Top Five Reasons We Love Second Chance Romance

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By Kayla King, Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Intrigue

This trope almost always chokes me up and makes me super sentimental.  What is it about second chances that make for such a sweet Happily Ever After?  I’ll try to break it down.

1. The mysterious shared history, and all the tension that comes with it.  What happened between these two?  It’s a thrill to uncover the intimate past between two characters, seeing the way things once were, and figuring out what went so wrong.

2. Deep emotional connection. Romance like this isn’t just about the storied history that these characters have together, but about the reasons they can’t disentangle from each others’ lives.  It can be a very profound relationship.

3. “The one that got away.” Not everyone has one, but many people do, and boy is it an angsty experience.  The person who always makes you wonder “what if?”  Second chance romances let us explore that without turning our real world lives upside down and sending ill-advised 3am texts.

4. Unique obstacles. It’s not as simple as the hero and heroine realizing their feelings and getting back together or taking their friendship to the next level.  Whatever reasons kept them apart in the first place could still be there.  Have the characters really learned from the past?  Or has a new problem presented itself?  Is one of them now involved with someone else, thinking the sun had set on their old flame?

5. Personal growth. Yes, we’ve been waiting all this time for these two crazy kids to finally get together, and that romantic payoff is so sweet. But the true prize of the second chance?  IMHO, it’s the personal growth each character has undertaken as an individual, not just to become worthy of another’s love, but to see themselves as worthy of that love, too.

What are some of your favorite second chance romances?  Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Chrissie

    My favorite second chance movie is The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Anniston and Gerard Butler. I love the conflict between them, that they couldn’t handle the heat when they were together and when in close proximity because of his taking her in for bounty, the sparks flare into flames and they are so hot for each other. But still determined to resist. They each have a lot to overcome and admit their love but it is a fun romp.