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Topic: Favorite Secondary Romances

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Subject: Favorite Secondary Romances
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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I just finished Mary Balogh's Irresistible. I enjoyed it, but it's not my favorite book by her. It got me to thinking, though, about secondary romances in books. It's hard to get them right. Sometimes they're a distraction from the main h/h, sometimes I don't like either character in the secondary romance, sometimes I think their relationship merits their own book, etc. I have to admit I do tire of tons of secondary characters seemingly existing only for the sake of continuing a series...but other times, I think secondary couples get a raw deal when they're thrown in another book. I also hate it when characters' stories are later told in novellas in anthologies, (*cough* Candice Hern! *cough*), but that's another story.

Anyway, in Irresistible, I found myself wishing that she'd given Eden and Lavinia their own story. I mean the other Horsemen all got their own books, the first two I'm trying to track down....why was Eden reduced to a secondary romance in Nathaniel's book? Especially when I'm sure she could have written a fabulous story with Lavinia putting him in his place. Lavinia had great potential to be a strong lead heroine, sassy but not hoydenish, independent but not waspish.

So I ask you, what do you think of secondary romances? Do you like them? What are some examples of great ones?

 

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2006
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I also hate it when characters' stories are later told in novellas in anthologies, (*cough* Candice Hern! *cough*), but that's another story.

 

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considering Hern is currently w/o a contract because her Merry Widows trilogy was a disaster saleswise, I doubt that she would have been able to sell Willie's story as a full-length novel even if she wanted to



Last Edited on: 2/18/09 9:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
Posts: 1,130
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Interesting! I wonder if it was her original plan, then, to give Wilhelmina a full-length book? I didn't like Marianne and Adam's story but I thought Beatrice and Thayne's was alright. All of them were a little skimpy, though...

Seriously, though, people...I want to know what you think of secondary romances!

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 7:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2007
Posts: 597
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Going waaay back on this, but I hated that Nick DuVille never got a complete novel. He got so much play in WHITNEY and  UNTIL YOU he should'nt have been put in a Christmas Anthology.  Maybe McNaught thought we were tired of him.  Hi Grace, glad so see you back.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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How well written the book is and how well they blend into it always has to be a factor.  Because it's one thing to say you don't enjoy secondary romances, but what people usually mean is that they don't enjoy them in the manner they're accustomed to seeing them.  I never enjoyed the secondary romance much myself, but notable exceptions to that would be Delicious, and to a slightly lesser degree, Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas.  There's more to it than just saying she did secondary romance well, or the way it should be done.  I didn't want to get sidetracked from the primary romance in either book, and that same resentment that I start to feel when I hit the intrusive chapters devoted to the secondary romance is still my immdediate reaction, even with Thomas' books; I can't help it, I never want to sidetrack from the main story:P  But, it fades almost immediately too.  Because those are equally interesting relationships, I got swept up into them just as much as I did the primary romances.  I didn't get the sense that either secondary romance could have supported a book on their own, but they gave an added dimension to the novels they were in, & clearly didn't detract from them in any way.  That doesn't always happen, and I'm sure it's a gift that not everyone has.  Another example of a secondary romance done really well is Lisa Kleypas'  Again The Magic.  In many ways, the secondary romance between the heroine's sister and the hero's best friend was less problematic, and their conflict was more genuine & lacked the contrivances that Kleypas threw into the primary romance to (IMO) extend that story out into a full-length novel.  I almost would have rather seen an equal balance of two novella length romances in one with this book, but it was certainly memorable, and while it could have been better, I did enjoy it overall.



Last Edited on: 2/21/09 11:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/21/2009 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
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In the Outlander series, I've always wanted Young Ian to have his own storyline romantically (again).  I love that character.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2009
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Off the top of my head, one of the better secondary romances I remember reading was Ethan and Kristy in Dream a little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  They were also very intertwined into the main story- instead of some books where it's like they took the original book and cut and pasted this other story in between a few chapters.  I really liked them, and didn't skip over their parts like I've been known to do over some secondary romances. Their actual story wasn't "the best" but the characters were very enjoyable and because they complemented the original plot, I cared about them.

