Quirks: Deception in Romance

June 19, 2014 Opinion, Quirks 12

We all have our personal quirks – things that just light our fire or work our nerves like nails on chalkboard…

Hey, we’re all human.

I try to be as honest as I can (with myself and those very few people who read my reviews) about how I feel about the books I read. I really try to take as much time as I can to discover what it is I like or dislike about any particular book. Being honest with myself requires me to own up to some of my personal quirks.

So today I want to talk about my issue(s) with deception.

Wikipedia defines deception (beguilement, deceit, bluff, mystification and subterfuge) as:

“acts to propagate beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth (as in half-truths or omission). Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda, and sleight of hand, as well as distraction, camouflage, or concealment. There is also self-deception, as in bad faith.

Deception is a major relational transgression that often leads to feelings of betrayal and distrust between relational partners. Deception violates relational rules and is considered to be a negative violation of expectations. Most people expect friends, relational partners, and even strangers to be truthful most of the time. If people expected most conversations to be untruthful, talking and communicating with others would require distraction and misdirection to acquire reliable information. A significant amount of deception occurs between romantic and relational partners.”

I really have a problem with deception in books. I know that there’s a significant amount of deception in real life – look at politicians – but for some reason I have a [larger] problem with deception in most books. Especially in Romance books. I have such a problem with deception that – depending on the level of deception – I avoid the book. I’ve not read quite a few books because they were based on or in deception. I’ve also DNF’d books and/or skipped whole sections of text.

I can’t say that I avoid all books with deception in them – some books/storylines require deception for plot reasons – but it still makes me a little squirmy. I’m less squirmy when it’s the bad guy being deceived…but it’s rare for me not to feel at least the twinges of squirmy-ness when this particular plotline/trope is used.

I just finished reading A Lot Like Love by Julie James. In this book the heroine assists the FBI in deceiving someone she knows rather well. The reasons for the deception are good (and legal) and she’s doing a good thing…but I skipped the section where the actual deception takes place. I have plans to go back to read that entire section (now that I’ve completed the book!) but it felt weird at the time. I can also admit that the deception ruined some of the book for me. Twitchy feelings made me put the book down more than once. I only persevered because Julie James had already earned my trust [as an author] with the other books in her series.

It’s my personal thing – I don’t really know anyone who feels the same way that I do. But hey, I’m honest about what I like, what I don’t like…and why.

12 Responses to “Quirks: Deception in Romance”

  1. soireadthisbooktoday

    Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today . . . and commented:
    Deception. It is all around us, choking the life out of us, isn’t it? I got this post from Books, Life, & Wine: On The Run From The Amazon Empire today, and just as I did, my phone rang.
    Some guy, probably Phillipino, called and tried to convince me that he was from Microsoft Support and that he wanted to dial into my computer to “fix a virus” – HAH! AS IF!! When I told him I had just pulled up Microsoft Chat Support to verify him, he hung up – FAST~! Guy at support said that they were getting a lot of complaints about that, but are they sending out warning emails?? NOOOOOOOOOOO ….. asshats! I suppose Microsoft is more interested in protecting their own bulging backside than protecting their customers. Like everyone I know, I do all my banking and bill paying online. How disastrous would it be to have these bastards just swoop in and steal all your money, your logons, your retirement accounts??? I don’t have that much money, as anyone who follows me knows – my cancer wiped me out, literally. But for those of you who do have retirement accounts, etc.?
    “The new freedom of expression brought by the Internet goes far beyond politics. People relate to each other in new ways, posing questions about how we should respond to people when all that we know about them is what we have learned through a medium that permits all kinds of anonymity and deception.”- Peter Singer

  2. madebymeghan

    This is why I have a terrible time writing romantic comedies though many an agent or producer has request such from me … Deception is a hallmark of the genre and yet the characters are also supposed to get to HEA by the end. It just doesn’t work for me …. Maybe in a trilogy …. Hmmmm.

    • MrsJoseph

      I agree and understand. It feels like the HEA gets tacked on as a genre requirement in deception based books – which drives me crazy since I never could get into the deception to begin with.

      • madebymeghan

        Yes! How can true, or lasting, or ‘real’ love be attached to fundamental deception … in a 90 minute movie or 275 page novel?

        • MrsJoseph

          Exactly! I read a romance where the hero pretended to be dead for 7 years (leaving the heroine as a single parent) – but as soon as he popped back up everything was fine. I was aghast and I could not believe in the relationship – no matter what the words in the book said.

          • madebymeghan

            Err … single parent for 7 years and then no ramifications? NO WAY!! It’s funny though, not everyone sees the deception element in these sorts of stories … sad, maybe, that we expect to be deceived by our loved ones and are prepared to get over it lickety-split.

          • MrsJoseph

            That was exactly how I felt. I was SO MAD that she was have “teh smexy times” with a guy who basically abandoned her AND pretended to be dead! He didn’t even apologize. 🙁

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