Monday, March 25, 2013

Romance Novels Saved Me :)

I went through a period in my life where the only thing I would read was romance novels. A co-worker got me started and used to bring in boxes of her old romances for me to borrow. I had never really read a “romance novel” before but I ate these up. Then I moved to Oregon for a year with my now ex-husband and during that year that lead up to our divorce and the year after it, romance novels saved me. They really did. In Oregon, I was miserable and depressed and far away from family. I needed an escape and a chance to catch my breath from dealing with real life. The trip to the library was one of the highlights of my week. I read my way through countless numbers of books. Regency and historical romance were my favorite, but I read just about anything as long as it was in the romance genre. Even after the divorce when I moved back home for a while and was struggling and so unhappy, I just kept reading. I don’t know why but for some reason reading about two people falling in love and overcoming some kind of obstacle and ending with hope for the future (if not happily ever after) was exactly what I needed to believe in, in spite of the fact that my own marriage didn’t last.

I look back on those books with a great amount of fondness and happy memories. I don’t even know half the authors I read, but I do remember Julie Garwood, Lynn Kurland, Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey, Diana Gabaldon, and Julia Quinn to name a few.  A few years ago I tried to re-read one of my favorites from Judith McNaught and it didn’t hold up well for me, even though I had re-read it many times before.  I tried a couple more times with the same result so I just stopped trying.
I don’t read many books that would be considered straight romance any more. I like them in small doses and have new authors that I prefer. But if you look my preferences and look at the books I consider my favorites, almost every single one of them has a romance or a romantic sub-plot or relationship arc. It holds true even with the books that were favorites growing up. In fact, I really believe that just a small bit of romance makes almost any book better. I’ve learned that I make my own happiness whatever my circumstances, but what is it about happily ever after that we crave so strongly?  I’m definitely not alone in feeling that way.

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