The 2nd Chance Romance Trope is the Best Trope and Here’s Why by Tracey Garvis Graves


[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Tracey Garvis Graves guest post on the site today. Take it away Tracey!]

I’ve been interested in the second-chance romance trope for as far back as I can remember. In fact, my new novel, The Girl He Used to Know, features a second-chance romance in the form of a highly-functioning autistic librarian that reunites with her college flame. Maybe it’s the romantic optimist in me, but I’ve always loved anything that involved giving love another try, with the potential for a well-deserved happily-ever-after ending. As a writer, I love pondering all the ways I can tell this kind of story, and as a reader, my favorites are those that have a dual timeline. My enjoyment of the book isn’t dependent on that, but it really enhances a story when I get to see what led to the breakup and the eventual resolution.

Before I start writing a book, I always seek out titles that have similar premises, partly for inspiration and partly because I can pretend that curling up in my favorite chair for hours with a book counts as “research” and “work.” Here are a few of my favorites.

In Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino, we meet two people brought together by a college experiment. A free gift card is their motivation for donning a blindfold and kissing a complete stranger, all in the name of discovering whether sexual chemistry exists when you don’t know what the other person looks like. Spoiler alert: IT DOES. This angsty, slow-burn romance will have you pulling your hair out, while simultaneously cheering on this couple all the way to the final page.

In One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, our heroine, believing her first husband is dead, becomes engaged to another man. Well, turns out that “dead” husband is very much alive. What follows is a heart-wrenching exploration of both relationships, and an eventual decision by the heroine. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that sometimes a happily-ever-after takes you by surprise and turns out to be exactly what you needed.

In The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase, we’re introduced to two people who once shared a single night together, never to be repeated. He’s a retired Olympic swimmer who wants to put down roots; she’s in a committed relationship with a man who’s about to put a ring on it. But you know what they say about best-laid plans. Often, the universe has other ideas, and, sometimes, people come back into our lives at the exact moment we need them to.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

In Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, we meet two characters whose history stretches back to when they were thirteen-year-olds. I was dying to know what came between these friends-turned-lovers, and why they went their separate ways, before meeting again in adulthood. This story is the perfect blend of white-hot young love and women’s fiction, with an ending that will satisfy readers who love both.  

In Always by Sarah Jio, we meet a woman who, upon leaving a restaurant with her fiancé one night, realizes the homeless man she gives her leftovers to is her former boyfriend. She’d lost track of him and learns a devastating turn of events left him mentally impaired. I love the compassion the heroine shows toward her former love, and I especially enjoy the steps the characters take in order to take back what they once had.

If you enjoy reading about couples who decide to give love another go, these titles will more than fit the bill. So, curl up in a chair with one and tell everyone else you’re busy.

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About the Author:

Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, and The Girl He Used to Know. She is hard at work on her next book.

Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves, out April 2nd!

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game―and his heart―to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.


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