Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It Ain't Your Mom's Romance Novel...

One genre of literature that I love to read is romance. I know what you're thinking: Romance?!? Yuck! Who reads those except for bored housewives and spinsters with a couple dozen cats? (Believe me, I've read that same line MANY times in opinion sections on blogs.)

Romance gets a bad rap and the critiques run the gambit: from saying they are simply bodice rippers to more serious accusations of rape scenes and machismo.  Many, many years ago (just kidding, we're talking the 70's and 80's here) many publishers wouldn't publish romance novels unless the hero was super-masculine and basically forced his way on the heroine. Of course this had more to do with female sexuality then male sexuality. It wasn't really considered right for women to "want" sex so it had to be forced on them.

Today, you can find many college educated, feminists writing romances. Long gone (for the most part anyway-I'm sure they still exist, I just don't read them) are the forced sexual encounters and fearful, whimpering heroines. Two authors that come to mind are Eloisa James and Julia Quinn.

Eloisa James is the pseudonym of Mary Bly, a Fordham University tenured English professor and Shakespearean expert who twilights as a romance author. Eloisa James is my idol! I hope to one day be a history professor and write fantasy stories on the side. What a perfect life would that be? She just published a memoir about the year her family left the United States to live in Paris (*sigh*) called Paris In Love: A Memoir. Here is a short video about Paris In Love:

Julia Quinn (also a pseudonym for Julie Pottinger) is a Harvard graduate who started writing romances while applying for medical school and even appeared in Time magazine, a very rare feat for a romance writer. She is intelligent, funny, a feminist, and an excellent writer. Love Bridget Jones? Jane Austen? Then you will LOVE Julia Quinn. Already a Julia Quinn fan? Check out the cool items over at Cafe Press.

Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors-across any genre. Her books are of course filled with love and romance; but they're also very humorous, sweet, and page turners like you wouldn't believe. I gobble her books up the first day of publication and finish them usually the same day. If you've never read a romance novel, I would give her books a try. 

Julia Quinn has a new one that just came out on May 29, 2012 called A Night Like This. (Her last one was called Just Like Heaven...get it?? This newer series is titled after The Cure songs! I even begged her on Facebook to name her next book Boys Don't Cry.) This Smythe-Smith is a spin off of her most popular series: The Bridgertons. So if you've never read her before, I would start with The Duke & I, the first in the Bridgerton series.

Here are all 8 books in The Bridgerton Series with their UK covers. I love, love, love the UK covers so much more than the American ones. They are more reminiscent of Jane Austen and the regency era.

Here is a video of Julia Quinn giving a speech at Bellevue, Washington (why does it seem like all the best authors live in the northwest?).

Have you read Julia Quinn or Eloisa James? What genres of literature are your favorite to read? Any recommendations for great summer reads?


  1. I love this! Do you have the first book of the series? I want to borrow it.

    1. I do have it. It is packed away but if you want to borrow it we can get it out. :)