Saturday 14 January 2012

Romance Novels: What's with the Stereotype?

So, I'm going to let a little secret out of the bag.  I like Romance novels. No no, I know you know I like books with a little bit of romance in them.  I mean, I like the stereotypically faux pas genre of Romance novels.  You know the ones. They always have a gushing couple on the front.  Yes, I'm coming out of the closet.  My name is Mary and I like Romance novels.

What's with the stereotype? I've been a closet fan because so many people think that such novels are not real books.  They claim they are predictable and cheesy.  I've heard them described as porn for women.  Let me just say that I read to be entertained, not to be studious. I read many different genre's and I just happen to enjoy a romance novel here and there.  They are not porn for women.

I'm guessing the stereotype began in the 1970-1980's.  These books, mainly historical, featured a virgin who needed to be rescued by the half naked man on the cover. This is where the term 'bodice ripper' came from. Well, let me dispel some of the rumors for you.

Romance novels have come a long way baby! Today's romance novels feature strong heroines, sensitive hero's, and complex plots.  They are a fast read.  Typically not as large of a book. I can zip through them quickly.  I like that.  It is nice to finish a book quickly isn't it?  I also like the predictability of them.  Why wouldn't you want to know the couple gets together?  Life is hard enough, I want to know I'm ensured a happy ending. I'm really into the Young Adult novels right now, but it is nice to read about adults too some times.

Romance novels are consistently top sellers on Amazon.  I've heard many state how sad this is.  But why is it sad? Reading is reading guys!  There must be something good about them if so many of us are reading them, right?

Do any of you have preconceived notions about the Romance genre?  Are any of you closet fans like myself?  What are your favorite Romance novels? Let's talk Romance!


Here are some of my favorite romance novels. I sure hope you'll give them a try! 

The Gable Faces East by Anita Stansfield
Gables Against the Sky by Anita Stansfield

Pure brilliance!  I have a love for these characters like none other.  The setting is what is truly magnificent.  Australia!  A horse ranch! Historical! What is NOT to love! There is no cheese here my friends. If you read any romance, make it these books.

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey 

Fun contemporary! If you want something more with today's settings, this is your book series. 

I read this over Christmas and was so in love with this story!  I looked up the author when I was done and found out there is a whole Virgin River series! This place is gorgeous!  It is almost magical.  I'm excited to read the series. The writing is superb!

Do you have any Romance recommendations for me?


  1. I am also a closet fan. I like knowing that there is a happy ending, maybe a little drama, and some fun kissing. So sue me. But because people always give me weird looks, I tend to read them in the privacy of my own home. Thanks for pointing out the stigma!

  2. This is why I read romance novels on my kindle, so no one is the wiser. I hate having to hide it, but people really do judge you when you read romance.

  3. Yeah, definitely enjoy some romance here! I particularly like what I've read of Julia Quinn's historical romances - funny AND romantic.

  4. They have changed a lot since I started reading them! I like both types of romance novel.

  5. A lot of people mistakenly think romance readers ONLY read romance and are only interested in fairy tale endings. Truth is, we read a lot of other genres, even "high brow" nonfiction. And romances often have a lot more depth and character development/story complexity than a lot of people give them credit for.

    A proud romance reader,

  6. BOOM! You just won.

    I mean, everything you wrote on here, I nodded my head, only I'm pretty new to romance.

    I'd recommend: Jennifer Crusie, Kristan Higgens, Tessa Dare and obvi Sarah Maclean.

    I am so excited about reading Hidden Summit, ever since you said Robin Carr was good.


  7. @April Holla! I'm pretty new to Romance novels too but I'm loving them. They pull me out of a reading funk pretty fast. I think more people enjoy romance novels than they're saying. I don't judge genre's. You're going to love The Virgin River series! I've just started at the beginning, and I'm LOVING them!

  8. I read everything. This includes romance. I'm a guy, and yeah, I'm a closeted romance reader.

    The first step in the twelve steps is admitting it.

    My name is Adam. I read romance novels and I have an unabashed appreciation of chick lit as well. Only Judy can judge me.

  9. I am SO not a closet fan of romance :) I'm loud and proud.

    I actually was more closeted back in high school...I read Nora Roberts EVERYTHING back then but told no one because I thought it was embarrassing.

    Now it is one of the genres I read most - and I totally agree with everything you said about how different the genre is nowadays.

    Like April, I love Crusie, Higgins and MacLean. Also Nora Roberts (and her series writing as J.D. Robb).

    I really enjoyed that Shannon Stacey trilogy as well, and am now off to look up Anita Stansfield :)

  10. @Adam Loud and proud! I love it! There is no shame here!

    @Allison Oh please read Anita Stansfield! She writes mainly Christian, but these historical novels are not. The Gable Faces East and Gables Against the Sky are AMAZING! You'll prob not find them in print anymore, but you will find them on ebook. I hope you enjoy, they are my favorite of all time!

  11. I am a very un-closeted romance reader (among MANY other genres) and happily post all the smutty reviews on my website right along with the YA books.

    I find them to be great palette cleansers after a long YA, dystopian, genre-specific stint. I have several series that I look forward to every year, including some staples that always get me through whatever life has handed me.

    My husband knows exactly what I read and actually encourages it. (I wonder why ;) )

    I highly recommend the J.D. Robb In Death series mentioned above, it's one of my staples. Also the Highlander series (I recommend this all over the place) by Karen Marie Moning and if you're into PNR, Jeaniene Frost's Nighthuntress Series, Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, Gena Showalter's Lord of the Underworld and Atlantis series and Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series.

    Phew! Love this post, it's time to come out of the closet! But yeah, e-readers certainly have saved me from some uncomfortable situations on planes). - Romance to YA and everything in between.

  12. I am a big romance reader now. I read "Lord of Scoundrels" by Loretta Chase, "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie, and "Unclaimed" by Courtney Milan -- all per the suggestions of the ladies over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books ( They were all smart, fun books with interesting characters, witty dialogue, and a compelling and convincing love story.

  13. awesome post and I am not afraid to read anything!

  14. Well, when I first started writing in the early 80s, romance was already being stereotyped. The thin is, the books fulfill the quest of many readers and they prove to be a profitable form of writing. The great writers simply learn to shrug and laugh their way to the bank when other genre writers put them down. AS for their readers, they are cherished and loved. Romance readers love their books and their authors. Now, stay out of the closet. It's okay. :)

  15. I got my love for romance books in high school from my mom...she started me off with "Duncan's Bride" by Linda Howard and then I quickly moved on to Nora Roberts and the MacGregors and it just escalated from there. :)

    I do still love romance books (10+ years later) but I mix it in with a lot of other things now. I just read the "Key Trilogy" by Nora Roberts and loved it. My newer favorites are the Nerd series by Vicki Lewis Thompson.

    I definitely don't think there's any shame in reading them, even exclusively. Reading is reading.

    1. No shame here! I love reading from all genre's and I whenever I feel in a reading slump I can always grab a romance novel to pull me out of my funk. Reading is Reading!! I love that you said that. Doesn't matter if you read Romance exclusively.

  16. I've got some good romance books also from Emma Rose. Just search her and join her newsletter.


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