I was sixteen years old when my mother handed me a romance novel that she thought I might enjoy. It was Passion’s Captive by Lori Copeland. The story was funny and romantic and adventurous and I lost myself in it from the opening scene right through to the happily ever after.
Since then I have flirted with many other genres, but romance has always held my heart. I could probably name a few dozen reasons why romance novels provide such an endless fascination for me, but today I thought I’d share just a few of them with you.
- Romance novels are hopeful and they remind us of the healing power of love
By definition, romance is a hopeful genre. No matter what past hurts must be overcome, or what obstacles face them as their relationship develops, the heroine and hero will always fight to achieve their happy ending. There are no claims that the future will be easy or free of problems, but the reader is always left with the feeling that these two people can face anything as long as they have each other.
- Romance heroines kick arse!
There is nothing I love more than an intelligent, resourceful, stubborn heroine who will fight for her hero in one scene, then ravish him with passionate abandon in the next.
Today’s heroines embrace their feminine nature and utilise its many strengths, while adoring the complimentary masculinity of their heroes. They have no intention of being ‘the woman behind the man,’ but instead stand proud by his side as an equal.
- There is such opportunity for variety within the many romance subgenres.
The ballrooms of regency England. The dusty streets of the American Old West. Half-way across the galaxy. Victorian steampunk. Demon dimensions. Gothic vampire horror. Fantasy lands filled with magick. I’ve visited them all and more within romance novels. Any place, any time period. People will always find a way to fall in love.
- It’s the journey that counts
All romance readers know that they are guaranteed a happy ending. So what is the point in reading the book? The answer is: Emotional Impact. We want to fall in love with the characters, just as they are falling in love with each other. We want to see them face seemingly insurmountable odds and overcome them together. We want to be seduced by their experiences and their undeniable connection to each other. When we reach the final page of the book, those are the things that leave us with a huge smile and a sigh of regret that the journey has come to an end.
- Romance novels love to break the ‘rules’
There are only two main conventions which I believe a romance novel must follow. The first is that the developing romance must be the strongest focus of the story. The second is that there must be a happy ending (even if it’s a ‘happy for right now’). That’s it. There is no specification for the number of people involved, their gender, or even a need for them to be strictly human (vampire/angel/shapeshifter/changeling anyone?). Yes, I realise I’ve spent this whole post using the terms ‘heroine’ and ‘hero’, but that’s really for convenience sake.
- Did I mention the sex?
Where would romance be without the sex? First kisses. Lingering touches. Unresolved sexual tension that could set fire to the pages. Sex scenes that make your heart pound and your bones go all melty. Bring it on!
There are many heat levels available in the romance genre and many readers prefer the sweeter end of the spectrum. Personally, I’m all about kicking that temperature up a few notches and revelling in the sweaty goodness.
- Romance novels are fun
To me this is the most important point of all. Life can be stressful and so very busy. Sometimes the best thing we can do is immerse ourselves in a good book for no reason other than it brings us pleasure to do so. The pages of a romance novel can be a wonderful, life-affirming way to escape the trials of everyday life for a little while. It’s a place where, above all else, love conquers all. I think there are times in all our lives where we can use a little more of that.