Monday, June 4, 2012

The Appeal of Romance

Ah, romance, it’s everywhere. It shows up in ancient plays and troubadour tales, in grand opera, in thrillers and suspense stories, in western and sci-fi adventures, paranormal epics and even hard-boiled mysteries. It is an important element in thousands upon thousands of movies, giving light to the darkest of dramas and sanity to the zaniest of comedies. If romance lurks in nearly every story, why shouldn't novels dedicated to the subject be wildly popular?

And yet, just what is their appeal? It’s not the love scenes -- the sex -- alone, though romances have been labeled “soft porn for women.” Unfortunately, those making this claim can’t recognize the eternal theme of romance novels for concentrating on the emotions which drive them.

The purpose of love and its accompanying desire is to forge a pair bond that will lead to successful procreation. The eternal question -- the one which animates romance novels -- is whether any particular pair bond will prove strong enough, permanent enough, to insure the wellbeing of the children born of it. Romance novels, then, are about the human relationships which allow survival of our species. Is it any wonder that women, the gender most intimately concerned with childbearing and rearing the next generation, should be enthralled by stories which help point the way to this essential happy ending?

It’s as simple, and as life-affirming, as that.

Since publishing her first book at age 27, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer Blake has gone on to write over 65 historical and contemporary novels in multiple genres. She brings the story-telling power and seductive passion of the South to her stories, reflecting her 8th-generation Louisiana heritage. Jennifer lives with her husband in northern Louisiana.


Shauna Roberts said...

I'm responding to your questions in your newsletter I received today.

I still much prefer historical to contemporary romance. I usually only buy contemporary romance if it's written by someone I know.

I prefer the long books. However, because my time is short, when I'm choosing something from my to-read bookcases, I'll often pull out a shorter book just so that I can finish it before I forget the beginning. So I buy both lengths. A shorter book can still have good worldbuilding and an intriguing plot.

Jennifer Blake said...

Thanks so much for the feedback, Shauna. It's great to have your viewpoint--which, I'll have to say, pretty much matches my own.