Ever since I picked up a paperback romance for a trip last fall, I have been hooked on romances. I’m talking about the paperbacks with the risque covers and the consistently happy endings. They are dangerously addictive; I can read one in just a few hours, so I’m constantly telling myself ‘just one more chapter!’ until I’ve stayed up way too late and the dishes are still piled up in the sink. Nonetheless, I have to say that while by definition the conclusions are predictable, there have been a few things that I’ve learned, perhaps a few of my prejudices dispelled, and I want to share those with you.
1. Many romances are funny, or at the very least, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Two cases in point: Jennifer Crusie and MaryJanice Davidson
2. The protagonists in romances are not all young. The Merry Widows series, by Candice Hern, focuses on the board members of the “Benevolent Widows Fund,” none of whom, of course, are virgins.
3. Romances can range from chaste to erotic. You can’t go wrong with Georgette Heyer, but if you want some serious sexiness, look for titles and covers like this one:
4. They can be set just about anywhere. My recent reading run included both London and Columbus, OH.
5. Some of the best romances, in my opinion, have an important element of women’s friendships as part of the story. I don’t know why this surprised me, since Jane Austen pretty much started it all, and her novels are full of female relationships. And that brings me to…
6. When you’re a romance fan, you have millions of friends out there, willing to discuss them with you, and help you find more to read!
So now I’m curious (which is the trait that keeps me up late reading all the time)! Are there romance readers out there that have found their way to this blog? What else should I know about romances? What are your favorites? Have they ever surprised you? If you’re not a romance reader, what’s the genre that’s surprised you most?