I’ve been reading romance almost exclusively for over twenty years. It’s my genre of choice, it makes me happy, and it’s never been a “guilty pleasure.” I love it and I get as excited to talk about romances as I do about reading them. Which makes twitter one of my favorite places. I follow authors, editors, and other readers who share my addiction. While there, I’ve noticed I’m rarely in the majority of tweeters on what’s popular or what are big pet peeves in the genre. This doesn’t bother me because variety is a fabulous thing and the romance genre is big enough that we can all find things we love but a thought occurred to me a few days ago : What if there was an author reading those twitter conversations that wanted to write or had already written a story packed full of what others dislike and decide to ditch it? What if it was a book I would LOVE? And since I’m more than a little selfish, that led to these confessions
1.) I love the alpha billionaire hero. Love him. He can even be an ass but he has to be a redeemable ass. I do think the genre is over saturated with them right now and that makes finding the good ones a little more difficult but when I do, it is oh so sweet. I also like beta heroes. And blue collar heroes. Really, I like them all but the billionaires do hold a special place in my heart.
2.) I like the Mary Sues! Not in every book of course but sometimes they are exactly what I want to read. Lisa Marie Rice is a perfect example. Many times while reading her books, I expect the woodland creatures to materialize beside the heroine, dancing and braiding her hair. But they work for me and I don’t question the things that make me happy.
3.) I am a complete and total whore for the preggo heroine story. I’ve been known to purchase books without reading the blurb just because of the baby bump on the cover. So it will probably come as no surprise that I also like epilogues that have the heroine pregnant. Before anyone yells at me, no I don’t think that every couple needs a child to be happy or fulfilled but it makes me happy to see the badass hero all mushy over the upcoming addition to the family.
4.) I see a lot of reviewers say they didn’t like a certain book because of how over the top it was. That’s actually a selling point for me. Nothing makes me happier than crazy over-the-topness. We’ve seen this go horribly wrong, like when Mad and I book dished Eye of the Storm by Monette Michaels but that’s a theme I will go back to and try time and again, hoping to find awesomeness.
5.) I hesitated to include this since this has been a lighter post and this is definitely on a more serious note but I felt it should be included. Dear Author has a post titled Realistic Depictions of Rape in Romance that has stuck with me all day. It’s well written and has left me very conflicted about my own opinions on the subject.
I think I’ve read just about every depiction of rape in romance. I read the rapist heroes of the 80s and celebrated when those became an endangered species. I’ve read the “magic penis cures all” and fumed. And I’ve read the ones where the heroine accepted help in her recovery and the hero was a fantastic support system. Some have made me sob and others have infuriated me. But through them all, none have been a trigger for me until I read Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher in the fall of 2012. I became physically ill while reading this book but I didn’t recognize what my body was telling me. I fell into a depression afterward that lasted for over two weeks and started having panic attacks again for the first time in 10 years. The nightmares lasted for months.
I shared this so I could say, for purely selfish reasons, that this reader doesn’t want that much realism in romance. There is definitely a place and a need for those books in this genre and if it helps even one person through the struggle, then that is fantastic but it’s not for me. I’ll stick with the ones that show the happiness and love that can come later. And now I know I have to be more cautious when reading this theme.
So there are my confessions. What themes or tropes do you love/hate that the majority seems to disagree with? Also, if you are a writer with an over the top alpha hero and a pregnant Mary Sue heroine, hook a girl up please. I will buy that thing so fast, heads will spin