Friday, 4 January 2013

Discussion Post/ Random Rant- Should Romance be the central focus of a book

So the other day I was picking my books for the upcoming Bout of Books 6.0 Readathon and I came across Beautiful Disaster, which I read last August, and reviewed last September. So, checking out my old review (for a refresh of what I thought at the time) and this one bit got me thinking...

"Normally I'm not too keen on this type of focus, where the main focus is the relationship, but Abby and Travis' relationship is so all-consuming that the book almost HAS to be told in this way, and so it works."

So basically, it has had me wondering, is there an ideal balance of plot to romance? Which one should be the driving force in a novel? What do people prefer?
In Beautiful Disaster, the driving force is definitely the relationship between Travis and Abby, and the events that happen in the book are the result of their relationship. The opening scene is them meeting- there is no chapter preceding their relationship, and so, the book is defined by their relationship. 

And then there is the type of book I prefer, in which something of a plot type nature happens, and then some sort of love interest is introduced, usually as a result of the plot type event. 

In Naked in Death, Eve Dallas meets Roarke, her future husband, because he is a suspect in the murder investigation that she is leading. Solving the murder is the first priority, and the romance second.

In Undead and Unwed, Betsy Taylor gets run over by a car and turned into the Vampire Queen of Prophesy, which is how she meets the delectable Eric. Defeating the friendly neighbourhood psychopathic vampire leader is first priority, and the romance second. 

Just a few examples there off the top of my head. Now as far as I am concerned, the chemistry between two people has to be pretty damn good to warrant their relationship being the main bulk of a book. I can't really think of any books that manage to pull it off as well as Beautiful Disaster. So, I know what I expect from a book (most of the time, as sometimes it is good to mix things up)- a strong plot line, that means the introduction of a love interest who doesn't dominate the story, but who still manages to hold their own. 
I suppose the question is, what do you guys think? What do you want from your romance novels? Pure all-consuming romance, or romance squeezed into real life?


  1. I've read both (The Time-Traveler's Wife being all-consuming, and probably anything Nicholas Sparks) and I think I prefer romance squeezed into real life. Because that's how it happens IRL - the world still turns despite you falling in love.

    Interesting post and great questions!

    1. Yes, I totally agree Sus. I realise that I have put in "real life", when I read primarily paranormal fiction, but in the "real lives" of the characters this makes more sense.


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