What’s in a Romance Novel?

Romance Novels – Why do we read them and what do we gain from reading them?

There have been a lot of thoughts and questions rolling around in my mind lately. This year specifically, I’ve been reading a lot more romance novels than I used to. Much of my time previously had been spent reading thrillerd, mysteries and contemporary literature. I’ve always had an interest in reading romance novels and did so once in a while, but I’ve read so many this year…

Which had me thinking about – “Why do people read romance novels?”

I can already imagine all of the cliche answers out there – because I’ve had many of these discussions myself – from plenty of people that don’t actually read these books and they automatically say things like:

“You must read those because of all the sex….”

“Trashy books are for people who have an emotional detachment….”

Unfortunately, I’ve heard a lot of very toxic banter around the interest in romance novels and how people must be reading these books for a negative reason or other. Considering the majority of romance novel readers are women, it appears to many that they must read these books because they are “lacking” something in their own relationships and so they seek it out via their nearest romance novel.

This is simply not true.

It’s really rather discontenting that there is such a significant misunderstanding around what romance novels provide to readers and the fact they consist of A LOT more than just sex scenes.

If you’re an avid reader, then you really understand what motivates a person that loves literature. This is what drove me on my own adventures into reading – and that’s character development.

When I read a book and I review it, I always emphasize my reviews on the element of character development and how each main character has flaws. We all know this. But the character flaws in romance novels tend to be much more intense than you find in other genres. Meaning, every character has some intense hurdles to face and overcome throughout their process in each romance book.

The struggle is real.

This brings a lot more to the table than your average novel because the depth involved in the plot and characters brings questions to the forefront of why they behave the way they do, why they make certain choices and how much they can self-realize before they get their HEA (Happily Ever After).

Now, not all romances end with an HEA and that is a whole different element that sub genres within the romance industry bring to their readers. The level of intensity and realistic representation can be painful to read, but does assist the reader in visualizing situations and scenarios they may be familiar with or may have absolutely no experience with what so ever.

Let’s talk about romance novels.

There is a multitude of elements to romance novels and I think there is a negative perception against those that read them and I’d like to open up this discussion for those that have something to say. Whether it be your own observations or experiences – let’s try and dispel these negative perceptions and have an open discussion about it.

Let me know your thoughts. For those that read romance novels – what about them really captures you? For those that don’t normally read them – do you stay away from them on purpose and why?

One response to “What’s in a Romance Novel?”

  1. Great discussion post! I agree with your points, especially how character flaws are more intense in romance books than those in other genres. From the few romance books I have read I also seem to get that impression and character development is definitely one of the main traits that draws me to the genre.

    Liked by 1 person

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