What the heck are you talking about, Caro? Well, I’m talking about an article published on Shape Magazine, which I will not link because I don’t want to give them clicks. An article in which the author, a woman called Ashley Mateo, states that romance readers are dumb.
You guessed right. I am seething.
Because I am not dumb.
Not only am I not dumb, I am also highly educated. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, which includes a Major in History, a Minor in Geography, and the equivalent of a certificate in Pedagogy.
So dumb I am not. And I hate having one of the genres I like best being reduced to (pardon me) crap.
I have been reading romance since I am 12 (you can see the story here). Yes, as a teen, I didn’t want to advertise my preference for them, because I was an A student, fat, and bullied. I didn’t need to give them more ammunition to bully me.
I have since grown up and I darn well own my reading preferences.
So I’ll say it: I love romance. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It makes me smile. It makes me happy. And it has a happily ever after. In a world full of drama, we need those kinds of books.
Giggling over poor Nelly (Wishes, Jude Deveraux) stress eating a whole cake (because let’s face it, many of us have been there), laughing my silly head off over the latest adventures of Astrid and Satan (Hot Damned series, Robyn Peterman), fawning over those amazing Var men (Lords of the Var, Michelle M. Pillow) or laughing to tears when Uncle Raibeart is again streaking (Warlocks MacGregor series, Michelle M. Pillow). Being completely enthralled in the latest investigation in which Charlie Stone takes part (Dr. Charlotte Stone series, Karen Robards) or laughing over some conversation between Charley and Cookie (Charley Davidson series, Darynda Jones). Getting all mushy inside when Alex learns French, badly, to try to help her husband (The Sherbrooke Bride, Catherine Coulter).
You name it. It is full of nice and fine times.
And you know what? The good romance novels are very researched, in order to get the locations right, the time period right when it’s a historical, the accents and the looks right, to make sure there are no inconsistencies when it is a series (and believe me, reading, for instance, Mandy M. Roth’s Immortal Ops books, I can tell you that she puts a heck of a lot of research into them).
It takes a darn good writer to make their readers alternately laugh, smile, fawn, cry, get frustrated, get flustered, and all this in the space of a few hundred pages. And to do it time and again.
There is a reason why romance is one of the most lucrative businesses in literature. It is because it sells. Because it is good. Because it provides an escape from the harsh times of reality.
So please, instead of calling us dumb, pick up a good, non stereotyped romance (there are very many of those), sit back, and enjoy. If you don’t, or if romance is not your cuppa, don’t diss us romance readers. We are not uneducated. We are not crazy spinsters nor unhappily married and in need of fantasies. We are normal, healthy women who love to escape and see that there is such a thing as a happily ever after.