18 September 2011

Why Romance?

Caveat: This post is not a meant to be a pity post. Nor a whiny one. So if I gave that impression I apologise, as it was not my intent. It's just a ramble through the inner workings of my very warped thought processes.

Last weekend I read Amy Lane's Clear Water. And it was lovely. But...it did have one trope that I'm not so fond of...insta love. Now, to be fair, the love between Patrick & Whiskey wasn't instant per say, but...it was fast. About six weeks fast. And it got me to thinking...and that thinking led to a feeling: I'm not sure if I believe in love any more. I mean, I believe in it for other people. But...I'm not sure if I believe in it for me. I don't even know if it is something I'm capable of...will ever be capable of. I did, once. I even believed in soul mates *ducks* But...somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I don't know when.

And all of this got me to wondering - if I don't believe in love, why do I read romance novels? Why read about the HEA of various characters if I don't believe it exists? (Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe in perfect love. That's only ever in fairy tales. Love is...a journey. And just like any journey it will have its rocky patches and steep climbs...and it's falls. But the views? I've heard [I've never been in love so it's all hearsay, although IMHO Your Honour the witnesses are reliable :)] they are...breathtaking! Am I a masochist? Am I hoping to be persuaded otherwise?

So, I'm hoping you can help me out. Why do you read romance novels?


  1. Interesting - I don't believe in it for me anymore, either. :) I read romance because it is, overall, a hopeful genre.

    I'm reading Clear Water right now and I'm ok with the falling in love over six weeks spent tossed together on the boat like they are - if it was six weeks of seeing each other a couple times a week, no. I wouldn't necessarily believe that.

  2. Sometimes the instalove doesn't bother me. I guess it just depends on how much I like the characters and want to believe.

    Romance, like Chris said, is hopeful. I like that. I don't think there's anyone out there for me, but I like to escape into the fantasy for a while.

  3. Funny, I "liked" this on tumblr a few days ago - how well it fits with your post...

  4. Actually... I'm not reading romance that much anymore. >.>

    6 weeks is hardly instalove, though. My parents got engaged after dating for a month and they've been married 34 years. So you never know....

  5. I read romance, because like Chris said it's a hopeful genre. It's also a smart genre. I've been exposed to more thoughts and situations, than I have reading any other genre. Although, it's main focus is a love story, there is usually a community (or family) component that will compliment the love story. Those relationships are usually just as important; and have shown me different perspectives that I might not have had exposure to.

    But I also believe in love. Although, I do think it's finding it's way very slowly to me ;) Mostly, I believe in it, because I know my daughter is going to have a wonderful soul mate when she's ready!

    I've only ever been in 1 "real" relationship, and even though it didn't work out, I still care for him... I wouldn't want to be with him again, but he remains a friend and co-parent. I think that most of us are afraid to love and making ourselves vulnerable. It's easier to hold ourselves back than risk getting hurt. I am forcing myself to get out there, after 11 years... and it's super scary! If all else fails, I'll at least make a new friend ;)

  6. Chris - it is that...hopeful I mean :) I think that's one of the reasons why I read it :) And I hear you WRT Clear Water. The time Patrick & Whiskey spend together is quality time. I guess I just can't imagine falling in love within 6 weeks :) OK...I can't imagine me falling in love in 6 weeks *grin* And I love the Tumblr link!

    Eyre - yes! It does depend on the characters and how much I buy in to their HEA. And escaping is good too :)

    heidenkind - you're not? I suppose Torenth & Warrick aren't exactly a romance :) You're parents have been married for 34 years? After dating for a month? WOW! Way to go heidenkind's parents! That's fantastic. And completely reaffirms my faith in insta-love - thank you :) And like I said to Chris, I think I find it hard to believe it because I can't see me falling in love so quickly :)

    Mariana - great points and I agree wholeheartedly. You've reminded why I read romance :) And I'm sure your daughter's soul mate is out there...and way to go putting yourself out there too! Any relationship is scary - I need to learn that the knocks aren't so bad. Good luck!

  7. I think Chris nailed when she said she reads romance because it is, overall, a hopeful genre.

    People who have never been "in love" read romance, as do people who have been in love for decades. We read it because it's optimistic, hopeful and satisfying... and comforting in a world where there is so much tragedy and suffering around the globe.

    I'm not a fan of insta love in romance novels either--especially contemporary romances. It has to be done just right for me to believe it in, although sometimes I can suspend disbelief in the insta part and still really enjoy the story for the fun-factor and let go of the for-real-factor. I tend to let authors get away with more insta-love in paranormal romances because I'm already believing in some unbelievable things AND because I'm usually more distracted by the other plot component--usually some paranormal evil or political or whatever kind of conflict is going on in the world.

    I know none of you are whining or complaining or anything negative like that about not really believing in love for yourselves... but you are all smart, caring and engaging women AND you're all capable of romantic love if/when it comes your way. Then you'll believe and that's what matters.

    : )

  8. Oh, I read it because I believe in love, no question about it. :)

    As I've grown older, cynicism has set in... I admit it. In my job I often see and experience the "end" of love. However, throughout my life I've experience love and long lasting relationships around me too... so, why not?

    RE: Insta-love. My parents met, corresponded thorugh letters, and saw each other twice before getting married. They've been "in love" (believe me they are) and married for over 50 years. There IS such a thing. :)

  9. Chris, you're so smart - yes, it's very hopeful.

    But I absolutely believe in love. Even when my life was in the pits and I thought that I couldn't love myself much less have anyone else love me, I believed in it.

    I read romance because I'm truly a romantic at heart. I love seeing two people meet and come together in a myriad of situations. I love reading of the HEA - because it's not usually the same for each person.

    I'm about to start Clear Water so I'm interested to see how it goes. :)

  10. Christine - *hugs* Thank you! And I agree - romance novels are hopeful...and comforting :)

    Hilcia - :) And being in a career in which you see 'the end of love' - you'd need to have that belief/knowledge I guess, or else what was around you would...suck you dry? And congrats to your parents! That's a lovely story. Hmmm. I will have to rethink my stance on insta-love :)

    Tracy - good point (that HEAs are not the same for every person). And good point about loving oneself. I think you need to be able to do that before you can believe someone else would love you. And I look forward to hearing what you think about Clear Water :)

  11. I don't believe in it for me either, and I haven't done so for such a long time. I think Chris is spot on with hopeful. I know I'm showing my age but it reminds me of 'Romancing The Stone' and Kathleen Turner's character saying that she was a 'hopeful romantic, not a hopeless romantic'