A wonderful piece came across my Facebook feed today, forwarded by none other than Julia Quinn and Teresa Mederios. Even better, it is an article from Smithsonian.com! And the title is “Why Can’t Romance Novels Get Any Love?” Now, that might not sound so hopeful, especially for those of us who are sick and tired of being looked down on because we love a love story.
But the article is filled with wonderful things like: a new breed of literary scholars are now deciding that romance novels need more respect. And they are saying it loudly by their actions, too. Romance novels are finally finding a place in college courses.
To pick part of a sentence out of the article, “These romance scholars are writing a post-feminist narrative in which the anti-romance second-wave feminism of the ’70s and ’80s is over, along with all the dissing and belittling that came with it.”
This is something I have long wanted to vent about. While I am a huge fan of Betty Neels and her nurse/doctor novels, and own a nearly complete set of all her books, many in their original covers, I have also read romance novels that dealt with breast cancer, infertility, adoption, foster children, child abduction (a subject as a mother I avoid like the plague but it needs saying), spouse abuse, Down Syndrome, I could go on and on and on.
I have read about heroines who rescue and rehabilitate wild birds, who are bodyguards, art historians, owners of fitness centers, of bed and breakfasts, jewelers, even assassins. If I went through my library I could expand this list of strong women a thousandfold.
Mysteries have long been lauded as works of art, well worth the study. But stories about love? Happy marriages? Happy families? Fidelity?
As an author whose books all have strong lines of love and romance in them, I think it is time for all of us to give our own works the respect we would like to get from others. My first book was put out poorly edited, and for that I take all the blame. While that book is now corrected and tight, and while I see to it that my subsequent books are all well-edited and as good as I can make them, I have read far too many that don’t help our cause at all.
So to my fellow romance authors, let’s all make a vow to do a better job for these books!
If you want to read the entire Smithsonian article, here it is:
Why Can’t Romance Novels Get Any Love?
(original blog post date 3/16/2015)