In the past two weeks, I've read five books. Something about each story made an impression on me, which made me think about it after I read the last page. Notice I didn't say "a happy impression." Not all the books had the same kind of ending, but all the story lines were good. They held my attention. I turned the pages, anticipating the next scene. And…I remember how they ended.
Remember "Gone With the Wind?" Who could not recall the story and especially—the ending. "I'll worry about that later. After all. Tomorrow is another day." It did not end happily, at least for Scarlet and Rhett, but it left us hanging a little. What would Scarlet do? We felt certain she would survive and move on, so we weren't very distressed. What would Rhett do? Probably he would return to his old habits and continue being the rogue that he was—with a broken heart, of course. The ending gave us a rare opportunity to imagine the next phase of their lives.
What does a reader wait for at the end? Satisfaction is the key word. The novel must have an ending that satisfies the reader. If not, the reader most likely will not return to that particular author. Just what does "satisfy" mean?
1. To answer or discharge a claim in full.
2. To make happy.
3. To pay what is due.
5. To meet the requirements.
Surprised? A satisfactory ending does not always mean the same as "A Happy Ending." Nor does "a happy ending" hold the same meaning for everyone. For faithful romance authors and readers, a HEA is a requirement. Ninety percent of the books I read fall into this category. Even though I do read others that I know won't end happily, I look for some satisfaction for my protagonist—and myself.
~*~Did the author leave a glimmer of hope for happiness for my protagonist?
~*~Did the author make me believe wholeheartedly that the story was worth the time and emotional commitment I put into it?
~*~Did the author leave me with a lasting impression that her next book will be just as good?
~*~Did the author conclude the story with enough emotion to make me cry, laugh, or say "Yessss."
If none of these happen, you can bet I won't buy her next book.
What was the last book you read that did not have a perfect HEA, but you liked it anyway?
What is the best kind of ending for you to recommend a book?
Thanks for visiting with me today—
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
*TEXAS PROMISE: The Cameron Sisters-Book I
*Love Romances Café-Best Historical Romance 2010-Honorable Mention
*The Romance Studio-Five Hearts
*Love Western Romance-Four Spurs
*Sherry Gloag, Reader-Five Hearts
*Steph Burkhart, Reviewer-Five Hearts