Friday, October 28, 2011

Romance...the most maligned genre

Why is romance such a popular genre....this is a question that has occupied many a mind over the centuries.

In the Georgian and Victorian eras husbands exhorted wives not to allow their daughters to fill their minds with trashy romance novels. Why?

Girls were paraded through the Marriage Marts of the day and marriages were arranged for them, for many reasons. Land. Money. To form or strengthen alliances between families. Or,  in the case of the Aristocracy, countries.
And while some fathers would take their daughter's feelings into many men, such sentiments were irrelevant.   Heaven forbid any girl should entertain the notion that she could actually marry a man and expect happiness. This lay behind mothers counselling their daughters before they married, when their husbands demanded intimacy, to lie back and think of England.      

This prejudice, although it has abated somewhat during the century just past, continues to be levelled at the romance genre. It's okay  for men to read mysteries, thrillers, westerns and other popular fiction but when a woman picks up a romance for sheer, escapist pleasure it is frowned on as being trash.

I went into a book store recently and asked where they placed their selection of popular category romance and was subjected to a lecture. Such trashy fiction was a waste of valuable shop shelf space.

Excuse me?  As a reader and writer of such "trash" I was taken aback to say the least.

Today I visited my terminally ill brother in law and during the week had a scare with my daughter being hospitalised after a suspected stroke... and I realised why I love reading and writing romance.

Because, first and last in life, it's family that matters.  And the romance genre is all about reaffirming and  celebrating family values. I really enjoy reading how love and commitment  triumphs over adversity.    
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