I still haven’t recovered.
She was the heroine! Call me shallow, but I don’t like seeing a character I’ve come to know and love die horribly. I can hear the filmmakers’ arguments: It was based on a true story. It was an important moment in history. It illustrates the insanity of judging people based on their beliefs, and of using people as pawns in political power struggles.
Yes, yes, I know, and I agree with all that. But do you have to bludgeon me over the head with it?
Here’s my version. Brilliant astronomer gets caught up in political turmoil and frees her slave so he can pursue his own religious beliefs. In return, he saves her from a rabid mob of stone-throwers and they fall in love and escape to the desert, where they live happily ever after.
I suppose that’s why I’m a romance writer. Yes, I know terrible things happen. I see it all the time, whether in the past or in the news. But that doesn’t mean I want to watch it in a movie. Or read it in a book. Yes, put your characters through hell. Make them suffer. But for the love of Nora, give me some light at the end of the tunnel! And sorry, getting strangled to death rather than stoned doesn’t count.
So I’d like to take this moment to offer my heartfelt thanks to the romance genre.
When I pick up a romance, I don’t have to worry about the hero or the heroine dying at the end. Thank you!
When I finish a romance, I’m likely to feel better about the world, not worse. Thank you!
When I read a romance, I know that however bad things get in the middle, at the end, there’s hope. Thank you!
Happy endings get a bad rap. Here’s my philosophy. A happy ending isn’t really an ending. It’s an acknowledgement that moments of pure happiness are possible in this world – that there’s hope. And without hope, what’s the point?
What about you? How do you feel about happy endings? Do you find them trite, or do you love them as I do?
Juniper Bell's latest release is BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION from Ellora's Cave. Click the cover for more.