Monogamy in Romance Books

People I have feelings and thoughts I need to discuss!

I recently finished ‘Where we Left Off’ by Roan Parrish, the third book in her fantastic M/M contemporary romance series ‘Middle of Nowhere’. I really enjoyed Will and Leo’s story (FYI this is going to contain spoilers), for me, the ending was the natural and organic conclusion of their relationship given the two heroes different ideas concerning relationships.

Leo is a hopeless romantic, who is looking for the typical monogamous relationship. Will isn’t. He’s a massive commitment-phobe, having been scarred by his parent’s relationship (childhood sweethearts who were so in love with each other they neglected everything else including their children). He doesn’t see the value in a relationship, but he does like Leo… A lot.

Originally posted by realitytvgifs

After a lot of angst and soul searching Will agrees to try a monogamous relationship with Leo, with the condition that it can be re-negotiated at a later date. In reality, Will would prefer a polygamous relationship with Leo as his primary partner, but still being able to sleep with other people. Yet Will gives up his polygamous beliefs to be with Leo. He makes a choice. Whether it guarantees a long-term HEA for the couple is another matter. Given the fact they want such different things out of a relationship make me question if this would be an HEA, but I enjoyed the ending for what it was. Also, Will and Leo are clearly in love so maybe they’ll make it work?

Originally posted by reasonablyepic

Yet when I read the reviews I was shocked how many people disliked Will, seeing him as a cheater or not good enough for Leo. In my opinion, Will didn’t cheat, as he never promised Leo exclusivety… In fact, he clearly told Leo he would continue to sleep with other people when they first got together. Leo knew this and agree to ‘date’ Will anyway. 

So this got me thinking, is monogamy an essential part of the HEA in a romance book? Or can agreed non-monogamous relationships between two people be a HEA? 

I think if the two or more individuals are happy with the arrangement then I don’t believe monogamy is essential for a HEA. But I’m intrigued to see what other people think? Have you read any other romances where the central couple have a polygamous relationship? (FYI I’m discounting the Ménage à trois romances I’ve read as they all featured committed 3+ relationships)

Writing Character Arcs

Post suggested by @amethystvalkyrie.

Let’s get this out straight away: You cannot disregard character arcs. The way you can think of character arcs is that readers usually come for the plot but stay for the character because you can have a kick ass plot but if the characters don’t have depth and don’t grow or change throughout, then the readers can’t connect to the story. Readers need to care about the character to care about what they are going through and the best way to do this is through their arc. Now, though attention to character is always important, certain genres demand more than others just like certain genres demand more plot than others. For example, literary, contemporary YA, and romance put more emphasis of character than more plot-driven genres like thriller, adventure, fantasy and sci fi. In any case, character arc enhances the story but it can be tricky to understand how create this arc and how to use it to better the story, so here are some tips:

  • Really, think of it as a curve. Okay, so maybe not a nice smooth curve, more like one with a bunch of bumps and squiggles in it. Also, the direction of this curve depends on who you want your character to become. Usually, a protagonist will arc up, starting at point where they have some personal obstacles to overcome, whether this is just a few things or a major attitude adjustment. You can also have characters that arc down and progressively get worse, like a villain or a tragic hero. The point is that as the time goes on, your characters should move on the Y axis (sorry for the math). You can actually plot it out if it helps you understand the rises and falls of your character’s arc.
  • Find what each character really needs to change. What is holding them back from achieving their goal? Why is it so important that they change? What would happen or who would they be if they don’t change? Alternatively, what can go wrong if they change or change for the worse? Remember that not every character arc is a positive one and sometimes readers need to see the characters fall to understand what is at stake and cheer for them more when they get back up.
  • Don’t make it sudden or pointless. Like anything else in your story you want to make the character’s advancement (or deterioration) have a cause and effect relationship. Something that happens in the story causes the character to have to change or at least consider how their actions are impacting others and their own life. A drunk who gets into a car accident and nearly kills their kid. A hero whose selfishness nearly causes the destruction of a village. Typically, the biggest shifts happen near the climax where the stakes are highest and the character has to make the biggest decisions.
  • Don’t make the character passive. Passive characters, in particular passive protagonists are unbearable. These are the ones that have the plot happen to them rather than contributing to the direction and outcome of the events. A character needs to take charge of their own destiny even if it’s a story where destiny is literally coming after them. Like I said before, some genres have more room for this than others. A high-stakes thriller that’s more plot driven has moments where the characters have to struggle to keep up with the events happening to them, but they should still be making the major decisions that ultimately lead to the conclusion. When the characters aren’t being decisive they can’t grow or change and their personal story stays flat and boring.

From zero to ninety in 20 pages: the first chapter of Truth or Beard by Penny Reid is the first time in the history of my reading that lust at (sort of) first sight has worked for me. And I mean really, really worked for me. I’m feeling almost as disoriented as heroine Jessica, and this close to cursing an honourable romance hero (which I never do).

What is this bedazzlement? What have you done to me, @romancetherapy, @diehard-fangirl, and @thecrankyagnes?!

