A big thanks to Ana for organising RombkLove – I always enjoy being part of this event.
I love redemption. A truly believable redemption arc is the perfect romance; character driven, angsty and so satisfying. In a contemporary romance, my favourite part is the meet-cute. In a redemption arc, my favourite moment is always the grovel. This is the part when the formerly disreputable character realises, aloud, how much they need/want to change, and it leaves me with ALL of the feels.
Unusually, I want to add that there are book characters that will remain irredeemable for me. This list is very much my version of redemption and it’s probably a little soft a definition – Certain people do not deserve a HEA. I do not want awful people to find true love.
So, what makes a redemption arc for me? Well, first, I want to explain what I mean by redemption?
The definition states,
“Redemption: The act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed. Deliverance. Rescue.”
So, in essence, in redemption arcs, we have characters who, at the start of the book, will engage in behaviours which are not very nice, but, by the end of the book, will be a better person who is sorry for their previous behaviour. When I say not very nice, I mean serial heart-breakers, petty criminals, enforcers etc … not many murderers will make it onto this list.
By the end, I need to be happy that these characters have found love and that their partner(s) aren’t going to be harmed by being in a relationship with them – I like everyone to be happy and safe!
I also like a redemption arc where the lead character is the one that feels that they need redemption – sometimes, I don’t even know if these characters need the redemption they seek but I love to watch them try to get it.
So, here is my list. It isn’t definitive so please do add recs.
Reason for addition to the list : I couldn’t not add this to the list – Kaleb is the ultimate redeemable hero. A cold psy councillor, he has blood on his hands and only one person can change his view-points … Sahara. I won’t say anything else but it is wonderful.
Content Warnings : Kidnapping, torture, abuse
Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…
A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.
From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.
Reason for addition to the list : When I knew that Ilona Andrews was writing a book about Hugh, I had no clue how this was going to work. Hugh is an awful man in the Kate Daniels world – evil to the core. But, is he? This books divides people but I adore it – Hugh truly tries to repent for his sins. I do not think you should read this without reading the Kate Daniels series.
Content Warnings : abuse, violence.
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
Reason for addition to the list : Finn starts this book as an enforcer (ie, not a nice man) but defects to the O’Kane world and tries to make ammends by literally putting his life on the line.
Content Warnings : Explicit sex, violence, death
She’s fought like hell to leave the past behind.
Trix changed her name and her life when she got clean four years ago. Now, she has a new family and a job she loves—tending bar and dancing at the Broken Circle. As an O’Kane, she’s happy, untouchable. Until a nightmare from her old life tears her away from her home and drags her back to Hell—also known as Sector Five.
He’s still living—and dying—in it.
Losing Trix was the kick in the head Finn needed to get sober, but working as an enforcer for a man he hates is slowly crushing his soul. The only thing that keeps him going is his determination to destroy Sector Five from the inside. Then Trix comes back into his life—alive, in danger—and nothing else matters.
Getting her home could be a suicide mission. The only thing deadlier is the old spark that flares to life between them. Soon, Finn and Trix are battling the one addiction neither of them ever managed to kick—each other. And it could cost them everything.
Reason for addition to the list : Eddie is never really a bad, bad man but he spends the entire book trying to get away from his past. We meet him on day one after his release – this book is hot, sexy and completely wonderful.
Content Warnings : prison life discussions
He burns for her. Lucky for him, she likes to play with fire. . .
My name is Eddie Rosas, but everyone calls me Trouble. Since I got out of prison six months ago, I’ve had one goal: find my father, whatever the cost. My older brother says I need to move on. He also wants me to leave our gang, East Side Hollenbeck, and go straight, but I can’t—not until I uncover the truth about our family and its missing piece.
One problem? I’m distracted. My distraction’s name is Carmen Centeno. Smart, passionate, and tough as hell, Carmen is a woman from the neighborhood who’s built her career as one of the city’s top chefs. She’s a master of creating pleasure both in and out of bed. But when our connection deepens, how can I show her I’m not the trash everyone says I am?
The pressure’s rising. Carmen deserves a man she can depend on. And when the ghosts of my past rise up, I’ll have to outsmart them—or lose my shot at a future with the only woman who believes in me.
The Rosas brothers will return in Tanked!
Reason for addition to the list : Zoe considers herself a terrible person as she has defended guilt people and won the case therefore preventing people from getting the justice they deserve. She spends the entire book attempting to attonone for her sins, including getting involved with Aiden, a man who she wants to help but who just wants to hurt her. It is a fab book filled with angst.
Content Warnings : depiction of illness, death of a family member, grief
Buying a lotto ticket with her two best friends didn’t change Zoe’s life. Only following her heart would do that…
Sure, winning the lottery allows Zoe Ferris to quit her job as a cutthroat corporate attorney, but no amount of cash will clear her conscience about the way her firm treated the O’Leary family in a wrongful death case. So she sets out to make things right, only to find gruff, grieving Aiden O’Leary doesn’t need—or want—her apology. He does, however, need something else from her. Something Zoe is more than willing to give, if only to ease the pain in her heart, a sorrow she sees mirrored in his eyes…
Aiden doesn’t know what possesses him to ask his family’s enemy to be his fake fiancée. But he needs a bride if he hopes to be the winning bid on the campground he wants to purchase as part of his beloved brother’s legacy. Skilled in the art of deception, the cool beauty certainly fits the bill. Only Aiden didn’t expect all the humor and heart Zoe brings to their partnership—or the desire that runs deep between them. Now he’s struggling with his own dark truth—that he’s falling for the very woman he vowed never to forgive.