I am a romantic, so it was entirely natural that my reading would trend toward the romantic. When I was younger, I mixed some serious angst into my reading mix, but as I got older—and my life got more complicated—I dumped the angst for happy-ever-afters and the satisfying romantic read.
Now don’t get me wrong. I like suspense and high octane adventures, but I also like my books to have that satisfying romantic ending.
A discussion popped up on this in a group I’m in and I realized that in some, okay, many ways, I’m old fashioned about my romance. For me, romance isn’t about sex scenes. I have no problem with authors who close the bedroom doors.
For me, romance is about romantic things. It’s about heroes who step up in small ways, not just in life-saving ways. And heroes who don’t mind when the heroine does some of the saving. In one of my novels, the heroine shoots her husband (it really was the only thing she could do at the time) and he doesn’t hold a grudge. Now that’s romantic.
Guys who forgive. Guys who save and are saved. Guys who step up and commit. I wrote an article on my blog about how to be a romance heroine in your real life, and maybe I should write one for guys. But in the meantime here is a very short list of books that are not typical romances, but satisfied my romantic heart:
Helen MacInnes The Hidden Target has a totally romantic hero. He really steps up to the plate and does it when it puts his mission at risk. The story continues in Cloak of Darkness, which is another, IMHO, romantic adventure. And I love finding out how a couple is doing, so double score.
Alistair MacLean’s When Eight Bells Toll is another on my unexpected romance list. Some of his books have a hint of romance and some don’t, but I particularly love this one because it has best opening paragraph, well, not ever, but in my top ten and a hero who delivers when the heroine is, well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Mary Stewart’s Madam, Will You Talk? is kind of a cheat, because Mary Stewart was known for her romantic suspense, but judged by today’s standard’s the romance is barely there. And in this book, the hero and heroine are separated for much of the book. But for me, it delivers on many levels, including the “saving each other” motif.
How do you like your romance served up? Do you like it on the light side or sizzling like August? You know I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month. And speaking of the heat, if it’s getting to you so much you don’t even have the strength to turn the pages of your novel, turn on an audio book! This month, I’m also participating in #AugustAudio with some other authors. Follow the hashtag and check here each Friday and Saturday in August if you’d like to try to score a book listen!
P.S. I wanted to “be” Mary Stewart when I grew up, and I learned about suspense from all three of these authors. While it’s hard to pick just one, I think the book that hits closest to all three is The Last Enemy. Bonus, the book is FREE and you can get the audio for $1.99 for “buying” it! How cool is that?