This is copied from my very first post…
More years ago than I care to remember, I consumed vast quantities of YA novels, including several by Paul Zindel. Some were dark and serious explorations of drugs and sexuality, and at the other end of the scale were the YA Romance Series books like Sweet Dreams from Bantam. I found I preferred the more romantic works. Somehow, reading about whether or not the boy would want to kiss you was more fun than reading about whether or not he would pay for your abortion. However, several years passed before I started reading romance novels. In that time I met a boy that wanted to kiss me, had children, and generally had less time for reading.
One day, not long ago, I was passing by a bookstore and saw romance novels for sale at three for a dollar. I had a new job that required a long bus commute everyday, I had caught up on my reading, and I was looking for something new. I risked a dollar and tried the books. The first one seemed preposterous – how could a woman be so shy in this day and age? And how cliche is that snowstorm that trapped them together? And how delicious was that week of romantic tension as they were attracted to each other but reluctant to act? I quickly moved on to the second one, and was surprised at how different it was. Part of the difference was the historical setting, but it was also humorous – and somewhat more explicit. The third was also a historical, but this time there was a suspense plot in addition to the romance. I had learned my first lesson of romance novels: Contrary to what their detractors say, they are not all the same.
Since then I have read several more, in part to explore the various possibilities, and in part as I am thinking of writing one. I recently downloaded a complete set of Harlequin / Mills and Boon novels – one of each of their lines. Over the next few months I’ll be reviewing those and other romance novels I have come across.