Romance Novels

FT2

The best definition of love that I have ever heard is:

“My determined effort for someone else’s good.”

True love is a choice, a decision, not an emotion.  It is an action that involves the giving of yourself for the good of the other person.  It is a personal sacrifice, but a good and rewarding one.

My favorite genre has always been romance, along with any other accompanying genre – Historical Romance, Christian Romance, Mystery Romance, Suspense Romance, etc.

I have never enjoyed explicit or crude novels, however.  It is surprising to me that the romance has gone out of the romance genre and has been replaced by sex.  Since when did romance come to mean sex?  In fact, romance is the opposite of sex.  Passion or lust is about succumbing to animalistic and base urges.  The satiating of those impulses is not what the original romance reader is seeking.

It is interesting to note that even as late as the 1940’s, the term “making-love” was not about having sex.  Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill both wrote from 1915 through the 1940’s and when they used the term it meant the man was speaking of love to a woman, not physically making love to her.

“John, I believe you are making love to me.”
“That I am, my dear.”

When I read the above in one of Emilie Loring’s books when I was a teenager; I thought it was funny that she had to “believe” he was making love to her and wasn’t sure if that was what he was doing.  A woman, even an innocent woman, knows when the thing is getting physical, no confusion is possible then.

Now we need a specific genre known as Sweet Romance in order to identify any books that are currently being written in the tradition of the works of Jane Austen, since we can’t call the new books classical romances. Romance novels are now first thought to be smutty unless it is accompanied by the word sweet or clean.  How backward is that?   In order to find actual romance in books, it is safer to only read books published before 1950 or Christian Romance, but then we would miss out on a lot of good books that are being published.

Romance is all about the wooing – the courting.  And I am glad that word is no longer used today, for no one courts anymore.  Dating is not the modern word for courting, as dating does not resemble courting in actuality.  Back when a person was courted, it was done with the sole purpose of finding a life-long spouse.  Not to mention it was originally done in court, hence the name; meaning it was done out in the open where everyone can see that you are courting. There are several places where the word court could be used.  One is “holding court” which is the place where a person would receive multiple visitors and would hardly be a term for an intimate setting.   Back then, a couple didn’t just spend time alone together casually, and if they were interested in each other it was given an extra level of importance, hence the need for chaperones.

Romance is a very complicated and time consuming thing, which is why a lot of people didn’t even marry for love during Jane Austen’s time.  I think the romance novel was invented primarily to get girls to think for themselves and begin to want something more than just settling for a loveless marriage.  True love means that two souls are falling in love with each other and that is why the term soul mate was invented, not body mate.

Contrary to the belief that today everyone wants sex and not romance in their novels, I have seen many people in the forums who are looking precisely for the romance aspect of romance novels.  There is a great demand for clean romance novels.  It is also nice as a parent to be able to recommend a clean romance to a young girl.  I am not talking about the books labeled young adult, I mean traditional romance novels.  I feel sorry for girls nowadays if they have to read books only in the young adult genre.   When I was a girl there was no young adult genre and I read real romance novels; they were not smutty, they were romance.

Personally, I don’t have any daughters, but if I did I would like to think I would have had book nights where we read romance novels together and then discussed them.  I remember how much my boys enjoyed reading boy friendly books, like Louis L’Amour, Pilgrim’s Progress, Holes and others.  I won’t take the time to list them all here.

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