We're excited for the release of One Dark Wish, book 2 in Sharon Wray's Deadly Force romantic suspense series! To celebrate, we asked Sharon about her favorite HEA. She surprised us with not one...but TWO favorites! Keep reading to learn more.
My favorite HEA is Jane Eyre. But since most romances authors choose Jane Eyre or Pride & Prejudice as their favorite HEA, and I’m a commercial fiction author who writes novels for contemporary romance readers, I’d like to write about my second-favorite romance novel HEA: Lover Eternal.
I have to admit it’s hard not to write about Jane Eyre. I read it when I was fourteen and it had such a profound effect on my life that I blame it for the reason I became a librarian. The reasons I love Jane Eyre are mostly due to my age when I read it. It was the first true romance I’d ever come across and all of those emotions—some of which seemed forbidden—carved themselves into my heart, helping to form the woman I’d become. But the reasons I fell in love with J.R. Ward’s Lover Eternal, the second book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, are more important. Where Jane Eyre made me feel all sorts of new, emerging emotions, Lover Eternal validated all of the emotions I’d dealt with as an adult.
First, a brief synopsis: Lover Eternal is about a vampire named Rhage--the best fighter, the most voracious lover, with the fastest impulses who is also cursed. When his temper rears, he turns—literally—into a beast. His heroine Mary has a quieter strength. While she may not be a fighter of monsters, she has spent her entire life fighting her own battle against a life-threatening disease. Her battles against life and death have had as profound an effect on how she views life as Rhage’s fights have had on his. Rhage and Mary have nothing in common except for the fact that they’re both tired of the struggle.
Throughout the book, Mary and Rhage have to deal with internal and external enemies. The dangers from the Lessening Society, Rhage’s beast, and Mary’ leukemia are real and all three threaten to keep the lovers apart. Yet the real threat to their happiness is Mary’s grief over her inability to have children (due to her cancer treatments) and her fear of dying (exacerbated by her mother’s death) that prohibits her from giving herself completely to Rhage. She knows there’s no future for them—either in this life or in the future lives of their never-to-be-born children.
When I first finished this book, my hands were shaking. This was the first story I’d read that dealt so openly with the real, physical possibility of death as well as the scourge of infertility. They were both emotions I’d dealt with in the past and had struggled for years to overcome. As I traveled with Mary through this story, I felt every one of her emotions. In many of the scenes, I was Mary. I won’t go into the details but at one point in my life I’d had serious, life-threatening illness, had suffered nearly a decade of infertility, and had lost my father at too-young of an age. I’d experienced the kind of grief Mary suffered throughout this story and, because of the passion with which it was written, the book drew me in unlike any other book I’ve read before or since.
The emotions in this book, and the catharsis it offered, eclipsed even the most power teenage emotions I’d felt after reading Jane Eyre.
Yet, while Lover Eternal deals with powerful emotions such as grief, guilt, remorse, and loneliness, the story ends on with an incredibly powerful Happily Ever After. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but after Rhage’s tremendous sacrifice they are both offered a chance to live out the rest of their lives together. Because of their struggles and choices they’ve made in the past, their future won’t be perfect. But as long as they stay true to one another, they have a chance at forever.
And as a grown woman who’s loved and lost, having a book offer me such hope in the midst of such grief was a tremendous gift. It’s why Lover Eternal will never leave my Keeper Shelf. It has a special place next to my original worn-out copy of Jane Eyre.
I'd love to know your favorite HEA!
About One Dark Wish (Available September 24, 2019)