Thursday, 6 March 2008

What is it about romance novels?

Romance novels are devoured by woman around the world. Even those who hate them, secretly read them. They have been called trashy, forbidden, inappropriate and not true literary works. But we all know the truth is that romance is one of the biggest selling genres around.

To be honest, I don't think their are many out there with the close minded attitude that romance novels are the gateway to sin anymore. (at least they have quieted down some) Sure, we run across the occasional naysayer, but what that naysayer doesn't realize is that she is missing out on a wonderful, heart enlightening journey of love to rival the ages. And what these protesters are really against is the sex. But if they read the book they would see that the sex is an escalation of love. A meeting of souls, right?

Why do I read romance novels? It's not for the happily ever after or the awkward meeting of two destined souls, but for the middle of the novel. Where attraction is intensely strong and undeniably there. The hero and heroine fight it, deny it, and try to avoid it. Yet, circumstances keep forcing them together. I love the pull and tug of hearts. The yearning for what (they believe) they cannot have or deserve to experience. It is the ultimate kick start to the heart.

Some of my favorite novels? Karen Marie Monings entire Highlander series. Why? KMM creates a world unlike any I've ever read and within this world one man and one woman defy the fates, traverse time and conquer the impossible just to savor one more minute with each other. He is the missing the piece of her and she is the reparation for his damaged soul. I think my favorite is Immortal Highlander where the bad guy (who really isn't so bad) turns good. He is a faery who feels the way humans feel. He is fighting to return to his position beside the queen, all the while he has already found his rightful place in this world, the human realm.

Other novels?
Pride and Prejudice is a classic. I love... love Mr. Darcy.
Kinley MacGregor's Macallister Series- these four brothers are the men of men. They are stubborn, arrogant and tortured souls who need the very thing they don't want. The love of a good woman.
Jude Deveraux's The Duchess- a book I could read over and over again. The heroine is to wed the fair-hared brother, a titled duke, but falls in love with his dark, exotic older brother (the true duke) who had been her childhood hero under another name. Obviously, the older brother has some issues and wants nothing to do with society or his title. She must make a choice, he must come back from the dead and learn to accept her choice. -- Love it!

I read romance for the same reason I write it. It's captivating and refreshing. When I first started writing I never even gave a thought to what genre I would write. I just wrote what I loved. Just when I picked up my first romance novel. I didn't think about what genre I wanted to read, I was just gravitated toward it.

So why do you read romance novels? And if you haven't read one yet, why? What are your favorites or what can't you stand? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Nicole North said...

Super post, Holly! I am also a KMM fan! My favorite of hers is To Tame a Highland Warrior. The hero is tortured, dark and in major denial. The story has amazing sexual tension.

Naturally I love most any and all romance, so long as there is a happily ever after. Like you, I also enjoy most of all the rough "journey" these two follow toward love and happiness. What's not to love about it? Most every human on earth wants to find true love in this way. It's a basic human need, not something to be ridiculed. And for those who scoff at the sex in romance... guess what? When people fall in love, they want to have sex. It's only natural. And if not for sex, none of us would be here. So naysayers should look at their own lives before they harshly judge romance.

Shannon said...

Great post Holly! I enjoy all romances - even without the typical HEA. I don't mind reading a story that doesn't have the HEA element as long as there's something else to move it along. But I have to say, nothing beats a good satisfying read where the hero and heroine have faced all odds and overcome.
I definitely agree with Nicole on the "sex" part.

Eliza Knight said...

Great post!

I loved The Duchess!! I've actually loved all of her historicals, Knight in Shining Armor is one of my favs..and I love the Velvet series.

I read and write romance for the happiness, love, the journey, the sacrifice, the emotional pull, the sexiness of it, I could go on all day. I have a really hard time reading any other genre. I just love, love stories!

Julia Templeton said...

Ah, KMM's Highlander series is brilliant! Love her alpha males.

Like you, I read romance for the journey the characters take me on...and I love the guaranteed happily ever after. ;)

I tend to read all over the place in the romance genre, but historical romance will always be my favorite subgenre. I can't resist a sexy medieval warrior or Regency rake.

Pat McDermott said...

Fun post, Holly. I read lots of fiction genres and enjoy them all. Romance to me is like a great dish on a wonderfully varied menu. When I'm in the mood for a romance, I can choose from the many wonderful ones out there that aren't Grandma's romance novel. I like exotic or historic locations, and really enjoyed the Gabaldon series and Nora Roberts' 'Jewels of the Sun' trilogy.

Minnette Meador said...

Hey, Holly - Nice article. I feel like you do, but I am a recent convert to the romance novel (last several years). When I was a kid I didn't care for them much, but I think the romance novels today have "grown up", if you will. They are richer, deeper, much better written, and really can be a joy to read...they make you feel good about yourself and give you a thrill like no other book. I honestly never thought I'd read one, let alone write one, but now I've read a ton, am writing my second, and will never look back. I read as many as I can now. Lots of catching up to if someone like me can convert, there is hope out there! Minnette :O)

Beth Trissel said...

Terrific post, Holly! You express so beautifully my thoughts and feelings about romance too. I enjoyed your brief descriptions of your favorite H&H and what made them special to you. I bookmarked this post! Very well said.

Nancy said...

Stellar post, Holly! I'm there with you on your favs, and I have too many to name. I agree with Minnette that romance novels have grown up, and continue to grow.

I read about every subgenre, and I read a lot of cozies -- most of which also feature romance to some degree. I love to be uplifted, and that's why romance novels, or novels with a fairly strong romantic element will always earn my book dollars!

Nancy Haddock
La Vida Vampire, April 2008

Holly Greenfield said...

Nicole - Well said. LOL! I think some people of afraid of the normacly of life.

Eliza- The Velvet series were some of the first books on my keeper shelf. I fell in love with Miles Montgomery. Sigh...

Romance Novels today are definitely different than just a few years ago. New boundaries are being reached and broken through. Makes for an exciting future of reading material.
Thanks everybody for stopping by. I loved reading your comments!

Clover Autrey said...

I love romances for the romance, but also because I love character-driven novels far better than plot-driven novels, which isn't to say they don't need a great plot, they do, but that takes the back seat to watching the characters grow and change and usually have to sacrifice something for each other. (Gawd, that was a long sentence.) How could that not be great writing?

Georgie Lee said...

I love Jude Devereaux. "A Knight in Shining Armor" was my introduction into romance novels. I devoured her backlist in college.