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Book Discussion & Recommendation > Love a good hospital scene or heroine being nursed back to health?

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message 1: by Adelaide (new)

Adelaide Hipwell (adelaidehipwell) I wrote the blog post below a couple of months ago and offered it to several romance blogs as a guest spot, but no one was interested! So I’m posting it here so it doesn’t go to waste! It’s sad because I wrote it while my grandmother was in hospital. She passed away a few weeks ago after a long period of ill health. We were very close and it’s going to feel very weird this Christmas. I hope everyone makes sure to hug your loved ones this Christmas if you get the chance! ♥ Adelaide H.

PS. I wrote another potential guest blog post that also got rejected (doesn’t say much about my writing does it!!) and I ended up posting it to the discussion group Some Like It Hot, so check that out too if you’re interested in Vibrators in Contemporary Romance!!! I can post it on this discussion board too if people are interested.


message 2: by Adelaide (new)

Adelaide Hipwell (adelaidehipwell) HOSPITALS, HEROES AND HEROINES
7 reasons to love sickness in romance novels


For the last few weeks, one of my elderly relatives has been in hospital, so I’ve been thinking a lot about them recently (hospitals, that is, but elderly relatives too!). Of course, hospitals are not at all sexy in real life. Let’s be honest, the patient is often grumpy and there’s lots of waiting around: for the team of doctors to visit each day, for the nurses to answer the call bell, for test results to come back, and so on. There’s also lots of talk about yucky bodily functions, nasty procedures and sometimes sad news. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find bedpans the least bit sexy!

But I do love a hospital scene or a medical theme in romance novels. Here are seven reasons why:

1. We get to see a soft side to even the most macho of heroes. In Kylie
Scott’s Deep, book four in the Stage Dive series, some of my favourite moments are when rockstar Ben’s gruffness gives way to sweet concern whenever Lizzy’s sick. Even the smallest of gestures can be quite lovely, I don’t always need a hospital scene or a specific illness. For example, Kent lying down with Rebecca when she feels sick in Hard Rock Arrangement by Ava Lore. I’m not alone in loving these tender moments. See some other suggestions HERE by Scarlett Leigh over at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

2. It often reveals the depths of the main characters’ feelings for one another. It’s cruel, but I love a hero frantic with worry, or distraught at the thought of losing the love of his life! This can be particularly effective in BDSM erotica where the dominant’s calm and controlled exterior gives way to frantic worry when the submissive is taken to hospital. If you liked the hospital scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey, I’d also recommend the first two books in Tara Sue Me’s Submissive trilogy in which Abby is struck down by a motor vehicle and Nathaniel is beside himself with worry.

3. Heroines can be carried in someone’s arms, have their hair and foreheads softly stroked, be fussed over and nursed back to health, without coming off weak. Small instances of this can also make quite sweet moments in romance novels, such as when Hanna scrapes her knees while out running with Will in Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren, or when Nell gets hit by a frisbee and Mateo checks her collar bone in All Played Out by Cora Carmack. And when the heroine gets to do the same in return, my heart will often melt. If you liked the brief part of Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard in which Chloe cares for Bennett when he’s sick with stomach flu, try Foreplay: The Ivy Chronicles by Sophie Jordan, in which Pepper looks after Reece. Always nice when our heroine is also strong enough to avoid catching the stomach bug herself!

I definitely give bonus points for BOTH main characters getting sick in the book! My favourite examples of reciprocal care are Losing It by Cora Carmack (Bliss and Garrick get mono, or “glandular fever” for Australian readers like me) and Pierced by Sydney Landon (Lucian and Lia both catch the flu).

4. The drama inherent in accidents, collapses and hospital scenes is exciting. I can think of at least a couple of romance novels off the top of my head where the heroine is plucked from a burning building by the hero, just in the nick of time. Even when I know there’s going to be a HEA, I still breathe a huge sigh of relief when they emerge from the smoky ruins! Foreplay, as above, is one of these. Pepper briefly goes to hospital afterwards due to smoke inhalation, so we also get a hospital scene!

5. Sometimes it’s an opportunity for the character’s degree of devotion to be shown. For example, sticking with someone throughout an illness. My favourite example of this is Enemy Within by Marysol James, in which Emma undergoes chemotherapy for leukaemia. This book crops up on lots of discussion threads and for good reason. I really liked it! Garrett by Sawyer Bennett also tends to appear on such lists and is similarly themed. Equally lovely.

6. It can tell us about the hero or heroine’s strength of character if they’re battling an illness not visible to others and suffering quietly, or if they have to find the strength of will to pull themselves through a devastating injury or traumatic event. Sarina Bowen’s Falling From The Sky and The Year We Fell Down both spring to mind here.

7. And for pure smut reasons... it’s always fun to read about a couple who can’t keep their hands off each other, even where they’re supposed to avoid having sex for a while because of sickness or injury, such as Logan (recovering from a hernia operation) in She by Annabel Fanning or Abby (post accident) in The Submissive, as above. I can think of several college sports romances where concussions (or even just injured limbs!) get in the way of sexy times, so look for these sorts of stories too.

If you’re like me and you love a good hospital scene, check out these Amazon discussion threads, where you’ll find dozens more suggestions (especially historical), including many of the books I’ve mentioned here:
Compiling list of hurt/injured heroine
Injured/ill hero books
Sick heroine I’m mentioned on this one - yay!!!
A sucker for a sick heroine
Heroine sick, hero’s fault
Heroine gets cold/flu/tummy bug and hero nurses her back to health

Goodreads also has several relevant book lists (Sick heroines, Chronic illness, In sickness and in health) though you have to click through to each book for more information. If knowing extra information like whether it’s illness or injury, who’s sick, whether there’s any nursing back to health, the explicitness (and quantity!) of sex scenes, and so on, I’d recommend you look at the Amazon discussions. Also check out Kat Mayo’s Goodreads vomit list HERE and her blog post about it HERE which has the delightful title: Embracing the porcelain goddess! I’ve purchased several books off all these lists and been really happy with almost all of them - I hope you find some new books to enjoy too! I would love to hear about your favourites in the comments below. I’d particularly love to hear from anyone who’s read any non-heterosexual contemporary romances with sickness or hospital scenes in them - I haven’t read that many until now and feel bad about the lack of diversity on this list. Let’s try and rectify that!


Friend to Books and Cats Alike (buddiface) | 2 comments I’m glad you devoted time to this! I’ve often considered it to be the “hurt/comfort” trope but I feel as though I’ve exhausted my search using that language. I find that the “hurt” is usually abuse, torture, or rape and I have a hard time stomaching it.

So thank you for introducing me to more links and expanding my insight into this. You’ve given me the idea that I like to see the reaction of the other party and the nurturing that it tends to bring up, not necessarily h/c as it’s commonly written.


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