If you’ve never read a romance novel before, you might think you know what to expect – heaving bosoms, flowery prose, and lots of naughty scenes.
And I’ll be honest, that was pretty popular – a few decades ago. But romance, like every genre, has continued to evolve and innovate, and today, you’ll find a huge diversity of romance that appeals to a wide variety of readers. You still see a heaving bosom now and again, but there’s much more to the genre.
In “The Romance Readers’ Advisory,” Ann Bouricius writes, “Romances are about a developing monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. Romances are about what it takes to make a relationship work. Romances are about women making choices in their lives. Romances are about overcoming serious obstacles and coming out on the other side stronger for the struggle. Romances are about women winning.” Within that loose framework, there are a lot of different stories that authors can tell.
Bouricius lists just a few other hallmarks of romance: the relationship is monogamous, neither hero nor heroine can die, there must be an HEA (happily-ever-after) ending, and the hero and heroine are people readers can care about cheer on.
So what about the naughty parts? Aren’t those scenes the real reason people read romance novels?
While there are some books in the erotica genre and erotic romance subgenre that are much more focused on bedroom activities, most romance novels do not have that as their focus. In some books, it never even happens “onstage”! Even ones with more descriptive sensuality use the scenes to further the romantic relationship of the main characters.
It might take a while to find the style of romance that suits you, so if the first romance you pick up isn’t your style, don’t be afraid to try another one. Like in any other genre – mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy – there are a lot of ways that authors work within that framework.
It’s Read a Romance Month at Eckhart Public Library! Don’t forget – everybody who reads a romance novel this month can enter to win a Read a Romance Month Prize Pack.