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The Big Romantic Gesture by KatiD

Today’s wonderful piece is written by KatiD of Katidom.  Kati has been reading romances for twenty five years. Her first romance was Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts.  You can find her on her website: http://www.katidom.com/ or via Twitter at  @KatiD.

There are spoilers for A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught, Warpize by Elizabeth Vaughn, Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh in the following post. Enjoy!

Remember in the movie Say Anything when Lloyd Dobbler, broken-hearted that Diane Court had ended their relationship, stood outside her window while she was napping blasting Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes? Rather than thinking of this as creepy, stalkerish behavior, my teenage heart swooned. Imagine, a boy who will do anything to win your love. When I look back on the scene now, I still see the teenage romance of it, but also think if I’d been Diane’s parent, I’d have run him off. But my point is Lloyd standing there with the boom box is what began my lifelong love affair with the Big Romantic Gesture.

Many of my favorite romances have them: gestures so grandiose, so big that they make the reader certain that the love between the hero and heroine will last forever. After all, if they’re willing to give up everything, dare anything for love, it must be the love of a lifetime. When I started thinking about the Big Romantic Gestures that stand out most to me in my years of reading romance, there were three that came to mind.

First, in Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams, Jennifer Merrick, a plucky young heroine is abducted from a convent and forced to marry her family’s lifelong enemy, Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Claymore is the champion of the king, his finest weapon, and a man who lives his life on the battlefield. He certainly knows nothing of love or tenderness. And yet Jenny challenges him constantly, and bewitches him with her intelligence and her willingness to do anything to uphold her family’s honor. Soon the two find themselves falling in love until Royce kills Jenny’s brother who he thought was drawing a knife to kill him, despite giving Jenny his word that he’d not harm her family. The king convenes a tournament, and commands Royce to participate.  Royce is determined to honor his promise to not draw another drop of Merrick blood which allows Jenny’s family, also participating in the tournament, to do their best to kill him. That is until…

Through the haze of sweat and blood and pain that blurred his vision and fogged his mind, Royce thought for a moment he saw the figure of a woman running – running toward him, her uncovered hair tossing about her, glinting in the sun with red and gold. Jennifer! In disbelief, he squinted, staring, while the earsplitting thunder of the crowd rose higher and higher.

Royce groaned inwardly, trying to push himself to his feet with his unbroken right arm. Jennifer had come back – now, to witness his defeat. Or his death. Even so, he didn’t want her to see him die groveling, and with the last ounce of strength he possessed, he managed to stagger to his feet. Reaching up, he wiped the back of his hand across his eyes, his vision cleared, and he realized he was not imagining it. Jennifer was moving toward him, and an eerie silence was descending over the crowd.

Jenny stifled a scream when she was close enough to see his arm dangling brokenly at his side. She stopped in front of him, and her father’s bellow from the sidelines made her head jerk toward the lance lying at Royce’s feet. “Use it!” he thundered. “Use the lance, Jennifer.”

Royce understood then why she had come; she had come to finish the task her relatives had begun; to do to him what he had done to her brother. Unmoving, he watched her, noting that tears were pouring down her beautiful face as she slowly bent down. But instead of reaching for his lance or her dagger, she took his hand between both of hers and pressed her lips to it. Through his daze of pain and confusion, Royce finally understood that she was kneeling to him, and a groan tore from his chest: “Darling” he said brokenly, tightening his hand, trying to make her stand, “don’t do this…”

But his wife wouldn’t listen. In front of seven thousand onlookers, Jennifer Merrick Westmoreland, countess of Rockbourn, knelt before her husband in a public act of humble obeisance, her face pressed to his hand, her shoulders wrenched with violent sobs.

A Kingdom of Dreams, Judith McNaught (pp 420-421)

The second example comes from The Warlords of the Plains series by Elizabeth Vaughan. In Warprize, Xylara is the daughter of the warrior king, Xyron. When her father dies, her insane half-brother inherits the throne. The kingdom’s fiercest enemies, the Firelanders, have come to overthrow the kingdom. Xylara, a trained healer, begins healing the Firelander prisoners, and gets to know them. She learns their language and some of their customs and her respect for their way of life grows. Lara never expects that Keir of the Cat, the leader of the Firelanders, would sneak into the encampment to check on his warriors, nor did she expect that he would demand her in exchange for peace. Her brother agrees, telling Lara that she will be a slave, a Warprize, in order to ensure peace for her people. Lara, being a loyal servant of the crown goes, assuming that she’ll be treated as a slave and concubine to Keir. But in the Firelander encampment, Lara finds peace and love with the fierce leader of her country’s enemy. In the end, Keir decides he must leave Lara in Xy as the newly ascended leader of the kingdom, while he and his people return to Xy.

