What the Feck?! (WTF?!)
Is a new feature here at The Book Nympho.
Every Monday we will post a book related topic
that had us thinking WTF?! while reading a book
When do they work and
when do they just drive you to drink?
Before I get too far along on this topic, I must admit that I have avoided storylines with love triangles like a flu virus! I’m pretty soft-hearted and empathetic; I will feel the character’s pain long after I’ve finished the book. That’s not where I want to be so why even choose to go there. One of the reasons why I don’t read much in the YA genre is because most seem to always involve a love triangle and a lot of young angst (I don’t like recalling from my own youth). Why are they at the center of so many YA books and series or have I just picked the wrong books? I don’t remember having THAT many choices at that age. Is this a part of the story you enjoy?
Well, recently, I’ve had reason to rethink my decision to run away from these books. In the last month, I read two books where a love triangle was the central theme of both, one I stumbled into and the other I picked up with full knowledge of what I was getting into. Both were emotional rides but were so well written that I ended up feeling great when they ended.
So why have a triangle? Does it make the story better in some way? What I noticed with one of the stories (Paradise Hops by Liz Crowe) was I ended up getting immersed in the characters, knowing their true motives and emotions (she really mastered the presentment of three points of view using a third person narrative!). My reading preference seems to be character driven so this really worked for me. Liz clearly wanted her readers to be as conflicted about the situation as the heroine and mission accomplished! There were times when I couldn’t decide which guy I wanted – really! There was no way I was going to be disappointed in the end since both were equally appealing…and flawed.
The times when a triangle doesn’t seem to work so well is when the situation is soooo drawn out, especially in a series where it keeps going book after book. You end up wishing they would both go away and leave the character high and dry. I haven’t read the books but I’ve seen many complaints by followers of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. She’s at 19 books and Stephanie still hasn’t chosen between Ranger and Joe Morelli but her readers seem to be entrenched in one camp or the other. I bailed after the first book.
I started Rachel Vincents' Shifter series and really liked the first book. But, it was sort of clear that Faythe wasn’t all that ready to truly commit to Marc, or at least Jace was going to be an ongoing, trouble making distraction. Bailed again.
Another series where the love triangle had me conflicted (this was the stumble I referred to earlier) was Allison Pang’s Abby Sinclair series. Brystion and Talivar couldn’t be more different and offered Abby very different things emotionally. I went back and forth between these two and Trace of Moonlight, the 3rd book in the series, didn’t really make it clear who won, which in an odd way worked for me. I’m almost hoping this is the last book…
I read a western historical romance last year by Lorraine Heath where the heroine’s lover left to seek his fortune before he found out she was pregnant. Her father’s ranch foreman stepped up and married her to protect her good name. Of course, you know what happened next. After these two found affection, the baby was born and they were living a good life, the baby’s daddy shows back up, ready to collect his family. I bawled my eyes out and this book, Sweet Lullaby, ranks as my most favorite romance book…ever.
I’m now completely hooked by a series with the ultimate in love triangles. Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series keeps me up at night. Chess drives me nuts when she runs to Lex whenever she hits the ditch with Terrible or some other problem arises. Of course, Chess should be with Terrible and just ditch Lex. The problem is, every time I think I can put Lex in a little box and make him unworthy, he shows another side of himself. No, I’ll never change my mind about Chess and Terrible being THE couple, but I’m getting myself prepared to end up feeling bad about Lex and that’s not where I want to be.
Here are some other popular characters and their books/series featuring love triangles. Do you have others on your list? (I’m only through the first book for some of these so the triangles may already be resolved.)
- Mercy, Adam and Samuel (Mercy Thompson series)
- Claire, Jamie and Frank (Outlander series)
- Merit, Ethan and Morgan (Chicagoland Vampires – I’m only at Book #2)
- Mac, Barrons and V’lane (Fever series)
- Elena, Phillip and Clayton (Bitten, Women of the Otherworld series)
- Charley, Reyes and Garrett (Charley Davidson series)
I think I’m now at the point where I’ve got to admit that I must not really hate a love triangle as I love too many of these characters and stories. So, maybe “hate” is too strong of an emotion but some do just drive me to at least want a drink.
Where are you with these three-way relationships? Do they make you crazy or do they actually work for you on some level? Or maybe it’s just a love-hate relationship that you can’t do without. Whatever it may be, we’re interested.