on May 16, 2003
There were a few points discussed in this book that I had never really thought about before and appreciated reading about. For instance, I liked Laura Kinsale's essay "The Androgynous Reader: Point of View in the Romance". She argued that the reader of a romance novel doesn't neccessarily identify only with the heroine, but also with the hero, maybe even moreso with the hero. It made me reconsider why I was so unhappy with the books that never explained the hero's point of view very well. The essays in this book cover a lot of things, like virginal heroines and alpha males, and the "happily ever after" ending that's so important for romances. At least a couple of the writers made comparisons between the mystery genre and the romance genre, something that I thought was interesting. I didn't always agree with what the essays were saying, but, for the most part, I enjoyed reading them.
That said, it seemed that there wasn't a great deal of communication between the various authors in this book. If there had been, there would, hopefully, have been less repetition of ideas. There's a great deal of overlap between the essays, and the mystery vs. romance bit is only one example - most essays talk about the alpha male, the ways that romance writers were once asked to change their writing and how those changes would've hurt the genre, the type of feminism in romance, etc. Im just glad that the book was short, and a relatively quick read, or the repetition would've been much more aggravating than it was. Also, I'm not entirely sure that this book would reach the sort of audience that the introduction mentioned: people with biases against the romance genre. I was once a part of that group, and I don't think I would have picked up this book - it took reading a really good romance, recommended to me by a friend, to change my mind about romance.
on August 21, 2002
I found this book very interesting reading. From each author, I gained new insight into why I like to read romance, and why it's written the way it is. Many of us readers do like the "alpha" hero, or even as in Anne Stuart's words--the vampire hero. Why the authors like them, write about them, and entertains us with these heroes, fascinates me. To read about the balance the adventurous heroine needs, entertains me. And, I love Laura Kinsale's place-holder heroine, her writing on point of view, as well as Jayne Krentz's defense of the genre, in general. Excellent book, worth reading and keeping.