The sky was a vibrant orange when I finally heard the thunder of hooves behind me. I didn’t turn, just continued to walk at a steady pace. For a brief moment, I feared that Simus or Other had sent troops after me. But instead, as Simus had predicted, the first of the rear scouts moved past me at a gallop, their horses veering around me. One looked back, and let out a yelp of surprise. He pulled on the reins so hard his horse reared, legs splayed in its effort to stop. The other scout, hearing the noise, pulled his sword, and turned off the road, arcing back to me.

I ignored them and kept walking.

The first scout came up on horseback. “Warprize?” he asked, looking horrified. I looked up to see Tant, the warrior that had been whipped for falling asleep on watch.

The other scout came up, scanning for danger. He glanced at his partner. “That’s the Warprize?” […]

It seemed like hours before there was a commotion ahead of us. A cloud of dust betrayed the horsemen coming hard and fast up the road. My self-appointed guard faded back as Keir came thundering into view, galloping his horse, his scarlet cloak flaring behind him. There were a few more men behind him. I stopped and stood where I was, waiting.

Keir reared his horse to a stop in front of me. The animal towered over me, and I could hear its harsh breathing. I kept my eyes down, on the road.

“What in the name of all the elements do you think you are doing?” Keir thundered.

“Following my Warlord.” I kept my voice steady.

Warprize, Elizabeth Vaughan [pp. 311-312]

In both cases the heroine gives up everything she’s known for love of her hero – the Big Romantic Gesture. The gestures, so enormous that the reader is assured of the enduring love between the couple.

So how about the heroes? I struggled thinking of a hero who made the Big Romantic Gesture.  Then I took to Twitter and was reminded of the actions of Raphael, Archangel of New York in Nalini Singh’s Angel’s Blood. When Uram, an archangel and a member of the Cadre of Ten archangels who rule the world, goes rogue, falling into bloodlust,  the archangels must turn to Hunter Born Elena Devereaux to hunt down the threat to humans, vampires and angels alike. Having lived millennia, he’s lost almost all of his humanity, but when he meets Elena he is captivated. Elena is both terrified and undeniably attracted to Raphael, and due to the extreme danger of her hunt, she is very close proximity to him almost constantly.  But as they get closer, Raphael realizes that he is losing just a bit of his immortality through his attraction to Elena. This loss could jeopardize his rule, but Raphael can’t help himself. He’s never had anyone treat him with anything other than deference, and Elena is anything but deferential.  As Elena and Raphael track the rogue archangel, they fall deeper and deeper in love.

During the final confrontation with Uram, Elena sustains life-threatening wounds.

One of Uram’s last, desperate bolts had hit the building. Raphael knew Elena had to have been on the very edge of the eight-story structure when she’d shot up at Uram. That edge was now gone, but he could feel Elena’s life, feel her dying flame. Elena, answer me.

Quiet, peaceful, a hush of sounds. Then, Stay a little human, won’t you Raphael?

A request that was almost not a sound at all. But it was enough. He followed the mental thread to discover her broken body on the narrow ledge provided by a precariously hanging neon sign. Her back was shattered, her legs twisted in a way that was nothing natural. But she smiled when she saw him. And her hand still held the gun that had saved more lives than anyone would ever know.

He dared not touch her, afraid he’d cause her to slip over the ledge. “You are not to die.”

A slow blink. “Bossy.” It was a sound bubbled through with blood. The voice isn’t working so good. […]

His canines elongated, and a strange, beautiful, golden taste filled his mouth as he felt a tear slide down his face. He was an archangel. He had not cried in over a thousand years.  […]

His heart stopped beating when her voice faded, and he leaned forward, his mouth overwhelmed by the taste of beauty, of life. “I won’t let you die. I had your blood tested. You’re compatible.”

Her lashes struggled to open, failed. But her mental voice, though weak, was adamant. I don’t want to be a vampire. Bloodsucking’s not my thing.

“You must live.” And then he kissed her, feeding that golden taste, that intoxicating blend into her mouth. You must live.

