Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Torn between two lovers — Kandy Shepherd

My teen daughter and I are catching up on episodes of the first series of the ABC hit evening soap, Revenge. Daughter was studying and I was working when the first season aired Down Under where we live and we only caught a few episodes.

We’re loving Revenge, and nothing more than the love triangle between the beautiful young protagonist, Emily Thorne, and the two men in love with herbar owner Jack Porter, and heir to a vast fortune, Daniel Grayson. Both men are gorgeous in very different ways and Emily is not only torn between them, but also tempted from her hell-bent path of revenge against Daniel’s family.

Emily has to choose between Daniel with the millions...

Or Jack with the dog

“They're both so hot, I just couldn’t choose between them,” my daughter sighs quite often as we watch. I couldn’t either! And isn’t that the enduring appeal of this type of story? (Don’t give me any spoilers, please, as I know things don’t work out quite as these first episodes indicate!)

The words of the old Mary MacGregor pop song, Torn Between Two Lovers are humming along in my head—the one where she sings that loving two men at the same time is “breaking all the rules”. I’m not talking infidelity here, but having to make a choice. And the choice is what makes it so interesting for viewers or readers—sometimes we root for one or other of the guys and that really ups the tension! Who will end up with who? Who will be left broken hearted? Was it the right decision?

In the early Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, didn’t it keep us anxious for the next book to see whether Stephanie would chose sexy cop Joe Morelli or the dark and dangerous Ranger? Think of the tragic love triangle in the movie Legends of the Fall between the heroine Susannah and two brothers Tristan and Alfred (Tristan is played by a young Brad Pitt that made the choice for me!) Or when Bridget Jones has characters played by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fighting over her affections?

There’s Diane Keaton having to choose between Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves in Something’s Gotta Give (no choice for me, I couldn’t understand why she chose Jack Nicholson!) In The Notebook, Allie has to choose between Lon and Noah (pick Noah, pick Noah!) And then of course there’s the beautiful young girl loved by both a vampire and a werewolf in Twilight.

I’m having fun working on a romance where my heroine thinks she’s in love with one man when another comes onto the scene. Being a romance, it has to be very clear who is the right guy pretty soon, and the complications go from there. Of course if I wrote erotic romance, I could give her a ménage, where she gets her happily-ever-after ending with both of them. That’s the ultimate solution to making a choice!

I couldn't resist ending with this!

What do you think? I’d love to hear! Do you enjoy a love triangle? Any favorite books or movies that feature a love triangle? Do you think she made the right choice? Have you ever had to make such a choice?

Please leave a comment to be in the draw to win a Love is a Four-Legged Word T-shirt. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if you want to be in the draw.

Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. Her books include Something About Joe, Love is a Four-Legged WordHome Is Where the Bark Is and The Castaway Bride—where the heroine runs away from her wedding to one man and is castaway on a tropical island with another. (There’s really not much of a choice to make as the hero is so scrumptious!)

Visit Kandy at her website


Vanessa Barneveld said...

Happy New Year, Kandy!

Funny -- I just saw a preview of the new Revenge season on the teev. I missed the last half of Season 1, so I really need to catch up!

As for love triangles, Scarlett-Rhett-Ashley come to mind straightaway. Or my personal soap opera favourite triangle - Ridge-Brooke-Taylor. Ridge ping-ponged between those two women for 20 years! He's been written out of the show now. I guess it was all too much for the guy.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Vanessa and thanks for calling by. Yes, the Gone With the Wind triangle is such a classic one, with Scarlett refusing to acknowledge her attraction to Rhett while holding a candle for Ashley for so long. And good one with Ridge, where it's the man who couldn't chose!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Kandy! Happy New Year to you and all the Tote Baggers! Hmm, love triangles. Have to say I'm not a huge fan - sorry, having said that, I'm sure I'll love your book (just because it's yours) especially as it's clear who's Mr. Right from the get-go. I can handle them for a short time but when they go on too long, I just get irritated with everyone involved, including the heroine for being so bloomin' indecisive! And there's always that horrible thing in a love triangle of someone losing out - and if he's a genuine contender for the heroine, he's worthy of a happy ending. Mind you, having said that, I've noticed a penchant in writers to make that secondary hero the hero of his own story afterward.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, Happy New Year to you too! I know what you mean--if you get to the stage where you're yelling at the screen (or talking out loud to the book!) for the heroine to please choose who is obviously the best guy for her it's gone far enough! And I love when the unsuccessful contender for the heroine's heart gets a story of his own.

