The romance genre, despite it’s endless alterations in style over the years, remains the undefeated champion as the most widely read of all genres. The reasoning behind this popularity is broad, but one key fact remains: human beings in general require love to flourish. Of course, for some, a sense of lust for one to another will suffice, but for the rest, the pursuit ends only when his or her soul mate has been found. When I see a very old couple taking a stroll down the street hand in hand, I believe that soul mates do in fact exist.
But, each person has a different perspective on love and, as if to woo the reader, there are limitless sub genres. For example, the classics which include Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Gone with the Wind. The heroines within all three novels possess a lot of similarities. They live during periods of time when women were oppressed and struggled to be heard and respected, but above all, they’re all very intelligent, even to the point of selfish and shrewd– for example Scarlett O’Hara during the Civil War Era. The heros are also somewhat similar in character, shrouded with mystery and unpredictability. The love within these novels presents the tireless theme that one can never predict nor choose with whom he or she will fall in love.
It’s difficult to top the classics, but how can anyone bypass the countless Harlequin types. You know the ones, with Fabio gracing the cover, standing strong and tall, his shirt either unbuttoned or bare chested, while the woman is very often sitting, disturbingly, at his feet. She represents the damsel in distress, just begging to be taken between the sheets. Judge the genre if you please, but no one can deny that it has a following and serves a purpose in the lives of those who enjoy reading these erotic tails.
Thirdly, the strong, independent, and intelligent heroine of today, inevitably fighting vampires and/or werewolves. Who could forget the story of Dracula, one of the most memorable love stories ever written. Today, we have Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although her story was more TV show than novel. The genre is what’s important, the heroines tough, which indicates a theme of uncovering that which she is guarding … her freedom…
Yes, women have come a long way, and even the smut romance novels which some would call pointless rubbish hold more truth than one would at first assume. The journey women in general have made from oppression to success is not only told in one novel, from the mind of one heroine, but is seen in every story, every character, and every page ever written in the Romance world.