5 Reasons I Love Reconciliation Romances
A big thanks to Nikki and Ramblings From a Chaotic Mind for inviting me to post.
The reconciliation romance is probably my favorite theme in the romance genre. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story. Boy meets girl and they fall in love, or begin to fall in love, but something – either internal like fear or external like a disapproving family – stands in the way of their happily ever after. They meet again later and the spark is rekindled. Generally, the original conflict is still there and the couple is forced to work through whatever issue originally kept them a part.
These are the five big reasons I love this theme:
1) The anger – If it’s a reconciliation, then you know there was a break-up. There’s bound to be fireworks when the main characters reconnect.
2) The intensity – The characters already have a history and know each other intimately (whether or not sex was part of the backstory). This shared knowledge and history can intensify all of the emotions they feel when they reconnect.
3) Rich backstory – I love it when characters in a book have been living before the book even begins. It enriches the story and gives me even more of that “this could have really happened” feeling.
4) Character vulnerability/growth – Love can be everlasting but we are all flawed. The really flawed characters are some of my favorites in romances and in this theme, they generally both are. We also get to see them grow and overcome whatever held them a part the first time around.
5) Love conquers all – That is true in all happily-ever-afters, but in these romances you really get to see it in action. The love between the two characters has lasted for however long they’ve been a part and it is still there to bring them together in the end. They’ve walked through the proverbial fire and come out the other side even stronger.
A couple of my favorite books that explore this reconciliation theme are Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas and Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught. They are very different historical romances that approach the theme from differing angles. In Kleypas’s it’s the family and in McNaught’s external forces beyond the hero’s control. I guess it’s no surprise my first attempt at a romance would evolve around this reconciliation theme. Although, in His Abductor’s Desire, it’s an internal force that keeps the main characters a part.
Have I covered all the reasons we love these romances? What are some of your favorite reconciliation romances? I’d love for you to post your comments below.
Type: Historical Romance (45 pages)
Montana Territory, 1887
Heiress-turned-outlaw Charity Blake is determined to get back the fortune the Davenport banking family took from her father—even if she has to hold Brent Davenport ransom to do it! After all, the seductive charmer stole something even more valuable from her five years ago: her heart. But once she has Brent in chains, Charity must face the fact that her desire for the man has grown from the sweet dreams of a
young girl to the unquenchable passion of a woman. And soon it’s not clear whether she’s the captor, or the captive….
“Nobody move! Keep your hands where we can see `em!”
A hush swept over the room as the bank customers, one by one, began to realize what was happening. Charity Blake would have smiled at the effectiveness of her command if she hadn’t been so unsettled to find the place crowded. It was late Tuesday afternoon. No one was supposed to be there except the clerks. Even the bank manager should have been two blocks over at the saloon settling in for a long night of drinking and gambling, his weekly indulgence when his wife spent Tuesday evenings with her sewing circle. Yet, there he sat behind his desk, quivering hands held high in the air, staring wide-eyed back at her.
Apparently their reconnaissance had been wrong. She vowed to do better next time and pushed the disappointment from her mind. It was better to concentrate on not allowing her own hands to shake around the grip of her pistol than linger on the setback. Besides, she knew from the first two robberies that she had only seconds to command the attention and thus the respect of the room before someone tried to be brave. It was time to get to work.
“Don’t worry, folks. We ain’t here for yer valuables, just the money in the vault.” Her contrived accent came out deep and loud to make it past the muffling barrier of the scarf covering the lower half of her face and to hide her cultured Bostonian intonation.
As she spoke, her partners took their appointed positions. Elle had come in through the back door and quietly made her presence known, while Dew moved to disarm the men in the room, quickly establishing a stack of revolvers in the far corner.
“Get up and open the vault.” Charity barked the order to the manager.
He sputtered for a moment as if he might argue and looked at the customer sitting across the desk from him. Had she not been watching so closely, Charity would have missed the almost imperceptible nod from the man that gave the manager the courage to get on his feet. Hands still in the air, he walked his wiry frame to the vault, which sat in plain view behind the row of clerks, and stopped there, afraid to proceed.
“Th-the key is on my belt.” He explained, hands still in the air. His gaze went from her to the customer left sitting at his desk.
Charity followed his gaze and found herself looking at a broad pair of shoulders encased in a fine wool coat. The coat was impeccably tailored, not the roughspun typically found this far outside of the town of Helena. A banking official was her first thought, but that didn’t explain why her heart was suddenly threatening to pound out of her chest and the blood had gone cold in her veins. The girl who had long ago been banished to areas deep in her subconscious had already recognized the set of those shoulders. She knew that thick, sable hair brushed back in a style that had been entirely too long for Boston society but was a trademark of his contemptuous nature.
“My friend here can help you.” She managed to sound in control as she nodded to Dew who then quickly walked over and cut the key free.
After a moment of hassling with the lock, the bank manager pushed the door and it opened with an ominous screech that filled the deathly silence of the bank. Dew motioned him inside with her gun and followed him in to fill the three saddlebags slung across her shoulders with as much cash and gold as they could carry.
The moment they were out of sight Charity walked up behind the mysterious customer sitting at the desk. It was stupid. Everyone knew you didn’t go begging for trouble. But the devil who she had long suspected had taken up residence inside made her do it. The barrel of her pistol parted the hair at the back of his head.
“What’s yer name, mister?”
The man did not so much as flinch when the steel touched his scalp.
“My name is none of your damned business.” The voice was as hard and cold as the pistol.
“Turn around,” she commanded in a controlled, steady voice, but inside her stomach was in knots.
“The sheriff’s office is only blocks away. If you shoot, you won’t make it out of the bank alive.” He did not turn around nor raise his hands from the desk in surrender.
His refusal to give in to her command only made her devil beg to be appeased. This man and his family had taken everything there was to take from her. She needed to stare him down. Needed him to watch her take something from him, whether he knew her identity or not.
“Turn around, Mr. Davenport.”
That got him.
Harper St. George was raised in the rural backwoods of Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since.
She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two young children. Look for her short story in the first Romance Writers of America anthology. She would love to hear from you. Please visit her website at www.harperstgeorge.com.