much respect for these men and women that have dealt or are currently dealing with abuse in their lives. You are stronger than anyone can know!!

Here is a link to Smart Bitches Trashy Books Interview with Adriana Herrera, who is a author and also works with Domestic Abuse Victims and they met at RWA. Its very informative if you are in this situation or you have a family member or friend in this situation. HERE

Below I have listed some of my favorite books that feature a hero or heroine dealing with domestic abuse. These are all fantastic reads and I highly recommend you grab them up.