On a winter's day, worthy of a Tolstoy introduction with its unnerving degrees below freezing and a wind chill to rival an ice bath, I was given this article to write. At first, I really didn't have a lot of answers. I love romance fiction myself but truly to put it into a logical, framed box as an article is, I wasn't sure.
But I knew that if I did some questioning of family and friends, I would find out why forty percent of the bookselling market is devoted to this genre and why it sells so well.
Here are some of the answers. Not surprisingly, many of these are the intangibles in our lives.
We could have a truly lousy day at work or at our home business or as a parent. The boss could have gone completely crazy and assigned fifty projects due tomorrow. Or the fax machine in our home office could have eaten yet another fax which we now have to phone someone about and impress them with our office equipment. Maybe your two year old has discovered how to cut and run from the breakfast table with jam dripping down his toddler fingers and oh no, he's headed for one of the clean rooms! Many days, life can be chaotic.
When all the craziness of day to day life needs to be returned to a balance between living and reacting, there is nothing better than stepping into a romance.
Romance readers report having a sense of renewal after they submerge themselves in a happy, love story. It's a way of getting the day's dirt off our shoes and sitting down to relax.
A literary tome wouldn't do for the occasion. A mystery wouldn't be quite right but a romance is always the hero of the day.
Romance readers also reported seeing a sense of hope in books about romance.
Maybe you're true life romance needs a little repair and a weekend in Bali, but fall into a book and they have it so much worse. I still remember a book I read years ago when the main character had done something out of character and mooned a car which of course turned out to be driven by her new boss. She spent the whole book, more or less cringing anytime she saw him for fear he would recognize her birthmark. From embarrassing, to desperate to any kind of random misfortune, the heroines and heroes get it all.
As human beings, we need to have a sense of hope and when our own spirit is battered, why not a romance?
If you've read the story of Pandora's Box, in amonst all of the awful things that escaped, hope escaped too. As an avid reader of romance fiction myself, I truly believe that romance offers hope. No matter the obstacles, the main characters get to work overcoming all the reasons why the world is rotten but then find throughout the book the moments of hope, the spirit to go on. Romance readers are treated to hope in every book that truly is a romance.
The Predictability Factor:
While not every romance is exactly the same, we can take the guess work out of a book by selecting a romance right away. We can know for certain that at the end of the book, we are promised a happy ending.
For this reason, most romances try to stick to a general appearance of a romance.
Sharing the Hero:
And naturally, we can also assume that women read romance in droves for the heroes. Think of some of the heroes you may have read. They are usually gorgeous, tortured, complex souls that absolutely would melt the heart.
Truly, I think many women just want to entwine their own lives in reading of these men who will do what it takes to solve the day's problem.
If you're looking for a romance and feel you have to hide the cover from the store clerk, forget about it. Women have been reading romance forever and you're justified a good romance book any day of the week. Just don't forget to turn off the stove before you tune into a good romance.
Robyn Whyte is the CEO of an independent press called Stargazer Press. Drop by and see available books at http://www.stargazerpress.com anytime!
Kate Rizor's novel "The Governor's Wife" is more than a romance and shines with a message of hope as the two characters find themselves.