 

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2008
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I actually like the secondary romance in Elizabeth Hoyts To Seduce a Sinner between the valet and the ladies maid. I don't think they added anything to the story but the relationship was really cute.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2006
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I don't like it when the secondary seems to be an exact copy of the main, like they have the same problems/conflicts and woohoos as the main.  Or when there are too many secondary romances, when EVERYONE meets their match and falls in love at the same time.

I do like Suzanne Brockmann's weaving throughout her Troubleshooters series.  Like how Sam and Alyssa are in multiple books.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
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I think I often enjoy secondary romances because the character can be "allowed" to move beyond the standard romance types and be more imperfect/fallible/different. For example, I love the geeky secondary heroes in The Unsung Hero by Brockmann and... I think it's Lady Be Good by SEP.  SEP often has older characters for secondary romance, too, which you don't see often for the main couple. She overdoes the formula a bit, but they're still good. 

Subject: Brockmann and S.E. Phillips
Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2008
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When I read the topic I immediately thought first of Suzanne Brockmann and then Susan Wiggs.  In Brockmanns early Troubleshooters books she did a great job of a secondary romance.  Although, as she progressed she did the two and three storyline thing less and less.  In Brockmann's case I think the secondary storylines are artful.  I was IN LOVE with the teenage storyline in Unsung Hero.  I also love to find out more details about those characters in later books.  The two teens in Unsung Hero get married in a later book.

I have recently read Susan Wiggs Lakeshore Chronicles series and while she includes secodary storylines that she fulfills in later books she sometimes messes up the details.  That bothers me.  I like to read a series for the continuation of the story.  I want to know what happens to those people I invested in emotionally as I read about them falling in love.  Has anyone else noticed these blunders with the details in Wiggs or am I expecting too much?

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2006
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I was really irritated with the blunders in Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles!  I even went back to look in the previous book to see if I just remembered it wrong.  Did she purposely change the story or was it a mistake?

Date Posted: 2/23/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
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I enjoyed the secondary couple in Christina Dodd's "My Favorite Bride." It fit the rest of the story with enough detail to be an enjoyable and quick side trip, without distracting from the main couple at all. I do get annoyed when the secondary couple takes too many pages away from the main story - I think secondary couples should be seamlessly woven into the plot of the story, and there has to be a balance as to how much conflict they have going on. If it is too much, it detracts from the main couple and makes you wonder why don't they just have their own story, and if it's too little it's just a boring couple of pages while you keep looking for the main couple to come back in. So, yeah, it's a lot about balance to me.

And there is nothing more irritating than an author messing up details from their own previous books, I agree! How lazy is that to not double-check yourself if you don't remember! I would assume she does have copies of her own books...

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
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I never followed Wiggs into her contemporaries and can't say that I regret it...

I agree with the comments about SEP. And Brenda, I am with you on Nicky!

One romance which I think should have been a secondary is that of Emily and Ashley in Mary Balogh's Silent Melody. No offense to Mary Balogh, who is a goddess in the romance world, but I found the story a bit dull and think it could have been combined with Heartless, although the timeline is a bit later for Emily and Ashley.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2006
Posts: 673
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Interesting! I wonder if it was her original plan, then, to give Wilhelmina a full-length book? I didn't like Marianne and Adam's story but I thought Beatrice and Thayne's was alright. All of them were a little skimpy, though...

 

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it was never her plan to write her story AT ALL. Willie is, what? late 40s? 50?

the majority of readers are not gonna accept a menopausal age heroine in a historical. sad to say but the majority still prefer the heroine to be young and VIRGINS



Last Edited on: 3/1/09 11:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Angie -
Date Posted: 3/1/2009 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
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I'm not really a fan of them and usually skim over it.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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I loved the secondary love story in SEP's Heaven, Texas.  I thought that it added to the reasons the Hero had such a hard time getting on with his life that his Mom was so conflicted about living and loving another man after his father died.  And besides, his Mom and her new love had a hot thing going.