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Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels
Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you with your own happily-ever-after.
Romance means believing you are worthy of a happy ending
Learning to tell the prince from the frog
Real-life romance is still alive and kicking
No matter how bad it is, at least you haven't been kidnapped by a Scottish duke (probably)
Straight from the heart of influential romance blogger Sarah Wendell, this inventive gift book provides the best wisdom about love that the romance genre has to offer. Laced with signature witty commentary and peppered with thoughts from bestselling romance authors (Nora Roberts, Jennifer Crusie, Debbie Macomber, Eloisa James, Robyn Carr, and lots more) and avid readers, these pages will reveal what every romance reader already knows: while romances are certainly steamy, they have more to offer than just a sexy hero. In fact, they might have more to say about love than we give them credit for. Sarah Wendell is cofounder of one of the top romance blogs, SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com.
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September 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell
Romance reading has probably already taught you more than you realize. You might not be kidnapped by cross-dressing pirates and held for ransom, or find yourself outrunning a serial killer with the help of a very handsome, taciturn detective, but you will always find conflict in your relationships, whether it's bills and debt chasing you down a dark alley, or precarious sexual fulfillment lurking in your bedroom.
But fear not. Inside those stories is everything you need to have a happy, loving relationship. From books like Seducing a Sinner and Rescuing the Rake, you can learn about tricky subjects like Valuing Your Emotions and Having Real Conversations about Sex.
Welcome to Everything I Know about Love, I Learned from Romance Novels. In this handy little book, we can celebrate all the wonderful things we've learned about real-life love and romance that are hidden and not-so-hidden inside the average romance novel. What, you thought all those heaving bosom covers with impossibly Technicolor eye shadow were just for visual embarrassment and titillating thrills? Nope. Romance novels are much more complex than meets the eye--and we readers of romance know that better than most.
It's not hard to discount romance, and it's easy to take them way, way less than seriously. After all, there is a 95 percent chance that a romance novel cover will feature a mullet. Enough said.
But romance novels are complex and emotionally driven tales of courtship. And what better way to learn about relationships and how they start, fracture, and become stronger once repaired, than to read about those relationships in many, many permutations and variations? In all the thousands of romances where the boy meets the girl, stuff happens, and they get back together, there are a million-plus possibilities of how to repair what went wrong. And we're going to look at every one, from amnesiac twins and what they can teach us about truthfulness and identity to bank-robbing cowboys and what you can learn from them about bad boys and perhaps avoiding felony charges.
Who am I? And have I robbed a bank? No, not so much. I'm Sarah Wendell, better known as Smart Bitch Sarah from the romance novel website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Smart Bitches reviews and discusses romance novels with a readership of many thousands of readers around the world--there are more romance fans than you dare suspect, and we're all very intelligent, fabulous dancers with minty-fresh breath, and as a bonus, we're all quite savvy when it comes to relationships too.
Ironically, many people who disdain the romance genre and look down on the women who read it presume that reading about courtship, emotional fulfillment, and rather fantastic orgasms leads to an unrealistic expectation of real life. If we romance readers are filling our own heads with romantic fantasies, real men and real life won't and cannot possibly measure up to our fairy-tale expectations, right? Wrong. Wrongity wrong wrong wrong. That accusation implies that we don't know the difference between fantasy and real life, and frankly, it's sexist as well. You don't see adult gamers being accused of an inability to discern when one is a human driving a real car and when one is a yellow dinosaur driving a Mario Kart, but romance readers hear about their unrealistic expectations of men almost constantly.
We're going to put that sorry notion away for good. In this book, you'll hear from me and other romance readers and writers as we explain both what we've learned about ourselves and about relationships. Sometimes the fantastical and impossible, such as the space captain with a streak of honor, or the sinking pirate ship populated with crewmen with impeccable manners and perfect teeth, can help translate reality better than any self-help book ever could. When you see your problems blown up into, dare I say, fantasy proportions, your real problems don't look so insurmountable. Fantasy, instead of distorting reality, can help you comprehend your reality.
For example, in many paranormal romances, especially urban fantasies, the fate of the world, if not the fate of the universe, may hinge on whether or not the heroes of the story figure out their pesky relationship problems and beat the bad guy. Their ability to kick ass and to kiss each other are equally important, because if they don't work their shit out, the planet might blow up. Comparing your current difficulty to that level of "OHCRAPNO" might help you gain perspective on how to handle it, and how to stop it from happening again.
This is not to say that problems are not important--they absolutely are. But no one knows better than romance fans that most problems are also very likely fixable with varying applications of hard work and some risks or maybe a righteous smack down with a broadsword and a photon-charged handgun.