Can a heart truly “break”?
Physically, of course, it could break down and we might suffer a cardiac arrest. But that is not what we are referring to on this blog hop.
Why do we associate the misery of lost love, or unrequited love with the heart? After all it’s an organ of the body—albeit a vital one—nothing more.
Yet we would be judged odd if we talked about having our lungs broken, or our liver!
“What’s wrong with you?”
“My lover left me with a broken liver.”
(Come to think of it, men do sometimes refer to having another part of their male anatomy broken when things don’t go their way.)
Do we actually feel pain in this “heart-shaped” organ when love kicks us in the teeth? (Sorry!)
Actually, we do! Acute shock, or disappointment, triggers an adrenaline release in the body, which rushes to the heart. We want to fight the “heartbreak”, argue with the person jilting us, or flee, never to see the cad again.
Too much adrenaline can trigger palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmia—all symptoms we “feel” in our heart.
It can also bring on headaches, but we don’t talk about having our heads broken!
If there was no such thing as a broken heart, romance authors would be in a bad way! If relationships were easy and worked out smoothly every time, I’d be out of a job!
But life isn’t like that, is it?
Nor was it, thank goodness, in medieval times, my favourite period to write about! In fact heartbreak was rampant then, when women had little choice or say in whom they married, and precious few rights.
But the nice thing about romance is that it is “happily ever after”, so we can mend our heroine’s broken heart with a stroke of the pen (or a tap of the keyboard).
Our heroes can be just plain chauvinists, like Ram de Montbryce, in Conquering Passion, and we can right that silliness by giving him a feisty heroine (Mabelle) who insists on voicing her opinions. He discovers he actually likes that about her and her broken heart is mended!
Sometimes it takes an enormous personal sacrifice to make a hero understand just how much a woman loves him. In Dance of Love, Farah leaves behind her most precious possession when she has to leave her hero. She knows it is necessary for him to resume his life as a warrior after he is stricken by a crippling affliction. Her actions eventually prompt him to pursue her and both are relieved of their broken heart!
My medieval heroes are heartbreakers, but not because they are “bad boys”. It’s just they can’t see the wood for the trees! They don’t mean to break the hearts of their heroines, they simply put other things ahead of love—things like honour, vengeance, fear of rejection.
It’s understandable really when you consider the times these men lived in. They often had to fight to protect what was theirs. It could be dangerous to let down one’s guard. Even within families treachery existed. But not in my medieval family. The Montbryces are intensely loyal to each other. And the men all suffer from the “Montbryce curse.” They are noblemen in love with their wives—supposedly an anomaly in the Middle Ages. It was not “manly” to show loving feelings, even for one’s spouse and/or children.