My book club just read Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and, in our meeting, we had a long and heated
disagreement discussion about whether or not and/or when it’s OK to lie to one’s children. The consensus was that it’s fine to lie to minors but that adult children should not be lied to although parents may choose to keep whatever they wish from said progeny.
I asked how they felt about lying to their significant others, a behavior that is commonly found in romance novels. Many said that it was always unethical to deliberately lie to those you love and several felt it’s a bad idea to, through omission, mislead. I’m… not so sure. There’s a reason this trope appears regularly in romance!
In one of my favorite fantasy romance series EVER, The Folk of Air, Cardan misleads Jude over and over again for her safety and–which is in his own self interest–to win her recalcitrant heart. In Julie Anne Long’s justifiably adored Pennyroyal Green series, the heroes and heroines routinely stretch the truth, elide their motives, and work to keep those they love the most in the dark for reasons that, at least for this reader, work. For many many romances, deception is necessary to a couple’s HEA. And that’s fine with me.
What about you? How do you feel about dishonesty in a love affair? Is it like murder–a question of degree? And if so, what are the constructs that need to exist for you to feel comfortable with a couple’s HEA?