It was actually my grandma who first got me hooked on romance novels one summer just before the start of high school. I kept watching her night after night go through this entire routine which began with her getting out her favorite afghan, making a cup of tea, and then turning on the Tiffany lamp (reproduction of course!) that sat on the table next to the couch.
Each night I kept wondering to myself how she could read those books day in and day out when they were all pretty much the same story-you know, the pair of star-crossed lovers find each other after a lifetime of suffering and somehow manage to live happily ever after. Now this was the summer that Frank B. (for legal reasons, let’s just let the last name be a mystery!) dumped me for the blonde sitting behind him in English class so I was pretty much fed up with the whole romance idea so I decided to ask her why she insisted on reading those boring and sappy romance novels all the time.
Now maybe I was not quite as smart as I would have liked to believe at the ripe old age of 14 because grams sat me down on the couch and proceeded to tell me that there was bound to be a romance novel out there for all of us. I was actually very surprised to learn just how many different genres there were in romance novels. She then went upstairs into her closet and brought out “The Romance Novel” for me to read. Maybe she knew I liked those psychological thrillers or perhaps she just got lucky but she ended up bringing down a Romantic Suspense novel that she had read a few years back. Within the first five pages I was hooked, and now, I have my own reading ritual every night! Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
The romantic suspense genre is a favorite of a lot of readers (and yours truly!) but it is by no means the only game in town. History buffs will love the Historical genre as novels of this type are set back in time and the characters are usually confronting old stereotypes and prejudices kind of like those faced by Romeo and his fair Juliet-luckily, they don’t have “thy” or “thee” mussing up the flow of the book. Well, at least not usually.
If the past isn’t your scene then you might want to try a futuristic romance. The sky is the limit with these novels and you really have no idea where the writer might take you which is what makes them so fun to read. But, true to the romance novel format, there is that classic love story propelling the plot so the genre remains true to its roots.
One of the most interesting genres that I have come across so far in my twenty years of reading romance novels is the paranormal genre. Basically, these are like the X-Files set to a romantic novel format. The primary male and female characters are usually trying to figure out some strange event that they somehow get caught up in. You really just never know what to expect from a paranormal romance which is definitely what makes them so interesting to read.
On the other end of the spectrum is the western romance novel. Although they are not for everyone, they are a popular choice with a lot of baby boomers who grew up with westerns on television. The male and female main characters generally start the book out at odds with one another and through the course of the book (and several adventures!) they find out that they are madly in love with one another and decide to buy a ranch in Wyoming or something. They are not really my cup of tea but a lot of readers love this genre which explains its enduring quality.
Of course, there are many other genres to choose from like: contemporary, fantasy, inspirational, time travel, and of course, the romantic suspense. It really doesn’t matter what you happen to be interested in because there is bound to be a romance out there that you will find interesting. Like me, you may need grams to sit you down and explain to you how there is a lot more to the romance novel than meets the eye. Then, you too can curl up with your favorite blanket and lose yourself in a world where anything is possible and there is always a “Happily Ever After” awaiting you at the end of the journey-well, usually!