Okay, this is definitely a matter of personal taste, and I know it. But when I read, I read for ME, and no one else. So what pulls me in works for me, and maybe wouldn’t even interest anyone else. And what turns me off, well…that might not even bother someone who was more interested in plot or setting or whatever. But that said, when I start a book, and I love the building romantic relationship, even when the book isn’t a romance but a mystery or fantasy, it REALLY BOTHERS ME when that romance was there just to pull me into the story and it dies for whatever reason (actual death/political turmoil/etc.) and something or someone else is introduced to jolly me up one or two books later.
There, I said it. I don’t jolly up all that fast, and I harbor resentment that I thought I was going to enjoy a wonderful romance and got a terrible disappointment instead. I didn’t really understand this when my agent first asked me to try my hand at romances. I wanted to show a protagonist, a smart woman, who’d lost her husband and rebounded with Mr. Wrong before she found Mr. Right. Readers weren’t thrilled with me, even when I made it perfectly clear that the first guy was a BIG mistake and the guy in the background was HEA. But how much worse is it when an author makes me believe that the woman/’man in the romantic subplot SEEMS to be Ms./Mr. Right and then…he’s not?
I’ll tell you how bad it is for me. I finish that book, and it’s the last one I read in that series for a long time, maybe for forever. Because I feel cheated. Tricked. And I’m only thinking of that now because tomorrow’s Valentine Day–a time for romance (in theory). And because I’m reading a book I L_O_V_E, and I’ve been all happy with the tenderness between the hero and the actress he loves, UNTIL I saw an ad for a later book where he marries someone else.
Right away, that tells me that 1. The relationship is going to fall apart later on or 2. The author’s going to kill off the love interest. Both of those plot contrivances aggravate the heck out of me. Which means, I’d better enjoy this book while I can because when I reach the end, I probably won’t want to buy another book in this series for a long time unless this author comes up with some miracle where whatever happens kind of feels okay. But it’s too soon to tell. And I doubt it, because I know similar plots have been death kneels for two previous series that I’d be reading book after book for centuries to come (if I lived that long), until the romance got shot in the foot. Bang. Done. Kaput. And I felt like the rug got pulled out from under me.
There are many flaws in books I can grumble about but overlook, so it’s odd that this one bothers me so much. Especially since I love mysteries more than romances. But who said that enjoying a book had to make sense? What about you? Do you have anything that trips your trigger? Or makes you a fan forever? Share it with us!