Hurt/comfort book recs needed for heartache fuel
April 28, 2014 10:12 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for books that mainly have a hurt/comfort angle to it. Lots of angst is good (YES PLEASE FOR MY HEART), and romance, too, of course.

I am mostly familiar with the term "hurt/comfort" due to reading fanfiction, but I am wondering if such exists for novels, too, and if there is a more proper term for it?

I mostly want:
- The plotline of someone who had an abusive childhood/traumatic experience which made him/her believe that he/she is worthless, do not deserve love, etc. Then someone else comes along to change him/her; self-empowerment and self-belief is slowly built over time. Or anything similar to this.

- It could also be that the "protector"'s love gives strength to the "victim," until the victim no longer feels that way and instead sees himself/herself as a survivor.

- A plot where the "protector" is a somewhat hardened person, and falls in love with the "victim" not because of weakness but because of instincts to protect the powerless, then they are put in a situation where a rescue is needed.

- I am not partial to someone who is sick and eventually dying in the story. I am fine if the characters are put through hell over and over, but I really can't get into the illness trope for some reason.

- I also like if the character who is perceived to be weak and needs rescuing actually has depth and agency; it's just that he/she has been dealt with a really bad hand at life.

- It doesn't necessarily have to be a romance-centric novel. I like sci-fi, fantasy, crime and mystery, or any other genre just fine.

- I am okay with either heterosexual or homosexual relationships.

- As for the angst, JESUS MAKE ME HURT. I want to feel like my chest has been run over by a truck, the same way I want to find myself weeping inappropriately in the middle of the day while shopping for groceries because I was thinking of this book.

- If suddenly the situations are reversed, and the protector is hurt, and the other must now take his/her place and become the strong one.

- If there is erotica (well-written smut though, not 50Shades kind of eh).

- Really long reads.

Thanks in advance; my wasted heart will love you forever.
posted by pleasebekind to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Pantomime, by Laura Lam...maybe.
posted by wintersweet at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2014

Oooooooh you will like The Elegance of the Hedgehog! It will push all of your buttons, but very subtly, but in a good way.
posted by bleep at 10:32 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, Jane Eyre.
posted by bleep at 10:33 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:36 PM on April 28, 2014

I'm a h/c fan for fic as well, and I find that Melina Marchetta's books hit some of the same buttons for me that h/c does. Marchetta does angst very well, and her books are full of great relationships, platonic and romantic.

In the romance novel genre, Courtney Milan's Unraveled really worked for me.
posted by yasaman at 10:44 PM on April 28, 2014

I'm going to provide a clickey - but don't use it!!!!

This celebrated author just passed away. .. Gabriel Marcia Marquez....

Love in the Time of Cholera

Never was a greater novel of romance in the wake of dysfunction expressed.

And I 'm a fan of Jane Eyre.
posted by jbenben at 10:56 PM on April 28, 2014

Sophie's Choice, by William Styron

Lullabies for Little Criminals, by Heather O'Neill

Once in a House on Fire, by Andrea Ashworth

This Boy's Life, by Tobias Wolff

Definitely start with Styron, though, if you haven't read it yet!
posted by Salamander at 11:45 PM on April 28, 2014

House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.
posted by fshgrl at 12:14 AM on April 29, 2014

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. And heartily seconding the Courtney Milan rec.
posted by evoque at 5:06 AM on April 29, 2014

Non-fiction, but "A Grief Observed" fits perfectly.
posted by jbickers at 6:04 AM on April 29, 2014

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:27 AM on April 29, 2014

This is a quick read (sorry) but I think you will really enjoy Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale.
posted by trunk muffins at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2014

Have you poked around in the Goodreads lists? Here's one, for M/M books. I can say the book Finding Zach on that list totally scratched the angtsy itch for me.
posted by megancita at 8:29 AM on April 29, 2014

The Blue Castle! Written by the creator of Anne of Green Gables. Also, Villette - although the angst/comfort ratio is not particular equal.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 3:52 AM on April 30, 2014

OMG The Blue Castle is AMAZING. Really funny in spots but also a great h/c wallop with a super-satisfying happy ending. It may not be as intense as you are describing and it isn't super long, but it is a lifelong favorite. I've never understood why it wasn't more popular.
posted by oblique red at 2:02 PM on April 30, 2014

Seconding The Blue Castle!

I also think The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox fits, and Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley.
posted by brookedel at 7:38 PM on April 30, 2014

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