#RomBkLove day 14: Family


Family is really important for me in real life and I appreciate seeing different family dynamics in my romances. Sometimes the family is that pillar of unwavering support and strength that the hero and heroine need, in others - the family is what causes the tension between the MCs. Give me real, vibrant families who mess up but also learn and grow and change in the same way the main characters in the story. 

I will list some romances where the family and how it was presented/its role in the story has stuck with me. The families in them function in different ways but for me they are all memorable and they added a lot to the main romantic arc in the story.

I'm starting with Laura Florand's La Vie en Rose series where she explores a wide variety of family dynamics - a single (distant) parent, big loving families, sibling rivalry but also support and encouragement. She entwines her characters' stories in the larger historical context of descendants of WWII heroes (and traitors). Seeing the way the past has shaped the present and and how it affects the next generation adds a whole new layer in these romances. 

In her novella Snow-Kissed she examines a marriage in trouble which is rarely found in romance and the other novella in the series, Sun-Kissed has two older characters with grown-up falling in love. 

Alisha Rai's series, Forbidden Hearts, is a family saga type of romance. It's the complex and volatile relations between two families that lay at the center of the stories. We see revenge, guilt, childhood friends and enemies all making the romances between the MCs more than a challenge. 

Penny Reid's Winston Brothers is a series of romcoms about a a family of 6 brothers and 1 sister. I very much like how the author plays with stereotypes and readers' expectations in these books. 

Jill Shalvis also writes great families in her contemporary small-town romances. I love the banter, the true friendship, being always there for each other and at the same time not hesitating to call the other person out on their mistakes. Wilder series focuses on three brothers running a company organising mountain adventures, Cedar Ridge is another series centred around siblings which I greatly enjoyed. 

Next I want to share some of my favourite romances with  found families. I'd say found families are by far more common in queer romance but they also happen in m/f romances. 

One such example for me would be the three heroines in Kate Calyborn's Chance of a Lifetime series. They are more than close friends, they are each other's family (their relationships with their bio families are complicated and the women give each other the love and support they need and lack from their bio families). 

I also think of the queer characters in KJ Charles's Society of Gentlemen and Sins of the Cities series form their own families. Most of them are not completely rejected by their bio families but they have to hide their true selves and who they love. They can only be themselves with their friends and can fully rely on them and this makes them a found family in my eyes. 

Nathan Burgoine creates a remarkable found family in his Christmas novella, Handmade Holidays. It's during the holidays that the lack of family hurts the most and having close friends to share your joy (and sorrow) with again and again through the years is a remarkable, precious thing. 

My last recommendation is a romance with a mix of bio and found family which I consider absolutely amazing. This is Dear Mona Lisa by Al Steward and Claire Davis, contemporary m/m romance with two older men finding love, one of them facing coming out as gay to his college-aged daughter. We see different family connections at play in this longish novella, there is hurt and pain caused by homophobic parents, but also love and support by colleagues and friends. It's very moving, both heart-breaking and heart-warming. 

I could continue with more recommendations but I'm curious to see what your favoruite romances with memorable families are. What kind of family dynamics do you enjoy reading the most?

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