Friends in Fiction

I love the romance genre for so many reasons. The love story, of course, and the promise of happy ever after are the biggest lures. But what makes every story move, makes it real, are the characters.

I’m one of those readers who needs to connect with the heroine, who has to fall in love with the hero, if the story is going to sparkle and shine for me. Which means I love to get to know them as much as I can.

One way we get to see and know the characters is their various relationships. The relationship between the hero and heroine is, hands down, the priority, of course. Everything from the first meet to the first kiss to the spiraling tension hooks me. The love scenes, the emotional knotty tangles they inevitably make worse, and the awesomely intense fall into love keep me reading all the way to the happy ever after.

But as vital (after all, there wouldn’t be a story without it) as the heroine and heroes relationship is, what I often find just as fascinating, and just as compelling, are the other relationships between the pages.

Familial relationships are some of the best for showing who the characters are, for telling us readers the backstory, the history and those deep dark secrets. You know the ones-our siblings have all that great dirt on us that they can dish at the most inopportune moment. Siblings and cousins always make fun series to read, too, because there are so many layers and so much history in these relationships.

As a writer, and in real life, I seriously love family relationships. But even more fun to read are friendships. Because while we are born into a family, friendships are all about choices. Not only choices as to be friends or not, but once you bring in the elements of peer pressure and group dynamics, the stories really get fun.

Just like my all time favorite television show is Friends, it’s the friendships in these stories that usually force me to make room for them on my already crowded keeper shelf. Not just because the friendships are so fun to read about, but because they are one of the best ways we can get to know these characters.

It’s the friends who a character leans on, cries with and turns to for advice. It’s often the friends who egg our hero on, pushing him into doing something he’s reluctant to do. And it’s almost always the friends who take the heroine out for drinks, bring comforting chocolate goodies or one of my favorites—convince her to go for a fun makeover of some kind.

In these fictional friendships, the characters admit things, do things or even are pushed into things that give wonderful insights into who this character is. And usually it’s those insights that make me empathize with them more –make me realize that we have common fears or hopes. And they make me root for them even more than I was already.

They also make me wish I was a part of the story. Have you ever had that happen, where a world is created, filled with people you really want to hang around with?

Here is a fun list of some fictional friendships that, after reading them, I wished I was a part of…

  1. Kate, Margo and Laura from Nora Roberts’s Dream series
  2. Ava and Cary from Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series
  3. Harry, Ron and Hermione from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
  4. Gia, Sara, Caryn and Jessa from Tawny Weber’s Fearless
  5. Caleb, Fox and Gage from Nora Roberts’s Sign of the Seven series
  6. Mallory, Amy and Grace from Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series
  7. Dallas, Mavis, Peabody and Mira from Nora Roberts’s In Death series
  8. Charley and Cookie from Darynda Jones’s Grim Reaper series
  9. Stephanie and Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series
  10. Belle and Sierra from Tawny Weber’s Eventfully Yours