A few years back I made a documentary called “Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?” It was broadcast on BRAVO! Canada as well as other broadcasters around the globe. Because I had always been a reader of romance novels, I had a particular view of the genre. I didn’t see it as worthless or silly drivel. To me, romance novels were, and are, special. Yes. Special. Why? Because what they offer is hope. Hope that two people can find something fulfilling and meaningful in a relationship. Isn’t that what we all strive for in our own relationships? Of course.
Romance novels tell us that when two people fall in love it won’t be perfect. Stuff always happens, but in the end, we can get through it because we have each other. Remember that great line in the romantic comedy, As Good As It Gets? Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man.” That’s what romance novels do. This is why we love romantic movies so much. We get that same feeling from those films that we do when we read a romance novel.
Recently, New Republic Magazine published an article by William Giraldi that was very critical of 50 Shades of Grey, and romance novels in general. Then Bobbi Dumas of Kirkus Reviews wrote a great rebuttal. It’s so easy to be dismissive of romance writers and readers. And yet, romance books consistently outsell every other genre and have for decades. The romance industry is the most successful publishing entity there is, and yet it gets little to no respect from the media. Women of all ages and all backgrounds read romance. And what draws us to these books is that the heroines have power. They are empowered in these stories. And to millions of women around the world – that is a very positive message.
At the end of the day readers of romance novels and genre fiction in general all have one thing in common: we love a good story. And more importantly we love the heroes and heroines who live those stories in the pages of those books that we love to read.
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Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, a good romance and a happy ending.