Question: Is It Still a Romance Book Without a HEA?

Posted January 9, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 9 Comments


The only romance books I read are of the paranormal variety and I have yet to come across one that didn’t have a HEA ending. It’s extremely rare for a para series to stick with the same couple for more than one book. Sure, some characters may make cameo appearances in each new installment but once their story has been “told”, chances are they will never be front-and-center again. I’ll be honest, if the day comes when I do happen to pick-up a PNR novel and it doesn’t end with a HEA, I’ll be seriously disappointed. Sometimes books get shelved under the wrong genre so it has happened that I’ve started a book thinking it was paranormal romance only to discover that it’s actually Urban Fantasy. But, once I make the mental switch in my head, I have no difficulty adjusting to the fact that my current read most likely will not end as I’d originally expected.

Although admittedly, I did read the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy and plan on continuing the CROSSFIRE series when the fourth novel comes out, and both of these romance series’ HEAs are stretched out over several books. And, even though the happily-ever-after isn’t immediate I still consider both of these to be romance because I know that the authors are still heading in that direction and will get there… eventually. It’s not like in Urban Fantasy when you sometimes have absolutely no idea whether the heroine is going to even survive let alone get a HEA. So yes, I think a romance book should still be considered as such even if it doesn’t have a traditional ending.

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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9 responses to “Question: Is It Still a Romance Book Without a HEA?

  1. The Southern Vampire series (Sookie) comes to mind. I know it was an Urban Fantasy series but I still want a happy ending, but since I didn’t get one (sookie might have…I didn’t…LOL) I wouldn’t recommend it as a romance any more.
    So, my answer is no, if it doesn’t have a happy ending it’s not a romance for me.

  2. I would say YES it would still be a romance novel and in hindsight, there are a few “romance” novels with unconventional HEA’s like they didn’t necessarily end up with their love interest but it’s for the best. Like a mutual break up

  3. Romance and love is messy and that means it doesn’t always have a happy ending. I have read books before where there was no happy ending and yet I still considered it to be romance or even have romance aspects. I do prefer for characters to have an HEA though. 🙂

  4. What an interesting question! I think I’ve always considered it romance if relationship is a dominant aspect of the novel (so not like UF, where it’s often more of a backdrop to a much bigger scenario). So even if it ended without the HEA I think I would accept it as Romance. Personally I love HEAs but I also love being shocked and having a good cry at the end… though I tend to expect HEA from my romance and to be shocked a bit from my others, like UF. I think I just talked in circles LOL