At times when I’m nose-deep in a story, I wonder what is the most vile, detrimental emotion and behavior that would ruin a budding relationship between two eager partners. Insecurity? Arrogance? Fear? Selfishness? Infidelity? Dishonesty? Jealousy? Lack of trust? A gripping story about relationships must have some of those elements, but at what point would they become irrevocable? On the flip side, if we accept those negative elements in a relationship, would it then cross the threshold into codependence?
The culture on love is bred on codependence: I need you. What’s more popular as of late in romance novels (and makes me cringe every time): You’re mine. In reality (nonfiction), that’s exactly what we want to avoid in a healthy relationship. However, in romantic fiction, it makes for a classic obstacle to overcome. (And some beguiling reading that keeps me turning the page late into the night!)
Though Infatuate is, as the title indicates, about fixation on an individual, Suzy stands her ground to remain her own person. She’s a dedicated student with a full-time job, trying to make something of herself. That doesn’t change even when she finally finds herself involved with the focal point of her infatuation of two years, and especially when it interferes with her time with Carlson. He doesn’t like it but finds other (thoughtful) means to make his presence in her daily routine known. They work through it, both having to compromise to make it worthy. It’s a subtle message of their story, but I hope a sound one.