Saturday, August 18, 2007

What I am looking for in a romance....

With all my various beach vacations and a new critique partner opening up her extensive and delightful keeper shelf - my summer has been filled with some seriously good reading. Brockman aside (seriously, at this point this Alyssa Locke/Starret romance is killing me. I'm like a junkie and the worst part is -- these books aren't that great! They are kind of all over the place and messy BUT can't wait to get my hands on the next one!) I've been introduced to some great romantic suspense. And I like my suspense lite - no need to overshadow the romance for me. But as I was reading Tara Jenzen (her Crazy series - have you guys read these??? Wow! What fun!) A couple things came to me about romance, sub-genres and what women, myself in particular want from romance.

Sub genres like romantic suspense and paranormal and erotic are exploding because I think men in traditional romances have gotten a little too PC. The heroines are all tough and can take care of themselves and the men aren't about to fight too hard for what he thinks is right for the heroine. Unless of course he's a cover FBI agent and there's some serious bad guy after them. OR he's a werewolf and if she doesn't get out of the way she'll be dog food. I think paranormal and romantic suspense have given us back the alpha male. And - I think that's what readers want.

The Greek Tycoon's Secret Mistress and books in the Presents line have kept him alive and well fed but he's missing from so many of the historicals and contemporary romances that I love. Hell, I'm not even writing him anymore.

This month, after packing up my stuff, my son's stuff, making sure my husband had his stuff, getting directions, getting gas and snacks, asking the tenants to take care of the mail, my in laws to take care of the dog - I slipped into these romantic suspence books with these heroes and heroines and it all made sense. The fantasy is having some of the decision making taken away. It's about being swept up in something that's utterly utterly outside of the heroine's control - ergo - the readers control. That's why I think those sub genres are working so well and why it's so hard to get a mainstream romance that's satisfying.

That's my latest thought. That and I love smores. Love them. Why do I wait until I'm on a beach before I indulge in those?


Amy Ruttan said...

Welcome back from multitudes of vacation. I know what you mean, I lurve romance and I have only foolishly discovered JR Ward.

I am reading them like wildfire.

Molly O'Keefe said...

those are next on my list-- everyone is going so nuts for those books -- I can't wait. But you should try Tara Janzen -- very good if you like a little action in your romance.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing about JR Ward, really must pick one up and figure out what this is all about.
Molly, haven't read Tara Janzen, but excited to.

Awesome assessment of the sub genres. I agree, I also think they provide a lot of excitement and action to balance out the introspection elements of romance and make for in some cases a faster paced read.

But mainstream romance when written well, it's sublime..

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