Our DARE author Cara Lockwood explains the importance of romance novels in the 21st century and why it should be everyone’s ‘thing’!
As I read a paperback romance novel the other day on a plane, the business traveler next to me glanced at the book, its cover, and muttered, “My wife reads those.” His tone and not-so subtle eye roll implied he couldn’t imagine why she or I would waste time reading such drivel. “They’re not my thing.”
Let’s face it: romance as a genre has always been a target for those who don’t consider it “serious” enough reading, or for people who giggle to themselves about the naked bits. Romance novels account for more than one in three books bought in the United States every year, and that’s much more than any other genre: suspense, mystery, science fiction, fantasy or young adult books.
I’ve always loved to read, but some of my most vivid memories as a fourth-grader was “borrowing” my mother’s romance novels and devouring them, one by one. I loved everything about them: the determined heroines, the strong heroes, the adventures that took them all over the world. I love the genuine human connections we find in romance novels, and the fact that the hero and heroine rise above their own human failings to choose something bigger than themselves: true love.
Anyone who ever read a romance novel knows that while they all have happy endings, the characters worked hard to get there: making sacrifices, facing tough choices and overcoming fears all because they’d rather risk it all for love and happiness than live a life alone.
We live in a world that seems to grow colder and more isolated every day. Political rhetoric divides us. We waste hours staring at screens, big and small, and talk less with each other.
Romance novels remind us about what’s important in our lives: people, not our devices or our politics. They also show us that we can overcome all kinds of obstacles if we put our minds—and hearts—into it. This is why I love writing romance, and why I think we need romance novels now more than ever. It’s not because they show us a rosy picture of a world without problems, but because they show us how we can make meaningful connections with each other despite the world’s very real problems.
I, for one, think that should be everyone’s thing.