Thursday, May 30, 2013


Happily Ever After … or Not

by Elene Sallinger

Whether or not romance novels should always end with a happily ever after has had some pretty serious discussion. One erotica author, Remittance Girl, has even gone so far to as examine the HEA motif as the focus of her PhD studies. Some readers demand it or they don't want to read your work. Others find it a cop out.

So what's the right answer?

As a writer, I don’t think there is one. Studies have shown time and again that readers want to feel good. They want a satisfying ending. For the majority of the books I read, I do too. However, every now and again, I come across a book - or movie - that does not have a happy ending and find that I am just as satisfied.

The first movie that comes to mind is Message in a Bottle by Kevin Costner. This story actually has a tragic ending, and yet for the development of the characters Kevin Costner's and Robin Wright's, the ending was necessary for the character's ultimate growth. I really can't see that movie ending another way.

In fact, my favorite book of all time, Dragondoom by Dennis L. McKiernan also has a tragic ending, yet the love that Thork bears for Elin is timeless and enduring. I cry every single time I read that book and love it just the same even though I know I won't get the ending I want.

All of this is very long way of saying, that I think readers as a whole are intelligent enough to know that sometimes books, like life, don't go the way you want them  too, but this doesn't destroy the value of a story.

Hell, Titanic remains one of the highest grossing films of all time and we all know how that story ended!

I love a good happy ending, but every now and then a not so happy ending is just what a story needs. Rather than avoid them, I say let a story go where it goes. Each tragic ending only makes us appreciate the happy ones all the more.


Thank you so much for hosting me! It's a pleasure to be here.

Elene, Thank YOU so much for guest blogging! What a very interesting topic to discuss...the dreaded HEA or not? I have also read a few books that did not have the classic HEA that most people demand. Sobbed like a baby...reread the book, and STILL love the story for what it was.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Time Traveler's Wife ~  Audrey Niffenegger
The Fault In Our Stars ~ John Green
Sing Me To Sleep ~ Angela Morrison
Nexus ~ C.L. Parker
A Knight In Shining Armor ~ Jude Devereaux
Love Story ~ Erich Segal 
The Thorn Birds ~ Colleen McCullough
The Bridges of Madison County ~ Robert James Waller
P.S. I Love You ~ Cecelia Ahern

Just to name a few.

What is one of your favorite reads that didn't have a typical HEA that you absolutely LOVED?  

Leave me a comment--I'd love to hear! 

River Rock, Vermont, 2011. This is the story of Claire Ryan and Evan Lang. 35-year-old Claire joins a local book club for romance readers in order to get over the breakdown of her 10-year relationship, there she meets book shop owner Evan, a dominant man who has never recovered from the sudden death of his submissive wife.

As their relationship develops and they embark on the path of Claire’s submission, it becomes harder and harder for Evan to keep his emotional distance. Claire is open and responsive and he wants her badly, but refuses to let himself go.

As Claire falls deeper in love with Evan, she realises that he is holding back and decides to end their relationship, forcing Evan to confront his own past and his feelings in order to save his new love.

Winner of the new writing competition at the Festival of Romance 2011. 

Buy Links:

Xcite Books / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

About Elene:

Hailing from Washington, DC, Elene Sallinger first caught the writing bug in 2004 after writing and illustrating several stories for her then four-year-old daughter. Her writing career has encompassed two award-winning children’s stories, a stint as a consumer-education advocate, as well as writing her debut novel, Awakening – a novel of erotic fiction that won the New Writing Competition at the Festival of Romance 2011.

She is a lover of all things lingual, a warrior of words, and a vixen of vocabulary. Her goal is to titillate, provoke, empower and move you with her work which ranges from the erotic to the dramatic and everything in between.

When not writing Elene is a mom to a feisty 13-year old daughter and two adorable Pitbulls.

Website / Twitter / Goodreads 


  1. My absolute favorite book would be Dragondoom as mentioned, but I also loved:

    Bloodshift by Garfield Reeves-Stevens
    Red Branch by Morgan Llywelyn

    Neither of these books have the expected HEA ending and I still love them to this day.

    1. Elene :)
      Thanks for stopping by. And as a side note, I added Dragondoom to my list on Goodreads to read :)
      Thanks for the other rec's as well. I love it when a book seems to devour my soul, spit it out, and make me want more.


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