As I have posted many times before I am a lover of Romance. I sigh at real life stories of lifetime romances. I love to watch couples who have surmounted odds and came out stronger. To me Fidelity is one of the single most erotic things a man can offer.. To love a woman completely.. no wonder I enjoy Romance Novels so much.
I know many consider Romance Novels female porn and others question the plots. The intricacies of relationships to me are powerful enough to drive a story. Oh don't get me wrong, I enjoy PNR and Fantasy and Urban Fantasy and... but "Pure Romance" holds a special appeal, at least to me. I have heard that these stories are formulatic, contrived and obvious. Sure, I suppose there are some but not all. The thing is we are guaranteed a happy ending and that offers comfort. A veritable warm fuzzy...
For Valentine's Day USA Today's Joyce Lamb posted a response that she put out to people "Why do we need Romance Novel?" I found the response pretty amazing...
HEA asked romance authors: Why do we need romance novels?
"Shortly after 9/11, I asked myself this same question. What was I contributing? How could what I did possibly be relevant in the face of a nation in mourning. A nation in crisis. For some time, I couldn't bring myself to write. It seemed so trivial. But then a dear author friend of mine pointed out what should have been obvious. Now more than ever, the world needs validation that good wins over evil. That there can be happily ever afters. That love heals and love gives strength. So I started writing again ... about strong men and women overcoming the worst life could throw at them. And I know now that I'm providing not only entertainment, but a service, if you will.
"Case in point: A young man wrote to me from Iraq after reading one of my books. He had done two tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines and came home pretty messed up. He had drug and alcohol problems. Lost his marriage. Had pretty much given up on life. He signed up with a private contractor and returned to Iraq where, in his words, 'he planned to die.' Then he found one of my books — To the Edge — while he was there and read it. The hero of that book was a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, and his character was also struggling with alcohol issues and with fitting back into 'normal' society.
"This young man told me that he saw so many similarities between himself and that character. Those similarities hit very close to home with him and he told me that reading my book gave him a reason to believe he could get his life back together and gave him hope for a future. You want to talk about a humbling experience? I'm still humbled — and happy to tell you that young man is back in the States and doing fine. And it's also one of the reasons I'm convinced we need romance novels."
And this is what that soldier, David Drennan, now on active duty in the U.S. Army National Guard, has to say: "You never know where or when inspiration will come from. I never thought that I'd find myself reading a romance novel. I'm usually reading spy/ military type stuff, but one day I picked up this book called To the Edge, and I didn't set it down. I thought it was amazing how I could relate to a character in a book so much. It made me feel like I could turn things around for myself if only I had the courage to just get out there and do it. It just goes to show you that romance novels aren't just for women, especially when written by an author who cares about what she's writing about."
Debbie Macomber, You … Again
"We need romances for the same reason we need books: for entertainment, education, escape and for enrichment of life. These are books that highlight the very best of what it means to be human. Stories that speak of honor and sacrifice, of selflessness and love. We all need to be loved, to feel that we belong, and that's what romance novels give us. The sense of being loved."
Nicole Jordan, Princess Charming
"We humans have a deep-seated need to believe in happily ever after. We want to believe that love can conquer all and that there's someone special out there in the world just for us. Romance novels offer validation of those hopes and dreams at a primal level. Romances also let us connect with others, even if they're only fictional characters. When we're lost in a good romance, we're never alone."
HEA asked: What can readers get from romance novels that could help them improve their relationships, both platonic and romantic?
HEA asked: What can readers get from romancenovels that could help them improve their relationships, both platonic and romantic?
Carla Neggers, Secrets of the Lost Summer
"Reading a romance novel is a great way to relax, and that's got to be good for our relationships! A good romance novel reminds us of the importance of the relationships in our own lives. It also reminds us that a good relationship isn't about perfection."
Cindy Kirk, Jackson Hole Valentine
"They can learn that the past does not define their future. That they need to become the best person they can be in order to be a good spouse, a good boyfriend/girlfriend, or even simply a good friend. When a reader picks up a romance novel, they may see a hero or heroine making the same mistakes they've made. But they will also see them picking themselves up by their bootstraps and making the necessary changes in their life to achieve a better, happier life."
Robyn Carr, Hidden Summit
"One of the things romance fiction requires is admirable characters — at least the central characters. They don't always start that way, but they always get there. It takes goodness to create goodness, so there is always a reward for treating another human being with fairness, courtesy, love and respect. Varying degrees of commitment are examined. This kind of lesson in human behavior can be a driving force in creating and maintaining relationships of all kinds. And once again, romance novels show us glaring examples of what doesn't work in any relationship — deceit, selfishness, vengeance, etc. Romance novels are all about good behavior, and strength of character equals good results. Bingo — that seems to work in real life as well. How about that?"
HEA asked: Do you think technology (social media and smartphones, for example) has contributed to less or more (or maybe just different) romance in our lives today?
Teresa Medeiros, The Pleasure of Your Kiss
"I've always said men should study romance novels to find out how women think and what they want, both during the courtship phase and in a lifelong partner. Even the geekiest of guys could get the girl if he read every romance novel that came out in any given month."
Cynthia Eden, Angel of Darkness
"Characters in romance novels aren't perfect. They're as flawed and complex as real people are. By reading about these flaws and seeing the challenges that lovers face in romance books, I think that readers can come away with a better understanding of the sacrifices needed in order to make a relationship work. Romance novels definitely give us our happy endings, but those books also show that, if you want a happily-ever-after, then you have to work hard to achieve that goal."
Gennita Low, Hunter
"My male readers enjoy reading spy and military aspects from a woman's perspective. They've told me that they enjoyed reading from the female point of view and sometimes it clicks in their head what it is that their girlfriends or wives were saying. Many readers have also written to me about their being able to conquer relationship fears and even abusive relationships from reading romance novels set in similar situations."
A reader weighs in with why she loves to read romances and why they keep her coming back ...
Jody Pearce, homemaker and dog foster
"Romance novels are an escape from reality. One can escape to another place and time. One can root for the good people. In a time when the news is filled with conflict, disaster, death and sadness, a romance novel can take a reader away even if just for a brief time. Reading and cheering on the good people can relax a tense mind and body. It can give you a lift. You can even cry along with the characters, which can be cathartic.
"I keep coming back to romance novels because I find them relaxing. If reading a spy novel or crime story, I get tense. The pace of a romance novel makes me unwind. In the end I can smile. I can escape to a world of love and know the turmoil of the novel will unravel to a beautiful ending. I like for love to bloom in the end. To end a book with a smile on my face is rewarding!" *from USA TODAY HAPPILY EVER AFTER
I found this article enlightening but for the most part it just reminded me of what I already knew. Romance is not a sop to our female sensibilities, yes it's an escape but it's an escape based on the truest hope in almost every heart. To be loved.