Only when the hero and heroine help each other to deal with past hurt can they move on to love and be loved. I can’t remember where I read or heard the following quote but it really stuck with me.
‘You don’t need to find a relationship without emotional baggage; you need to find someone to unpack with.’
In my novel, 'The Scottish Billionaire’s Secret Lover', both Angus and Natalie have devoted their lives to a charitable cause. It's their outlet for not having a child to love. Each believes they can’t be successful in a relationship but in working together to organize a ball, they help each other examine past hurts and discover their ability to be in a partnership again.
2. We all can change.
We learn about ourselves through relationships. All of us have grown up with a complete set of beliefs that have to this point helped us navigate our way through life but if we don’t challenge those beliefs and try something new we’re destined to go round and round repeating the same cycles and not even try to reach for our dreams.
Romance novel heroes and heroines have to shift their beliefs about who they are and their purpose in life. Sometimes they must even discard old dreams in favor of new ones in order to get to their happily ever after.
Elizabeth from Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice', had to change her belief that as rich man Mr Darcy is selfish and prideful. Mr Darcy has to get past the belief that a woman will marry for money, with or without love.
3. Never accept defeat.
Heroes and heroines may have set backs of the sort you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy but they always rally and have another go at trying again in a different way. They learn from their mistakes and misfortunes and are brave about having another go.
n real life, we need to understand that when we fail it’s a learning experience. In my own life, I’ve had to accept that a relationship needed to end, but I took time to examine my role in the relationship not working out. What would I do differently next time? I handle myself in a more healthy way in my current relationship.
Mr Darcy had to correct his haughty behavior to win Elizabeth. If he'd taken offence at her rejection and never saw the merits in her answer to his proposal, he'd have pushed her away. He'd never have won her in the end.
In 'The Italian Billionaires Secret Baby', Alessandro has made a colossal mistake walking out on his wife when she needed him most. She made the mistake a disaster when she left without telling him she was pregnant.
Believing she had to raise their child alone, she got on with it. When he finds out that his actions combined with her past experiences created a situation that put his child out of his life he tries to fix it. At first he acts in the same old way but he gets rejected. Instead of boarding the first plane back to Italy he sticks around and listens to her. He sees mistakes as fixable and tries to find a way to get his family back together. No matter what happens he’s learned not to walk away and give up.
Not giving up hope or belief in yourself as lovable and capable in life is the most important lesson I've gained from reading romance. I've been inspired and uplifted to keep going from reading romance. I've seen characters respond differently to the way I would have and it's opened my mind up to trying a new approach to difficulty and adversity. I hope my books are able to do the same for even just one person. It's about giving back and making a difference because it helped me so much in my life.
Here's a couple of books that resonated with me during difficulty in my life:
'The Boomerang Bride' by Fiona Lowe, a woman arrives in another country and finds the man she was to marry had scammed her. Instead of crumbling into a hysterical mess and blaming the world, she owns her gullibility and gets to work making a new life for herself.
'The Perfect Rake' by Anne Gracie. A family of girls are abused by their mad grandfather. They don't just put up with it and feel like victims, they plan and execute a daring escape.
Every romance I've ever read, has at least one strong heroine (sometimes two) who will find a way to change her world if that's what is in her best interest. Lastly I think Heroes in romance are amazing. They model just what a perfect man should be, flawed but trying hard to make things right. They care more than they want to at times, but they have hearts that just want to love a strong woman.
Because I was inspired by romance I didn't give up. I kept believing in myself as strong, lovable and that there was someone for me. I was rewarded with Sam. Here's a link to my post on how we met in A little Christmas Romance.
If you've been inspired by a romance novel you've read, I'd love to read about it in the comments below.
I love writing romance novels, creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style, living a loving, romantic life filled with family, friends, and exploring lovely places with Sam.