When I can see my way out of this, I will share part of what has been going on.
It occurs to me that I should mention that when I think of adding "romance" to my own novels, what I am really doing is giving characters, especially characters with less power in societies, agency. So that may be why in this case I think of Austen as giving us romance. Austen, of course, was writing out her own life observations. She wasn't aiming for HEA. For more on this, see bookviewcafe.com/blog/2017/08/26/hapax-
Where does ROMANCE fit as an element of modern storytelling?"
Writer Stephanie Osborn asked this question, and my immediate thought was “as a subtle puzzle piece.” I know that is not the usual response to the question. Half the fiction books published in this country every year by major New York publishers are romances, in almost every flavor you can imagine. (That is, if by flavor you are imagining one woman and one man who end up in a HEA--Happily Ever After--or, more recently, HFN--Happy For Now--relationship. Every other romantic relationship slides in from the shadows, makes a surprise appearance, or even has a small independent publishing line somewhere else.)
Where does romance spring from? I’m not asking in a technical sense, or a scientific sense. We know that chemistry and biology triggers the first flush of attraction, and we can research to find out where the modern Western concept of romance began. I always think of it as starting with Jane Austen—a woman choosing to reject offered security for the hope of at least liking and respecting her partner. That she ended up with a man whom she also loved, who was solvent enough to support her and their children, was a bonus. For most women, having it all was a fantasy, but a lovely dream. We can go back further, into legend—but most of those famous lovers did not end well.( Continued... )