Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sometimes Love Don’t Feel Like It Should…

Love Hurts- Nazareth

Love hurts, love scars,

Love wounds, and marks,

Any heart, not tough,

Or strong, enough

To take a lot of pain,

Take a lot of pain

Love is like a cloud

Holds a lot of rain

Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

Im young, I know,

But even soI know a thing, or two

I learned, from you

I really learned a lot,

Really learned a lot

Love is like a flame

It burns you when its hot

Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

One of the reasons I like to read, is to share and feel all the emotions the authors make characters feel in the the book. I like to laugh with them, get angry with them, hurt with them, and feel joy with them. If the author does her/his job well, then I get to run the gamut of emotions and I love, love, love it. But sometimes the author goes a little too far. I recently read a Harlequin Historical that had me feeling a lot of sad and a lot of mad.

Now, I understand when I read a historical, I have to remember that in those times, women were property and had little to no rights. I get that. I also know to expect some misogyny and male chauvinism. I can read and enjoy historical romance because I accept this as a part of historical accuracy, or whatever. That’s not the problem I had with this book. In fact, I have had this problem with other books that were contemporary romances, so by no means am I blaming this particular book simply because it was a historical. The genre really has no basis in how I reacted to this story.

It was the writing. Don’t get me wrong, the author was good. In fact, her writing was great. It made me feel. A lot. That feeling was sadness. Even at the end. I know when I read a romance, there are going to be a few bumps in the road to the HEA. There has to be or it would be so boring we would set our hair on fire. I like conflict between the protags. But I like it to be evenly distributed. I don’t want one protag having all the power over the other one throughout the whole book. Usually, authors do a good job of keeping it even and if not, they remedy that by having one of the protags doing teh big grovel. I love the grovel!

This book went way over the mountain of conflict and into verbal abuse land, and it camped there, planted crops there and had children there and stayed there for the rest of its fricken life until the last 3 pages.

The hero was a verbally abusive ass. I would have accepted his assholishness, if the heroine had got back some of her own at least once in the enitre story. But she never did. NEVER. NOT ONCE. And he never stopped. There were several times in the story that he was so cruel, I had tears in my eyes. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, movies yes, books, no, but this was so unending and hurtful, it finally broke me. Again and again he said horrible things to her and again and again she took it and said nothing. This went on until the last THREE pages of the book when all of the sudden we are supposed to believe he loves her and they have their HEA. Bullshit. Because this happened in the book before. Sir Ass would be cruel, he would apologize and she would accept and then in the very next chapter, it would happen all over again. And now all of the sudden, I am supposed to believe that he loves her and won’t hurt her anymore just because it is the end of the fucking book? NO. Because it’s a romance and the rule is there has to be an HEA? NO. The author didn’t convince me. This book had no HEA.

So I guess I have a few rules when it comes to confict between the protags.

1) The protags can say something mean or act unkindly once or twice but then there has to be grovel.
2) The abused protag has to stand up for themselves at some point in the story.
3) The author has to make me believe that both of the protags have changed before the last three pages of the book.
4) The reader has to be happy at the end of the book, in order for it to be an HEA.

What rules would you add? How much abuse is too much abuse? Where do you draw the line?


Katie Reus said...

If I'm still feeling sad about halfway through the book, I generally won't finish it. Don't get me wrong, I love conflict, but if the hero uses the heroine as a verbal punching bag for 1/2 the story, my experience has been he doesn't stop til the very end and it's effing maddening b/c it's so unrealistic!! This is why there are certain historical authors and certain category lines I simply won't read anymore. I love an alpha male, but it seems that some authors haven't found that fine line between alpha and asshole. Imo, any verbal abuse is wrong and not a heroic attitude. I don't have a problem w/ the hero and heroine arguing, but only as long as the heroine gets to say her two cents. I know you won't post it, but I'm dying to know what book you read, lol.

Sarai said...

I will deal with sad 1/2 way through a book if the Hero looks and acts like he is going to change. If he is making at least baby steps to changing. However, if he is still an ass 3/4 of the way through screw it I have enough of those in real life I'd rather not deal with them in my personal life.

I agree with you and Katie the heroione has to be able to stand up for herself or I will get just as annoyed with her. GROW A BACKBONE. At the same time I can't stand the heroines that are too tough and never ask for help from others even when its obvious they need help

Kim said...

Katie~ I should have given up on it 1/2 way through but the writing was really well done and I fell right into the Sir Ass's hands. The author made me want to believe he was sorry. But screw him...he wasn't. I love the Alpha male too, but this guy...his cruelty was just unbelievable. Not heroic at all. I didn't list the title and author because this isn't really a review but more of a rant. But I will DM you on Twitter. :)

Sarai~ Exactly! I was forgiving of the heroine because of her background and for those reasones it was very true to her character that she wouldn't stand up for herself for the first 1/2 of the book. But then I expected more from her. Like I said, the author needs to show me that they BOTH have changed. You're right, the heroine needed a spine transplant.

Tracy said...

If I was reading the book you were I wouldn't have finished it. I just can't get into and stick with that kind of abuse and then get happy at the end for an HEA.

This book went way over the mountain of conflict and into verbal abuse land, and it camped there, planted crops there and had children there and stayed there for the rest of its fricken life until the last 3 pages.
This was a great line! I hate it when this is done! Ug. There's conflict and then there's wtf?

Kim said...

Tracy~ I don't know why I finished it. I was either a glutton for punishment that day or I was really hard up for a book.

I will say the author had skillz. I might try something else of hers. Maybe.


This was an ebook. If it had been in print I would have taken it and buried it under my Nana's porch along with the drifters I lured under there.

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