Welcome to Three Tropes, One Recommendation! This is a new series created by yours truly and it’s meant to be a subset of Trope Tuesdays.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I love tropes. I thought it would be fun to recommend books based on 3 tropes rather traditional single trope based recommendation. For instance, instead of recommending a book because it’s ‘Enemies to Lovers’, I would recommend it because it has ‘Enemies to Lovers, Second Chance Romance, and Amnesia’. I’m doing this in hopes of further convincing people to read my favorite books, and so people can find new favorites based off of tropes they’re looking for.
Without further ado, I’ll be recommending one of my favorite romances of all time which features Forbidden Love, Love Doesn’t Cure All, and Uniting Our Houses.
In case you didn’t notice the featured image, Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai is this edition’s book. I read one other Alisha Rai novel before this. She’s now one of my go to Romance writers. Hate To Want You featured A TON of tropes I love like Second Chance Romance & some more unique ones like Unite Our Houses which I talk about in this post. I am so excited to kick off this meme with Hate To Want You & hope it convinces you to read it~
Title: Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1)
Author: Alisha Rai
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: Depression, Suicide ideation
One night. No one will know.
That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.
Until the night she didn’t show up.
Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?
Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.
“Fuck it all. No ifs. Ifs opened a land of possibility, led to a universe where anything was doable. Where the children of feuding families could unite and overcome the odds and ugly history between them. If was a word for fairy tales, not reality.”
There are a ton of Forbidden Love based romances out there. Whether it be a vampire/human romance, class difference romance, or rival businesses romance. Hate to Want You has one of the most classic types of Forbidden Love: it hinges upon two feuding families called the Kanes and the Chandlers.
Forbidden Love isn’t my favorite trope. By no means do I hate it, but a lot of the time I don’t find that grey morality I search for in fiction. Typically, there will be one family you’re supposed to side with and everyone from each family completely hates each other. I loved the portrayal of Forbidden Love in Hate to Want You because of how the feud between the Chandlers and the Kanes that separated Livvy and Nicholas started. What originally causes Livvy and Nicholas to break up as teenagers is a tragedy that kills Livvy’s father and Nicholas’s mother. Both of their families, who used to be business partners and close in relation, sever ties.
But, it’s not black and white. Some family members are more receptive than others and when Livvy returns to town. Not all the characters go wagging their fingers saying that they shouldn’t be together. It was interesting to see how each member of each family interacted with the feud itself and their place in it. In a way, Livvy and Nicholas’s love was Forbidden because they made it so.
“Her lips trembled. “It’s a chronic condition. I can manage it, and I’m in a good place now, but I can’t be cured.”
“I wouldn’t try to cure you.”
In this case, Love Not Curing All is a good thing. Love Doesn’t Cure All in Hate to Want You isn’t about mending the family relationships and solving a feud with the power of love~. Instead, it’s about how Livvy’s chronic depression isn’t simply cured by her relationship with Nicholas.
One of the more toxic tropes in Romance is when a character falls in love and then is magically cured from all of their mental health issues. That’s not how mental illness works. Falling in love might provide solace for a bit, but the power of love doesn’t have the ability to mend someone like that.
Hate to Want You does a stellar job with depression representation. I adored how Livvy’s experiences were portrayed. A couple of the scenes in the book that discuss her depression are some of my favorite quotes ever. I definitely would recommend Hate to Want You if you’re looking for depression representation in Romance.
“Do you know what Sam and I used to joke about?”
Livvy turned back to John and shook her head.
“That Tani and Brendan would grow up and fall in love. I even told Sam we should have betrothed them when they were young.” His smile faded. “That wasn’t to be. But then, you and Nicholas… ah, I had such dreams for you two. Uniting the two families would have been magnificent.”
You might recognize this trope if you’re a Game of Thrones watcher. There’s a scene I heavily associate this trope with and it’s when Robert Baratheon tells Ned Stark to “Unite their Houses” through the marriage of their children (which of course was supposed to happen with the previous generations of their family). But enough about Game of Thrones.
Unite Our Houses is very much a trope I associate with fantasy because of how it works with Generation Xerox. I was very surprised to see it in Hate To Want You. It even functions similarly to as it usually does in fantasy because it was partly alliance based (in this case business) and partly affection based.
I adored the background of it in Hate To Want You. My squeal when Nicholas’s grandfather started talking about wanting Livvy and Nicholas to get married was audible. When Livvy and Nicholas did get their HEA it was like they finally did the thing that the generation before them couldn’t by bringing their families together. There’s nothing more satisfying in stories than the new generation finally setting the world right. Also, matchmaking done by family members is super cute. Who doesn’t love that?