My OTP Is All I Need! Tee Hee!

I don’t know what it is, but romance novels fascinate me.  Every few months I’ll head to the used book store and trade some in to find more, taking far too long to make my decisions due to *cough* having to read the end of each book to make sure the female main character isn’t pregnant.

While I have found some lovely gems, I’m writing this post about my biggest romance novel pet peeve: The female lead giving everything up for her One True PairingTM.  Or, more specifically, I’m writing about Lynsay Sands’ paranormal romance novel, Single White Vampire, which is a perfect example of said pet peeve.

To quickly summarize, the main characters are vampire Lucern Argeneau, a romance novel writer, and his human editor, Kate C. Leever.  After much fuss of getting Luc to commit to a writer’s publicity gig, Kate and Luc find themselves committing to each other at the convention in question.Â

The last quandary of the pair comes down to the age-old human/vampire love affair question: What happens fifty years from now when you’re a strapping young buck and I’m a wrinkling old hag?  In this case, Luc decides the best answer is to sire Kate and have her make up an excuse to leave her career and family after ten years (which is when it would start becoming suspicious that Kate wasn’t aging).Â

Tough choice for Kate!  A”¦ not anything choice for Luc.  After all, his entire family is made up of vampires.  Which means he gets to keep them forever, just like his OTP, Kate.  Now, I don’t think it surprises anyone that Kate chose Luc and vampirism.  After all, all romance novels have to have a happy ending, right?

I just can’t put on the rose-tinted glasses for the happy smooches with this scenario.  How on earth is it a happy ending when a person has to give up their entire life for someone else who sacrifices nothing?  And why does it seem that it’s always the woman who gives everything up in these instances?

Comments

  1. Patrick says

    I haven’t read any of the newly-popular supernatural-romance genre (except for Laurel K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books, which I would classify as horror, until Book 9 where they just turn into porn). Is this sort of thing common with those?

    And is this Lucern fellow named after a city or a polearm?

  2. Ifritah says

    Patrick:

    I could probably write an entire novel about how I feel on the topic of Anita Blake! But for now, yes, I put Anita Blake in the ‘supernatural horror’ genre until after Obsidian Butterfly. After that… yeah, porn with very little plot.

    I think LKH is an unusual case, considering her public reasoning for why she made the genre switch. But I’m thinking you’re more asking me if it’s common for paranormal romances to have this particular pet peeve of mine. (If I’m wrong, let me know!)

    To be honest, paranormal romances are actually much kinder to the female sex than historical or your pure basic romance novel. After all, in the 21st century setting, main character women tend to be more focused on the aggressive/fighter role for a lot of writers. This allows a writer to put the woman main character on equal footing with the male lead. Which means there’s less sacrifices having to be made in the name of what-have-you.

    Of course, in this book’s case, the main character was human… which might have had something to do with the outcome. (Aside from the obvious.)

    As for your comment on Lucern: Ha! You had me go get on dictionary.com out of curiosity! Apparently, Lucern is a flower… and a general term for a popular animal pelt. *Shrug* Who knew!?

  3. says

    How on earth is it a happy ending when a person has to give up their entire life for someone else who sacrifices nothing?

    That is a question I really wish more romance authors would ask themselves. I think compromise is a natural consequence of most relationships – especially the sort that are often explored in romance novels, since they tend to be very tense, conflict-filled pairings – but one person making all the concessions while the other doesn’t change at all (or in any meaningful way) isn’t actually compromise.

  4. Ifritah says

    Revena:

    Exactly! When you’re watching the journey between two people, you want them both to have grown and given something to the relationship.

    I remember another romance novel I read awhile back called The Angel and the Prince by Laurel O’Donnell. The OTPs were enemies of separate kingdoms. Their solution to that dilemma? For the female lead (who was the captain of her people’s army, I might add) to come live with the male lead in his kingdom, where he will continue to slaughter her people while she bakes him cookies. Aww, isn’t that a sweet ending?

  5. scarlett says

    Ugh, I hate those stories. One of the many, many reasons I left my ex was because I was expected to make all the compromises. It’s so unhealthy and I don’t believe it’s love if they’re not prepared to meet you halfway.

  6. Ifritah says

    Scarlett:

    *Nod* It is very unhealthy. And it certainly doesn’t bode well for their relationship post-book!

  7. Patrick says

    I pretty much dropped LKH’s Blake books in disgust after Obsidian Butterfly. What was her public reasoning behind the genre change? Sales?

  8. Ifritah says

    Now, this is heresay on my part, as I’ve read a lot about what others have to say about LKH’s reasoning, but I never got a quote from the author herself.

    I did try to investigate her own personal feelings about it from her blog… but her blog made me see red, so I had to stop.

    So, here’s what I’ve heard her reasons for the swap were: Several publishers had stated that they did not think female authors should write erotica. Romance novels, sure, but not down-right erotica. LKH, supposedly, wanted to stick it to the publishers by having Anita start having lots and lots of sex. To prove a point. This is also, I hear, why she began the Mercedes Gentry series.

    Now, I’m not published, so I have no idea how publishing companies feel about this. I vaguely recall hearing she did a TV interview where she discussed this, but I don’t know enough to give details.

    *Waves vaguely* Vindication or not, I really don’t think there’s an excuse that I would find acceptable for an author to destroy such an independent character as Anita Blake. Whether it was this one or something entirely different.

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