Is A HEA Required in Romance?

A great article on the Huffington Post this morning about whether or not romantic fiction needs to include a HEA to qualify for the genre.

Here’s the thing, and maybe I’m just nit picking at the details here, for me romantic fiction and romance novels are in a way, two separate things. When I think of romance novels, I think of it’s own separate thing. The HEA, dashing hero, strong heroine, and a love that lasts. However, romantic fiction seems like a much broader category to me that could include tales of romance, anchored by a love story and plot, and in which could include a not so happily ever after or perhaps a different view of life than what was expected.

Personally, I wouldn’t classify Gone With the Wind or Atonement as romance novels. Romantic fiction? Sure. But a true romance novel…I’m not so sure. I think that for those who was heavily invested in romance genre in the more traditional sense, have the full expectation of a love story that ends happily – perhaps with the characters getting together, getting married, having a family – but either way, the story concludes on a positive and satisfying note. If I were to crack open a romance right now – that’s my expectation. However, for romantic fiction, such as the books mentioned above, I wouldn’t expect that. Is it just me?

How would you classify the romance genre? Is a HEA mandatory? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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