Separation in Romances: Does It Work For You?

Separations in romance: does it work for you? Because it most certainly works for me. Only if done the way that I like it and that is it must have two things: 1) a good reason for the separation and 2) a damn good reunion scene. I think romances today are in a slump. Many are just too damn predictable. There just isn’t enough stories out there that build on the reader’s anticipation.

But back to separations in romance, Meredith Duran did this with her debut novel, The Duke of Shadows. That the book was well written and reminded me of the romances of the past. Judith McNaught had separations in her books so often that I think it became a trademark of hers. Other notable reads: Sandy Hingston’s historical romance, The Suitor, Paullina Simon’s The Bronze Horseman and of course, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Raise of hands how many times you read the reunion scene with Jamie and Claire? I’m sure there are more stories out there but those titles listed had a short separation in the story accompanied by a nice reunion scene.

I know some readers don’t care for the h/h to be separated for too long and I’m one of them. Does it truly make the heart grow fonder? If the separation is too long, I tend to get bored and close the book. After all, the purpose of romance is to experience the journey of the couple finding love together, not apart. On a slightly different track, I didn’t care for Julia Harper’s Hot that had the hero and heroine develop their relationship by playing phone tag. They never really had any face time together. That was not cool. That’s the only book I can think of where the separation between the h/h didn’t work out so well. But enough of my thoughts, what are yours? Do you enjoy romances where there are brief separations? Does it matter to you one way or the other? What other authors use this type of plot device and use it well? Because I’d surely like to read them. Thanks.

Photo Credit: The Heart Grows Fonder by Godward, John William 1861 – 1922 from World Classic Gallery.

About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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5 Responses to Separation in Romances: Does It Work For You?

  1. Lynn Spencer says:

    If done well, separation can definitely work for me. I love a good reunion scene!

    Also, I read a lot of historicals and some separation makes sense there. If you’ve got a medieval knight going off to fight a battle, the version that has his faisty heroine going along with him stands a much bigger chance of making me give up than the one where the couple must be apart, even if briefly. I’d rather see a natural separation between hero and heroine than see the author use any over-the-top contrivance needed to keep them together 24/7.

  2. SarahT says:

    If the separation has a reason and doesn’t drag on unnecessarily long, then I’m all for them.

    My problem with many of the newer romances published is the lack of credible sexual tension. I have no objection to explicit sex scenes per se, but I think romances suffer from having the main characters have sex too soon and too often. It kills all pretence of tension for me.

  3. jmc says:

    I’m so wishy-washy….it depends. Why are they separated? And what is the setting? As Lynn Spencer says, separations in historicals make sense, given the timing of travel and often distinct gender roles that led to separations. Also, the degree to which h/h are able to communicate despite the separation matters. Contrived separations and lack of communication are killers for me.

  4. Avid Reader says:

    @Lynn Spencer: YES. I hate stupid contrivances but am always in the mood for a good reunion scene.

    @SarahT: Excellent point for me too. I’ve yet to get a foothold into the newer romances today.

    @jmc: agreed that’s why I stated that in order for it to work there must be a good reason and of course that reunion scene better be worth the wait. I don’t know. I just feel like romances today LACK something. I don’t care for any of the new romance writers today. Hence my move to mystery and YA fiction.

  5. ~ames~ says:

    The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly has the h/h separated for part of the book. It really works – and I’m grinding my teeth waiting for the author’s next book – where the h/h are separated before the book starts.

    But it all depends.

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