Romance and religion

Even MORE people are talking about it, yay!

Here’s Jane Lee Blair who set up a tumblr and made this her first post: why she, as a Reformed Christian, doesn’t read inspirational romance. She makes lots of good points: the cheesy portrayal of Christian life, the problem of the conversion narrative, that wisdom and insight into relationships aren’t limited to Christian writers.

Authors Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner are kicking off a series of posts on the subject with a discussion of why romances so rarely feature religion. Aside from the possible marketing concerns of publishers, Emma suggests that the conversion narrative is similar – and maybe too similar – to a romance narrative. I think this fits in with my suggestion that a conversion narrative provides another climax in a romance novel which can overshadow the romantic climax.

In the comments to that post, Laura Vivanco linked to this article in JPRS by Catherine Roach. The abstract for the article reads:

The story of romance is the most powerful narrative in Western art and culture, sharing roots with Christianity and functioning as a mythic story about the meaning and purpose of life, particularly in regards to the HEA ending of redemption and wholeness. Contemporary romance novels are popular because this religious nature of the romance narrative allows them to do deep work for the (mostly) women who read them, engaging readers in a reparation fantasy of healing in regards to male-female relations. Romance novels help women readers deal with a paradoxical relationship toward men within a culture still marked by patriarchy and threats of violence.

I’m really excited that these discussions are happening and I hope they will result in more books which feature people of faith.

Heroine week!

It’s Heroine Week all week over at Romance around the Corner, and Brie has got some great guest posts lined up. My rant about Fanny Price is coming later this week, but today she’s got posts from Sarah Mayberry and Stephanie Doyle on everyday heroines and the heroine’s point of view.

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I love the idea of a week celebrating romance heroines. So often discussion focuses on heroes – how tall, dark and handsome they really have to be, how tortured, scarred or emotionally closed off they can be, and how much readers do or don’t fancy them. Which is all well and good. I like a great hero as much as the next person, but I LOVE a great heroine.

For me that means a woman I can respect and like, but most importantly, a woman I am rooting for. The romances I love most are the ones where the heroines triumph. They get the awesome guy they deserve. They get the respect they’ve earned. They get their dreams come true. I don’t love a story with a ‘diminished heroine’. I don’t want her to have to abandon her dreams or settle for less than the best. I want her to grasp hold of her life and be the best person she can be. I want her hero to challenge her, admire her, adore her and take on the world for her. But I also want her to rise to the challenge and take on the world for him. I want her life to be better in every respect for loving and being loved.

I’m Ros, and I’m addicted to heroines.
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But I’m okay with that.

DABWAHA, links, and what I’m up to at the moment

I got the nomination for the reader pick in DABWAHA! I am ridiculously excited about this, so thank you very much if you nominated The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh. The bad news is that in round 1 I’m up against Sarah Morgan’s Once A Ferrara Wife which is an utterly brilliant book by one of the best category romance writers out there. I don’t expect to make it to round 2, but I’ll have fun trying. I’ll let you know when the voting starts.

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A reader just alerted me to the fact that the links to all my Entangled books were broken. I did sort of know this, but I hadn’t quite got round to fixing them. Entangled started using a new distributor (Macmillan) last month, which has resulted in all the books being re-uploaded and having new links. I think I have fixed them all now, but if you find one that isn’t right, please let me know!

 

I am not going to be around much for the next six weeks or so (apart from the DABWAHA trash talking, obviously). My next book is due on May 5th, and I hope to submit my thesis before then, as well. The thesis is mostly written, apart from the conclusion, but it is about 25,000 words too long. I wonder if I can just put those words into my new book without my editor noticing? Maybe not…

In the meantime, here’s a ridiculously brief summary of what’s been on my kindle lately:

The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand: didn’t fall in love like I did with the Chocolate Thief, especially in the first half, but I forgave it everything for two chapters near the end that hit me right in the emotional solar plexus. Plus there is chocolate and patisserie. What’s not to love about that?

The Sheikh’s Disobedient Bride by Jane Porter: a very old-fashioned (though not actually old) sheikh romance, with kidnapping and forced marriage and a totally unreconstructed hero. I liked it a lot in some ways but it left me somewhat disturbed in others.

Clover, In the High Valley, Just Sixteen
by Susan Coolidge: all free for Kindle! I’d read Clover before but not the others. I did find In The High Valley something of a disappointment. There is an unlikeable character, but she is never fully developed and nuanced in the way that Coolidge can do. I did like the way Dorry proposes to a girl because she isn’t clever like his sisters, who he’s been overwhelmed by his whole life.

Cassandra by Chance
by Betty Neels: It’s Betty Neels, and a really good one.

The Autumn Bride
by Anne Gracie: I’d been looking forward to this a lot and was somewhat disappointed. This deserves a proper post to explain why.

Goddess of the Hunt
by Tessa Dare: I’m halfway through and need to finish writing this post so that I can go and finish it NOW.