Monday, February 4, 2013

Misc. Monday: Redefining The Romance Novel



When you hear someone say "I like to read romance," it conjures the mental image of a very particular sort of book. It's the book with the shirtless guy and the lady that manages to make a giant ballgown look revealing, and they are very into each other. Like, "Oooh, mmm, Yeah baby, grab my man boobs!" Into each other. This book promises passion, fun, and lots of sex. Lots. And, to be clear, if that's all your romance novels ever deliver on, that's okay. But if this was all that romance novels ever were, I don't think they would be as loved by as many people as they so clearly are.

The Darkest Hour (KGI, #1)The most basic definition of a romance novel is any book in which a romantic relationship between two (occasionally three) people is at the core of the story, and the plot involves or revolves around that relationship developing in some way. Under that umbrella, we find a lot more variation than the non-initiated imagine when they think of romance novels.

Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1)The variation level of romance novels is evident when you examine the number of sub-genres and how radically different they are from one another. Romantic suspense is radically different from Regency era Historical romance in the same way that an oatmeal raisin cookie is different from gingerbread. Some readers like all of the flavors, and some are more particular.

Kushiel's Dart (Ph├Ędre's Trilogy #1)Then there what we call "novels with romantic elements", by which we mean novels that have romance as a subplot instead of the central storyline. What distinguishes these from Romance Novels ( the capital R is important), is that you could potentially remove the romance from the book and still have a viable story with a full plot. A good example would by Jacqueline Carey's Phedre series. Most readers remember the relationship development between Phedre and Joscelin, but you could take that out of the story and still have a long tale about a courtesan/spy who stops wars and the like.  It's no surprise to me that I'm seeing more and more of these on the market. They have the potential to satisfy a lot of different readers with it's crossover appeal.

Romance is a vast genre and it spills into other genres all over the place, in ways that you probably don't even notice. So even if horrendous pink fuchsia font and man titty isn't your thing, you might still find that your a romance reader at heart.

3 comments:

  1. I love that the genre is so vast that you could find anything in there that would fit a reader. :)

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    Replies
    1. I do think that almost every reader, regardless of taste, will find a romantic book that appeals to them--if not a Romance Novel by it's strictest definition.

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  2. I agree with you and Lydia. Having variety means there's something for everyone!

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Thoughtful comments are appreciated! I always respond to them, and I usually return the favor! Happy reading!

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