I read a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT… I read a wide variety of books, and am usually pretty happy with almost everything I pick up. However, the menage trend in so many erotica and romance books is really starting to grate on my nervous system. It’s my newest book beef and it’s driving me absolutely bonkers!
Many of the authors that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, that are on my auto-buy list, have written books with menage HEA’s: Maya Banks, Lorelei James, Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend, Inez Kelley… the list goes on. I love these authors, I buy their books, I treasure their books, but the moment I read about Jack and Jill and James all having their fairy tale together, I start loosing faith.
Now, I will admit that it is a LITTLE bit easier for me to read about threesome relationships in an alternative world setting (emphasis on little). When it’s a sci-fi romance and the characters are from another world where the menage practice is accepted, or even the norm, it’s much easier for me to suspend my brain and think: Okay… it might work for them. And in those cases, that aspect of the book doesn’t turn out being like nails down the chalkboard for me.
However, in a contemporary romance setting my brain just whirls and whizzes with endless amounts of WTFery at the thought of three people successfully being in a relationship. Maybe I’m too much of a jealous wench to believe that anyone else would be willing to share with two people. I know that I would NEVER be willing to share anything about the private aspects of my relationship with my husband. There is just something about the whole sub-genre that rubs me the wrong way.
The ‘one time experiment’ between lovers is one thing. While it’s not my cuppa, I can still understand it, accept in, even enjoy reading it in some circumstances. But when the relationship has an HEA between three main characters, I just can’t fathom how that all works. I’ve never met anyone who was able to make it work; granted my small circle of acquaintances is just that: small. But the thought of the triad walking off into the sunset just doesn’t do it for me.
For example: You all know what a fan girl I am of Lorelei James. She writes a TON of fabulous erotica books, and many of them have the occasional threesome. I’ll admit that the books without any menage action tend to be my favorites: Cowgirl Up and Ride and Tied Up, Tied Down are my top two! Her book with the menage HEA, Rough, Raw and Ready was my least favorite in the series. Maybe it was because we had met the leading characters at different times in their lives, but I honestly felt as if it was unfair for Edgar, who was admittedly gay to be placed in with Trevor and Chassie. It felt hollow and emotionless.
The most recent book that had me screaming was Lauren Dane’s Laid Bare. I had picked up and put down that book twice before finally pushing myself to just finish it. I was told by a few people that it was one of the best menage books ever written. Unfortunately I just couldn’t agree. Dane did such an amazing job in the first half of developing the relationship between Erin and Todd that when she introduced Ben into their relationship I was pissed. How dare he infringe on what they had? It was beautiful and sexy and intimate for the TWO of them. Now, I’ll admit that I’m glad I read the book because it did give me a great backdrop for the remaining books in the series, but I can’t look back on that reading experience without a bitter taste in my mouth.
I can’t even bring myself to read Maya Bank’s Colter’s Woman, despite having heard wonderful things about the other books in the series. Maybe it’s the fact that the men are all related to each other that has me staying at least 10ft away? While menage relationships have me lifting my brow to the sky; menage relationships with multiple (as in 3+) partners that include brothers, cousins or relatives is really disconcerting to me. It’s especially difficult for me to read the book if it’s being marketed to me as a romance book. I *personally* don’t see anything romantic in sharing a bed with 2+ people. If the book is being marketed as erotica, and I’m not going in expecting a great love story, the trio can be somewhat easier to accept, but not by much.
So what about you? What are your thoughts on menage relationships and happily ever afters? Do you like when three people can get their HEA together, or do you have problems with it as well?