Let’s Talk Bookish: Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters (HEAs)?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts. Today’s topic is: Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters (HEAs)?

Do you like romances with happy endings? Do you think that all romances should have happy endings? Why or why not?

Yes, of course! Who doesn’t like a nice, feel-good read with a happy ending? But in my opinion, they don’t always have to have happy endings. After all, aren’t some of the most famous romances, like Romeo and Juliet, also tragedies?

If a book is marketed purely as a romance novel, I expect it to have a HEA ending. It’s kind of the point of picking up books from this genre, though personally they are very few and far apart on my TBR.

This question becomes more ambiguous when romance is a subgenre in the book and not the main story. Take historical fiction for example, a romance set in the middle of a war may or may not end well, and the story, setting and facts call for the outcome. A happily ever after ending should also fit well with the plot and be realistic under the circumstances surrounding the characters and not feel forced.

To take an example from a more recent read, the Empirium series is fantasy, and the plot has a major effect as to the direction of the romance between Audric and Rielle, the main characters. By the beginning of the final book, Lightbringer, it was obvious that there was no logical way it could end well. My biggest concern going into that book was that it would be twisted in some way to concoct an HEA just for the sake of it – but to my relief, it wasn’t, and in fact, it turned out to have a very fitting, bittersweet ending that was perfect for the story.

It’s entirely possible to write a wonderful romance that doesn’t have an HEA. The Fault in Our Stars and The Song of Achilles are great examples of this, neither ends happily, but both are such beautiful reads. All in all, while I do love reading an HEA ending, I prefer a realistic one more.

What are some of your favorite romances with Happily Ever Afters?

I had to think for a while to come up with these, because I read so few novels that are entirely romance, but here they are:

Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters (HEAs)? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters (HEAs)?

  1. I'm All Booked Up YA July 9, 2022 / 11:37 am

    We pretty much only want HEAs in romances. It made us mad how Allegiant and Something Strange and Deadly ended.

    Liked by 1 person

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