PJ Ausdenmore said...

Hi Kandy!

Generally, I'm not a big fan of love triangles however, they are much easier for me to enjoy if love is not involved for all three parties. Theresa Romain's 2011 review, A SEASON FOR TEMPTATION was a book I loved. The initial couple was engaged and heading for a mutual marriage of convenience. That was sidetracked during the heroes first visit to his fiancee's home when he fell hard for her step-sister...and the feelings were returned.

I also don't enjoy it when the triangle goes on for too long. I loved the first seven Stephanie Plum books but, by that time, I wanted her to make up her mind already! lol!

So glad to hear you have another book coming. I enjoy everything you write!

Melinda McJames said...

I enjoy "love" triangles where it's clear who Mr Right is from the beginning but there are credible reasons why the heroine might end up with the wrong guy. Jane Eyre is the classic case, Jane is separated from Rochester by the little matter of the mad wife in the attic and the idea that she might end up with St John is just too awful. St John serves to reinforce how right Jane and Rochester are for each other.

Annie West said...

Kandy, I love the sound of your current book. Can't wait to read it for myself. You're right of course about needing to signal relatively early who the hero is but that tension between three is such fun. I remember some of the gothic novels I read as a teen where the heroine didn't know if the hero really was heroic or a villain and the other guy seemed so tempting - they kept me turning the pages very quickly.

Anna Campbell said...

Melinda, beautiful example! And she could so easily have ended up with St. John as he appeals to the urge she has to be of service and do the right thing.

Pat Cochran said...

I'm not a fan of triangles, yet I have
watched Bold & Beautiful since the ear-
liest days. I've found myself talking
"at" that trio many times! Nor have I
enjoyed the books where big sister
loses her fellow to little sister and
bravely steps aside. I keep wanting to
say "Stand up for yourself!!"

Pat Cochran

Sharon Archer said...

Happy New Year, Kandy!

Great quip about the fantasy of having two men - one cleaning and one cooking! My kind of fantasy! LOL

I find love-triangle stories interesting - sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. It's annoying if I can't understand why the choices were made. Also the character making the choice can sometimes appear to want the cake and eat it too - which can make them seem manipulative or indecisive.

A couple of movies I can think of with a love triangle... Three Men and A Baby, and Made of Honor.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi JJ, Happy New Year! A Season for Temptation sounds good, I must try it. Agree about the triangle continuing on too long, otherwise the heroine begins to seem silly and the guys stupid for hanging around--and therefore less heroic!

Thanks for your kind words re my writing!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Excellent example, Melinda, makes me want to reread Jane Eyre immediately! And you make the good point that sometimes the third point in the triangle serves to highlight how right the other guy is for the heroine. Trouble comes for readers/viewers when we disagree with her choice!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you Annie, I hope the story turns out as planned! Yes, I adored those old gothics when you were never too certain which of the men was the villain or the hero--and neither was the heroine until some climactic scene on a storm-tossed cliff!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Pat, Happy New Year! I absolutely agree about the big sister/little sister scenario. Don't like that at all.

In fact I don't like triangles at all when they're between two women and one man! The fantasy for me is when the heroine is spoiled for choice with two gorgeous men!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Sharon. So glad you liked the quip at the end, I loved it too. Housework is sooo sexy in a man!
Yes, a good triangle has to be done very well, sometimes the ones I find most satisfying is when the heroine makes the right choice and then the guy left behind proves to have feet of clay that make you sigh with relief that she didn't choose him!
I think that's why I enjoyed the Revenge scenario so much, it's so well motivated.

Cathleen Ross said...

For some reason the love triangle works better for on film than it does in a book. I agree if it keeps going on for a long time it makes the hero look silly, yet I still buy into Twilight even though the hero is decided on by the end of the series. Jacob bonding to protect Bella's child worked for me. What's not to like about a man protecting a baby, especially when life spans are so long.
I romance if I'm reading something traditional rather than erotica, I want to know who the hero is, I don't want it muddled up with would be heroes. For me, that's an author not knowing her craft.