If you read the romance blogs, you may have run into a term called “insta-love.” In other words, instant love. The characters meet and somehow know they are destined for each other. As a device, it does crop up in romance books a lot. I confess to using it myself in my paranormals (although I prefer to throw in a healthy dose of struggle). Some readers dislike it. Others have no issue.
Does it actually exist? I know many people who say they fell in love at first sight. Many of them are people who have now been married for years. I do understand “lust at first sight” (I may even have experienced it once or twice), but real love? Can we actually develop such a bond within a short period of time?
That’s the great thing about romance stories. We can suspend our disbelief for a time. It’s all about the fantasy. However, insta-love doesn’t always work. I’ve read some books that employ this device and they rang untrue for me.
When does it work? I do believe it works better in paranormal romance. After all, in this genre, we are often dealing with characters who are magical or inhuman. For many of these sorts of characters (my selkies and shapeshifters, for example), emotions run deep and they happen on a level a human might not understand. There is an instant kinship, a “mate bond” that seals the fate of the main characters. In this incredible world, the implausible becomes plausible. Not only do we buy it, we slap our money down on the counter and say “Give it to me.”
Added to this, in paranormal romance, we often have life-or-death situations. Characters are thrown together and must often fight, not only for their goals, but for their survival. In these tense situations, people bond quickly.
I find insta-love less easy to accept in contemporary romance. This genre is supposed to be more reflective of real life (unless you happen to live with a werewolf, that is). In contemporary romance, I like to see the characters struggle with their feelings a bit more. I relish the uncertainty because I have felt that uncertainty in my life.
What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy insta-love romances or do you appreciate the long fight and ultimate surrender?