That was when the sign gave away, tearing loose from the building and plunging to the ground in a shattering crash. Elena didn’t fall alone, gathered as she was in Raphael’s arms, his mouth fused with hers. They fell together, his wings close to destroyed, his soul melded to that of a mortal.

If this is death, Guild Hunter, he thought to his mortal as angelfire scored through his boned and touched his heart, then I will see you on the other side.

Angel’s Blood, Nalini Singh [Kindle  location: 4442-4470]

Raphael’s sacrifice, giving up his life as one of the most powerful beings in the world, his rule in the Cadre of Ten, his very immortality, is the very essence of the Big Romantic Gesture. He gives up everything for love.

The Big Romantic Gesture is not a necessary element of a successful romance, in fact, it’s somewhat rare. But when an author successfully writes it, it causes what I call the “big sigh” of a reading experience. For it to be effective the author must build the foundation – both conflict and romance.  The stakes must be raised in order for the gesture to carry the weight of the “ultimate sacrifice”. If the author fails to establish the foundation, they risk the gesture being tell, not show.  When it is successful, it confirms for the reader that the couple’s Happily Ever After is a foregone conclusion.

Guest Reviewer

49 Comments

  1. KT Grant
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:13:25

    Love this post! :)

    I do love the big romantic gesture, but the smaller ones really hit home for me. When Roarke send a bag a real coffee to Eve very early on in their relationship, I knew he was a goner when it came to Eve.

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  2. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:28:57

    I can think of more instances where the heroine makes a sacrifice and it usually involves leaving her job. Like Teri (can’t recall the spelling of her name) left her position as a helicopter pilot with the military so she could be with Stan otherwise, if I recall correctly, they couldn’t be married or together because of where she was stationed and the fact she was an officer. (My recall of this is somewhat vague)

    That said, a common refrain in Amanda Quick/JAK books is often the hero giving up his quest for revenge for the heroine. In Scandal, the hero is determined to make everyone involved in bankrupting his father and refusing to help him and his mother out when he was younger. But she whittles away, saying that he doesn’t want to have the revenge thing looming over them when they have children.

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  3. Keishon
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:53:13

    SPOILERS ***** SPOILERS********SPOILERS FOR FLOWERS FROM THE STORM*****

    Would not Laura Kinsale’s FLOWERS FROM THE STORM make the cut? I think it would. Christian having lost his ability to speak after suffering a stroke has had to struggle with his family to keep from being put in an asylum. He marries Maddy, a Puritan, who helps him with his speech and his struggles with his family. Maddy is infuriating at times because she feels that her marriage to Christian is not based on love or whatever. Maddy leaves him towards the end and he nearly has a breakdown. Several days later he learns she is giving a paper or a speech denouncing their marriage so that she can fit back in with her Church and Christian shows up and proclaims his love for her despite his broken speech as he does so, ripping her paper apart. Very moving and romantic gesture that I’ll never forget.

    Off to work as I had to type this up really quick. I loved SAY ANYTHING.

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  4. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:53:22

    @Jane – Terri is another good example. I found it really difficult, once I started thinking about this topic to find heroes who made the big sacrifices. It was easier to come up with heroines, for some reason.

    @KT Grant – You’re so right, but what about Roarke giving up all his sideline businesses? That might be an example of the BRG.

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  5. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:20:17

    @Kati When we were twitter chatting about this I thought the revenge scenario is where I see the heroes giving up quite a bit but other than that, I can’t think of a time when a hero was pursuing something and then gave it all up for the heroine. Julie Anne Long’s latest release has the hero giving up a dowry property that he wanted in order to marry the heroine. That wasn’t necessarily about revenge. JAL has a few books with the hero making the big gesture. In contrast Kristan Higgins usually has the heroine making the big gesture.

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  6. SHZ
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:29:47

    @KT Grant: Yeah, Roarke is the champion of small gestures. (Keeping her button in his pocket is the one that still gets to me!)

    I am easy to embarrass in real life, so big gestures scare the bejesus out of me. I’m the one who cringes during romantic scenes in movies.

    Kristan Higgins likes ENORMOUS romantic gestures in her books. For example, the end of My One and Only, where the heroine jumps off a ferry and into the water for the hero – in front of a boatload of commuters. I loved the book to pieces, but I also had to cover my eyes while trying to read that.

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  7. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:39:58

    @Keishon – Flowers from the Storm is another great example! I didn’t think of it because *whispers* Kinsale doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve read FFTS once.