I can’t remember if I announced this here, but I have a novella out tomorrow US time! (It’s already out in Australia because timezones)

It’s cute and fun and (hopefully!) funny. Because we all need some laughs these days.

Colin Partridge can hold down a conversation with his nine-year-old students, no problem. Beautiful women, on the other hand? Not so much. So when he bumps into Britt Endicott, the single mother of one of his students, he barely manages to get through the conversation with his dignity intact.

Britt Endicott hasn’t dated since her ex-husband left her and her daughter Abigail seven years ago. She doesn’t trust men, and with good reason. And even if she did–which she definitely doesn’t–dating her daughter’s teacher is totally against the rules.

Can they get around school rules, meddling children, and most of all themselves, to find their happy ending?

Find out more here!


One Sentence Summary:

Rich white college boy and poor Chinese college girl swap financial lives.

What part made you fangirl squeal:

When our girl outsmarted and outwitted Mr. Hero Dad during his “YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY SON” test? OMG OMG OMG YASSSS QUEEN

Favorite Character:

Tina. I want her brain AND her heart!

How smexy was the smex?

Nice and realistic.

Name That Trope:

We’re From Different Worlds

Whose Line Is It Anyway:

  1. Blake: Male hormones have never really cared about the limits of physics.
  2. Blake: There are no gods, just us shit-stupid mortals.

Got any bitching to do?

Sadly, the weakest link really is the romance. The first person split POV makes this a hard sell.

Visually Depict Yo Book Feels:

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Famous last words:

Social and gender commentary with KICKASS characters, so duh; HELL TO THE YES!


For a more in depth and LOL-fest discussion on romance novels, HERE BE MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

if I have died by your hand
one thousand times,
I would willingly do so

little by little,
I have crept in your shade
I have donned your colors– ochre,

when santa barbara daisies
push up against the bloom
of your oak, I ascend to

bury me now, in fertile land
where songs rustle, caught
from my waist,

in your hand.

// la petite mort

It’s a pretty tough gig being First Daughter. The eyes of a nation are on you at all times; as plenty of other president’s children have discovered, messing up carries serious consequences.

Vivian Bennett’s youthful mistake cost her the man she loved and very nearly her life when she ran straight into the claws of a kidnapper. Ten years later, turning to Joe, the man who saved her back then and the only person who ever made her feel truly safe, is the most natural thing in the world for her to do.

I enjoyed the romance in this book. Vivian and Joe had a terrific chemistry and a Past to deal with; Vivian’s PTSD was delicately dealt with, though Joe’s mere presence curing her insomnia was something I found a little hard to swallow being an insomniac myself. A lot of people, Joe included, treat Vivian like she’s helpless. The way she pushed back and insisted on making her own decisions was really inspirational.

The villain was pretty obvious; there weren’t so much delicately dropped clues as honking great neon signs saying BAD GUY HERE. The plot hung together pretty well, though, and I liked the way all the threads were neatly tied off at the ending.

I was a little bit put off by literally every single character in the book being white, too. Really? In the modern USA? Joe being black or Latinx would have added another fascinating layer of discrimination he had to face… and to be honest, Vivian being described as other than a beautiful blonde might have helped me to envision her differently to another beautiful blonde thirty-something First Daughter businesswoman - who I don’t like.

It’s almost certainly not the author’s fault because this book was probably written and picked up for publication long before the current president achieved office. I just think I’d have liked Vivian a lot better if she’d had red hair or been Latina.

I can’t bring myself to give the book five stars because of the issues mentioned above, but it’s certainly a solid four.

Her Secret Service Agent is available now.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

I don’t even know where to start telling you how wonderful this book is. It’s absolute GOLD.

From the moment Mina rescues super-famous horror author Thomas St Clair’s dog, she knows she’s in trouble. Not least because once upon a time, when she was a budding journalist and he was a barely-out-of-his-teens author with a New York Times bestseller, he blew her off when she was assigned to interview him. Exasperated beyond reason, she wrote a brutal exposé on his awful childhood, and then he got her fired in retaliation.

The Mistaken Billionaire takes those long-ago actions and really twists them around, using them to show how Thomas and Mina both became different people because of them. They are absolutely perfect for each other now, but with a secret like that between them (because Thomas doesn’t know Mina is the journalist who once tore his private life apart for the world to see) how can they ever find happiness together?

Well, as you might imagine, that’s a road that’s got some serious twists and turns in it, and I was more than happy to be along for the ride. I hadn’t read anything by Lexxie Couper before but damn, I will be looking out for more now, because this was absolutely fantastic. Although it’s the second book in the Muse series, it stands perfectly well alone - the protagonists of the first are only mentioned in passing.

I find myself seriously hoping that Sebastian, Thomas’ Aussie film director friend, is the hero of the third. Yes, Lexxie Couper, I got the ‘Michael Dundee’ inside joke and damn nearly laughed my ass off. Hysterical!

The Mistaken Billionaire was an absolutely fantastic read. I didn’t want to put it down. Five well-deserved stars.

The Mistaken Billionaire is available now.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review from NetGalley.