Between a Romance and a Hard Place: Books That Tackle the Hard Subjects

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Romance has a reputation of being fluffy and light hearted. With articles naming romance books as beach reads and easy reads, it’s not hard to see why, that’s not to say I don’t love and appreciate those books. However, Romance has always been a place where women find strength and often times where it tackles hard subjects in a way that makes it easier to understand and be empathetic. These reads below tackled hard and sometimes taboo subjects but, also gives finds a way to give the protagonists a much-deserved and hard fought happy ending. Warning this post may contain spoilers.

1. The Complete Retrieval Duet by Aly Martinez

Aly Martinez always covers tough subjects. When I read her books I always know my emotions are going to be forcefully pulled out of me. In this duet, she covers infertility, divorce, domestic abuse. We’re shown a couple’s journey as they go from marriage to struggling with infertility as they navigate these tough waters with them, we learn valuable lessons such as listening and how to show support. As we discover the characters and their intricacies, we hope for the happy ending and with Martinez it’s never easy. The domestic abuse in this story is covered in a realistic, respectful way. It’s not easy to hear in everyday life as well but, this is a very real, ongoing issue. These characters are put through the ringer and as you read their stories, you can’t help but feel their emotions with them.

2. I Want You Back by Lorelei James

This book covers the taboo subject of STDs and how to take care of yourselves. In this day and age, I still barely see this covered in any genre of books. This couple brazenly talks about this subject when the hypothetical becomes their reality. Before engaging in sexual activities, they have a frank conversation about the consequences of what they were doing — which could be disastrous, if not taken care of correctly. This is also a small but integral part of the relationship journey. This second chance novel is one of my favorites for its willingness to fight hard topics head on.

3. The Slow Burn by Kristen Ashley

This is a classic KA story with plenty of details to outfits, locations and their relationships. She doesn’t only cover the main couple, she explores different aspects of other important relationships as well. What stuck out to me here was the exploration of grief. The main characters have both experienced acute losses at a young age. While establishing a new relationship, these feelings of loss have returned (and maybe some of the people). As the relationship develops, they turn to each other to help them get through the feelings of loss and helplessness in a profound way. They learned about their pasts as well as realized that even though they were forging new relationships and experiences without their loved one, they could still experience the fullness of happiness.

Romance doesn’t always have to fit in the box of light hearted reads. They can also deliver much needed messages of support and empathy and cover subjects that are often labeled as taboo. We can still have our happily ever after, even with a hard road behind us. What are some reads you’ve enjoyed that have tackled tough subjects?

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