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Monday Puzzler > A Romance Taboo: Monday Puzzler June 6, 2016

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message 1: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
For years, I was one of those romance readers who refused to read a romance in which either lead character was unfaithful. Adultery was the antithesis of romance in my mind; it shattered the possibility of the happily-ever-after that was a necessary part of my romance reading experience. But a few books changed my mind, books that included the raw pain and the difficult healing. These snippets are from one of those books.



Privately though, she had suffered in a way she had never suffered before. The secure façade might well have been held together on the inside with staples and masking tape. She lay awake nights imagining Hero having sex with Other Woman. She imagined the two of them in her own bed, in the back of Hero’s pickup, in dark places and sunny places and all kind of places that she had shared with him. She imagined him undressing himself, letting someone else undress him, undressing someone else, touching someone else, kissing someone else, and on and on and on until in the dark she had to cover her mouth with both hands so that no one would hear her terrible, throat-tearing scream.

She hated Other Woman. The bitch. The home-wrecking whore. She hated Hero. The bastard. The lying, cheating, drunken . . . She couldn’t come up with the right epithet. Cursing had never been her forte, but she was getting better at it. Mentally. She punished them mentally.

But she had punished herself more. The worst of it was that in all her imaginings and all her condemnations, she couldn’t expunge Hero’s face from her thoughts. And it wasn’t monstrous. It wasn’t ugly. Tearing his picture to shred only filled her with regret. Remembrances of him—his scent, his touch, the sound of his voice—lingered in every corner of her life, still, in some fragile, female sense, cherished.

The worst of it was that she missed him.

The worst of it was that she still loved him.

The worst of it was that they had shared, still shared, big beautiful chunks of their lives, and there was so much about him that she would always love.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



“We’re not the same two kids we were when we first got married. We’re older. You’re a lot wiser than I realized, and I’m finally wising up.”

“We still fit together.”

“Yes, but you also fit other—”

“No.” He rose above her again, taking her chin in his hand, begging her to see the honesty in his eyes. “I don’t, Heroine, I don’t. God, please don’t think like that.” He tore his gaze from hers, feeling powerless. He could do no more than ask.

Gently. “Please don’t. All I know is, I love you. I can’t explain it or dress it up to make it any prettier.” And he exposed that fragile part of himself that had always been good enough. “It is what it is, Heroine. A poor man’s love. And it’s all I have left to give you.”

Her small arms enfolded him, pulling his head down, nesting his face close to her woman’s heart. “I love you too, Hero. God help me, I do.”


message 2: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2059 comments Mod
I definitely haven't read this.


message 3: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1878 comments Mod
Don't know, but I really want to!


Aly is so frigging bored | 848 comments Mod
I don't think I've read this


Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1221 comments I haven't read a lot of cheating books, but I'm pretty sure I haven't read this one. Pretty sure... ;)


message 6: by Priya (new)

Priya (priyachennareddy) I have a guess but am not sure:(


message 7: by Leigh-Ayn (new)

Leigh-Ayn | 1128 comments No idea. I'm not a fan of cheating books :( but maybe I should try this one?


message 8: by Phoenix77 (new)

Phoenix77 | 346 comments Just this small snippet makes me ache for the heroine. Not a fan of cheating books but I'm curious to see the title.


message 9: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Hill | 487 comments Have definitely not read this, but it sounds good


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 984 comments Not my thing. I'll need to wait to find out the title.


message 11: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments No clue. I don't think I've ever read a book where the hero (or heroine, for that matter) cheated and then they ended up together in the end. That seems a bit odd so I'm going to have to go look at my book list and see if that jogs my memory.


message 12: by Daniellegn (new)

Daniellegn | 195 comments Don't know the book. cheating has sometimes been an automatic "no way" for me, because it makes it very hard to like and root for the hero (haven't ever read one with a cheater heroine, but would probably have the same issue). nowadays I don't avoid books with cheaters, as I kind of have this compulsion to figure out WHY / how they get past it and back to "true love"


message 13: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2059 comments Mod
I can think of several that I admire --This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa, The Obedient Bride and Dancing With Clara by Balogh, Margarita by Wolf. In every case they start as marriages of convenience. This sounds like a contemporary. I am curious to see how the author handles that.


message 14: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 892 comments Dls wrote: "I can think of several that I admire --This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa, The Obedient Bride and Dancing With Clara by Balogh, Margarita by Wolf. In every case they start as marriages of convenience. ..."

