ROMANCE IS A KEEPER!
I'm an unashamed fan of category romance. Long before I sold my first Presents, books from my favorite Harlequin and Silhouette authors dominated my keeper shelves. They are not my guilty pleasure. They are my joy. I am not only proud to write category romance, but quite vocal about my joy in reading it.
Why, though? What about romance in general and the category books in particular engenders such fierce devotion from me and so many others?
I'm with Jayne Ann Krentz in believing that romance novels give life and breath to modern day heroic archetypes, heroes (both of the male and female variety) that our society *needs*. Yes, the books are written for entertainment - just like all other fiction, just like movies, just like live theater, the performance of classical music, the ballet - the list of art that entertains is almost endless. And like all forms of art, the romance novel has its place in our culture, feeding it...revealing it...impacting it.
Romance as a genre feeds hope into a world that can oftentimes feel hopeless. It educates, entertains, strips away the layers for revelation and inspires. It is quite incredible really. The power of romance and within romance, the category novel.
The length of a category book is not the only thing that sets it apart in the romance genre. The sheer volume of stories created on a monthly basis by uber talented authors to be read by a discerning public that won't tolerate the clichéd or trite is awesome. Category romance distills the challenges of life, the heroic victories we all long for into a short format, a crucible that grinds out the chaff and leaves only the best, most necessary part of a story behind.
Each category line has its own conventions, making it easier for the reader, whose entertainment budget is limited by both time and money, to find the types of stories they like best and be able to buy them consistently. That's one of the reasons I love them. I don't read all lines because not all literary conventions or story type conventions work for me. But the ones that do enhance my life immeasurably.
I grew up wanting to travel because of the places I read about in Harlequin Presents. I learned foreign phrases, about other cultures and outlooks reading those books. I know many readers who feel the same. Books are a wonderful gift to society, but I think romance novels are the cream of the crop!
So what are your three favourite category romance keepers of all time? We've been discussing keepers and the books we're all reading at The Pink Heart Society's Yahoo Loop too! So why not pop over and join us through the Yahoo link in the side-bar? We'd love to see you there!!!
Lucy's next Harlequin Presents release PREGNANCY OF PASSION will land on bookshelves in North America in December. Check out her fabulous blog for more or visit her website to see what's new with Lucy!