Happily Ever After

Today was again my turn over at the Casablanca Blog. As always I want to share my musings with you all as well. Enjoy!

I was all set to write up today’s blog on the Lathan summer vacation plans. I had the first paragraph written in my head and was going to open it up for folks to talk about their favorite holiday spots. But then I came home from teaching the preschoolers at church, a typical Sunday morning of no special significance, and discovered sitting on my desk the carnations you see in this photo with a card that says: “Just thinking about you and how much I love us.”

Inside my husband wrote: “I could say these flowers and this card are for no special occasion, but that would be a lie. You’re my heart’s constant thought. XXOO, Steve”

OK, say aah! Yes, he is a really wonderful guy and I know I am incredibly blessed. And yes I could brag on and on about how often he expresses his love with similar gestures. He would LOVE to hear you all praise his thoughtfulness! LOL! It is entirely true and I do not have to exaggerate in how marvelously romantic my own Mr. Darcy is. But I am not writing this to boast my good fortune or exalt my hubby or to make anyone feel sad if they haven’t found their Prince Charming. It is just that his words and these simple flowers struck me forcibly.

We writers of romance are inspired for different reasons, I am sure. We come from varied romantic backgrounds and have widely diverse beliefs in what a male/female relationship entails. And most likely we are not all married happily and have suffered serious emotional hardships along the way. But we must have one thing in common, I think, and that is the hope that “happily-ever-after” – however we may define it – does exist. Can there be a romance writer who envisions their hero and heroine NOT living together forever? Can a reader of romance be a true fan of the genre if she expects the relationship to whither and die soon after the book ends? Correct me if I am wrong, but the answer to the first question has to be NO. If asked the second question a few years ago, before I began writing, I would have shaken my head in bafflement, certain that the answer was an unequivocal NO. What would be the point in reading a romance novel if one did not desire the couple to be happy and beat the odds?

The reason these flowers and my husband’s poetic words seared my heart and compelled me to write this essay is because I know too well that the answer to the latter question isn’t a clear NO. I know full well that the real world of marriage and love isn’t always what we write or read in a novel. There are a huge number of frogs mixed in with the princes! Not everyone is so lucky in love. However, my marriage, and many many others that I know personally, proves that romance is alive and well on planet earth. But we aren’t necessarily talking about the real world here.
I am talking about ladies who pick up a romance novel.

I wrote my sequel to Pride and Prejudice because I believed with all my heart that Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy would have a good life together. That they powerfully loved each other. That Jane Austen was strongly conveying that message. That they would live happily-ever-after. How I have chosen to weave that future may not be everyone’s ideal, but why would anyone wish grief upon this literary couple? Why would a reader wish misery, tragedy, and a swift dissolution of the romance to ANY literary couple? Yet time and time again I receive comments from disgruntled readers who clearly anticipated and desired unhappiness for the Darcys and are downright angry that I gave them a content, sexually fulfilling, bonded relationship. Yep, I am still shaking my head in bafflement and am sure I will never understand the attitude. Thankfully I receive FAR more comments from satisfied readers! This gives me hope that not everyone is jaded into believing true love is impossible. Or at least that they have the outlook one would expect from a romance reader.

Then I come home on an average Sunday to discover a sweet gift from my soul mate, who is as I write this expressing his devotion by preparing a delicious dinner for his family to enjoy. And of course I love the flowers and will treasure the card and thanked him profusely – sigh After a reverent period on display, it will be added to the enormous box containing all his cards and poems written for me. I will rifle through some of them as I always do when storing away the latest, reading the sentiments spanning the 24 years we have been together, and it will rejuvenate my heart, bolster my spirit, and sustain my inspiration in writing Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth as I do. Thank you, Steve, for daily showing me what love is far better than any romance novelist, even me, can write it.

11 Comments for Happily Ever After

  1. "Why would a reader wish misery, tragedy, and a swift dissolution of the romance to ANY literary couple? Yet time and time again I receive comments from disgruntled readers who clearly anticipated and desired unhappiness for the Darcys and are downright angry that I gave them a content, sexually fulfilling, bonded relationship. Yep, I am still shaking my head in bafflement and am sure I will never understand the attitude. Thankfully I receive FAR more comments from satisfied readers!"

