Aug 28 2012 8:14am

Wooing, Not Cooing: Why Do We Love to Read the Courtship?

Are you interested in the story once the hero and heroine have declared their undying love for one another? Many romance novel readers would say no. As would Lord Byron; check out what he wrote in his poem Don Juan:

Romances paint at full length people's wooings,
But only give a bust of marriages:
For no one cares for matrimonial cooings.
There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss.
Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife,
He would have written sonnets all his life?

—Don Juan (1818-24), Canto III, Stanza 8.

This discussion might circle back around to the Epilogues: Yea or Nay? argument as well. But beyond that question, why is it that we love to see the chase of love so much? The wooing, rather than the cooing?

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Anna Bowling
1. AnnaBowling
Maybe I'm the odd duck, but I love seeing how a hero and heroine navigate the stormy seas of life together. There have been a few same-couple sequels, and they were easier to find in the earlier days of the genre. Rosemary Rogers' Steve and Ginny got four books, for example, and a Valerie Sherwood couple was often good for at least two. With the popularity of J.D. Robb's Eve and Roarke, still going strong and with no end in sight, this might be something to consider.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
I think a continuing couple works best in a subgenre such as suspence or mystery romance, where we have a puzzle/mystery on one hand and the continuing day-to-day life of our couple on the other.

If the book is straight romance, I'm interested in seeing how they get to the 'together in love' part. I don't want to read about a couple who is all settled deciding what to have for dinner on a Saturday night; I want to see their road to a mutual understanding. This can be a new couple or a 'second chance at love' couple or even a 'broken marriage put back to rights' couple. Once understanding is achieved, I'm done.

Hope that made sense.
Lana Baker
3. lanalucy
Guess I'm a weirdo, too. I love to revisit couples once they've made their declarations. It's interesting to see how they work through problems and what obstacles they face in the future. I agree that this is more easily accomplished if the romance is somewhat secondary, as in a mystery or thriller.
susan b
4. leshagen
I also love to re-visit an established couple. Just because they are together doesn't mean that everything is now perfect or there are still no obstacles to overcome. I do understand that people want to read about a developing realtionship, but it often gives the impression that once you've found your one-and-only, you've reached your destination. When in reality, you are just starting the journey. Once in a while, I like to read about said journey.
5. SassyT
I like both (the wooing and the cooing) but it depends on the couple. Some couples once the story is over I'm like "Okay, on to the next book." With other couples, I know that them getting together isn't the end of the troubles they had while trying to get together. So, it's good to get to see them later on down the line and see how things turned out. I find this good in books that are in a series but where the hero and heroine are not necessarily the focus of the subsequent books (in other words...they show up but it isn't their book). I also enjoy a little short story every now and then to let me know what is going on with certain couples (not all mind you but the ones that stuck with me after I finished the book because I knew it was going to be a hard road ahead for them).
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