Society’s View On “Romantic Novels”

Recently, I’ve been reading a handful of novels, many being within the genres of Fiction and Romance. If I list every book I’ve been reading since my last post, the list will be endless, so I’ll just name the few books that can be used as good examples for my chosen topic of discussion.

Georgette Heyer’s Arabella, Shakespeare’s Sonnet Collection, Dinner With A Vampire by Abigail Gibbs, and the following novel in her Dark Heroine series Autumn Rose. I’ve also re-read Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Hardy’s A Pair Of Blue Eyes. These all as well as others led me to writing this post. What really irked me shall we say, whilst I was reading these novels, is the description of “Romance”. This is solely my opinion towards particular books and so I apologize beforehand if my views come across to be too harsh.

It’s almost as though over time, literature in it self has eroded when it comes to the Romance genre as some of the many modern novels of our time hold such vulgarity towards the description of “affection” shown between two fictional characters. Whilst reading Dinner With A Vampire I noticed the explicit descriptions of Violet Lee and Kaspar Varn’s love struck encounters. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with that, every person likes a ‘blood-pumping, falling-head-over-heels, tangled-in-each-others-arms, whispering-voices’ romance as well as the next person, and in this novel it was balanced out by the building relationship of the couple. This view however, dramatically shifted when I read the next book in the growing series. The novel itself was filled with awkward, random and disturbing descriptions of fictional characters either obsessively,physically expressing their undying attraction towards another or simply hammering away at each other. Indeed what I have stated is extremely blunt and uncomfortable, however this was the reality whilst reading. The female protagonist was watching another couple passionately making love. For the love of all that’s sane and splendid, is this what we call romance? What  in heavens name happened to plot/character development? What happened to good old conversations between two people that have an interest towards one another, where the affection is subtly hinted and not blatantly stated, (instead of pouncing on the interlocutor when ever they reach a dark alleyway). I’m not alluding to Jane Eyre’s page long psychoanalysis, (regardless of my undying love for her character and the novel itself) where we understand her character fully before she in even delves into her social love life. It forced me to question whether the “Romance” novels of our time aren’t just porn in written work. Society has an outraged ‘No’ for when it comes to porn in general being portrayed in the media as such, but then isn’t it exactly the same but in written form when a writer talks on in the most horrendous of descriptions about a character and their moments of climax? It disgusts me.

In Heyer’s Arabella, the relationship between Robert Beaumaris and Arabella Tallant is breathtakingly romantic. Heyer clearly shows the reader that the two characters are mad over heels in love with one another and she does this without needing to use vulgar descriptions of physical intimacy. Heck’, the only physical intimacy you read about is them kissing or holding one another. What’s more, towards the end of the novel the readers can understand the implications within Heyer’s writing, “and confined herself to the far more agreeable task of convincing Mr Beauamris that his very obliging sentiments very entirely reciprocated.” This I believe is much more readable as it allows the reader to formally make their decisions upon the point.

Romance within a novel can be defined with the use of elaborate descriptions of disturbing and perverted physical intimacy, but in truth the more superior romantic novels are the ones in which  the tools as stated are used at a minimum, and instead, the writer uses their gift with words to describe the emotions felt by the individuals, without explicitly stating they have feelings for another. This then causes the readers to have to battle with themselves as they have to interpret the cryptic thoughts of the character to understand whether they do indeed feel ‘love’ or not. Adding to the suspense of the story line itself and making the whole experience far more interesting and entertaining,

This I believe makes one hell of a romantic novel.


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