So we’ve been getting a lot of flack on this blog post about how we apparently hate romance novels, mostly from people who haven’t read our book but have read reviews of it.
People have a right to their opinions, of course, but we want to state for the record that we are not anti-romance—not at all. If you read the book, you’ll find that we praise bestselling romance authors such as Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, and Julia Quinn, not to mention authors of what we would call “literary romance,” including Arthur Golden and Audrey Niffenegger.
That’s not to say we don’t have some concerns about some of the content and writing out there—we do—but we don’t think romance novels are inherently trashy or that romance itself is not a topic worth reading about. The irony here is that we are actually quite romantic people (we’re a couple who writes books together, for god’s sake; how much more romantic can you get?)—which is exactly the reason we want to see more romance novels embrace the complexity of real-life love.
Also, we do not say or believe that all women read romance novels because they are unhappy in their marriages. We do, however, think that it is reasonable to conclude that the million-plus people who read 50-100 romance novels a year (not the norm—still, a million people!) are emotionally reliant on that experience. We base our conclusions in the book on sociological studies of romance readers as well as what we found in relationship-oriented nonfiction and bestsellers as a whole.
To prove to everyone out there that we are willing to approach romance novels fairly, and to make Imani happy, I just ordered Nora Roberts’ Morrigan’s Cross from my local library. This book sold around 2.5 million copies in 2006, and is the first book in Roberts’ “Circle Triology,” which apparently contains supernatural characters such as wizards and vampires. I am looking forward to this, as we didn’t get a chance to cover “paranormal” or “time-travel” romances in our book. You’ll have to be patient, as the Menlo Park library system is not particularly swift, but I will read this book. And if I don’t like it, it won’t be because it’s a romance novel.
Finally, we would love to hear from any romance readers who want to share their reasons for reading. Add a comment to this post or drop us a line. And that goes for readers of anything else, too! We look forward to hearing from you.