Although most people probably wouldn’t be interested in revisiting an old love (which might well have ended in acrimony, alimony or plain, old-fashioned relief), most of us adore reading about them.
I’m no exception. I gravitate toward reunion books. Movies, too. My favorite is The Illusionist, and not just because Edward Norton is such a hunk…I mean great magician. I can annually watch Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly patch things up in High Society, and melt every time. For some reason, I get a kick out of watching True Love find a way, even past the most daunting obstacles—decades and continents in Mama Mia, serious time zone issues in The Lake House, and, in Ghost, even death.
The new Superromance I’ve just started is a rekindled romance story, too. I’m writing about Colby Malone, the brother of the hero in FOR THE LOVE OF FAMILY. Colby made a spectacular mess of his first love and finds himself with a miraculous second chance. I’m having a ball already. Colby is going to have to suffer, but it’s exciting to guide him full circle, back to the place his heart has always called home.
In fact, I checked—and, of the more than 30 books I’ve written, a solid third are, to some degree, reunion romances. Considering how many plotlines an author can choose from, this seems significant. And my most enthusiastic emails are almost always in response to those books. One of my earliest novels, a Harlequin Presents titled BETWEEN MIST AND MIDNIGHT, still moves readers to contact me, even twenty years later. It’s the story of a woman who returns to the man she loved when she was fifteen.
So what’s going on here? Is everyone harboring a secret desire to get back together with the skinny kid who took her on her first date? On this Valentine’s Day, would the perfect love letter be postmarked The Past?
Oddly, apparently not. As I explored the topic, I found a website that deals with lost loves. (www.lostloves.com), where a PhD shares her research on reunion romances. In one study, she reports that, of the respondents who had not already tried to rekindle a romance, a whopping 70% said they simply didn’t want to.
So the appeal of this beloved storyline must be something even more complex. Does the revisited romance symbolize all second chances, perhaps? Even the ones that weren’t about love or sex? (Is there such a thing?
I’m still trying to figure it out. If you are drawn to these stories, too, I’d love to hear what you think.