Thursday, February 11, 2010

Confessions of a (not so) Romantic Reader

Ah...Valentine's Day. Chocolate, flowers, sentimental greeting cards, chocolate, candlelight dinners, chocolate...

What's not to love about romance, right?

Hey, I'm a woman. I'm all for an occasional romantic date and for keeping the romance alive in my marriage. But I have a confession: when it comes to reading, romance novels are not at the top of my favorite genre list. Well, at least not "official" romance novels. Give me romantic suspense, edgy romance, or chick lit any day. But sweet and sappy? Nah...not too interested.

Years ago, I couldn't get enough of Mary Higgins Clark - queen of romantic suspense (although, I have to say, after a while, all of her stuff started sounding the same so I branched out). Romantic Suspense authors I now love include Colleen Coble, Virginia Smith, and Linda Hall. Chick lit-wise, I enjoy Camy Tang, Erynn Mangum, and Kristin Billerbeck, just to name a few.

Not that I don't enjoy a good old fashioned romance from time to time. But really, does the romance genre need me as a reader? Romance has been and probably always will be the top selling genre, overall. In 2008, sales totals topped one billion dollars, making it clear that romance sells. Hey, just ask my 94-year-old grandma. She can't get enough. And sometimes sweet love stories aren't the only type of romance novels on Grandma's nightstand. She's been busted for reading steamy ones, too - but don't tell her I told you.

As I said, we all have our preferences. My grandma, for instance, does not enjoy chick lit. This surprises me a little, since Grandma is one sassy chick. You'd think she'd relate to the characters. But, she sticks with her official "romance" novels, and that's okay.

Q's 4 U: What type of romance do you read? Historical? Suspense? Chick lit? Sweet? Which authors do you enjoy? And what is the last book you read that contained romance?


Karen Lange said...

My favorite is historical. Just finished The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen.
Happy weekend,

Karen Wilber said...

I've never been much of a romance reader. When I worked in a library, I'd read some romance titles just to stay current--but it was a stretch for me. (kind of like doing homework ;-) ) If I read any romance-y books there's probably a mystery involved.

Susan Wicker said...

Hi Lynda: I rarely read romantic fiction. I have read books by an author whose last name is Spencer and they were great. I've an avid reader of non-fiction so can't say when I last read a book with romance in it. Hmmmmm. Maybe I'm missing out. ha! Sincerely, Susan from

quietspirit said...

I read an historical romance by Siri Mitchell, calle Love's Pursuit.
I am presently reading Thicker Than Blood by C. J. Darlington. It has some romance in it, I am not very far into it yet.

I usually read mysteries. But when I worked in a library, I started reading Nicolas Sparks.

Virginia Smith said...

I've always said I don't enjoy romance novels. In fact, when I received the contract for my first romantic mystery, I didn't want to take it because I had to add a romantic element in with the mystery, and I didn't think I could pull that off because I didn't read romance. But I tried it, and I decided I liked it. Since then I've read some really good romance, and some not-so-great romance, and I've discovered something: I don't like romance just because it's romance. A good writer who is passionate about her story can pull me into her story regardless of genre.

The last romance novel I read was The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee, and I enjoyed it very much. (And Karen L - I LOVE Julie Klassen. The Silent Governess is on my to-be-read list!)

Dara said...

I generally don't read straight up romance, but if I do, it's got to be historical. Not really a surprise there :P

I think the last one that I read with strong romantic elements was Michelle Moran's The Heretic Queen. Loved, loved, LOVED that book!

I am, however, looking forward to a historical romance coming out sometime in the fall by one of my other writer friends, Jeannie Lin. It takes place in Tang Dynesty China--not a common time period at all. So I'm super excited about it!

Pam said...

I used to read some of the inspirational romance books, mainly by authors I enjoyed for their quality writing. After awhile though, I felt like you with Mary H.Clark -- too much of the same story over and over. And too pat (girl hates boy then falls in love). I gravitate to books with real story depth, suspense/mysteries (yes with a dash of romance) and stories set in the WWII era (I think that comes from my love of Classic old movies). A fun or beautiful cover can grab me too... I picked up Colleen Coble's "The Lightkeeper's daughter" this weekend" because of the cover. First one I've read of hers, and I will go back for more! A couple of other writers I love -- Linda Nichols (I love all of her books and can't wait for the next one - love how she tells a great story plus weaves real faith into it), Elizabeth Musser (Enjoyed "The Swan House," and really loved "Words Unspoken.") I also enjoy Linda Hall... Well, could go on and on... If I fall in love with a writer's style (especially if a touch poetic), I tend to go back and look for their latest...