Abandonment Issues in Romance Novels

image001_editedI started to think about the books I’ve written and the role parents played in them. Kaylee in A MONTH FROM MIAMI: No father; abandoned by mother; raised by grandmother.

Haylee in A FOREVER KIND OF GUY: No father; unfit mother; raised by grandmother and aunt.ForeverKindOfGuy72sm

FirstTimeAgain,The72lg[1]FINALBaylee in THE FIRST TIME AGAIN: Alcoholic father; mother deceased.

Lesley in WHAT A RICH WOMAN WANTS: Father debilitated by stroke; not close to mother. (But both parents still alive and playing an active role in heroine’s life. Progress…)WhatARichWomanWants72sm

Jolie in NOBODY’S FOOL: A breakthrough! Her parents are alive, still married and not alcoholics. But she doesn’t trust her mother or confide in her, nor does she live near them.NobodysFool72sm

Annie in MISCONCEIVE: Close to father; difficult relationship with woman she thinks is her mother.

Indie pubbed

Indie pubbed

Indie pubbed

Indie pubbed

Amanda in SCATTERED MOMENTS:  Alcoholic father; mother deceased.

Melissa in NOT QUITE HEAVEN: Parents divorced, abandoned her, raised by aunt.nqh-thumbnail

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

Quinn in FANTASY MAN (2/16):  Mother deceased; raised by father and brother.

Cleo in CLEO’S WEB (11/16): Abandoned by father; raised by struggling mother.

Bree in (ANIMAL 4/17): Abandoned by parents; raised by grandparents.

I’ve mentioned before that in most of my books there’s a child who doesn’t belong and that child is a part of me. But what I also notice (look at the list above) is that there is never a strong mother figure for my heroines. The mothers have died, been unfit or untrustworthy. The fathers are either alcoholics or non-existent. The heroines are looking for love, of course, but also for someone they can trust who’s going to stick by them…forever.

In how many historical romance novels are the heroines orphans? Rich or poor, parents died young, leaving children to fend for themselves. Often there is an unscrupulous relative in charge of the child’s life.

In my career as an amateur psychologist I’ve always been fascinated by patterns. Nothing has fascinated me more than seeing authors’ life themes played out in their fiction.  Show me a happy family with little conflict and I’ll show you a writer with nothing to say. Dysfunction drives everything in fiction, especially internal conflict and motivation.




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