The Power of an Epilogue in a Romance Novel
Giving Readers a Look at Happily Ever After
The goal of every writer is to bring their characters to life. We all want our readers to feel along with our characters. We want our readers to be able to imagine our characters out there living their lives wherever and whenever we have written them. And, while the meeting of the hero and heroine and the development of the relationship in a romance novel are important, the part every reader awaits with bated breath is the moment when the couple comes together--the moment in the book that seals them together forever. The love between them is what we all want, and the happy ending is essential.
But, there is one thing that makes a happy ending better--knowing there’s a happily ever after for your favorite couples. You can do this for your readers by adding an epilogue to the end of your book.
Think about your favorite book couples, don’t you wonder what happens after the end of the book? I find myself wanting to know what happens, especially if the book doesn’t end with a marriage proposal or wedding. Questions begin running through my mind: Did they actually get married? Did they have kids? Are they still happy together? You can help your readers to picture your characters out living their happy lives together by adding an epilogue to the end of you book.
Not all romance novels have epilogues; it tends to be the choice of the author concerning whether or not to include one. But, by adding an epilogue, you will be able to give your readers a deeper look into the life of your couples. This can help readers to fall in love with you, your characters, and your writing style.
What can you write about in your epilogue?
Did your couple have kids? Show the family together at a later date (maybe one, five, or ten years in the future). Maybe you could show them all at a family picnic and provide your couple with a few moments alone together, showing how in love they still are.
Consider showing the couple together, celebrating an anniversary. They could be on vacation, or they could go to a nice anniversary dinner. This is a great setting to allow them to reflect on their relationship over the years. It won’t feel out of place because they are celebrating those years they have been together.
Maybe your book ends with the couple getting together, but they don’t get married. The epilogue could show readers the wedding day or the honeymoon of the couple. These are special moments to share with your readers and to show the love between the couple.
If you are interested in exploring epilogues done well in published novels, here are a few of my favorites. (Note: I’ve tried to keep the descriptions vague, but there may be some small spoilers in them if you intend to read the whole book):
Perfection by R.L. Mathewson- In this novel, the epilogue shows the couple and their young children preparing for and attending a family barbecue. Readers get to experience the still-loving relationship between the main characters and get to experience the personality of their kids. You get a sense of their continued happiness and can be assured that they have remained together.
The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn- This epilogue features the couple going to meet the hero’s parents for the first time. It shows the relationship between the main characters and how they can lean on each other. It also shows the wonderful family that the orphaned heroine will be welcomed into.
A Maid to Match by Deanne Gist- Deanna Gist takes an interesting approach in this epilogue by having it draw on earlier scenes and specifics sentences used earlier in the book. It helps to bring the story full circle for the couple and shows how they progressed together beyond the obstacles they faced in the story.
All of these scenarios provide readers with a deeper look into the lives of the characters they love. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore getting to see my favorite characters living happily together. Going above and beyond with a sweet, happy epilogue can turn good authors into favorite authors.