Saturday, February 28, 2009


People who read romance novels know that the title of today’s post means “happily ever after.” This is, I believe, what we all strive for and dream of when we agree to fall in love. That no matter what evil befalls us, our handsome knight will be there to love us without judgment, rescue us when we’re not busy rescuing them, and above all to make our happiness their number one priority.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ve read more than one romance novel in my time. People (and by people I mean my husband, family, and friends) tend to deride me when they see me nose deep into a novel they know to be a romance. “Why do you bother reading that trash? She gets the guy in the end!” I know, but maybe that’s the point.

I don’t read nearly as many romance novels now as I used to. This is due in part to the fact that they aren’t as widely available overseas as they were when I lived in North America. For that reason, I tend to stock up when I go home every summer and pack a year’s worth of love and happy endings into a few short weeks.

Back in January, I turned to romance novels to battle a war on two fronts: I sought to defeat not only my writer’s block but also my malaise and depression. Much as I would have done back home with full access to and my local bookstore, I turned to not new stories but ones I knew practically by heart. I pulled out all of my favourite romance novels and proceeded to read them one by one.

I escaped into worlds where everyone was guaranteed a “happily ever after” and where the handsome knight always arrived in time to save his one true love. No obstacle is ever insurmountable in romance novels and even if there is a “great misunderstanding” it will always be resolved so that the heroine can be with her hero.

My husband says that romance novels have skewed my views on reality; that the real world has little to nothing to do with my books. Men, he assures me, never know the exact right thing to say and good doesn’t always triumph over evil. This is one time where I don’t care what he believes or what people think when they see me smiling as I read words I know may make me cry for the heroine but will ultimately reaffirm my faith in love.

Romance novels make me happy. Is that a crime? I don’t think that remaining steadfastly naïve and blind about the nature of love can be a bad thing. Love will always triumph if two souls are meant to be together. Everyone deserves their own “happily ever after.” And even though the news may want us to believe otherwise, somewhere out there two people are falling in love right now.


Connie said...

I love books, and romance novels are one of the genres I like. It's quite an opposite to the military scifi type books I generally enjoy, but I am as ADD in my reading as I am in life. Sometimes you really do benefit from a huge heaping dash of HEA :) !!

Anonymous said...

Yes - everyone deserves a good heaping of HEA!

And unfortunately, for all too many people, this is not the way life turns out - they fight for survival every day in poor countries, battles illness, or are betrayed and left broken-hearted. I hope that they too find some small measure of happiness - even though it is not the kind of happiness that is written about in romance novels.

The world is a hard place at times and that is why romantic literature is so essential: it gives people an escape, and also the HOPE that we will all get our HEA.

Enjoy your reading!

Veronica said...

Hear! Hear!
I want escapism not reality; I already have altogether too much of that!

Anonymous said...

Oh so true.
Do whatever makes you happy. Happiness makes the world a better place. So, just keep it up.
I feel your pain about the books.
There's close to nothing to be had here either and since October amazon doesn't deliver to Hungary any more :(

Bum Atom said...

I don't think i've ever even tried to read a book like that
Its been a while since i've read a book
I picked up animal farm the other day, I read that book during my first visit to a psych ward
sorry I'm a total liar
I read my son sweet HEA books every night
THat makes my life so sweet
reading with my sun
ever think of having kids
You know you're never really ready

Pseudo said...

I think I need to go back to romance novels. Lighen me up.

I read The Flame and the Flower somethign like 10 times as a teenager.

Anonymous said...

I prefer crime myself--blood and mayhem, murder and mystery, and I wish it were only make-believe but I still keep reading it!

Simple Answer said...

Ugh. I made the mistake and did NOT stock up on books, nor did I bring enough time honored favorites. I've taken to reading all my hubby's books - pretty much all feature terrorists. Just the ticket when you live in the ME.

Enjoy, enjoy I say!

AndreaLeigh said...

they make me happy as well. I'm well known as the girl who loves to read trashy romance novels. who are your favorite authors?

Karin said...

When first married, I used to devour a romance novel in a couple of hours on a lazy week-end or evening. My hubby, too, said it filled me with unrealistic expectations on love within a marriage. Then came the years I didn't make time to read much of anything - raising family, working full-time, involved in committees. Now I'm reading so much free stuff on line that I don't bother buying books. I've honestly tried and can't get past the first few pages. Just as in many other things in life, my tastes have changed! My 'happily ever after' will be when I'm with my Lord in heaven - and to me that's not morbid but a certain hope!

Betty said...

I was going to write almost the same thing as Karin. I used to love romance novels! And I still want to try reading them again, once I´m retired and have more time... I still do believe, like you, that we should focus on the HEA!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

I LURVE Romance novels. And the HEA...oh so very important. I wish I could afford to send you a ginormous box of them!

Roxane said...

While I dont read Romance novels that doesn't mean I dont love a good HEA :) SS always jokes that I have a skewed view on "romance". When I think romantic, i dont see roses, chocolates and poems. I see Hockey, beer, ice skating, watching tv cuddled up in bed lol. But I do think that we focus on being happy on a daily basis then we get closer and closer to a happy ending :)

theUngourmet said...

Right now I am trying to get through Great Expectations. I wonder if Pip will ever get the lovely Estella to fall for him. Personally, I don't think she deserves him.

Gutsy Living said...

I like to read romance novels too. I remember my husband once said that romance novels are like porn for women. I was shocked.

Kathy B! said...

Oh, I love a good sappy romance novel. Ignore the hubby on this one and enjoy...

Unknown said...

Escaping can be good - and very necessary! As long as you remember it's just an escape.

Winks & Smiles,

Oh and yes, I do believe in HEA! :)