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Some Thoughts About the Modern Romance Novel

While writing up my book review for Ransome's Honor, I started thinking again about what romance novels have become today (and I'm mostly talking about Inspirational here, because I rarely read secular romance novels).
And let's just say things have really changed.
If you think about when romance novels really began to take form, I'm sure authors like Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte come to mind. These women not only knew how to write with style and wit, but they wrote some of the most endearing romances to this day.
If you have recently read a Jane Austen novel, you obviously noticed something: there aren't long making-out scenes or gushy descriptions of how attractive and sexy the love interest is. Instead, Austen tells a story, pure and simple. The couple rarely even touches and still we end up falling in love with this romance.
(no I haven't read this novel, lol.  I just
think the picture is hilarious.)
Don't get me wrong - I like romance. I'll read romance books - even those with endless paragraphs of a girl looking at a guy's lips, wishing he'd kiss her (though he probably just did two pages ago). But after reading so many novels with this, it gets really repetitive. I don't feel like swooning just because the heroine uses a whole page to describe her love interest's super-hot six packs. I don't buy the hero's "true love" when he's just met the girl and all he can think about is her great body.
Writing about attraction isn't the problem with these novels. It's that they don't know when too much is just boring. How many pages do I have to read about this? How in the world did this author find so many words to describe kissing?
Perhaps the problem nowadays really comes down to balance. Some of my favorite OTPs in movies are not romance movies. They're movies that are action, adventure, fantasy, etc. The romance is a big part of the story - but not the only part.
Otherwise, I guess we'd just be watching this couple sit in a field and stare at each other's lips all day. And wow... that doesn't sound very exciting. ;)


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