Do we really want to know that Cinderella is having a hard time keeping the castle clean? Or that Prince Charming would rather have a few drinks with the boys instead of rushing home to his beloved? In the film Sex and the City 2 was it essential we learn that Big’s idea of a good time was sitting on the couch watching TV? When Carrie begins to wonder if the ‘za za zoom’ she’s been waiting for all her life is fizziling, it made me anxious and a bit sad, and that’s not the feeling I’m going for when I think about my favorite heroes and heroines. Let’s face it, we don’t want to see a couple we’ve grown to love, finally grab onto to their happily ever after only to start complaining and worrying about their relationship; particularly if their living in a luxury apartment on Park Avenue or in a castle in “Once Upon a Timeville”.
However, when it comes to certain couples I’m all about wanting to know what happens after the Happily Ever After. There are a few authors who get it right– some who really know how to keep the hero and heroine interesting, romantic and dynamic AFTER they’ve obtained their ride off into the sunset. These are the authors who know how to make the ‘growing pains’ of the relationship a vehicle for the protagonists to have realizations about themselves and in turn make them even more dynamic. It’s a hard thing to do – balance the reality of ‘life together’ while keeping the love alive.
One of the significant imperatives in this series has been Eve’s abusive and traumatic childhood. (SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO READ THE SERIES) She was abandoned by her mother and raised in Dallas,Texas by a father who physically, sexually and emotionally abused her. The abuse only stopped when eight-year-old Eve killed her father. She has since gone on to become a Lieutenant in the NYC police department - a woman of strength and courage with the conviction and confidence to protect the innocent at all costs.
New York to Dallas becomes a pinnacle book in the series when Eve takes on a case that brings her back to Dallas and throws her into the madness that was her childhood. Her equilibrium, hell, her whole life is thrown into a tail spin when she has to face her past head on. And through it all Roarke is by her side - loving her, helping her, comforting her. Throughout the book many long standing questions are answered, but more importantly Eve and Roarke have to hold on to each other in order to get through the madness. Their relationship, a relationship they have been working on for over two years, becomes their lifeline. The love they have for each other is what is needed to get through.
On Goodreads I was discussing how much I enjoyed this book, how J.D. Robb continually keeps this relationship alive. And New York to Dallas is the culmination of everything Eve and Roarke have done in their relationship up to this point. With tender moments, agonizing soul searching (well as much as Eve and Roarke can agonize), and a vulnerability that express why and how these two love each other; combined with the crime procedural we've come to expect in an In Death book; J.D. Robb masterfully gives us the exact right blend of both the inner workings of a loving committed relationship AND the inner workings of a depraved mad man.
It's not easy for an author to continue to play out what happens in a relationship with two long standing characters; but here we find the author digging deeper into why Roarke and Eve love each other and how they continue to sustain that love.
I had a discussion with Angela James, the Executive Editor of Carina Press on Goodreads after she posted this comment:
I'm still mulling over my thoughts about this book. I enjoyed it, as I often enjoy these books, but one thought that I can't shake, now that I'm done, is the idea that this series is going to have to draw to a conclusion now. A lot of the large, overarching story threads that have been interwoven are being given answers, and I feel that, as far as the interpersonal/relationship conflicts go, not just with Eve and Roarke, but the secondary characters as well, that these have all been pretty well tied up. So further books are either going to need new interpersonal conflicts, new secondary characters, or are going to have to rely pretty solely on the mystery conflicts to drive them. Since the heart of these books has always been how the characters weave into the stories, I find it difficult to imagine the series going on much longer.
My response was:
I really hadn't thought that this series would ever end, UNTIL you mentioned it. And honestly? What you said makes a lot of sense. Should I start my mourning period now? My first thought after reading this one was, J.D. Robb is fearless. My second thought? I love that she can write a romantic suspense series that continually shows what happens after the HEA – and do it well. The dynamic, chemistry and even occasional tension between Eve and Roarke have become what I look forward to when reading an In Death book. Will there be no tension or dynamic now that several of the big story arcs have come to a conclusion? It’s a good question. Where DO they go from here? You’ve made me ponder something I was avoiding.
I feel like I should apologize, Marisa!
no apology necessary just be prepared to hold my hand and pat my back as I weep profusely if the series should end.
We can hold a wake and comfort each other!
J.D. Robb has been keeping Eve and Roarke's love alive for 33 books and I'll always want more. Their Happily Ever After is combination of a fierece and abding love that will carry them through both the best and worst that life has to offer. New York to Dallas gives us a look at a hero and heroine who have such a powerful love for each other that nothing - nothing - will tear them apart.
What about you?Are there certain books/series that you're reading where the author keeps the Happily Ever After alive and well? And for those of you who are In Death fans - where would you like to see Eve and Roarke's relationship go next?
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