When Love Kills: Unrequited Love

Though February is a month for love, we’re crime writers so we’re going to have a different discussion.

Wickeds, unrequited love is one sided, and is a great motive. Does unrequited love play a part in any of your novels? Is it part of your character’s backstory? How long do you like to work with unrequited love before it gets solved one way or another?

Jessie: Unrequited love does play a role in a few of my novels. In the Sugar Grove series a local taxidermist is obsessed with the protagonist, or any of her available female relatives. In my Beryl and Edwina novels the village solicitor, Charles Jarvis, is completely smitten with Edwina. As the series has gone on he has become less reticent about displaying his feelings. It is a lot of fun to see how this will all play out as I write each one!

Edith/Maddie: Rose Carroll in the Quaker Midwife Mysteries had her love for David Dodge returned, but both his mother and Rose’s own Quaker congregation threw so many obstacles in the way of their marriage, her love was nearly doomed. I realized with this question that I’ve never written a stalker. I might have to remedy that!

Sherry: The third Sarah Winston book, All Murders Final!, is all about unrequited love and someone stalking Sarah. It is a fun concept to play with. It comes up again in the third Chloe Jackson book — Three Shots to the Wind. Until this moment I didn’t realize I’d used that topic–in very different ways– in the third book in each series.

Barb: Two sides of the unrequited love conundrum play out in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. As a middle-schooler, Julia had a terrible crush on Chris Durand, a high school god. As she says, he was polite when she was directly in his path, and couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup the rest of the time. On the other hand, as an adult, Julia’s childhood friend, Jamie Dawes, develops romantic feelings for her. Julia loves him, but not in that way. She realizes she has to deal with the situation at the end of Muddled Through. The story-line is resolved in “Perked Up,” my novella in Irish Coffee Murder, which just came out.

Liz: In the Cat Cafe series, Maddie comes back to the island and almost picks up where she left off with her high school boyfriend Craig Tomlin, who’s now a cop. But she decides not to “go backward” and instead gets together with Lucas, the hot dog groomer. Even though Craig ends up with a new love, part of him is still pining for Maddie, which we see in Whisker of a Doubt when Maddie and Lucas run into a rough patch.

Julie: I love these responses, and the way unrequited love can show itself. I haven’t worked with unrequited love in a published novel, though I am working on one where that seems to be a character arc I didn’t expect. Those characters have their own way of doing things! As a reader, I don’t have a lot of patience for long-running unrequited love in a series, though I am listening to Hamish Macbeth and between Priscilla and Elsbeth he’s dealing with a lot of pent up feelings.

Readers, do you enjoy unrequited love in a series? Writers, have you explored it in your books?

15 Thoughts

    1. I’ve never used it. Though in a new series I’m working on, the main character has an on again, off again relationship which might cause problems down the road. Who knows?

  1. It’s an interesting thing to play with, but I like to see it resolved sooner rather than later. Having said that, I am having fun with watching to see if Edwina is ever going to clue in to it.

  2. Yes, I enjoy reading stories about unrequited love. It’s such a reality in today’s world! Yet, I also enjoy reading about fulfilling love. Even when love works out the way that it should, there are always complications. That’s just the way that it is!

  3. It’s okay for one book, two max, but not long-running and unresolved. I quit reading a series for that reason.

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