womanIt’s impossibly hot here in D.C. today and writing a cogent opinion is beyond me, I’m sorry to say. The best I can do is come up with a few things that I’ve been thinking about lately.

But first I better explain what I mean by my title.  Here in the online romance world, some things become accepted as the general prevailing opinion fairly quickly.  After all, we are all smart women who also love romance, and, as in all parts of life, the loudest and most persistent dominate.  That is what it is.  But little old me  (and, I hope, others) don’t always feel as if I’m on the majority opinion team.  So, here are a few ways I don’t feel part of the prevailing romance voice.

  • I like Dukes marrying seamstresses. Okay, so I know it didn’t happen and I don’t give a rat’s ass.  I read romance for fantasy and the Cinderella story is one of my very favorites.  And when an author is as good as Loretta Chase, that’s all I need to know. I read the last two Chase novels with a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment.
  • I don’t want “gritty realism” in my historical romance. There is enough poverty and problems in today’s world that I don’t want to experience it in those of the past. I don’t care how they cleaned their teeth or where they pissed.  I just don’t want to know.
  • I do not believe that writing about premarital sex in historical times is unrealistic. People have always had sex.  People have always had sexual motivations. And they always will.
  • I am sick, sick, sick to death of the small town contemporary romance novels. Saccharine. Filled with Ma and Pa type characters who haven’t existed for 50 years.  And, of course, the sheriff is always hot.  And single.  I grew up in a small town and, trust me, the Sheriff was a Bubba who undoubtedly kept Mrs. Bubba happy at home.
  • I am sick of all the 50 Shades of Grey bashing. This is especially ironic when it’s clear that the bashers haven’t read the book.  I am certainly not saying that the book is great, but it’s at least a B- to me.  And, as I wrote before, there is something fresh there that I haven’t read in a while.  Bashing the book makes other authors look small and I am tired of reading it on Twitter.
  • I am sick of all the bashing of 50 Shades of Grey readers. What gives anyone the right to judge a reader for a book she likes?  I am sick of the vicious remarks I’ve read on Twitter, but the casual swipes are also getting to me.  And on that subject…
  • I have moved past the Harlequin love and I am mystified by serious readers who haven’t. I get that there are some good and maybe even great authors working in that genre, but, for the most part, they are formulaic novels that are, in fact, written to formula.  I understand how they could be a guilty pleasure and a comfort, but to wank on and on about how great they are as literature?  Here’s what I think: If all the Harlequin lovers were subjected to the stuff that is regularly aimed at 50 readers, the sputtering outrage would be off the charts.  But, you know what it comes down to for me?  I liked, but didn’t love 50.  I once liked, but now don’t love Harlequins.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could respect each other and coexist peacefully?  I won’t read the Harlequin reviews or the message board threads and it would be nice if the anti-50 people would do the same.

I hope everyone survives the heat wave wherever you are.  Look at it this way: It’s the perfect time to crank up the AC and read.

– Sandy AAR

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