Inquiring minds want to know

Couple in the living room with question marks in front of their faces

I belong to a Romance Book Club. We just finished a contemporary where the romance was life altering, and life affirming. . . but the ending was not a scene of them entwined on the couch planning their nuptials or dreaming of spending every moment together until they both lost all their teeth to age. 

Instead, the author left the ending open. Each character grew from their relationship. They both ended up with what they wanted most and the love they shared had mattered. But in the end, no spooning on the couch thinking about a future. Instead the ending was one of realizing how fortunate they were to know each other.

I do believe that a romance novel is not about any happenstance relationship. It has to center on THE romance of their lives, an opportunity for them to grow and change for the better, a realization that they have finally found Capital L-O-V-E. But is it okay if they let go of each other in the end?

By the way, the book we read was about an older woman (almost twenty years older) and a younger man. Not my favorite trope no matter which sex is older, but the author brought so much energy to the story, I was open. I guess considering the plot line, I didn’t see how the book could end any other way than it did. However, the other book club members wanted the couch spooning ending while I was blissfully content . . . because sometimes life is like that.  And I didn’t want to think of what that age difference would look like when she was in her 60s.

What is your opinion? What does happily ever after really mean? Do the characters have to be together forever? Or can they be happy for right now?  Or just happy they knew each other at a pivotal time in their lives?  

So many choices!

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