I have a confession to make. As both a romance author and a romance reader, I think I might get blasted for this, but here goes: I don’t believe in a One True Love. In fact, if you go to my website, you’ll see a slogan that begins with the sentence: “Choose to love.” I don’t believe that love is something that you fall into or something that takes over your entire being until you are forced to love—that may be lust or romance, but I can’t call it love. Instead, love is a choice, and this belief is reflected in my characters’s relationships.
For example, in my new September book Romancing the Countess, the hero and his best friend’s wife come together after their spouses—who were having an affair—die in a carriage accident. So many times I’ve read romance books where, if the hero or heroine had past relationships, their partners were never “right” for them. Either the hero and heroine didn’t love them or, if they did love their previous partners, then it wasn’t as great a love or as deep a love as the love they discover with their new partner. It’s not true love.
In Romancing the Countess, both my hero and heroine truly loved their spouses. They loved them wholeheartedly, without any reservations. They believed they would be with their spouses for the rest of their lives; the hero and heroine thought that each was their “one true love.” After the deaths of their spouses (as well as the full discovery of their affair), do the hero and heroine try to find another person to love? No—they don’t even wish to consider a future relationship as they each deal with varying degrees of grief and anger.
If any couple has a reason not to love each other, it’s Leah and Sebastian from Romancing the Countess. Their spouses have just died; their spouses had an affair. Sebastian’s best friend, the one who betrayed him with Sebastian’s wife, was also Leah’s husband. Not only are they not emotionally ready to get involved or to “fall in love” with someone else, but the sight of the other can be painful by bringing memories of their dead spouses.
But gradually after spending time together and getting to know one another, their acquaintance turns to friendship and their friendship to love. And even though in some ways they still might not be prepared to love another person, they make a choice to love. Although I don’t believe that one person can be a “One True Love,” I do believe that certain people match us better than others, and certainly in different ways. While Leah and Sebastian each loved their previous spouses intensely, the relationship they develop with one another is based on something more solid and enduring. Their strengths and weaknesses complement each other; they are able to better understand one another’s quirks and vulnerabilities. I also believe that because they don’t fall into lust at the beginning but rather grew to love one another over time, their relationship is one that has a true HEA.
In the end, their choice to love one another after having loved their previous spouses so intensely shows that we have the ability to deeply love more than one person over a lifetime. As a romantic, my hope is that couples will remain committed and continue choosing to love each other for the rest of their lives. However, I like to think that, especially for couples who are parted by death, there exists a great hope and peace in the realization that they can love deeply again someday.
Do you believe that there is only One True Love for each of us, or do you think that the idea of a One True Love is a myth? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and why we as romance readers prefer the idea of a One True Love in our books.
One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, Romancing the Countess, and will get a chance to send a copy of my debut, Romancing the Countess, to a friend (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the Romancing the Countess Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!