by Nancy S. Goodman
I took the subway to high school in the late 1970's and when I was able to get a seat, I used to sneak peeks at the books people sitting next to me were reading. In so many instances, if the woman wasn't reading Sidney Sheldon or Cynthia Freeman, she was reading a romance novel. I remember seeing Rosemary Rogers, and Kathleen Woodiwiss. The one thing I noticed was that the book had a plain cover over it; it was if the person didn't want the world to know what she was reading. Embarrassed perhaps? Probably. I read my first romance novel SHANNA, and enjoyed it, but continued to read mysteries and novels.
One day at work, a woman gave me a book. It was a Bertrice Small. I had never read her stories and figured what the heck, I'm always up to try something new. The book was ALL THE SWEET TOMORROWS. I loved it and proceeded to read through what I could find of her books. I would indiscriminately pick up mediaeval romance and loved the history. (The sex wasn't bad either.) But I didn't read it on the subway to and from work; I was embarassed for anyone to see me reading these books with the flamboyant covers of overflowing breasts and grasping lords.
For reasons I can't remember, I stopped reading romances for a long time and read chick lit instead. I can't remember why, but one day I picked up a Bertrice Small again, and started reading it. I loved the descriptions of the gowns, the food and all that British histroy!
However, I know I was too embarrassed to tell anyone what I was reading. It wasn't literature, it wan't dignified. This was strictly bedtime reading. I wouldn't even bring it to the beach, when everyone was reading their Judith Krantz. But still....
Luckily for me, e-readers became popular and I quickly filled mine up with my favorites, Nicola Cornick, Nicole Jordan, Cara Elliot, Miranda Neville, Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens. So many more than I could name! Jillian Hunter, Danelle Harmon, Loretta Chase, on and on and on...
Well you get the picture. But still, I never would tell people what I was reading. Until one day, last year I mentioned to some of my close friends that I started reading romances. "Not Harlequin! Oh My God. How tacky!" I just smiled and shrugged. I no longer cared. My choice is my own. I have a very demanding job, dealing with stressful issues. This is how I escape.
It's why I decided to try my hand at writing a romance. A break from the busy hasseled world of kids, a job, a boss... and it just came out of me in waves. I wrote and wrote and fell in love with my characters. To me, they have stories to tell, and I enjoy telling them.
I personally think that the romance industry has done itself a disservice by putting out those covers of half naked men and women; people didn't take them seriously and it lowered people's expectations for the writing quality of the books.
To all those people I say they have not given these books a look. Some of the writing is lyrical, poetic and incredibly well-written. So much of romance writing is psychological and emotional; I have read stories that have brought tears to my eyes.
I hope that people look at romance novels like they look at choosing a friend. Take the time, look behind the surface and see what is truly going on with the story. The people who write these books are intelligent, funny and I consider myself lucky to be able to converse with them, even if it's just in cyberspace. I guarantee you will find something you love.♥
Nancy S. Goodman loves reading romances, British History and listening to Britney Spears, but she draws the line at Justin Beiber. She is writing her own Regency romance and she started with a Duke. Visit her website, Rakes Rogues and Romance, at http://www.rakesroguesandromance.com. Follow and Friend her at @NancySGoodman and http://www.facebook.com/nancy.goodman.127. If you are into Pinterest, find her at http://pinterest.com/nancysgoodman/boards/ .