    @SHZ – I’m one of those who cringes at embarrassing social situations. It’s why I never made it through Superbad (the movie), which is full of those. And I can’t sit through the American Idol auditions with all those people making giant asses of themselves. It makes me squirm. So I definitely can see where you’re coming from. The BRG does make me swoon though!

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  8. Meri
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:41:55

    I think what Smite says when Miranda’s case comes up at the end of Unraveled qualifies, as do Ash’s actions to ensure that Margaret can be legitimized in Unveiled.

    An example of a big gesture from a heroine would be Gigi showing up at Cam’s dinner party at the end of Private Arrangements.

    @Keishon: Flowers from the Storm, definitely!

    @Jane: Teri leaves the navy but ends up joining the coast guard as a helicopter pilot. IIRC she calls it a lateral move.

    I know Pamela Clare got some flack for having Breaking Point’s Natalie leave journalism to bake pies, but it’s worth pointing out that several of Clare’s heroes also made sacrifices – e.g. Jamie in Carnal Gift converts to Catholicism for Brighid (in the 18th century that strikes me as very much a BRG), and Gabe in Naked Edge basically rearranges his life to fit Kat’s values and plans.

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  9. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:45:59

    @Meri – When I originally brought this subject up on Twitter, Pamela Clare’s fans came out of the woodwork to suggest The Naked Edge. I’ve now got it on my Kindle. Sounds like Gabe’s sacrifice was HUGE!

    I’m not familiar w/Unveiled and Unraveled. Who is the author, please?

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  10. Meri
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:53:30

    @Kati: Yes – Gabe definitely went the extra mile, not just the physical sacrifice he makes – and it’s definitely a huge thing – but also in terms of going along with things Kat wanted that were kind of unusual. And Kat stays with the newspaper while he takes a more flexible job.

    Unveiled, Unclaimed and Unraveled (in that order) are by Courtney Milan.

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  11. Ren
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:57:06

    So the Big Romantic Gesture in the first example is not that he’s letting somebody kill him to prove he’s committed to keeping a promise to her, but that she’s getting her skirt dirty by kneeling over his battered and broken body?

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  12. Lorenda Christensen
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 07:57:11

    When I saw McNaught’s book mentioned, I immediately assumed it was the Royce’s sacrifice you’d be talking about as the romantic gesture. I mean, the guy basically offered his life to her family to uphold a promise he’d made. It’s been a long while since I’ve read it, but he was basically letting himself be killed to honor a promise to the heroine. In my book (pun intended), that counts.

    So I think A Kingdom of Dreams qualifies for the hero too.

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  13. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:00:56

    @Ren: I guess you’re right. Royce made a huge gesture too. I always thought of it more as her releasing her family obligation and offering her allegiance, but in thinking about it, you’re right, both characters make big sacrifices, but his is bigger.

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  14. Dabney
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:08:00

    @Kati: Courtney Milan. There are three linked books and a novella in her Locked series.

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  15. Patricia Eimer
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:25:42

    I’m a small romantic gestures sort of girl. Like KT Grant above Roarke has become my favorite romance “guy” (is he really a hero?) for all the small stuff like the coffee and the gloves not for things like the Dragon’s Tear.

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  16. Christine
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:48:00

    I have to agree with Patricia Eimer above, I much prefer the small romantic gestures. One part I loved about Flowers From The Storm (despite wanting to shake Maddie a bunch of times) was how the hero remembered that the one time he had seen the heroine dressed up long ago she had put her mother’s pearls around her bun and provided a similar strand for her when he chose clothes for her.

    Some things I particularly dislike about the “grand gestures” are:

    1.) They are usually done in public in some showy way. I personally cringe at Jumbotron proposals, skywriting etc. For me romances are more about the quieter, personal moments and I don’t like resolutions that need the crowd’s approval ie: SEP books.
    2.) Someone is humbled or embarrassed, usually again, publicly.
    3.) It’s often a sop used when one party to the relationship has been TSTL or an arrogant ass. Somehow this “evens the score” for one half of the couple being mean or selfish for an entire book.

    @Jane- Regarding Teri Howe in Brockmann’s “Over The Edge” I didn’t mind that she was the one to switch from the Navy to the Coast Guard because it was made clear she was not thriving in the Navy and her career had effectively stalled. Her change was described as a “lateral move” and it fit better with her desire just to fly helicopters. Stan was career Navy who loved it and had excelled and been promoted. As Teri had been so unhappy there it didn’t bother me that she had made the “sacrifice.”

