It’s probably not a surprise that I love contemporary romance (I’m pretty sure all of us who blog here fall into this category – after all, it’s not likely that you write something you don’t also love reading.) And as much as I love reading the romance plot line, I also love the fact that the majority of romance novels also have a strong best friend plot, too.
I suspect, if we were to break it down clinically, we’d find that authors add in best friends because those characters can go on to be another book in the series. But I think there’s probably also more to it – after all, doesn’t everyone wish for that best friend?
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Last week we apparently celebrated National Best Friends day. In my real life, this isn’t likely to be a holiday I celebrate because if you asked me to name my best friend, I’d tell you about my husband. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being friends with the man you marry prior to that relationship changing into dating, and I’m all for nurturing your friendship as well as your romantic relationship once you’re married. But generally speaking, Best Friend celebrations have to do with same gender friendships. And that’s a category where, sadly, I don’t tend to have a lot of positive experience. And I think that’s part of why I love those plot lines in novels.
Women, in particular I think, hunger for a best girl friend. Someone who chooses them over anyone else because they want to (so we’re excluding siblings here, which is sad, because my sister is awesome, and yet still not classically a BFF) and not from any perceived sense of obligation, foibles and all. That friend who’s as close as a sister, but somehow more than a sister because there’s no blood tie requiring them to hang around. Even better? A group of friends. Fancy that, more than one BFF! I can practically hear the bluebirds chirping and the little mice scurrying around, singing about how they’re going to make me a lovely dress. It’s idyllic, isn’t it?
When I stop and think about my favorite romances – the ones I go back and re-read multiple times, they always have a solid friend (or group of friends) in addition to swoon-worthy romance. And if each friend gets their own book, well hey, that’s just more time for me to spend with these women who I wish I could know in real life. (Lots of lovely ladies who blog here get this friend story line so right! If I spend two seconds thinking, Valerie Comer and JoAnn Durgin pop to mind, but they’re by no means alone.)
In my Taste of Romance series, Paige Jackson, the heroine of book one (A Splash of Substance) doesn’t have a BFF. She’s a lot like me in personality — someone who’s always been happier as one of the guys, because women confuse her. But even still, she yearns for that relationship.
So I wasn’t overly surprised when, as I was writing book two (A Pinch of Promise), it turned out that Rebecca sat down to dinner with her two best friends – the people who knew all her secrets, good and bad, and loved her anyway. The ones who pushed her to want better for herself than what she’d decided to settle for. Even better? I think all three of those girls are going to end up being friends with Paige as the series continues.
And all of that leads me to a final question — do you have a BFF (or two or three)? If not, do you wish you did? And are you as enamored with the friendship storylines in romance novels as I am? Leave a comment and let me know – I’ll draw a winner or two for an e-book of A Pinch of Promise.