LOL well I guess you just proved me wrong, Deb. I've read both the Baloghs and Eloisa's TDOM. Maybe I was concentrating too much on contemps.


message 15: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2059 comments Mod
The closest I can come to a contemporary that I liked is Not Quite a husband--which is a more recent historical and the infidelity is right before the wedding.

Surely there must have been contemps with adultery that I read but I cannot think of them.


message 16: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
I do think it is more common in historicals. It's practically an epidemic in EJ's first Duchess series. Then there's Guhrke's The Marriage Bed, although I could nor forgive the hero in that one.

Some contemps I can think of off the top of my head: Some Enchanted Season, Marilyn Pappano; The Fourth Child, C. J. Carmichael; Forever Again, Shannon Stacey; and a recent read--Alabama, Again, Susan Sands.


message 17: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2059 comments Mod
I think the Gurkhe book is very well done, although I can see why you can't forgive the heroine. I didn't like Some Enchanted Season and haven't read the others.


message 18: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
I just realized I left the puzzler off my list. The excerpts are from Reason to Believe by Kathleen Eagle, an oldie from 1995--but it is has been reissued. One of the many reasons I love Eagle's books is that she does take on subjects many writers avoid. In this one alone, she deals with alcoholism, adultery, and a struggle with faith.

Most of the story takes place in December during the Big Foot Memorial Ride, a two-week, 232 mile journey that follows the path taken by the hero's Lakota ancestors, ending at the site of the massacre at Wounded Knee. The physical journey with all its difficulties mirrors the journey Clara and Ben take as they move toward reunion. It's a powerful, beautifully written book, and, perhaps in part because Eagle is a white woman married to a Lakota, it has a shattering authenticity. It's my favorite among my Eagle keepers.


message 19: by Priya (new)

Priya (priyachennareddy) My guess is wrong. I haven't read this one:(


message 20: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
Dls wrote: "I think the Gurkhe book is very well done, although I can see why you can't forgive the heroine. I didn't like Some Enchanted Season and haven't read the others."

Deb, we seem to disagree about books as often as we agree. LOL The Marriage Bed with its unforgivable hero is one of the few Guhrkes not found among my keepers, but I loved the Pappano listed and most of her Bethlehem series.


message 21: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1878 comments Mod
One of the reasons I so value our group here, is that we can talk passionately about what we like and dislike about certain books but remain civil and friendly. It's pretty rare in the internet world these days.

I'm ashamed to say that after years of Janga recommending her, I still haven't read Kathleen Eagle. But I'm very curious now, I'll make it a vow to remedy that soon.

Thanks for being so wonderful you guys!


message 22: by Stacey is Sassy (new)

Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1221 comments I definitely haven't read this one but I'm still not convinced it's for me. I went and checked out some of the books mentioned above and the reviews were eye-popping. Seems there was not a lot of love for Gurkhe's The Marriage Bed. :-)


message 23: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2059 comments Mod
Huh. I love Eagle's books and apparently I read this but I don't recall it at all. Time to reread.

What I admire about the Gurkhe book is the compelling way it depicts the hero's reasons for being a fortune Hunter and the way she shows what might happen when a couple that is separated is suddenly confronted with the need for an heir . While I can understand people's dislike of how quickly he commits adultery when his marriage runs into trouble, I also think it's very true to the time period. And I think that his emotional growth is realistic.

I tend to like true to the time plots and I admire the risks she took here.


message 24: by Stacey is Sassy (new)

Stacey is Sassy (staceyissassy) | 1221 comments Dls wrote: "Huh. I love Eagle's books and apparently I read this but I don't recall it at all. Time to reread.

What I admire about the Gurkhe book is the compelling way it depicts the hero's reasons for being..."


I agree with you. I think this is why I was able to read and end up loving The Ugly Duchess. I knew that EJ was definitely being true to the time. My sister read it after me and was gobsmacked that I liked it. She know how much I abhor cheating :-) ♥


Aly is so frigging bored | 848 comments Mod
I've neve read Kathleen Eagle... I'll look her up :)


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