I Don’t Read Romance Novels

By Lucille Hudson,

Sigh…so tired of hearing the gentle put down from she-males who swear they never read romance stories…”Not the type of novels I read…” So who, pray tell, are your favorite authors? I query gently, discretely withdrawing my business card from view. “Well, I like Nora Roberts…” is a response I’ve gotten on more than one occasion. Has anyone told Ms Roberts she doesn’t write romance novels? Or how about, “I only read hard cover books…?” So now romance novels don’t come in hard cover? Someone should issue a press release on the subject. Lots of publishers obviously don’t know this.

Then there are the rants on how dreadful and predictable romance books are.

Joyce Tarpley pines for the average looking heroine; she obviously hasn’t read a lot of romance novels (I think she stopped at six—poor chil’).

In Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Mountain, the first book in the passionate series about the Mackenzies (how I long for those days), Mary Elizabeth Potter is described as an old maid who owned a cat and wore old maid shoes. “She was pale, slight and nondescript.” Wolf Mackenzie had served time in prison for a crime he had not committed but was continually under suspicion by the town folk. When love hit them, it hit them hard, sweaty and not at all conventionally.

Tarpley also wonders why all the lovemaking is so blissfully wonderful for the protagonists. Doesn’t it ever disappoint in romance books? In The Prince’s Virgin Wife, by Lucy Monroe, Maggie Thomson has wet dreams of making love to a guy who turned her on six long years before—sans coitus. But now, after a passionate seduction from said guy, her only thoughts are, “It was horrible. As if a huge crystal promise of pleasure had shattered—“

Then Tarpley wonders why all romantic heroes are breathtakingly handsome and fit of body? I can’t begin to catalogue the number of books I have read where this was just not so. Jayne Ann Krentz’s novel (for the life of me I can’t recall the title—help me out here, readers) centering around a mysterious, wheelchair-bound author playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with an unhappily married publishing executive managed to take eroticism to new heights.

So Tarpley, maybe you should have read a few more romance novels before tarring all books in the genre with the same brush.