    Its because they don’t have a romantic love….or love at all ..or they have a twisted love. When you quote the Bible and divine intention in "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE" you assume God invented marriage and wanted it to grow and be fulfilling… even consuming. We live in an age when to many its a myth, something people of old spoke of, but rarely achieved. Now we are at a time when long term committed relationships are under fire. A time when a prenuptial agreement is considered wise by many. Oh and then there’s your romantic language and verbal affections which we must not use to be proper. To top it off even though you don’t portray graphic sex you use romantic language to discuss bedroom scenes. I think to take a romantic couple as we have here and to expand on their love is just too much for some to deal with. Now if he was a alcoholic drug user who cheated on her with many other women and you spent 500 pages with Darcy explaining his reasons, I’m sure those would find it pleasing. At the primary core of people who are hurtful is selfishness, and selfishness in a relationship is like acid to a beautiful painting…. it eats it away. Now the selflessness needed to truly become one rules out prenuptial agreements, affairs, and twisted sex… all it needs is a man and a woman and two hearts willing to believe. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Simple yes but not so possible in an unbelieving world. Keep at it…love ya

    ME

    xxoo

  2. Wow, this is so sweet! I really have to keep my eyes open for the good ones that surely must be out there. We all want to be loved and appreciated the way the characters in your books care about one another, and now I see where you get some of those sweet ideals from. So sweet!

    By the way, I finished book two awhile ago, and am waiting to post a review closer to the release date. I loved Elizabeth’s birthday! Does that mean I’m a selfish brat and want to be spoiled??? Okay, maybe just a little! I can’t wait for book three!

  3. Wow, Sharon, this really…well, it’ll sound like a cliche, but it really made me stop to think. I’m a chronically single woman and I find myself wondering sometimes if I will EVER find the right man for me. I also read and write romance novels. Sometimes I wonder if my expectations are completely unrealistic until I read stories like yours.

    I grew up with parents who were (and are) very much in love with each other. They had a whirlwind courtship and married within 5 months of meeting each other. They just recently celebrated their 35th anniversary.

    I think sometimes having grown up in that type of environment, it’s harder for me to settle for anything less than what I know is out there. It makes for some very interesting soul-searching on my part, let me tell you. 🙂

    I hope this comment makes sense. I just took a sleeping pill and my brain and fingers are not connecting very well at the moment. LOL!

  4. I normally do not like romantic stories because I find most writers too sappy. But not yours! As a writer, yes, you do get inspriration from what is around you (I wonder where the heck my violence and dark characters come from…? ) but it’s obvious where your inspiration is!

    Thank you for your wonderful story!

  5. Thank you for the very kind remarks. I was unaware Sharon had decided to post this glimpse into our personal lives but happy she did. Once again thank you.

  6. Such a beautiful gesture Steve! Sharon and Steve you are both inspirational with your commitment to each other and your love for one another.

    The "Hope" that romance is out there for everyone is the reason we hold on to our dreams……There are many types of relationships as you mention Sharon and one can only be thankful for what they have and with attention and tenderness to each other perhaps even the most unromantic of us can enjoy half of what you and Steve share.Gives us all hope and I thank you for sharing these intimate moments with us.

    Your amazingly wonderful Saga captures a deep passionate spirtual commitment between Darcy and Lizzy, which inspires romance in my life anew.

    Many thanks and praises always
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

  7. Thanks, Sharon, for sharing your happiness with us. Steve, you are awesome; as are you Sharon. Little moments like you described are truly cherished.

    My husband, Tom, and I just celebrated our 39th anniversary this month. We, periodically, show each other how much we care for each other with little odds and ends of things and sometimes big odds and ends of things.

    Yes, happily ever after can and does exist. I feel sorry for those who have not found their happiness with someone else. Yes, sometimes it lasts and sometimes it doesn’t, but hopefully the majority of the time it does last.

    I am very happy Lizzy and Darcy have found happy ever after in your books, Sharon. They deserve it! Don’t let the naysayers change that. Jane Austen wrote all her books with happy endings. I truly believe, like you, she meant them all to last. In all her books her couples overcame adversity and found love.

    Thank you for sharing with us. Take care and God Bless.

    Esther

  8. Thanks ladies! Yes indeed true love and high romance exists! I refuse to let the naysayers and negative Nellies break me down! Seli, you and Roberto are another example of marvelous love, as are you, Elly, with your Paul. I appreciate the support and encouragement and pray that more positive believers will speak out. We must drown out the disgruntled haters of love, marriage, and happiness! That is the part that makes me the saddest: That readers may pass by my novel or any other fine romance because the haters are ruling and tragically in the majority. So thanks for speaking out! Keep it up!! Lizzy and Darcy need your support!! And I know I do. 🙂

  9. Thank you Sharon for sharing this with us!
    It sounds so wonderful!
    You and Steve, Lizzy and Darcy: true love and true romance; that´s the way it is meant to be!

    God bless you and your family,

    Susanne

  10. Very romantic Steve!! How wonderful Sharon and such beautiful flowers.
    My husband (My Darcy) still has my small lock of hair in his wallet to keep with him.

    Seli

  11. "Aaaaah’ Your are such a romantic guy Steve! It make me think of a message on the badroom mirror from years and years ago…. :-))
    Love your musings Sharon, you know I am a believer!
    Hugs
    Elly

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