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I’m usually torn about kids in romance books. I’ve read great books that include children and do it well. But in most cases I struggle because children suffering wreck me, so if I read a book with kids in it I want them to be super happy or to actually fill a purpose, which leads me to the other reason why I sometimes struggle with children in books. I feel like sometimes they’re just put there.. And in cases it feels like they are there to cause controversy rather than to tell a story.
Some of the books I’ve liked the most that include kids are Bear, Otter and The Kid, and The Rebuilding Year. Both of them as series. I think it was worked pretty well through all the books in them.
I’ve read great books with little to zero sex on page, and some have been wonderful. I guess that for me it depends a lot on how the story is told. On the other hand, while i ADORE hot sex scenes I can totally read a book without them. I think sex can be a great tool that if used right can tell a lot about the relationship/character development, but it isn’t a must for me.
I don’t say no some take-me-now hot sex against the wall, though :P
I’d have a lot to say about kids being adorable and fun…But that’s not the topic.
I have no more aversion to kids in romance books than to any character who is only there to pull at my heart strings. I have not read many books with kids, but my major problem is that they are not fully fleshed out characters. Sometimes they are the added layer of fluff, sometimes they are the obstacle, sometimes they are the wise pithy who puts the main character back on tracks, sometimes they are all that in one adorable, funny, wise-beyond-his-age bundle of joy.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with kids being in romance books. For some characters, kids are a part of who they are. Children are a part of life, and if there is one main ingredient in a romance I’m looking for, it’s reality. Unless, of course, if I’m reading sci-fi romance or something else that’s not, you know, real.
When I might have a problem with children in a romance novel is when they are not realistic in themselves. I expect an author to know how to show children of any age, and showcasing them. If it’s important enough to have children in the story, show me why. Make them matter more to the story than just having them as filler for that single parent that meets the person of their dreams type of thing. Because that is what I’d have a problem with. Kids are people too.
I’m not adverse to books with kids, but because I often don’t read “straight up contemporaries”, I think I also miss a lot of the books that feature kids. (Sometimes things like sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries have kids too, but then they’re usually part of the plot.) I’m never a big fan of when the kids are basically there as ornaments or obstacles, to either decorate one character as a cool parent or somehow block the romance from happening. (My least favorite is the blaming pregnancy, usually orchestrated by a “scheming female” that is trying to trap the man into a relationship.) Probably the best kids-in-romance I’ve read is in Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons romantic suspense series. The kids are always portrayed realistically and not cloyingly, and are always there in the story (and not conveniently “forgotten” for chapters), but don’t overrun the relationship.
Kids can be tricky. One of my favorite books, Fear, Hope, and Bread Pudding is about a child and the desperate desire to fill a missing piece of one’s heart. I love it when children add to the story. When they are ‘used’ in the story, well, I don’t love that. I am not a fan of using children as a convenient plot piece. I also think it’s important that they kids are genuine. I was irritated with a book that had an exceptionally unrealistic child in the main cast. It was distracting. I think it’s best when the kids fit with ease into the story.
I don’t know I’ve really thought of it one way or the other. I guess I just don’t have an opinion on the matter. BUT…there are a few books where the kids were INTEGRAL and where I thought the authors wrote them so well that my heart overflowed with love for the characters: Bear, Otter and the Kid by TJ Klune, Shaking the Sugar Tree by Nick Wilgus, and most recently, Get Your Shine On by Nick Wilgus.