I have had a bit of a brain block for a while about books that are connected through family members or friends. I knew there was something about these books that bothered me and the other day I finally figured it out.
Here's where things are going to get dicey!
Say you read a book about Jack and Diane (or Wesley and Buttercup) and you love their story and at the end you know they will live HEA. At that point, they are usually youngish and have the rest of their lives to live.
Now, you have to read about Jack's brother, Luke who was 5 years younger than Jack in his book. At this point, anywhere from 5 to 10 years could have gone by and suddenly the reader is re-introduced to Jack and Diane and a brood of kids. Everyone seems happy, there is a special smile that Jack gives Diane that Luke wishes he could give to someone else.
Okay. In case you need a clue, this is not about Luke.
I'm sorry but, I left Jack and Diane at their HEA and there were no children and life had possibilities and there was a feeling of a happiness and new found adventure. At that point, I was happy. I had been through some of the worst and best moments of their courtship and that is what I was there for!
Meeting Jack and Diane ten years later does not appeal to me in any way. I'm not sure what it is exactly but I kinda of like having the characters I meet in books, remain the way I leave them. I'm not even horribly fond of an epilogue that happens more than 3 years after the final page.
There are times when an epilogue is needed but sometimes the story can stand on it's own without it.
It was years ago, and someone told me what book it was and I wrote it down but, I have three other author's written down that also may have written the book I am thinking of so I can't be more specific.
I read this book in the late 80's early 90's and I remember really enjoying the story. Basically a woman is kidnapped by group of Indians and is kept by a warrior. I think he even marries her but he tells her all the time, he won't ever let her leave him and he'll always be by her side. She may have tried to escape a few times. The heroine loves him but doesn't not feel free. At the end of the story there is an attack and the heroine is standing alone at one point and can see her husband on horseback across the way. She waits for him to come to her and realizes that in that moment he is freeing her to leave or stay with him. Of course, she runs to him.
Okay, I'm a happy camper.
I'm not thinking it will be any big deal but it begins by talking about how over the years they have many children and then grandchildren and I'm like, huh? and then it goes on to say that when the heroine died the hero kept his promise to never leave her side. He stayed by her grave for the rest of his life and died 2 or 5 years later.
Now, I understand by reading a historical the next logical step is to realize these people are now dead. Thing is, I don't take that step. They're not dead because they are in that book over there. The above book killed them right in front of me!!! I guess the author wanted the reader to know that they did live HEA and then they died.
I remember being so floored by this ending and because it was right there it wasn't like I could go back three pages and be back to where I left them. Uh, no. They were dead!
Some might say, in most romances that have continuing characters, they don't die. Well, don't even get me started on Sandra Brown's Another Dawn that had the hero from Sunset Embrace die after 20 years in front of his wife and daughter who was the heroine of the book! My lid just about blew off!!
Let's back off the death thing.
I just don't want to get glimpses of a couple that I read about with a passel of brats and a bunch of in-laws and well, it's no longer about them as much as it is about family now.
This is where I have never understood people's fascination with Linda Howard's Mackenzies. In the first story you meet Wolf and Mary and read their love story (which by the way, does not hold up after all these years). I believe I read this book years ago and didn't bother with Linda Howard much at the time. Soon I learned that there were other books by her about Wolf and Mary's kids.
I started to read them but, then you would get the scene where Mary is looking at her husband who still looks good with grey in his hair and still makes her fires burn. Hey, in my head, at the end of their book, I knew they were going to grow old together, I just didn't want to see it!
I have not read Gabaldon yet (down!!) but when I went to the booksigning with my friend she said, Gabaldon didn't have much more room to write more than one or two books because the characters will die. I stood there with my jaw on the floor. 'How are you going to feel about that?' I ask my friend. She said she will sob her heart out because they are like her family.
Now, have you ever read a better reason not to read a book? I fall in love with a bunch of characters and have to be there when they die?
So how do you deal with the aging of a hero and heroine from a well loved novel? Do you find the glimpses into the lives to be too rosy. Would you prefer that if this is to be done by an author that the time lapse between the story lines be short? I mean, Quinn has a character whose book is out now that I have not read because I know her family is going to be there and when I first met her I think she was 10!!! Now she is going to have her own romance? Gah.
Just to make your brain hurt, I can handle a couple hundred years separation between family members. That way, yeah the original couple is dead but, I still know they are alive and young in the book I own.
Yeah, I admit it.