10 Romance Reader Problems

It’s not always easy being a champion of romance! Although it is one of the most diverse, popular, and well-loved genres, with an enormous variety of subgenres for every reader (from historical, to contemporary, to paranormal), romance novels are often disparaged—even by fellow book lovers who have never read a single one. I, for one, find this quite unfair. Let’s live and let live, book lovers! After all, we’re in the same delightful book-loving boat, and there’s room for everyone here. If you dislike romance novels on principle, why not crack one open and see what you’re missing? Look, you can even use your ereader and do it in secret (a lot of us do). After all, your books are your business. We won’t tell.

If you’re already a romance fan, we feel both your joy and your pain. We’ve taken time away from our weekly Romance Roundups to present you with ten problems you may be familiar with.

1. Regency-era heroines had much better descriptive terms for disagreeable paramours. Wouldn’t you rather scornfully call someone a “rogue,” a “rake,” or a “scoundrel”? “Jerk,” “player,” and “bad communicator” just don’t have the same ring.

2. Current dance trends do not include the quadrille, nor do they appear to be moving in that direction, and more’s the pity.

3. It’s depressing to acknowledge that an actual romance with a real, live, swashbuckling pirate is highly improbable, and likely to end poorly. Ditto for wild west cowboys. Let’s not even discuss vikings.

4. Sometimes the cover art of a novel just doesn’t do the characters justice, and you find yourself shaking your head over how wrong they got it. It can even be distracting. (“I know he’s supposed to be a redhead, but this hero is way more Archie than Archduke.”)

5. But sometimes the cover art of a novel is too good, and you Cannot. Stop. Staring at it. (Granted, there are worse problems.)

6. Knowing that many of those who don’t read romance wouldn’t appreciate a good HEA (Happily Ever After) ending if it picked them up, carried them over a threshold, and deposited them on a bed strewn with fragrant rose petals. Romance readers know that many stories (both fictional and in real life) don’t end happily—but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a good epilogue wedding.

7. There are a lot fewer achingly sexy, dominant billionaires out there looking for love than you might hope.

8. People are openly judgmental toward your reading material. You rarely hear anyone say, “True crime novels? You read those?” or “Literary fiction? Ugh.” And yet somehow romance is fair game. (Whatever, more great books for us.)

9. In the romance world, the handsome, mysterious, inexplicably single forty-something doctor has a dark secret: he’s great with children! In the real world, the handsome, mysterious, inexplicably single forty-something doctor also has a dark secret: three disgruntled ex-wives, a ceramic clown collection, and a freezer full of dead birds.

10. The skeptical look you get when you tell someone their favorite classic novel is essentially a romance novel. (Austen and Brontë fans, here’s looking at you. One of us! One of us!)

What are your top Romance Reader problems?

  • Sue V

    #8 is the worst. Between the Sneering Literati (“I would never waste a second of my life on that excrement.”) and the Unread Masses (“Why would you want to read when Lifetime Televison shows stuff like that?”) it gets tiresome. Especially when no other genre gets denigrated the same way.

    I love to go on the attack (politely) and challenge the ones who sneer or are quite mystified by my preference, since I am “obviously intelligent.” I think I’m making some people stop and think about their literary prejudices.

    • http://www.secretsfrommyapron.com Bea Long

      I read romance novels at times. Love the old historical romance novels. I have liked everything from Harold Robbins back in the day to Nicholas Sparks and autobiography. I don’t read horror or anything of that nature and True Crimes not so either as I really want to escape all the horrors and tragedy all around us on a daily basis. So yes, thank goodness for these beautifully written books that have my loins aching at the thought of a touch. Give me romance and happy endings any day. If I want to watch a Jeanette Oke based movie I will watch it without commercial on the Pixel Channel. I like to read when I need a quiet moment a much needed me moment. I say to each his own but let me have romance any time I can.

  • Brianne Kohl

    Oh boy, I laughed reeeal hard at number 9. Very, very true.

  • Robelle

    #8 is a frequent one I encounter. Either someone tells me it’s not real enough or it’s all fake. Why not let us readers of romance enjoy that little bit of fiction. Fictional books were written to be enjoyed. Even if it’s to temporarily escape the dreary world we live in!

    Or, if it’s not the fact that it’s “fake”, it’s the fact that the romance novel is now referred to as “erotica” or “porn”. When in reality, romance novels are categorized by those different levels of intimacy. My sister reads both traditional romance novels such as contemporary or historical, but she also reads erotica. They’re on two very different levels. I constantly have to correct people when they’re assuming I’m reading porn and I end up having to explain the plot of the story.

    To me, the romance adds a little more flare to the action and adventure happening one very page. It’s true that the romance is the focal point of the book, but we all want a little danger with a touch of sexy in our lives, neh?

    I always end up saying, if I was reading “erotica”, I’d tell you straight to your face. I’m not afraid to admit what books I like reading.

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