There are many hallmarks of a good romance novel. Meet-cutes, fiery chemistry, strong heroines, sex. But one thing that’s a must-have? Happy endings. It’s a genre mandate.
IRL, readers know that “happily ever after” doesn’t necessarily mean forever. But in books—from Jane Austen’s to Nora Roberts’s—the marriage plot has been part of the allure: picture-perfect ending, roll the credits, no fights over who does the dishes. Which is why it might come as a surprise that in the past few years there’s been a rise in romance novels that focus solely on couples in the post–”happily ever after” stage of their lives. A marriage or relationship is in trouble, leaving couples attempting to overcome these real-life issues and fall back in love.
In Grown-Up Pose, out March 2020, Lalli, who also wrote The Matchmaker’s List, doubles down on these issues by looking at it through the lens of a South Asian woman pressured by society to settle down—only to later realize that she’s not happy and wants a divorce.