There is chatter in Romancelandia about Helen Hoang’s The Heart Principle. Where her first two books were romances, this novel–and I haven’t read it so I’m just repeating what I’ve heard–is more women’s fiction. Readers, at least romance readers, are upset because the book is far heavier than they thought it would be. There are cries that the book was poorly marketed.

I’m not sure what I think about this kerfuffle. As best as I can tell, this book does have a happy ending although getting there is wrenching. So, using the barest definition of romance, this qualifies. But beyond that, it’s not clear to me it is being marketed as romance. Romance readers expect it to be, but there’s nothing on the cover that screams love story although Amazon is shelving it romance rather than in Women’s Fiction. The latter got me thinking about the bigger issue.

From my ancient perspective, the covers for many romances published today don’t often look that different than the covers for women’s fiction. Look at these. Some are labeled women’s fiction, some romance, and some are both.

Were I to wander through an actual bookstore and try and pick a romance from these, I’d be flummoxed.

So, to recap, Amazon labels things poorly, covers are no longer patently clear that kissing is involved, and I’m not sure if it’s a problem or not.

What do you think?

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Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.