Why is it that Romance novels are so disparaged? Somehow Romance has become a dirty word and certainly a way of disparaging an author’s work. When you hear: “Romance author” you are not hearing a compliment. Again as Dr. Julius Sumner Miller would ask: “Why is it so”?
As you might guess, reading is not a new pastime for me, books have been my friends all my life. When I was studying, back when Adam wore short pants, like all students, my reading was mainly the books set in the curriculum.
But come the summer break and it was off to the beach armed, not with sunscreen, but with a heap of books, all of them romances picked up from the local charity store for pennies. I would read one of these books in an hour and move on to the next one. My family decided this was just one of those little quirks which made me well … me.
The only thing which changed about the heroes was their hair and eye colour and their profession, doctor, vet, pilot etc.; they were, of course, heart-stoppingly handsome. Likewise, with the heroines, beautiful, young, but always in subsidiary roles, never enjoying the careers of the men. There was never a simple name to be found, but many of the seemingly exotic names are now very much part of the mainstream.
Boy and Girl met, fell in love, had a misunderstanding which broke the trust of the relationship, misunderstanding explained, fell into each others arms and with a passionate kiss … fade to black, the end. Sigh, and move on. Totally satisfying for a beach read!
To this day as I confessed above, I enjoy a good romance, and I am not being disparaging when I call them my palate cleansers. There are many authors out there who produce beautifully written and constructed novels, with plot lines which leave me believing there are still nice people in this world and the “not nice” people get their comeuppance in the end. Often these authors write a series of novels, all with the one theme or setting, which span generations.
The men and women have changed, however; these days the woman is likely to have a career and the man may be a manual worker. Some of the heroes and heroines even have grey hair, something which would have been unthinkable a decade ago. They may also tackle subjects such as the death of a partner, divorce, it’s affect on children and moving on. They may not even be traditional male and female couples; romance too has changed with the generations.
And for those of us who may scoff at the romance genre, romanced authors sell billions of copies of their novels all over the world, proof positive that Romance and Love sell. Mind you many of them are very accomplished authors whose body of work includes more learned tomes and their romance novels are written under a pseudonym.
So in this Valentines Week, I say, long live the romance novel!
In keeping with the romance theme, is today’s featured library the most romantic library you have ever seen?
It is the magnificent Admont Abbey Library in Austria. The Abbey was built in 1074 but the library was not completed until 1774. The awesome ceilings are adorned with seven frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte who was 80-years-old at the time and completed the frescoes over the summer months of 1775 and 1776.
Have a happy week, filled with books – perhaps even a romance or two.
Join the Starts at 60 Book Club for more great reading recommendations!