Romance Series

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B.G. Dobbins

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Are there any legitimate romance series that follows one couple (or at least the same protagonist) over multiple books? And can that work well without losing the audience's attention? I'm not referring to series with heavy romance elements or romantic subplots, but actual romance as the primary genre. I've seen things labeled as romance series that usually just focus on the romance of a different protagonist in each book. Usually, a group of siblings or friends, because you know romance is contagious. This is probably true to life since both of my husband's best friends got married and started having babies soon after we did XD.

I guess the problem that would arise is romance usually is required to have a HEA or HFN. If that doesn't happen until the end of the series, would that mean all the other books in the series aren't romances?
 

Marian Perera

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Are there any legitimate romance series that follows one couple (or at least the same protagonist) over multiple books?

In 1974 there was Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love, where Steve and Ginny met, were separated, but reunited and fell in love.

The sequel, Dark Fires, began immediately after that, and although I didn't read it, I heard they were separated and, for some reason, started to hate each other. But then they reunited and fell in love again.

In the sequel to that, Lost Love, Last Love, they were separated, hate, reunion, love, etc, though this time they had children to change up the story.

In 2000, along came the final book in the series, Savage Desire. After this one, Steve and Ginny were finally allowed to rest in peace.

There are more modern examples. For me, a romance series where only the last book had a HEA and the previous books end on cliffhangers is iffy, even if the series itself is a romance. Before I recommended these books to romance readers, I'd warn them about this.
 

cool pop

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Yes, there are tons. Sorry, can't name them all because it's like I said...tons. The type of series you speak of have is the most common type of series in romance. The majority of them following a couple throughout the book. I have three romantic suspense series and all three are focused on one couple throughout the series. That's the main detective and her love interest while she focuses on solving different mysteries in each book. I prefer these type of series to be honest. I never did care for a series that stays in the same setting but focuses on different characters for each book. I think that's what spinoffs should do. I am at the end of a spinoff series I am writing now and that series is focused on one of the MCs from the first series but she has her own series now. With a series, I rather focus on the same couple in that same series. I've read some series where they jumped to different people and often I would not like many of the books outside the first one because I liked the characters in the first so much I didn't care for others. With my series, the main crime/mystery is wrapped up in each book the issues the couple faces throughout their romance carries on until the end of the series.
 
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cool pop

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Also, nope a series is still a romance as long as you have it focusing on that couple. There are SO many different challenges and things a romance series should consist of that makes the books interesting even before the HEA. They key is conflict and instilling obstacles into their relationship along the way. You gotta include things that tear them apart perhaps or threaten their relationship. That's how you keep tension in a romance series. They need to be going through some interesting issues that actually raise the stakes in their romance.
 

Zombolly

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Despite its reputation, Fifty Shades of Grey is a series that does exactly this. There are also a few YA romance novels that do this. Oh, how surprising--Twilight! Haha, that was coincidence. I also think To All the Boys I've Loved Before did something similar, but I haven't read it. J.R. Ward's vampire series also has a few sequels that feature previous couples facing new challenges.

All of these books were insanely popular, so that probably has a lot to do with why they were able to keep writing books about the same couple.
 

B.G. Dobbins

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Thanks for the feedback! I got to thinking about it, and the more I did, the more I realized a straight genre romance following one couple or protagonist would be quite difficult to pull off successfully.
 

MAS

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Deanna Raybourne has a charming historical romance/cozy mystery series (Lady Julia Grey series) in which the h/h develop their relationship while solving mysteries.
 

hannahward07

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Poldark books by Winston Graham? Or at least the first seven books are, can't speak for the latter ones as I've not read them. They follow predominantly Ross and Demelza and then weave in the stories of several other couples. I mean I know R/D have their ups and downs through the books but it's part of their marriage. From the fifth book while R/D are definitely still the main pairing there's 6/7 other major character who's stories are being told. And even though they're spanning a number of books it still keeps the readers attention and works really well because the author is a master at really weaving several stories into one in such a way that each book isn't the end of a story, but they all continue seamlessly.
 
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KBooks

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I have read and enjoyed most of the books listed. One thing to keep in mind is the way they are structured. Several of the trilogies listed, while relying almost entirely on romance as the driver, did not end on a HEA/HFN in book one, and in fact, had the couple break up. JR Ward's series would be a good example of books that end with a HEA but revisit couples down the line with a new set of challenges. She'll wait like 12 books later in the series before bringing a couple back. And as pointed out, Outlander follows the same couple for book after book, and is enormously popular.

I think it all depends on if you have original, compelling, conflict-driven story to tell. 50 Shades had that in spades. I have read series where I was thrilled to get more of a couple. I've read others where book one was great, the author tried to keep going, and book two felt forced.
 

WeaselFire

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If you look at these, there is one driving factor in all of them. Each book in a series is a complete book and could, if needed, stand on its own. Outlander is the same characters in a time shifting series, they happen to be couple but the book could work if they weren't, it would just be different. 50 Shades is a complete book, that spawned further adventures in future books. Edgar Rice Burroughs, not known for romance, continues the same couple in his Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series. The real key is that they happen to be good stories that have series-capable characters, not that there is romance in them. They could easily have been in the style of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson instead of a couple (although there is argument that Sherlock and The Doctor were a couple...).

Jeff
 

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