I haven’t always been so open of my love of romance novels. 10 years ago I never would have imagined having a blog dedicated to reading and reviewing romance novels. I wasn’t necessarily ashamed but I also wasn’t ready to jump into conversations leading with “I read romance!”
Though I occasionally read other genres, romance makes up 95% of my book choices and has since I read my first romance. I came to dread the snarky comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey and how it would change people’s perception of me, my intelligence, or my worth (for the record, I tried reading it and couldn’t get through 2 chapters). I’ve been told I’m not a “true” reader, that my books are trashy, that those don’t really count, that I should be reading “real” books. Any romance reader can tell you they’ve heard these exact same things before.
It took until after college before I let go completely of any embarrassment and fully embraced my love of the romance genre. I came to realize that there was nothing wrong with reading romance and I didn’t need to keep it a secret or try to downplay it. Now when people ask me what I like to read I proudly state romance first instead of trying to rush it into the middle of some other genres — “I like fantasy, science fiction, romancesomemystery, pretty much anything fiction” *smile innocently*.
For me, reading is an escape, and there is no better escape than a guaranteed Happily Ever After. I’m also a hopeful romantic, not a hopeless romantic because that sounds more negative. I want people and characters to fall in love, I want them to find comfort and solace in another person, I want them to know they can depend on another person no matter what. Romance, in all it’s many forms, is beautiful and I cherish each story that lets me step inside a different love story and a different experience.
Books, and for me romance books, are enjoyable, funny, emotional, healing, rejuvenating, and most of all accepting. I know what I’m getting when I open a romance book and there’s a sense of peace in that. No matter what happens, no matter how badly the characters lives are or how much the author puts them through, I know it will all work out in the end. I believe in the Happily Ever After.