Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tell my Mother that romance is a fantasy

I’m Barbara Edwards and I spent a long time thinking of a fresh idea for today.
Several years ago the president of Romance Writers of America asked Oprah why she never chose romances for her book club. Oprah’s response was a shock. In her opinion, romance is a fantasy and has no relation to real life.
It made me pause. What? Romance has no place in real life? How can that be? I believe in romance: the romantic love between a man and a woman, although there are all kinds of love.
Today I’m at the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania. Our Unit, The Liberty-Grays has the honor this weekend of doing a living history about the most romantic period in our history. What makes it romantic? The period is fraught with emotion: Love of country, Love of State, Love of Family, Love of comrades-in-arms. I could go on and on.
Strong emotion drives romance and everyone wants to be the one who feels those emotions. If the only way is to read a good story, then that is fine. I read Gone With the Wind when I was twelve and cried and laughed and mourned with Scarlett as she struggled. I pictured myself as the strong heroine. That’s the purpose of the story. Romance gives us a peek into another woman’s life and how she deals with problems. Maybe we’ll never face a murderer, get caught up in a drug deal, lose our farm to a great flood, get shot by an outlaw or climb the highest peak, but we can experience the thrill, the fear, the pain and the triumph along with the heroine and the hero.
The real reason I read a romance is the love story. Love scenes can tickle my fancy and make me smile or they can heat my blood to boiling. I might be a Grandmother of a dozen or a college freshman, but that hero makes me sigh. And I want to know the two of them will solve their problems and live happily-ever-after.
Maybe it is fantasy, but I want to believe there is the perfect man for each woman. I already know love conquers all.

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Jannine Gallant said...

Great points, Barbara. Oprah is a smart woman. She may want to rethink her ideas about romance!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Jannine,
No she still thinks the same after several years. But that's okay. At least she reads lots of books.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Wouldn't life be nothing without romance? And most every book has some form of romance in it. Not sure why some people can't see that.

Colleen Connally said...

Love the picture!
I didn't know Orpah said that. Maybe she needs a little romance in her life if she feels its fantasy. Everyone has their own taste in books, but sometimes you're looking for a little escape and a little happy everafter.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Barb, you look fabulous in your dress. Have fun in Gettysburg. I grew up about 30 minutes from there. When my kids were growing up, we spent many, many Sunday afternoons on the battlefield, hiking, exploring and studying.

As for romance, it makes the world go 'round. I lived for 10 years without romance and nearly dried-up emotionally. We all need to feel loved, to feel vitally important to someone. Great post!

Alison Henderson said...

Fortunately, millions of women didn't listen to Oprah on the subject of reading romance. Romance novels ARE fantasy, but it's a mistake to dismiss or underestimate the value of fantasy. As long as the reader is grounded in reality and smart enough to tell the difference, a healthy dose of fantasy allows for a safe and temporary escape from the burdens of everyday life.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Barbara,
Love conquers all. Those three little words sum it up perfectly.
The world would be a much sadder place without romance. I for one are proud to be a writer and reader of romance.


Andrea said...

Barbara, good to meet you. You're right: Love does conquer all and a good romantic story can show readers how it all works out. :)
How tragic that Oprah has missed out. But perhaps she'll be converted after she's done with her TV show and has some spare time. LOL