I am toward the end of a romance that will be published in November with a heroine who is a widow of three years. Her husband was a police officer killed in the line of duty and she still misses him. She wears her wedding ring, and even wears another ring of his around her neck on a chain. She doesn’t date or think about having a future with another man because she feels she is still married.
When the hero enters the picture, she is attracted to him but fights her feelings because of her love and dedication to her deceased husband. But when she touches the hero, she literally feels the sparks between them, and this unnerves her. She fights and fights her attraction for this new man until she ends up have sex with him, and from there begins to fall in love.
Up to a certain point I loved how the author showed the heroine was still in love with her deceased husband. You don’t read that very often because usually, the first husband was an abusive jerk, and old geezer who could barely walk, or just married the heroine for money and prestige. That was not the case with this book that is until, the heroine falls for the hero. She suddenly finds faults with her deceased husband that she never found before. First that changed was the attraction she had for her husband. Their initial introduction was nice and she found him to be sweet and fun loving. We come to find out that their marriage was very much like that. I was actually fine with that part, because not all romantic relationships, even that of marriage can be full of smoldering passion or constant intense sexual loving. BUT, when the heroine and hero finally have sex, it is unlike any sexual experience she has ever had. As she is in the midst of being pleasured by the hero, while he is giving her oral sex, she tells the hero that her husband never did that act, and he was pretty unadventurous in bed. Thus cementing, at least in my mind, that the hero is some sort of love god, while her poor dead husband was a bit of a dud in bed. But she did love her dead dud, so very much so, but since the hero is now in the picture, she continues to find even more faults with the dud.
The scene where the heroine and hero have incredible sex annoyed me because of how her feelings changed about her husband, just because of this new man who came into her life. Why can’t her memories of her husband be just as strong and wonderful as her new ones with this new man? Why do authors find the need to start out the story with the heroine so in love with their deceased partner to the point of sacrificing their future and preferring to be alone? But, when the hero pops up, the heroine makes excuses why her first love was not worthy and could never compete with this new love that is oh so much more fulfilling?
Off the top of my head I can’t think of many books I have read where the first marriage for the hero/heroine is still a worthy one especially after they meet their new mate. The only book that comes to mind, mainly because I saw it sticking out of my bookcase, is Lisa Kleypas’s Where Dreams Begin. The one reason that this is one of my favorite books by her is because the heroine, Holly Taylor, has such a deep and intense love for her deceased husband that doesn’t change even when she meets her hero, Zachary Bronson. Up till the bitter end, she can’t let go of her deceased husband, even though she has found a new and exciting love with Zachary. She still very much loves her husband, but loves Zachary with so much passion because he is such the polar opposite of her first husband. She has a place for both these two men in her heart.
If only more authors would write a book like Lisa did with Where Dreams Begin. I am all for the widow heroine meeting the hero, and visa versa, but to downplay a romantic relationship such as a marriage the hero/heroine had before they meet their new mate seems wrong to me.
With that in mind, can anyone think of any books where the first marriage is still treated with respect and fondness by the hero/heroine?