Today is the second installment of my Genre Exploration series, where I discuss genres I don’t normally pick up, define them, talk about their classics and new releases, recommend books and authors, and much more.
This time I’ll be talking about Romance, which is probably the genre I avoid the most. It’s not that I hate it, but I’m usually disappointed at how the relationships are portrayed or I’m not really in the mood for it. I want to read more of it because I think that I’m missing some nice stories, so I’ll start really small by defining it and talking about some of its sub-genres. Let’s go!
Romance is a pretty straightforward genre that focuses on stories that revolve around love and romantic relationships. And I learned something quite interesting: they must end on an optimistic note, that is, have a happy ending. Romance novels that end tragically tend to be controversial because they break the rules of the genre! If you think of a romance novel that ends on a sad note, then romance is probably considered a subgenre of such book, and not the main genre.
As with every genre, Romance was many subgenres that determine in what time period they’re set, the general tone of the novel, the age of the people involved, and so on. Let’s look at some of them:
- Contemporary Romance: Set after 1945, which is marked by the end of the Second World War.
- Historical Romance: Set before 1945. It’s common to find this subgenre renamed after the specific period where the story is set, such as Medieval Romance or Victorian Romance.
- Erotic Romance: Not to be confused with Erotica, which is something all by itself and doesn’t necessarily include romance or a happy ending. Erotic romance refers to the romantic stories that explicitly include the sexual relationship between the characters, without it being the focus. Considering that, I think the Fifty Shades trilogy and the likes are Erotica, but there’s a thin line between both genres.
- Young Adult Romance: Stories where the characters are teenagers.
- Paranormal Romance: Novels where there are elements beyond scientific explanation, like ghosts, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, etc. These type of creatures can be part of the romantic relationship or simply part of the plot.
From all these books, I’ve just read Outlander and Twilight and… I didn’t like either. I didn’t like the romance at all, so you see why I might be hesitant to pick any of these other books up. I think the best thing for me, and for anyone who doesn’t enjoy romance as a genre, is to start reading books of different genres that have romance as a subgenre. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is a perfect example. The books are not centered around that and I enjoyed them very much, including the romance bits.