Debra Mullins

Day 10 of the 31 Days of Books Giveaway – Must There Be Marriage In Order To Have Happily Ever After?

Congratulations to Kitty Bucholtz, who won yesterday’s drawing! I’ll be emailing Kitty to arrange delivery of her choice of book. Kitty has won twice now, which puts her into the Hall of Fame!

Let’s get back to romance novels. Traditionally, the structure of a romance novel has been boy meets girl, obstacles prevent boy and girl from getting together, obstacles are overcome, love is declared and the couple marries. This is the story arc that has satisfied romance readers for decades. But I’m wondering, given the society of the 21st century, do you feel the hero and heroine have to commit to marriage before the book ends? Or can they just be together in a committed relationship, like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been for thirty years?

Hear me out. Yes, you have to believe the hero and heroine are together for good when you get to The End. Otherwise you don’t have that satisfaction from the Happily Ever After, which is, after all, the entire purpose for reading a romance novel. We romance readers want that warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the book, that optimism that this couple, in whom we’ve invested so much emotion, will always be together. For many people, that means marriage.

Is it enough for you to know at the end of the book that this couple has committed to their relationship, even without any talk of formalizing it? Would that be satisfying enough for you as a reader?

Tell me what you think. Those who comment get entered in today’s drawing for a free paperback title from my backlist!