What the Feck (WTF): “Insta-Love” – Does it Work in Romantic Suspense?

Posted July 14, 2014 by Jonetta in What the Feck | | 9 Comments

Cat Says WTF

What the Feck?! (WTF?!) is where we discuss bookish topics that had us thinking WTF?! while reading a book, talking to others in the book community or book news. Stop by on Mondays for new topics.


“Insta-Love” – Does it Work in Romantic Suspense??


Speed - Bullock and Reeves
Copyright 20th Century Fox


Many romance readers I know aren’t fans of the “insta-love” trope, where the main characters meet and fall in love pretty quickly. Generally, that intolerable time frame seems to be a week or less. It could be a little more time than that but…you get the idea.


I’ve never given it much thought unless the story seemed to rush the relationship. Then it’s all about a breakdown in the plot and storyline. If I’m being carried away with the tale, the timeframe for the couple feeling like they’re in love doesn’t even occur to me. Of course, it’s fiction and who says there can’t be a little fantasy in romance?


But I do respect the issue. If a reader is going to get stuck on what appears to be a far departure from the realities of life, then the rest of the story isn’t going to matter. But it got me thinking about the realities of the romantic suspense genre.


For most RS stories, events tend to unfold pretty rapidly, putting the hero and heroine in life-threatening or otherwise tense situations that force them to interact in abnormal circumstances. Emotions are heightened and you get to see people operate in the worst situations, giving you a chance to see characteristics that would normally take much longer to surface.




I’ve thought about this a lot over the past year or so. As this is my favorite genre, I read many stories where love happens pretty quickly. But most seem to be realistic to me for the reasons I’ve stated. Is it unrealistic for a couple in dire straights to not bond rapidly when faced with their mortality? Wouldn’t typical barriers just go by the wayside?


Remember the movie Speed where Keanu Reeves tells Sandra Bullock “I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.”? I think about that a lot, too. Is that the truth (forget about the fact that their relationship didn’t hold up into Speed II)? Those “intense experiences” could also have the opposite affect, creating an extremely solid foundation for the future.


naked in death

Many of my favorite fictional relationships developed pretty fast when I looked back and examined the time frame. Eve Dallas and Roarke met in the middle of a murder investigation and that beloved romance developed REALLY fast! I was more concerned about her diddling with a suspect than how quickly it evolved:)


don't tell



Karen Rose is one of my most favorite authors in this genre and her situations tend to evolve over a fairly short period of time. One doesn’t get much of a chance to worry about how long or short the romance timeline is in her stories because you’re too busy worried about them getting killed or seriously hurt. When the romance happens, you’re actually kind of glad to get a respite:)



So, do we give this genre a pass on the “insta-love” hate?

Does it actually work for the story? Or, do you think it doesn’t matter?
Do you have any favorite romance couples where it all happened kind of fast?

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9 responses to “What the Feck (WTF): “Insta-Love” – Does it Work in Romantic Suspense?

  1. I think more often then not it is insta-attractions I romantic suspense. I love the genre and tend to accept insta-love more readily. I will say I prefer it when the ending is more open….as in they continue to date and not run to the nearest chapel. I will gladly swallow the little blue pill in other genres if the author can make me believe. I struggle with the whole “I would die without you bit “. Great post Jen

  2. I’m more lenient in the insta-love in the suspense genre than most others except maybe some paranormal. And really, I prefer insta-lust or insta-attraction more than insta-hearts-n-flowers. Real relationships take time, but it’s fiction, so as long as it’s not too overdone, I’m cool with it.

  3. I’m not a fan of “insta-love” in any kind of book but I could see where characters might have those feelings faster when they are in danger. You’re blood is pumping and a strong and sexy (they’re always sexy) guy saves your life. It’s love. Or lust masked as love.

    • There’s always the “danger” in this genre of lust masked as love. That’s when I get derailed. It’s got to be more than physical attraction…what are the personality characteristics the H/h are paying attention to?