The Romance Novel genre is one of those books I knew about but never dared to read. I remember my mom enthusiastically handing me a bag of books from a friend of hers, I was in 6th grade. I dug into the books and found this book called “Scruples,” I began to read it, noticing it was some old book talking about this rich heir and this rogue. Then it got to the scene where the euphemism popular among romance books began to show up and my 6th grader self went “uhmm…, nope.”
I had a bad association with Romance Novel. I generally saw them as low brow, raunchy and trashy literature. I stayed away from them like a plague, until in my senior year of high school, a couple of my friends (romance-reading friends) dared me to read some Judith McNaught and something else. I read two Romance Novels then in exchange for a big chunk of Cadbury Fruit and Nut. I remember reading it as fast as I could and hiding the book beneath my pillow in case my dear prude mother saw it. After that little foray in Romance Novels, I had never read it again. I was a book snob.
Then a few years ago, via a Book Riot challenge, I read my first Romance Novel since the high school challenge and amazingly enjoyed it. I revisited The Bride and read majority of Judith McNaught. I read some of the regency period stuff, as well as the more contemporary ones and found them interesting. As with most Genre fiction it was quick to read, but what amazed me was that it wasn’t bad writing. Some of these stories had suspense in them that would excite me. Some were even funny. Yes, there were those euphemisms that are expected of Romance Novels, but this was not pure raunchy. I mean yes, in my sampling of Romance Novels I had a taste of bad writing and those I couldn’t read, but not all of them were bad as I first considered them to be.
I wouldn’t read these novels in the same way I would read let’s say a Haruki Murakami or an Elif Shafak, but, I would read them like I do some Crime Fiction and some YA—pretty much in the same vein why I would watch Avengers, for entertainment—good entertainment. I also loved that some of these Romance Novels don’t have airhead, helpless damsels, rather, the ones I love pretty much are kickass heroines who tend to be funny.
So, once in a while, when I want to read something easy, quick and entertaining, I now know that I can throw a bit of Romance Novel into the mix to be entertained. Since I am confessing this bit of newly-found guilty pleasure and our current theme is on the Contours of Love (and romance), I’m going to ask for suggestions. On the comments below, do recommend a Romance Novel you think is worth considering and I’ll review them here on Gathering Books. I enjoy period romance and a well done contemporary romance, and no damsels in distress please.