November 29th, 2004

Reading Romance Novels

I finished Catherine Asaro's novel, Sunrise Alley. It was a sort of science-fiction + romance novel. On its back jacket it has a review from Locus, the science-fiction magazine, along with a blurb from Romantic Times and another from Romantic Reviews Today. Plus establishment type blurbs from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. But having been a science fiction reader for years, it really felt like mostly a romance novel to me. I'm trying to put my finger on why it seems that way. One clue is the "artificial marriage" plot twist, which shows up in romances a lot for some reason. That is, the couple gets engaged or married before it's clear their love is true. They do this for some extraneous reason afforded by the plot. Whenever I encounter this particular plot twist, I feel my eyes roll up. But... I am trying to "get it" this time around. I'm still not sure I do, but I'm working on it. Is it something to do with the fact that marriage is often a launch into the unknown, with lots of first year jitters? The funny thing is, in a romantic comedy I don't mind this plot device at all. More thinking needed! {Example added for clarification: suppose she marries him so that she doesn't have to testify against him.}

By the way... if you like romance novels and science fiction, you might like this book. It moves along briskly and keeps you guessing.

As I read these romance novels, I'm comparing them in my head with my novel, which is actually very focused on romantic relationships. But the feel is different. Harder-edged vs. vague and fuzzy? I don't know how to describe it accurately.

So now I'm reading a Harlequin romance: Spaniard's Revenge by Susan Stephens. I must confess that I have never been able to read through an entire Harlequin Romance. This is my latest attempt. I will report on my success or lack thereof!

Rhyme of the Day:

I'm going to plow through
If it's the last thing I do!