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  17. KB/KT Grant
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:51:35

    Now that I think of it, JR Ward’s heroes from her BDB series do a some of the best romantic gestures I’ve ever read. How could I forget how Rhage (Lover Enshrined) was willing to sacrifice his happiness in order to let Mary live? He’d rather suffer so Mary can live a full and happy life without her illness even if it meant her falling in love with another man.

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  18. dick
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:33:29

    Both “Honor’s Splendor” and “Saving Grace” include romantic gestures: In HS, when Duncan comes for Madelyn with a hundred soldiers, all of whom raise their swords to her. In SG, when the hero steps behind Grace and helps her break the Bishop’s rod.

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  19. Amy Kathryn
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:10:37

    Before reading some of the comments, I would have said that I love the BRG. But I think I like the little gestures even more because of what Christine said above. I think the little gestures show a care and continuing understanding while the big gesture is usually in response to a big stupidity…not Lloyd’s though!

    I must say I like how I am forced to think about my reading and my preferences by the posters and commenters here at DA and other reader/reviewer blogs.

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  20. Katy
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:28:43

    What about in the second book of the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber, by Diana Gabaldon? When Jamie sends a pregnant Claire back to the present century as he goes to what he thinks is his certain death? Not a dry eye, I tell you.

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  21. Meagan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:31:51

    The one that comes to mind for me is a little more recent. In I Just Play One on TV, Alex wins Vince back for good by announcing at the after party of some award show that he’s gay and in love in Vince. That, to me, was a very brave and very big gesture.

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  22. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 10:53:21

    @Meagan: I’ve never read I Just Play One on TV, but that sounds up my alley!

    @Katy: I read Outlander, and never read more. But my sister ADORES the series and re-reads them all the time. I know many romance readers consider Jaime to be the ultimate romance hero.

    @dick: Man, I adore Garwood! She writes wonderful BRGs!

    @KB/KT Grant: I always think of Zsadist and all he does to change/”improve” himself for Bella. But you’re right, Rhage makes a huge sacrifice as well.

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  23. cbackson
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:07:54

    SPOILER (Angel’s Blood and sequels)

    I was once a big fan of the BRG. But then I was actually on the receiving end of a BRG, and realized how you can be so overwhelmed that that grandiose gesture of love that you make terrible, terrible relationship decisions. Sometimes, you really SHOULDN’T marry the guy who crosses a continent to win you back with a surprise marriage proposal in an enormously romantic location. There was a reason you broke up in the first place. I AM JUST SAYING.

    Ahem. Anyway, now I’ve got a better appreciation for the non-flashy stand-up guy who doesn’t NEED a BRG to win you over. Love is more firmly grounded, I think, when it’s a war of attrition.

    Also, in the end, Raphael’s BRG doesn’t actually involve him sacrificing anything, so I wouldn’t class it with the others you’ve mentioned.

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  24. P. Kirby
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:13:22

    @KT Grant: “When Roarke send a bag a real coffee to Eve very early on in their relationship, I knew he was a goner when it came to Eve. ”

    While the big gestures definitely strikes a chord with me, I find that I’m much, much, more impressed with little gestures, especially those that demonstrate that the hero is really interested in who the heroine is. I.e., he remembers the little stuff, like her favorite food, childhood dreams, etc. I think I really dig the “small” stuff, because I’m kinda practical when it comes to love.

    Sure, the big, schmaltzy gestures are wonderful, but they almost seem too easy. (As someone mentioned upthread, they are sometimes the result of the hero acting like an ass and trying to make amends.) The little gestures stay with me because it takes effort to really get to know someone, pay attention to what’s important in their lives, etc.

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  25. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:36:07

    @cbackson Is the sacrifice still a sacrifice if it doesn’t end up being a sacrifice? In other words, do intentions matter? Raphael was willing to fall with Elena and possibly die. The fact that he ends up not dying and that Elena is remade doesn’t negate his willingness to make the sacrifice for me.

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  26. Tina
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:51:21

    Add me to the list of those that tend to prefer the small, everyday gestures vs. the BRG. Mostly because as Christine mentioned upthread, a lot of them usually involve an element of public showiness that the I tend to cringe at reading.

