Romance novels often get a bad rap in the world of readers. People look down on romance novels as trashy fluff only designed to titillate.
Your friend asks you, “What have you been reading these days?”
You replying, “a romance novel” just doesn’t has the same snooty ring to it as replying “Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.”
I love romance novels, and I think they have a lot more to offer than those romance-haters out there give them credit for. Below is a picture of a romance novel I recently published.
- An Understanding of Love: Most of us will probably never slay a dragon or fly a space ship like a fantasy or sci-fi novel protagonist. Yet, almost all of us are, or desire to be, in relationships. A good romance novel will explore the idea of love, what it means, how to sustain it, and how to reach that happily ever after.
- A How to Guide to Romance: While most romance readers are female, I often think there are some clueless males who could benefit from reading a few carefully chosen romance novels. For the man who innocently selects a vacuum cleaner for his wife’s 10th anniversary present, you could learn something about what women want by cracking open a high-quality romance novel.
- Happily Ever After: Study after study is written about how Americans don’t rest enough. Even our fiction choices often reflect that. For example, we read horror novels that lead from one adrenaline rush to the next only to crash us into the depths of despair at the end. Sometimes one just needs the relaxation of a warm cup of tea and a happily ever after. Romance novels provide that.
- Characters Who Inspire: One of the biggest problems I have with trashy romance is how it teaches young women to want a certain kind of man, who is a jerk. I used to counsel at-risk teen girls and I was horrified to learn of some of their romance reading choices. Way to condition themselves to choose a psychopathic maniac as a boyfriend. A good romance, on the other hand, will teach young women how they should be treated and inspire them to seek a high-quality man.
- Focus on What Really Matters: If you read one of those articles asking octogenarians if they could go back in life what would they do differently, again and again they say, “spend more time on their relationships, family, etc.” Unlike other genres, romance novels focus on relationships, family, and love, all things that have much long-term value.
Writing Prompt–So romance readers and writers, what other surprising or not-so-surprising benefits do high quality romance novels bring their readers?