Monday, August 14, 2017

Why I Love Romance

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I am addicted to romance, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Contemporary romance. Romantic comedies. Historical romance. Paranormal romance. Give me a good love story, and I’m a happy girl.

Something I see way too often, both online and off, is people crapping on romance. It’s unbelievable to me the number of people who look down on romance readers and writers, as if we’re somehow less, deprived or depraved, uneducated, or undiscerning. It’s come to the point where many people are embarrassed to admit they read or write romance. I’ve heard stories from fellow authors who have said people automatically assume their books are ‘similar to 50 Shades of Grey’ or that they ‘write porn’. And this is if they aren’t immediately dismissed and treated like writing romance means they’re somehow not a ‘real writer’. Well, screw that. Romance readers - and writers - are some of the most intelligent, open-minded people I know.

So why do I, personally, love romance? One of the main reasons is that reality often sucks. Whether in your own life or in the greater scheme of things (like, y’know, the whole possibility of nuclear war that the world is currently dealing with), life can be difficult, stressful, sad, boring, or a million other things, and sometimes you just need an escape. Romance provides something you can count on this a topsy-turvy world: a happy ending.

Is romance full of cliches? Can be. Is it predictable? Sure. But those aren’t necessarily negative things. There can be comfort in the formula, the predictability. Besides, it’s the journey that matters. You can read a dozen second-chance or friends-to-lovers or celebrity-falls-for-normal-person romances and while they have similarities, they’re not the same (or at least they shouldn’t be). The destination may be the same, but the journey is different every time. The characters, the tone, the themes, the subplots all vary. You’ll connect with some stories and characters more than others, but each one has its merits. Each one has the potential to touch someone, heal a part of them, give them hope, or simply entertain them.

As for people who say characters are one-dimensional in romances, that probably makes me laugh most of all. Some of the greatest character growth and depth I’ve ever seen have been in romance novels. Since romances are usually character driven, it’s necessary for the characters to be complex. I love characters who are realistically flawed, characters who have obstacles and setbacks, characters who have to work for their happily ever after. There’s such a wonderful variety in romance - books that break your heart, make you laugh, make you swoon, turn you on, make you think, tug at your heartstrings. The best romance novels are capable of evoking every emotion imaginable, which is part of why I love them so much.

Here’s the thing: I refuse to be embarrassed about liking romance. No, loving romance. I love it. I pretty much require romance in the books I read, even if it’s not the main focus of the story. I love seeing people happy. I love seeing people learning and growing and thriving. I even like seeing characters struggle, because it reminds me I’m not alone. I love immersing myself in someone else’s world, especially during the times when my own world feels nearly unbearable to live in. And, I’ll be perfectly honest: As someone who’s 33 and still single, I love that hopeful feeling I get watching someone else fall in love. I need that hope; I need to believe true love is possible and that I’ll get my own happily ever after someday.   
 
Just like I refuse to be embarrassed about loving romance, I also refuse to think of romance as a guilty pleasure (in fact, can we just completely do away with the concept of 'guilty pleasures'? Like what you like and don’t feel guilty or ashamed of it). Don’t let anyone make you feel embarrassed about your reading choices. If you tell someone you read or write romance and they react with disdain or surprise or anything less than ‘Oh cool, I love romance too!’ just remember that’s a reflection on them and not you.

So come on, say it with me now: I love romance, and I don't care who knows it!

 
Why do you love romance? Have you ever felt judged for your reading choices? What are some of your favourite romances?


4 comments:

  1. Awesome post! I find that those who sneer at romance and say it's all Fifty Shades of Gray crap are actually not even readers. They never read anything, not just romance, so their opinion means nothing.

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    1. Yes! I've found that too. I've also seen it from writers of other genres, as if theirs is the only one that matters. Opinions of petty, small-minded people aren't what I'm here for, you know?

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  2. I love romance, and I cling to the romantic parts in books that are not necessarily full on romances. I am all about the three Hs: hero, heroine, and HEA.

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    1. The three Hs, I love it! Several of my favourite books (and a few of my own books) aren't necessarily categorized as 'romance' but they have romantic elements, which I love. I love straight-up romance, but I'm also a huge fan of books that are about the heroine discovering herself and growing as a person, and she just happens to fall in love along the way.

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~Marie

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