The "Incident" Romance vs. the Relationship Romance

I am not a fan of romances which involve a series of incidents, embroiling the hero and heroine in mayhem, mischief, and miscommunication before depositing them at the altar.

This kind of romance can be entertaining. Georgette Heyer wrote a number of these adventure-type romances, and many of them are downright hilarious: Heroes pick up stray heiresses who are being chased by villainous rascals; heroines get transported to unlikely spots by dastardly rogues and are rescued by roguish, but non-dastardly, passerbys. Etc. etc. etc.

Yet even with Georgette Heyer, I get tired of all the mix-ups involving other people. I want to see the hero and heroine work together or just go somewhere and talk. It's okay to have a villain lurking in the underbrush, but I want to read about them; I don't much care about all those other people.

I recently read a romance novel--which will go unnamed--in which a hilarious debacle ensued whenever the hero and heroine were about to get together. It was the whole "this time, she'll really be upset/this time, he'll really offend her!" idea.

I didn't find it amusing. I find it amusing on Frasier because a Frasier episode is 30 minutes, there's a pay-off, and I can skip the episodes where people excessively humiliate themselves. But I don't want to read several hundred pages of the stuff. After funny-hilarious debacle #4 of the above unnamed novel, I wanted to shoot someone. WHO CARES? If these people can't work out their issues before one more crazy thing upsets them (again), they certainly shouldn't be contemplating marriage. (What? They think marriage will be easy or something?)

It reminds me of a review of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The reviewer rolled his eyes over how, at the end, instead of laughing like adults over how they had been set up, instead of saying, "That's so great! We are so lucky to have such great friends!" the hero and heroine got offended and had to stalk off in their separate directions before fate intervened.

These people should not be getting married. What about the next time an outsider interferes? What about the next moment of miscommunication?

These types of romances remind me of an ex-college-roommate who wanted someone to buy her apartment lease. Depending on her mood, she would come home and say, "Well, my lease didn't sell. God is telling me not to leave" OR "Well, my lease didn't sell. God wants me to overcome obstacles." It never occurred to her to either just wait 4 months for the lease to be up and then move on or to try to actively get someone to move into the apartment. And I never understood why it was God's problem to begin with.

Likewise, I'm not wedded to romances that, as Eugene states in his Last Promise review, include "a medieval theme . . . of the Great Wheel of Fate. Climb aboard at the wrong instance and your life is doomed until it rolls around and rights itself. We are supposed to admire the protagonist merely for hanging on and letting go when the sunny side of life shows up like a stop on a Disneyland amusement ride."

Well, okay, we are supposed to admire the protagonist for being so plucky and attractive to the hero. And it isn't so much the lack of pro-action that bothers me but the lack of any real reason why, finally, the ride has stopped. Now, the hero and heroine will unite. Uh, yay . . . (Is it finally time?)

Give me instead a hero and heroine who fight to overcome a specific problem by making sacrifices, communicating, and learning more about each other. Sure, I know that once that specific problem is overcome, others will crop up. But at least I'm convinced that this couple will be able to handle those problems.

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