    And yes, Roarke is the master. And not just because of the coffee & going completely legit, but also because he quietly buys Eve a tank of a car that has every safety feature installed. And has been hounding his R&D dept. for two years to a perfect lightweight, flexible body armor that he then has made into a fashionable coat. All because he loves his wife and he understands that she loves — no must — do what she does.

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  27. April
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:56:31

    The song “Little Things Mean a Lot” is playing in the back of my head as I write this, as I agree with many commenters that regular small gestures can be more meaningful. That said, however, I do love the occasional big romantic gesture — with a caveat, I like it if the big romantic gesture is done well.

    The big romantic gestures happen more often in movie romances, and when it’s done badly, it’s so obviously “forced drama” — as in someone rushing to the airport to stop the other person from leaving to accept another job in another state; they always have to rush through traffic and brave airport security or something because they can’t seem to wait until the other person isn’t already in the middle of something and has more free time to hear about their change of heart. I mean, the person doing the big gesture had waited all this time, being stubborn and refusing to see that they belonged together in the first place, and now they can’t wait a few hours after their epiphany before they try to patch the relationship together again? They’ve got to approach the other person in a time of stress and force them to make a snap decision right then and there? So not right, and so not fair. Yeah … that’s where the big romantic gesture looks empty and unnecessary, i.e., forced drama. Those, I don’t like.

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  28. Castiron
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:02:44

    Another vote here for a large number of little gestures rather than one big gesture, or at least a BRG that’s built on a foundation of LRGs. I’ve found in real life that the BRG does not actually balance out countless little thoughtless or unkind actions.

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  29. Sarah Frantz
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:31:37

    I actually cried when I read the end of Zsadist’s book, when he writes “I love you” on a piece of paper. LOVE that book. That was both a huge romantic gesture and a tiny one. And if I were Bella, I’d keep that piece of paper on me at all times.

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  30. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:45:12

    SPOILERS!!! KATE DANIELS BOOKS

    Not a romance but still a powerful romantic gesture… the Kate Daniels series-Curran built the pack into the behemoth that it is so he’d feel safer when he had a family, after what happened to his own.

    Once Kate confides in him about Roland, he tells her he is willing for them to just disappear. He’ll walk away from the pack he built-yes, he’s pissed at them because they didn’t stand by him, and her, but he also built that pack to protect her, (before he even found her) and he’s willing to do whatever he has to in order to protect her and keep her safe. If she thought disappearing was the safest course to dealing with Roland? He was for that.

    That’s an awesome BRG.

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  31. Kati
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:01:08

    @Shiloh Walker: I have the first Kate Daniels book on my Kindle, but still haven’t read it. Clearly I need to remedy that situation right away!

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  32. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:07:55

    @Kati: Just stick with it past the first one-a lot of people don’t like the first one as much but are hooked about three chapters into book 2. I was an addict by book one and I go on life support without a regular fix now. :)

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  33. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:10:32

    I love BRGs.

    Alex, in SEP’s KISS AN ANGEL, makes one that is supposed to be private, but the person manipulating the situation makes sure that Daisy is witness to it. I love that book.

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  34. Patricia
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:31:53

    In Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle, Tristan adopts Phaedra’s illegitimate niece (and lets everyone assume the child is his own bastard) after she has already refused to marry him because he knows how much the child means to Phae. That seems like a pretty big gesture to me.

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  35. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:39:37

    @Moriah Jovan: heart! KISS AN ANGEL is one of my fave contemps. I love Daisy.

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  36. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:45:14

    @Shiloh Walker: Alex is the most perfect alpha-asshole EVAR and the grovel was all that and a bag of chips, too. Plus, he was blond. I like my really bad alpha-assholes blond.

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  37. MaryK
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:22:14

    @Shiloh Walker: @Kati: I liked book 1 and thought it showed huge romance potential for the series. I’m glad it’s proven to be true, so many romances in UF fizzle.

    @cbackson: He was willing to die though and would have if they hadn’t been rescued in time. He could’ve left her and moved to safety since she was basically dead anyway, but he didn’t want to live without her. In Romance, we don’t really want the hero’s “I would die for you” to be carried through ‘cuz he’d be dead, and we’d be sad.

    I think Jo Beverley wrote a scenario similar to the McNaught one, in Lord of Midnight maybe.

    Does Keir stabbing the rude noble count as at least a small gesture? :) I definitely count the time he went berserk defending her.

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  38. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:30:12

    @Moriah Jovan: I don’t care on hair color. He was just awesome. I love it when a bad guy grovels. And she totally made him grovel. I also loved Heaven, Texas.

