Monday, May 15, 2017

Romance Is Family

The Firefly/Serenity "family."
Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the U.S., and it got me thinking about family. Romance readers are clued in to family in a way that other folks aren’t. I mean, romance is about relationships, right – not just the obvious relationship between the characters who are falling in love, but also, often, between the characters and their families. I’m sure there have been romance novels about loner orphan friendless protagonists, but I don’t think I’ve read any of them.

And the reason for that lack came to me last night, while watching the decidedly not-a-romance Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – the reason why romance stories always have to be about family.

Mary Balogh's series about the Bedwyn family.
I don’t want to get too spoilery here, but everybody who’s seen the trailer for the first Guardians of the Galaxy knows that there’s a group – hence the plural “guardians” – that comes together and forms a cohesive unit and saves the galaxy. Much like in The Avengers or The Justice League or the Steel Magnolias, they form a team.

A family.

They must group up, form connections, because nobody accomplishes great things in a vacuum, whether it’s saving the galaxy or negotiating a peace between shifters and humans or saving the world from a power-hungry global consortium or thwarting a serial killer or keeping the cute indie book store out of foreclosure. All these things that our characters accomplish are testament not just to their inner willpower but to the strength of the links they’ve formed with others.

Connections = relationships = family.

And nobody does relationships quite like romance writers. So, thanks, romancelandia, for giving us all these models for strong relationships. I can’t help thinking we all really need that message right now.

Because family also = hope.

The first of my Tether science fiction romance series. Which is about saving the world but also mostly about the families people get stuck with and the ones they choose to be part of.

Vivien Jackson writes stories with robots, grenades, pixies, and always, always down-home salacious kissery. She's an unrepentant fangirl of many fandoms and would love to discuss your favorite ships here or here or here.

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