Join me in some word association: Romance novels. Cheesy? Trashy? Embarrassing? Redundant? In this episode listeners are encouraged to keep an open mind about this immensely popular and often disrespected genre. Our fifteenth reader begins the conversation by identifying Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter (2006) as the novel that initiated her interest in romance fiction. We discuss the struggles often faced by new romance readers, the appeal of happy endings and familiar formulas, and the ways in which contemporary authors use alternative narratives and diverse characters to challenge assumptions. Our reader offers several recommendations including The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward, The Gamblers Series by Lisa Kleypas, and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean.
“It’s important to look at [romance fiction] because so many people are reading it and you want to understand why… I think it is that ‘happy ending’ no matter what. These [characters] are resolving issues, there’s a resolution, and maybe a lot of people are searching for that…It’s not just the love story between the two, it’s what’s happening around them. It’s the circumstances that they’re in and the choices that they’re making. With Devil in Winter this woman is being controlled by her family and she’s trying to make her own choice within the particular circumstances that she’s confined in…People don’t take [romance fiction] seriously, but I think it’s something to look at.”