Bittersweet is one of my favorite words because it aptly applies to so many things in life. One of the best examples of the term is a novel about reunited lovers. Despite bitter feelings from a relationship gone wrong, two lovers can’t forget the sweetness that brought them together. Is this an oversimplified explanation of a tired plot device? Maybe, but I have a shameless love for this genre within a genre and I’ll read them and write them as long as I’m able. Two of my romance novels have reunited lovers as either the main plot or a subplot. I love to write these types of stories and judging by the number of books with this theme, so do other writers. Readers, like me, love the reunited lovers storyline as well. What makes this plot so compelling, so readable, so thoroughly enjoyable? I believe a well-written reunited lovers plot appeals to everyone’s basic belief that love conquers all.
What is more absorbing than two people who loved and lost and against all odds end up back together? Absolutely nothing! My eleven-year-old daughter and her friends are obsessed with the idea of love. They spend countless hours discussing who likes whom and who is going out with whom (in this context, they mean who is texting whom) and watching shows featuring young love as its basic premise. We instinctively believe, from a very young age, that love is all we need. Just the other day, one of my daughter’s friends commented in the car that all songs are about relationships—and she’s right. Relationships we form during the years when we are most susceptible to believe love is all we need have a huge impact on our lives. Successful relationships or ones that end amicably continue to feed this belief and can lead to healthy adult relationships. When love goes wrong, however, we are left with the bitter aftertaste that never completely disappears and colors our view of love. Love stories featuring two characters who have loved deeply, parted ways unpleasantly, and come together later in life are ripe with conflict—the kind of conflict that appeals to everyone.
In Heart of Glass, main character Kat sacrifices her relationship with Danny so his business can succeed. Years later, when she’s assigned to profile his company for the magazine she works for, sparks fly. Instant conflict. In Shoe Strings, small town golden girl Kerry Ann, fearful of her feelings for her boyfriend’s best friend Bryce, reacts in a way that keeps them apart for years. When they finally face their feelings, BAM, instant conflict. What about you? What are some of your favorite romance plotlines?
Christy Hayes writes romantic women’s fiction from her little basement office in the South. She’s cooked up all kinds of trouble for her flawed characters when she’s not driving her kids to one sporting event or another or walking her pesky rescue mutts through her neighborhood. Please note that a portion of the proceeds from each book sold will be donated to charity.