Open your mind to romance

10:32 AM

A few years ago I was caught in the middle of two people I love bashing romance books. The conversation started by trashing 50 Shades of Grey but soon turned into an all out romance book bash.

And not the party kind of bash.

I stayed quiet as the two people who were arguing are rather avid non-listeners when it comes to arguments. They were agreeing with each other over and over again about how raunchy it is to read about people having sex and how if you need to read that kind of stuff maybe you should fix your sex life, that they want a good story with really good writing when they sit down to read, etc.

The typical thing one hears when people bash romance novels.

Ok, so there are many, many, many romance novels that suck. There are also many, many, many books that plain suck. Novels, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, etc. You name the genre and you can find many a sucky book. Especially now that everyone can self-publish. Many in the romance genre, especially the shorter ones, are just based on getting to the scene where the characters get it on. There are also some books that are awesome with some pretty awesomely crazy sex scenes, which one can like or not like. I don't mind the sex, as long as it isn't too detailed on the realism. This is my down time and all. I don't want too much realism...

That wasn't really my point, but more of a disclaimer....

Anyway, I used to be a romance basher. Mainly, just like my two friends, because I didn't know what I was talking about. I assumed that romance had no depth to it but were all just books shallowing written about two people "falling in love" and having sex.

This book changed all that:

  This picture is the English version. Mine is in Spanish and it didn't have this cover. It had the picture of a little cottage and I bought it because the bookstore was running a sale of 3x2. I had no idea it was a romance book. If I had I never would have bought it because I would have bashed it instead. This is where I learned a valuable life lesson of not judging a book by its cover. Or by the font style chosen on the cover.

  This book is probably the best romance book ever written. It might be one of the best written books ever, honestly. 

  For one the characters awesomely different from each other (one is a wealthy duke and the girl is a QUAKER! What?!? If you don't know anything about the Quakers let me just tell you that they lived without possessions and believed that everything had to be kept simple. So....right.....being a duchess, living in castles, wearing silk, etc goes against everything Maddie grew up believing.) 

 On a second point Laura Kinsale writes from the head of the duke (most good romances write from the point of view of both leading roles) who has had a stroke. It is so fun as the reader to try and figure out what the guy is really trying to say vs what actually comes out and to so how much a stroke affects someone. I don't know how she did her research, but coming from a reader who had no experience with stories, this opened my eyes to struggle which probably only hits the tip of the iceberg in real life with the struggle stroke victims have.  

  There is the added bonus of realizing that back then a stroke was a smite from God and the help they could give him was next to none. Instead they want to purge him of his sins and then hope that he gets healed while being holed up in a psych ward in solitary confinement. Hmmmmm.

  Enter Maddie, who finds a way to help him while ultimately falling in love with him and he with her. But the best of the best part is that he falls in love with her first. This is not always the case in romance. Usually it is the female trying to convince the hero that he does actually love her. But this is the reverse. It is so heart-wrenching to read his voice sometimes and yet the ending is so good.

I could read this book a hundred times.

In my honest opinion it is the best book to get one's feet wet in the romance world.

 So, now that I've semi-convinced you, let me also tell the rest of you who still think Fabio when seeing romance next to the word novel that all novels in all genres come in all shapes and sizes. To me, the romance genre has the widest selection of books available under the umbrella of a good ending. You cannot have a crappy, sad ending in romance. It is not allowed. So while these days you do sometimes have to wade through the first-person-short-story-of-my-sex-life-muck, or the my-only-plot-line-is-sex-muck, there are so many well written novels that include a love story with a good ending and have some fantastic writing that gets it done.

  All I'm saying is that fantastic writing can be found in every genre, so don't judge a while genre based on one book whose movie was terrible. Don't let some great reading slip through your fingers based on the Fabio books that were at your eye level as a child in the grocery store. 

  Just try this one. I bet you'll thank me. 


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