Rebecca was kind enough to do a guest post on one of my absolute favorite tropes, the relationship/marriage in trouble. In my opinion it is easy to fall in love, but staying in love takes some work. That is one of the reasons I love this trope. I’ll turn this space over to Rebecca and her thoughts on the topic.
I’m not a rom-com kind of gal.
When it comes to reading romance, I am here for the heartache and the overcoming of obstacles. I want to see the characters put through the ringer, see them face the worst in themselves and have their relationships put to the test. I want to be on the edge of my seat as I watch them fight for love, hoping things will work out (even though I know they will in the end). When I pick up a book, I want the stakes to be high. And what’s higher stakes than losing your marriage?
The “marriage/relationship in trouble” trope is one of my favorite story themes. In this kind of book, the couple knows how to love to each other, but something has happened, from either a traumatic event, a lack of communication, or life getting in the way. Nothing gets me as emotionally invested in the story than when a couple has a history. Infatuation is easy. Characters who’ve already fallen in love and committed to one another, but have to remember what they’re fighting for all over again? Sign. Me. UP.
There are so many things I adore about this trope, the first of which is that it doesn’t assume that a wedding and babies equals bliss forever. In their blog post The Marriage in Trouble Trope: Love Is Hard Work, Dear Author says, “Most romance stories end at the beginning of the happy ever after. The marriage in trouble explores what happens during the ever after.” I love a story that looks past the fancy dress and veil, the held hands and taken vows. It takes a hard look at the reality of life—how after years of marriage, the glamour fades, shit gets real, and the characters forget they were once madly in love with the person sharing their home. As opposed to the crackling sexual tension of enemies-to-lovers, the electricity of first loves, second-chance romances and forbidden lovers, this trope is about rebuilding that tension. These characters once wanted each other, and you’re a bundle of nerves waiting for that passion and energy to be refueled.
In Their Discovery, Brady and Sam have been together for half their lives. The book starts over a decade after they tied the knot. Once, the heat between them was off the charts, but now they barely connect. They have two young daughters, one with special needs, and “real life” has taken over any semblance of romance. Despite that fact, Brady desperately loves Sam and will do anything to keep her. He’s keeping some secrets, though—desires he’s sure his wife would never return. And Sam is lost, adrift without the career she’d hoped for, struggling as a stay-at-home mom and certain her husband doesn’t want her anymore. These two have been in the background throughout His Contract and Her Claim, the first two Legally Bound books, and I’ve been waiting for years to write their story.
I put these two through the ringer in their book, and I hope the reader will be rooting for them the way I do when I read this kind of trope. We read romance to see love triumphing against all odds. Well, there’s nothing more triumphant than seeing a relationship that perseveres, to watch as the characters see the other person’s imperfections and love them for it anyway, figuring out that yes, their partner was the right person for them after all. If the “H.E.A.” is the end all be all, then these stories are the most real, most romantic trope of all. Not only have the lovers established their H.E.A. once, they’ve done it again.
That is what I come to the party for when I read this trope. I want the same thing bestselling author Maya Banks said she wanted in her Barnes and Noble blog: I want flawed people. Real ones who’ve made mistakes. People who hurt each other and desperately try to fix what they’ve done, and I want to experience it with them.
Rebecca’s Recommended List of “Relationship On the Rocks” books:
- Making it Last by Ruthie Knox
- Hard Way by Katie Porter
- Take Me Back by Meghan March
- Winning Back His Wife by Zoe York and Gwen Hayes
- Retrosexual by Ainsley Booth and Sadie Haller
About the book:
Exploring new territory could save their marriage…or push it over the edge.
Legally Bound, Book 3
Brady Archer’s marriage is falling apart. He’s tried being the goofy guy who stole Sam’s heart, but it’s not working, and his inability to please her cuts him deeper than she knows.
Sam still loves her husband, but it’s hard to find him sexy when he acts more like her third kid than her husband. When she lands a new job at a law firm, Brady needs to pick up the slack. Giving him orders should feel tedious, but instead it unexpectedly reignites their missing spark.
While Brady glimpses the woman he fell for, he also unveils a side of himself that shakes him to the core. Turns out there’s no solid emotional footing between his duty at work to call the shots, and his need to call his wife Mistress.
But their attempt to fix things, including inviting Sam’s sexy female coworker into their bed, only widens the cracks in their relationship. Worse, when Sam discovers a discrepancy in the firm’s paperwork, she realizes she may have trusted the wrong person…and the fallout could cost her and Brady everything.
Warning: Contains a six-foot-five, ex-football player submissive and a ballsy, badass redhead who is learning to unleash her inner Domme. Scenes depicting humiliation, pegging, and threesomes could disturb, or stimulate a thirst for adventure.