When is a romance truly a romance?
Or, to put it another way, what defines a book as a romance?
I know that everyone has a different opinion, but for me, it's the Happily Ever After (HEA). I mean, that's why I read romance. I know that no matter what happens, in the end, things will work out for the heroine and her hero. Otherwise, what's the point? If there is no HEA, then in my opinion, it is not a romance.
I recently read a book marketed as a romance where the heroine's husband dies on the last page of the book. Not exactly the romantic ending I was hoping for, and I'll admit, I was disappointed. Not in the book, which was an exceptional paranormal read, but with the ending. My disappointment would not have existed except for the fact that the side of the book lists it as a paranormal romance!
When I pick up a romance, I want to be assured that all will end well. If I'm in the mood for something different, I'll pick up a mystery, a fantasy novel, a paranormal or a thriller. Maybe even a chicklit or some women's fiction. I will not expect a HEA from them, so I am not disappointed when I don't get it. I can relax and enjoy the books for what they are...great reads!
But when I reach for a romance, that's what I really want! And for me, that means the HEA!
What do you think?