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  39. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:32:43

    @Jane: I agree…

    It’s kind of like a maniac waving a gun at you and your guy jumps in front of you to take the bullet, then it turns out the gun wasn’t loaded. The intention for him to take the harm for your sake is still there.

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  40. Ridley
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 14:32:51

    Nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than a grand gesture does. They’re just so melodramatic. In fact, I’d say the grand gesture ruins a book for me, more often than not. It cheapens the rest of the book by rendering a nice, heartfelt story down to a cheap ploy.

    If I’m going to enjoy a thing like that it has to be subtle, realistic and in tune with who the characters are. Unfortunately, it rarely is.

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  41. Edward
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:09:38

    @Shiloh Walker: I remember and I agree; that was a BRG. Well, kinda. It’s not “big” in the sense that it was flashy and public, but it is “big” in the sense of a turning point in their relationship — the confirmation of Curran’s love for Kate.

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  42. cbackson
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 15:23:38

    @Jane: Yeah, and that totally makes sense – just for some reason, it didn’t make much of an impression on me. I guess I never felt a sense of true danger (I mean, it’s romance, so obvs. he’s not really going to die, but STILL). OTOH, I was very struck by his willingness to be humanized, to an extent, by her. So the BRG barely survived in my memory, but Raphael’s overall development really struck me.

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  43. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 16:06:47

    @Edward: Exactly… it doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but if it’s something that’s pivotal to THAT person, that’s a BRG.

    An example for me-my guy is one of those very quiet, very laidback guys-he doesn’t get upset, doesn’t get worked up over much. Two times I can remember seeing him really angry were on my behalf. Things like that can even count as BRG.

    It doesn’t have to be stopping the world in its tracks. It’s just something that’s pivotal to that character.

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  44. Joopdeloop
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:25:51

    not a traditional romance text (but still one of my favorite romances ever): FNL – When Coach Taylor leaves Texas football for his wife Tami, so she can have her turn at a career, counseling at an East Coast school… not a realistic but very grand BRG, and so true to the character of their wonderful, well-lived out relationship (which was full of awesome small romantic gestures too)

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  45. Susan
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 18:26:31

    I’m glad to see that I have company when it comes to a certain kind of BRG–the showy, public ones. They make me squirm with mortification, too. Can’t watch them on TV/movies–my hand automatically reaches for the remote for the fast forward or mute buttons even in the theater. Reading about them isn’t much better. I just can’t stand the idea of public scrutiny, even for someone else. And if any degree of humiliation is involved, well, just forget about it. Introvert hell all around.

    The BRGs that aren’t necessarily trumpeted to the world are more to my taste, in fiction and real life.

    But totally agree that, in real life, it’s the small gestures that often mean the most and display more true thoughtfulness since they’re more about the recipient that the giver.

    Oh, and Jamie IS the ultimate hero, both for the big gestures and the little ones. Claire doesn’t really deserve him. I, on the other hand, would truly appreciate him.

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  46. Keishon
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 22:16:14

    @Christine: or how Christian (FFTS) described Maddie to her father who is blind and was never able to see his own daughter with his own eyes. Very moving scene early on in the book before his stroke. Christian had a good heart. He was an arrogant duke but after the stroke it made him appreciate the little things. I love that book.

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  47. Meri
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 01:42:50

    @Joopdeloop: And it was especially nice because in doing so, he acknowledged just how much she’d sacrificed for him over the years.

    I agree that big public declarations are too often more embarrassing than romantic (one reason why I loathed Heaven, Texas), and if anyone ever proposed to me by means of a jumbotron, that person would have to find someone else to marry. But it is possible to write a public BRG scene well and in a way that’s true to the characters.

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  48. Christine
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 11:20:25

    @Keishon- Yes that was a lovely scene and it made me believe in Christian’s transformation over the course of the book. It showed despite his extravagant ways he noticed people, even the “little” people and cared about their feelings. It wasn’t just the stroke or whatever he had that made him a totally different person, it took the seed of what was presented already about him and expanded on it. I left the best part out up above- that when he provided the necklace for Maddie he specifically said it was “for her hair.” It’s those little touches that can really make an already good book superior.

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  49. hapax
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:38:37

    Chiming in late, but SEP also does the small-but-huge romantic gesture well.

    The scene in NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE when Cal “kidnaps” Jane to go pick out wallpaper is perhaps my favorite scene in any of her books.

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