…well, because I am.
Romance gets its digs, its snide attacks, the claims that having an HEA is unrealistic. And as to the latter. So what? Life is grim enough. I don’t want to spend my time reading and writing works that–although satisfying artistically and with no denial about how that particular story has to end–have a book that makes my gut ache. I don’t. So sue me.
Yes, I may be in grumpy post mode 😉
Gena Showalter has been quoted as saying romance novels are ‘fairy tales for grown ups’ . To some the fairy tale analogy trivialises the genre, but when you look at what a fairy tale is, what it has done and still continues to do for our culture, it becomes something greater.
Beneath the nursery veneer, or perhaps because of it, fairy tales are among our most powerful socialising narratives. They contain enduring rules for understanding who we are… The stock ending–“happily ever after”–makes short shrift of lingering doubt.
Little Red Riding Hood: Sex, Morality and Evolution of the Fairy Tale. Catherine Orenstein.
As the title of the above book suggest, fairy tales evolve with us and are never static in reflecting our expectations, reflecting us. Romance as a genre evolves in the same way, as all literature evolves. The expectations of a reader of a romance in the 1950s–her accepted social narrative–is vastly different to a woman reading now.
For example, I remember reading a Mills and Boon Modern/Presents (My faves. My ipad is stacked with them) written as late as the 70s that showed no surprise in a successful woman giving up her career when she married. Or another 70s book, where the black moment was a contention between the hero and heroine because she was the wealthier one. She had to give up her inheritance in order to secure her HEA. It irked me–as a reader in the 1990s–but then the book wasn’t written with me as the assumed reader.
Is that a part of the romance-bashing? That those that bash–when they do actually read romance–feel the books aren’t aimed at them? That the conventions aren’t ones they accept? I can understand that. It’s a fair criticism. There are some genres that simply don’t appeal to me too. But to ridicule without reading? To make an assumption about quality and content because romance is popular and therefore cannot have the same value as other genres? There’s also the awareness that devaluing romance comes with a dollop of sexism. Demeaning something enjoyed by a multitude of women.
Are there some duds in romance, some books that can make you cringe? Of course. But then that’s true of any genre. There are badly written books and there are gems. My go-to books, Mills and Boons Modern (and yes, I rarely read within the genre in which I choose to write *shrug*) Jennie Lucas, Abby Green or Sarah Morgan can twist me up and spit me out, but leave me with a huge smile on my face. I adore that about reading romance.
Jayne Ann Krentz said, ‘In the romance novel, the woman always wins.’ I’d change that around a little, as romance extends far beyond the HEA of one woman and one man. To say nothing of dragons…
So, I’ll end with ‘In a romance novel, love always wins.’ And to me how, in any way, shape or form, can that be bad?
Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Entangled Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.
AGAMEMNON FROST AND THE CROWN OF TOWERS
Book three of Agamemnon Frost
Edgar Mason is losing Agamemnon Frost despite everything they’ve been through—the passion, the torture, the heat. Frost’s fiancée, Theodora, is back, and Mason can feel his lover gravitating toward her. Every day he sees them together, it tears at his heart.
Frost feels raw himself. His brother and sister-in-law are missing, and his guilt about failing to save Theodora from Pandarus eats at him. His feelings for Mason, whom he has put through hell twice already, just twist the screws tighter.
On top of that, Pandarus and the Martians are back to make their final push to Earth, and Frost and Mason are duty bound to fight them. People are vanishing. Bodies are turning up burned beyond recognition in the slums. The bleak, human-less future Frost and Mason saw in the hollow ships has nearly come to pass.
And in order to prevent it, each man will have to make a final choice: lose his lover or doom the world.
Find out how it began in Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death.
Book two in the Demonic Liaisons series.
Fadeyka Bryce is on the run. She uncovered a dark family secret and now there’s a price on her head. Her best plan is to hide out in the last place they would ever look for her—a pleasure planet—until she can buy herself a new name and a new face.
However, the Athanasios—a race of pure energy—have plans for Fade. They’ve been waiting for her, for her unique flesh, and they ache to experience pleasure. They can become as many lovers as Fade could ever dream…except for one man. Taras Foster.