Sunday, December 13, 2009
What I Like in a Romance
Story! Lots of story!
Did you think I was going to say sex? Sex has its place in romance, but sex is not at the top of my list of requirements.
First of all, my preferred type of story is historical. I don't care for contemporaries because they're too much like real life. When I read, I want a vacation from the everyday. The past contains fantasy because we can't go there and see what it's like. I used to read pure fantasy, but the magical elements have worn thin.
My love for historicals is subdivided, though. Most of the books I read are set in the Regency, that period in England history about two hundred years ago. Lords and ladies, gorgeous clothes, and a time far enough in the past for a little fantasy, but not so far as to be unrecognizable. If I venture out of my comfort zone, I'll read a book set in the next closest eras, Georgian and Victorian. Occasionally, I'll read a medieval or two, and maybe an Edwardian, but I rarely travel farther.
Next, I want something in addition to the romance. I like mystery, adventure, or suspense added to the mixture. Although the relationship is paramount, I want it to develop in a larger context. What else do these people do?
I also want likeable characters. Both my hero and heroine must be decent people. No bad boy heroes or doormat heroines for me. My hero and heroine must be equally matched in strength and intelligence. At the end of the story, I expect them to walk into the sunset together, not one following the other. I also like my hero to use a little muscle against the villains. I like kick-butt heroines, too, but they're harder to do in historicals.
I also like humor. Real life can be depressing. As the newspaper saying goes, "If it bleeds, it leads". Not for me. I want a laugh. The funny possibilities of a story lock into my mind, so I appreciate humor.
And then there is the Happily Ever After. The real world has so few happy endings. If I invest several hours reading a book, I want that happy ending. I rarely read fiction other than romances.
And last, but not least, there is sex. I want romances full of love, and sex is part of love. Some is fine, but I don't care for pages and pages of it.
So, there you have what I read, and also what I write: a funny Regency with decent heroes and heroines involved in a story full of love with another story in addition to the romance. Sex is nice, but not necessary.
And of course, a Happily Ever After.
Romance, you gotta love it.
Thank you all,