Monday, September 7, 2009

The Role of Romance

There's an excellent essay by Teresa Medeiros at SquawkRadio about the role that romance novels, as genre fiction, play in the publishing world today. She writes, of course, about the lack of strong women in other genres, in the exploration of positive virtues and the idea of good winning over evil. She addresses the ideological stakes in romance as a genre.

More touchingly, however, she also writes about the positive impact that escapist books (more specifically, romance novels) can have on the lives of readers:

I write romance because a young woman in Portugal named Lourdes Goulart was praying that my next book would come out before the cancer that was ravaging her body claimed her life. Even though chemotherapy had weakened her eyesight to the point of blindness, she sent me a beautiful and painstaking cross-stitch she’d done of a windmill she could see through the window from her bed. Six months ago, I received word from her sister, Rosa, that Lourdes had died. She started my new book the day before she entered the hospital for the last time, but didn’t want to read past the first page for fear of being interrupted.

She also writes about the part that love has played in her own life, to the point that it brought tears even to the eyes of this cynic. You should read it, because a summary just doesn't do it justice.

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