What makes a romance novel? – Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog

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Just read a really interesting blog (‘Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: A Guest Review’ by CarrieS June 28, 2012):

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/warm-bodies-a-guest-review-by-carries

Carrie reviews Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and uses it to tease out a thought or two on romance… she writes: “what makes a romance novel worthy of the title of romance novel?  Up until now I considered any novel to qualify if it had a HEA, and if the love story was the central aspect of the novel.  Lately the book Warm Bodies has challenged my assumptions about what a romance novel is or can be. …

I can tell you with confidence that Warm Bodies is an amazing book.  Its use of language is marvelous, the sense of humor sneaks up on you in the most fantastically subversive fashion, and it is deeply moving.  It also meets my romance novel criteria of old.  Not only is the love story the most important aspect of the novel for personal reasons, but the fate of the world hinges upon its success.  What it doesn’t have is anything, or any person, or any place, that I would want to be – and that leads me to my question.

Does a romance novel have to contain an element of fantasy to qualify as a true romance novel as opposed to just a love story?  I’m using the term fantasy in the sense of wanting or desiring something, not in the sense of a genre that regularly includes unicorns.  In every romance novel I’ve read, there is something to desire, and it’s not just the sexy guy and the great relationship.  People eat great food, or they fly a spaceship, or they have a crappy little apartment but they decorate it with fabulous throw pillows.  They go to exotic locations, or live in bustling and exciting cities, or live in quaint and quirky towns.  We may not want to actually be the protagonist, but we want to dream ourselves into some aspect of their worlds or their lives. … [read it all at the Smart Bitches’ blog]”

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