Is There A Place for Romantic Fiction in the Age of Cynicism?
This is a guest post by Vickie Hall, author of Secrets of the Red box, as part of the book tour for the previously mentioned novel. I'd like to thank her for contributing her writing to my humble blog!
You can read my review of Secrets of the Red Box hereAs with many topics, there are often polar opposite aspects that attempt to sway us to one side or the other. This is certainly true of writing Romance. We live in a world of opposites, and often those opposites do not represent the vast middle ground that more closely mirrors the majority.
While on one hand, we are faced with a growing number of erotic romances flooding the marketplace, and leaving little to the imagination, I would also suggest they are one of those polar opposites. These books are filled with, I conjecture, an unrealistic view of the norm, explicit and crude and debasing. Sadly, there will always be an audience for this type of salacious material, but does it serve as a true comparrison of our own lives? Or are we left feeling our lives are lacking in excitement and pleasure after reading one of these stories?
On the other hand, we have a market of idealized romance, that in my opinion, is just as harmful but in a different way. These books depict love and marriage in such glowing terms, and with such unrealistic loftiness that no love or marriage could ever stand against it and survive. I've heard stories of women comparing their own realities against these romanticized versions and coming up short, and disappointed, and seeking something better.
The simple truth is, life is complicated, love is complicated, and neither of the polar opposites represent a truthful, honest portrayal of real life. Is there a place for this type of romance novel, the type that more closely reflects the vast middle ground of normalcy? Absolutely! When a reader can truly identify with a protagonist who struggles, suffers, and hurts because of her love, but can also find fulfillment, joy, and happiness in it, we are rewarded. I know I respond more deeply to stories that represent a relatable plot with flawed characters, flawed just as we are, than to stories with such idealized opposites