BRINGING YOU THE BEST IN ROMANCE FICTION
I am often asked as a romance writer if books have to have a happy ending to be considered romance. My answer is yes…except when they don’t.
Seems quite contradictory, yes? Well, that is because it is. In most romances you have two people who fall in love, encounter some sort of obstacle in which everything is misunderstood, and then realize love conquers all, and ride off into the sunset.
But what about Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, Titanic even! Can romance mean the courting and pronunciation of feelings? Or does it have to end in a happily ever after?
I recently watched Washington Square on YouTube and realized, perhaps the love affair can simply be the emotions shared between two people, without the consummation or realization of a life together. Maybe, romance can be loving yourself.
The opening scene is heartbreaking as we see Catherine as a child with what I would describe as severe social anxiety. Her nerves cause her to pee when asked to perform a song in front of an audience. This incident causes her to be chastised and locked away from much of society.
Later in life, she is still awkward, clumsy, bumbling, socially unacceptable, but when she meets a man who loves her, even with her issues, she begins to believe in her self-worth. Jennifer Jason Leigh is an expert at playing socially awkward roles and this one is one of her best. It’s torturous watching at times because we have all felt awkward at some point in our lives and we’d liked to just forget. Her role forces us to watch her struggle. In the end, she never really gets rid of her awkwardness, but instead learns to love herself despite her lack of savvy.
Can a love story be about yourself? Can it be a broken woman, chastised for her abnormalities learning to love herself by experiencing love with another? And can a film that doesn’t end in a union truly be called a romance?
You can watch the entire film at the YouTube link below to form your own opinion. Is Washington Square a romance?
During this post I’ve probably brought up more questions than answers, so I will leave you with this. Romance is what you believe it to be. It’s a personal thing that cannot always be defined by bookshelves or movie categories. If it pulls at your heart, if it makes you love, if it gives you hope, even in the slimmest circumstances, it is romance.