I’m pleased to welcome Angel Nicholas to my blog today, on the last stop of her blog tour for ‘Dying for Love’. She shares her thoughts on romance in literature and why the addition of suspense makes it more enjoyable for her both to read and write. As a lover of romantic suspense myself I agree. I’ve read ‘Dying for Love’ and included my review below, its definitely worth a read.
Here’s what Angel has to say…
Romantic suspense is a fascinatingly diverse sub-genre that draws on the heat and infamous Happily Ever After of romance while tangling it mercilessly with the ruthlessness of the seedier and often bloodier side of life. It’s my favorite sub-genre to read, and the one I can’t stop my fingers from typing.
Romance draws a great deal of criticism; within the literary world, from readers and non-readers alike. We’re told that romance is too simplistic, that it leads to unrealistic expectations of romance, of men, and of life in general. It’s a “silly” genre with no literary merit whatsoever. You gain no greater knowledge of the world, its history, its people, or nature. There’s no purpose! All of which makes me roll my eyes. Is there any purpose to the popular action flicks? Is there any purpose to ballet? Is there any purpose to music? Life is hard, and I make no apologies for seeking pleasure and enjoyment in whatever guise I deem worthy.
What these naysayers fail to acknowledge, or perhaps refuse to acknowledge, is that romance novels do have merit. They do, in fact, serve a greater purpose. Study after study has confirmed that romance readers are more empathetic and open-minded than their non-reading counterparts. I would wager they’re also more empathetic than non-fiction readers. A story that engages your heart and emotions stays with your forever. You remember the lessons taught to the hero and heroine in circumstances you may well never endure, yet you’ve grown just the same. A romance reader is far more capable of lending a sympathetic ear and tender shoulder to cry upon, thanks to the hours she’s happily devoted to vicariously living a fictional couples trials. And yes, their ultimate happily ever after.
Let’s talk about the oft condemned “happily ever after.” As I mentioned above, and as you’re more than likely already aware, life is hard. We’re seldom granted a happily ever after. Even when we are, there’s the AFTER to deal with. After falling deliriously in love. After the fairytale wedding. After the lazy, lusty honeymoon. After the much anticipated new baby arrives. After…we return to reality. To demanding bosses, long work hours, exhausting commutes, burned spaghetti, dirty toilets, piles of laundry, and endless responsibilities. Books are a pleasurable—there’s that dirty word again—escape from those responsibilities. Based on how many memes are floating around social media bemoaning “adulting,” a welcome escape.
Suspense is a little trickier to explain. Romance is marvelous to read, and even more so to experience in real life. But—you knew one was coming, right?—it sometimes strikes me as too much. Too mushy and sweet and lovey dovey and just gag me with a spoon already. Suspense gives the story an edge. It makes me sit up a little straighter and turn the pages a little faster. I devour a well-written romantic suspense in a way that rarely occurs with straight romance. I’m not sure what this says about me, but I especially love writing the dark side of romantic suspense. I have a stack of books devoted to the psychopathy of serial killers and the deeply emotionally disturbed. I want to know what makes them tick, so I can create a three-dimensional villain as striking in his, or her, own way as the hero and heroine. A well-written villain is a thing of rare beauty. I particularly like a villain that you almost hate to see finally meet his well-deserved end.
I suppose part of the appeal is my need to torture the hero and heroine as much as possible before giving them their well-deserved happily ever after. I want them to earn it! When you read a scene in Dying for Love that has you gasping and wide-eyed, a little shocked and maybe even tearful, feel free to picture me hunched over the keyboard, cackling madly and pausing ever so often to rub my hands together in gleeful joy over the havoc I’m wreaking. It’s a fair depiction, after all.
Death is preferable to what awaits in her forgotten past…
Coffee is the only thing standing between Grace Debry and a straight-jacket since she gave up swearing in honor of her foster mom. A rash of break-ins make her wonder if caffeine is enough. Especially when the notes left behind make it personal. Her brand-spanking new life is more nightmare than dream-come-true.
All Matthew Duncan has wanted since hiring Grace is to have her in his passenger seat, his arms, and his bed. As they grow closer, the feisty brunette proves to be a handful—one Matt is happy to hold. He’s determined to give her the happily ever after she stopped believing in years ago. Unfortunately for Grace, it will take more than Matt’s considerable resolve to keep her safe.
Three’s a crowd—not that he cares. Every move she makes, every breath she takes … he’s watching. Waiting to reclaim what he lost.
The beginning of this story is so sad. The woman’s despair is tangible and the vivid description sets the scene perfectly, for what is to come. I re-read this chapter after I’d finished the book and its impact was even greater.
The story restarts, twenty five years after the opening scene and focuses on Grace a clever, resourceful woman with a self-depreciating sense of humour. A series of unexplained incidents unnerve her and threaten to spoil her new life.
Passionately drawn to his clever employee, Matt fears the implications both of sexual harassment and the fear of rejection. He denies his desires, until a personal tragedy warns him life is short; so he risks all to get to know Grace on a much closer and personal level.
New characters, cleverly introduced ramp up the well written suspense. The reader glimpses pieces of the puzzle with tantalising slowness. The antagonist is menacing, a shadowy figure that threatens everything Grace holds dear.
Grace and Matt’s passionate relationship is sizzling and balances the story’s dark suspense beautifully. The combination of the romance and suspense makes this an all night reader, with an unexpected twist at the end and the promise of a happy ever after. Perfect.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Angel Nicholas spent her childhood writing angst-ridden poetry and hiding behind romance novels. Now the mother of four children and one beautiful grandchild, fiction is still her refuge. Excessive caffeine fuels her typing. The splendors of Idaho inspire her muse. When she’s not torturing her characters, Angel can be found in the nearest coffee shop or shoe store.