Falling in love has been a noticeable theme in the world of literature since people first started writing stories. Romantic love has continuously drawn the attention of numerous generations in and around the world.
However, the romance novel is a contemporary idea. Not every book that includes a love story can be classified as a romance novel. A romance book is more than only a story in which two individuals fall in love with one another. It can be classified as a specific form of genre fiction.
What is a romance novel?
It might be quite difficult to distinguish between the romance novels from a novel which simply includes a love story. This is because, both types of books express the story of two individuals falling in love with one another. The love happens against a background of other action. The dissimilarity lies in which part of the story is being highlighted.
In the case of a romance novel, the central theme of the story revolves around the development of a relationship between the opposite sexes. The other events and actions in the storyline, however vital, are optional to that relationship. In case, you were to remove the love story from the novel, whatever is left of the book would be decreased in both centrality and enthusiasm to the reader. In fact, it would not be much of a story at all.
This is not the case with other novels with simply a love story in it. Although, the novel contains the romantic elements, the love story isn’t the central idea of the novel. The secondary actions gain importance in the story. Even if we remove the love story, the novel would still function well. It might not be as fascinating, but it would still be a complete story.
Elements of a romance genre
The two basic elements which comprise every romance novel are:
A central love story – in which individuals fall in love and struggle hard to save their relationship.
An Emotionally Satisfying and Positive Ending – in which the lovers struggle and risk for each other and are rewarded with unconditional love and emotional justice.
Romances generally come in many forms and types. They range from inspirational faith-based stories to erotic fantasies, from historical to contemporary, from light humor to dark suspense.
However, in all the cases, the love story – not the sexual details or the mystery or the social issues – capture the central theme of the story.
Studying the romance genre
In North-America, the romance novels are among the best-selling genre in the segment of the paperback fiction market. Some of the recent surveys by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) show that the romance novels grab a major share – above 50% market share – of the paperback fiction market of the United States every year. In fact, the paperback romance novels outsell literary novels, mysteries, and science fiction novels. Also, more than two thousand five hundred romance titles are published every year.
Romance genre attracts Whom, and Why?
The Romance Writers of America (RWA) study shows that about 65 million Americans go through at least one romance based book each year. Out of these, half of the readers are married. Most of the other readers are college graduates. Women between the ages of 25-55 years make up more than fifty percent of the romance-reading people.
The statistics also reveal that around 22% of the romance-reading audience are male though most of them avoid revealing the fact that they read romance based novels.
Romance is pretty much as famous in different nations as it is in North America. For example, the Harlequin Books distributes romance based novels in 25 languages and in more than 120 countries throughout the world. Romance makes the guarantee that regardless of how disheartening things some of the time might look, at last everything will turn out right and genuine romance will triumph – and in this uncertain world, this thought provides extreme comfort.
The Reality of Romance
Critics of romance genre accuses that romance encourages young readers – especially women – to visualize and daydream about prince charming, who would come to rescue them at times of distress. The novels are faulted of restraining women by overemphasizing romantic relationships. But this is not the reality. Romance novels often highlighted working of women. They also stressed the importance of providing economic freedom for women. The romance heroines are in fact competent and finding their ideal hero is not a necessity but a bonus. In fact, romance novels show women as holding the ultimate authority, rather portraying them as weak and helpless.
The modern romance novels portray the story of a young woman being valuable and successful on her own. In fact, there are men who will treat her well and respect her. And those men are the ones worth waiting for.
Many people believe that all the romance novels are alike. They believe that the novels are formulaic and simplistic. The romance novels are believed to be easily read and are quite effortless for the reader to grasp. They lay emphasis more on an enjoyable story with an optimistic ending rather than focusing on the evils of modern society.
Although, it is true that all the romance based novels have a few common things, but they aren’t all alike. What lies common to all the novels is that; a story of two individuals who feel that they are in love with each other. While they are in love, numerous problems threaten to keep them apart. They discover that the love they feel for each other happens only once in a lifespan. This discovery leads to an everlasting commitment and a cheerful ending.
Your turn now! Why do you love romance books?
Leave a comment and let us know.