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February 22, 2010


A common theme in romance novels is building trust or in some cases rebuilding it enough to make a relationship work. In my book Scarlet Woman, the heroine Emily discovers her husband has had an affair with his secretary. Her husband leaves her and subsequently dies in a car accident. For Emily, trusting another man is difficult. While she’s willing to have fun with the hero Saber, it takes her time to believe in him and accept he’s trustworthy enough to enter into a commitment and a permanent relationship.

Trust can be many things. In After the Affair by Julia Cole, Ms Cole says trust can include the following:

1. Reliability – if a person or partner carries out or commits to a promise, then you’re more likely to trust them.
2. Predictability – knowing how a person will react in a given situation makes it easier to trust them. Predictability isn’t always boring.
3. Honesty – people who tell the truth are more likely to gain our trust. Those who are caught out in lies immediately break the bonds of trust.
4. Loyalty – remaining loyal to a partner is essential to build trust.
5. Commitment – caring for a partner through both good and bad times builds trust.
6. Common boundaries – having shared goals and attitudes helps build trust.

For me, trust is being able to rely on someone and knowing they will do the right thing in the face of temptation. It’s being able to believe in a person without a single doubt and feeling confident about their probable actions. Trust is a leap of faith.

How do you define trust? Writers—have you written a story where trust is a big part of the conflict? Readers—have you read and enjoyed a story where trust plays a part in the plot of the story?


  1. Nessa

    Trust is what makes any relationship a good one. I don’t know how some people can interact with untrustworthy people.

    Mad Hatter

  2. Jaime

    Trust, for me, is firmly attached to faith. I haven’t written any stories with cheating spouses or the like yet, but I do love to read those sorts of stories as there is a lot of emotion within them. :wink:

  3. Kaye Manro

    It is true, trust is what makes a relationship good. Even friendships too. On another hand, we also have to be secure enough that we are trustworthy too.

  4. Amy W.

    I liked Scarlet Woman but often times I just get frustrated with heroines that aren’t willing to take any risks with trusting a guy. I’ll admit caution is good, extreme caution if you’ve been hurt but there are books I’ve wanted to throw into the fire because they end up leaving to save themselves the hurt that will come later. Or when the hero bends over backwards for them time and again and it’s not until they are dying/hurt in the hospital that they have their epiphany that they do love and trust them. Enough already! I’m all for trust issues and making someone prove themselves but there is a point where it’s been taken too far and then the book turns to crap on me and it becomes kindling (or deleted depending on the format.).

    Sorry, that was a bit of a rant but you touched one of my hot buttons when it comes to romances. Love you & your books!

  5. Shelley Munro

    Nessa – people who lose my trust don’t last long. It’s one quality that I really need in any friendship.

    Jaime – stories with cheating spouses are few and far between, simply because romance readers don’t like them. I can read them, but it does depend on the circumstances in the story.

  6. Shelley Munro

    Kaye – yes, you’re right there. We have to be trustworthy in return.

    Amy LOL – that’s okay. I do agree with you. I take each book and consider the circumstances. BTW – I’ve just sold another Middlemarch book. :grin:

  7. Catherine Bybee

    Nearly every novel boils down to trust IMHO. Even if it is simply to know that your heroine can trust giving her heart to her hero and he won’t squish it.

  8. Mary

    I’ve always had a hard time trusting other people. It took me a while to get to know my husband enough to trust him. To me trusting someone is having them know things about you and knowing they will not use those things to hurt you.

    I have read a few books where trust was a key issue. Some of those novels that have an element of bondage or S&M in them are all about trust and I like those. :)

  9. Amy W.

    You tease! Luv ya!

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