1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    OMG, why do so many women like romance novels?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by GingerCoffee, Oct 23, 2013.

    I'm trying to slog my way through a romance novel to broaden my horizons. It's horrid.

    The book is Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens.

    I would have thought I picked a bad example but it has good reviews on Goodreads and on Amazon. And apparently it's one in a series of novels about the "Cynster" men, their family name.

    The main female character is a woman the author pretends to portray as independent and accomplished. But she "melts" in the arms of an arrogant rich Duke. Oh brother. And she's just perfect when called on to administer the social requirements of a funeral. Gag!. She saves the day by arranging for the staff to make scones when the tea cakes are lost en route by the Duke's black stallion who causes the horses of the carriage transporting them from the town baker to spill the carriage. Crisis averted. :rolleyes:

    The Duke of course constantly thinks about "bedding her" in a disgusting way and we the readers are supposed to think this is erotic?

    I don't get it. I actually got the 50 shades thing. Not my thing but OK the sex scenes were erotic. But this, yeesh. And it's painful, I've had to skip the repetitive kissing and 'his big chest' parts. They literally drag out and drag some more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  2. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Duke? They still have those?
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's a period piece.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The word 'hokey' comes to mind whenever I'm confronted with one of these sorts of books. There isn't real emotion, real passion, real history or any real anything in them at all. It's just all churned out, formulaic hokum. Soap-opera level.

    I compare these books to the really great writers of so-called 'women's romance novels' like the ones written in the 50s and 60s by the likes of Mary Stewart, and there really isn't any comparison, even though, superficially, they are formulaic 'romances.'

    And of course Mary Stewart went on to write one of the most compelling romance/fantasy/historical trilogies ever — the Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills and Last Enchantment, about Merlin's childhood, middle and old age. Really great stuff from an author who knew how to create complex characters, and knew how to suck you in to a story.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I shall take your recommendation and try one of Stewart's after I finish this one. I'm curious to see the difference.
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's a period piece, what makes you think the MC is out of place?
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, if you want a typical 'romance' of Mary Stewart's, definitely start with "The Moonspinners." Set in Crete, written by an author who has spent a lot of time there. It's one of my favourites, and it contains a lot of humour as well as the suspense and the hero/heroine thing which is required in this genre. Of course back then the authors weren't allowed to write actual sex into these scenes, but hers don't really need it. And this is me, speaking as a person who really enjoys a good sex scene, if I believe in the characters.
     
  8. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Historical trilogy...about MERLIN?????:eek:
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That's not the point. The point is, who reads this stuff? It's embarrassing, IMO, that women like this domineering man fantasy tripe.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Then "The Moonspinners" is the one I shall read next. :)
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. As a matter of fact. This author researched the Arthur legend very thoroughly, and has included every known 'fact' and connection we have about him and his life.

    I don't think anyone can say that Arthur never lived, or that Merlin didn't either. However, she's dealt with the story in a very matter-of-fact way, downplaying the supernatural part of the mythology. Please do NOT mix this up with the recent "Merlin" TV series!!!

    Mary Stewart has created her Merlin character as the bastard son of a real person (don't want to give the game away to somebody who hasn't read it yet) who grows up in Wales during the period of history just after the Romans left Britain. All of the political machinations centering around the Saxon Vortigern, and the struggle for supremacy between native Britons and the invaders from the continent are dealt with here. It's a cracking series of books, and a pretty good stab at recreating the 'real' Arthur and his time period, without the supernatural stuff.

    Don't knock it till you've given it a go. Like it or not, that period of history did happen, and it's just as legitimate a time period to write about as any other.
     
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  12. Morgan Willows
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    Good romance novels are very hard to find and "good" is entirely relative. I tried finding a good romance that I liked, I really did, and I failed horribly. I had friends insist that I just wasn't finding the right titles but after going through a dozen different books, I finally just gave up on the genre as a whole. Honestly, I found The Vampire Armand and American Gods more, er, enjoyable than anything I've ever come across in a romance novel, haha.
    I think the problem I have with romance novels is the same problem I have with porn movies (even the "classy" ones): they're boring, predictable, and they have no real substance. The story is like the packaging on a toy: flat, flimsy, and with absolutely no purpose but to be torn through to get to the "prize." If the story isn't intriguing, why bother having it at all when I can just find a few pages of smut anywhere on the internet? If the characters aren't well-rounded and complete, why should I care about them getting in bed with each other?
    Personally, I'd much rather have an everyday novel that just happens to have "that one spicy scene" because then I have a story that matters and characters that I care about and a bit of hot steamy fun. But no one seems to write romance novels that way; I ask for slice of black forest cake and Romance hands me a twinkie, trying to convince me it's just as good. No. No it isn't. It's not even close.
     
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  13. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not knockin anything down this time, I promise. FYI, though, for whatever it's worth, Wikipedia doesn't say anything about a real live Merlin.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I so remember the day, way back, when some porn movie was touted as 'good', different somehow from the rest. It wasn't. Twinkie, that's an apropos metaphor.
     
  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Of course they won't because his actual existence has never been proved—like Jesus. However, his presence in legend is so strong that she decided to write what might have actually happened to create his legend. She's transformed him into a player in a real period of history, and created an unforgettable fictional character. The character and the story are remarkably mature in tone, by the way.

    One of the blurbs on the marystewartnovel website describes it thus:

    Her Arthurian novels have become classics, mostly because of the quality of the writing, but also because of their originality. Her retelling of the story was groundbreaking because it is so different from standard versions: Merlin is the narrator, not King Arthur; they are set in the 5th century, rather than the 12th ; and the settings and customs of this time period were thoroughly researched and meticulously described. Her stories take a beloved, if rather tired, legend and make it fresh again.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  16. 123456789
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    Oh, I see. Maybe my definition of historical novel is off. For a novel to be historical, it only needs to have a somewhat historically accurate setting. Fictional characters are OK so long as they don't alter events. My bad.
     
  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, yes. That is the way most 'historical' novels go. Because they are 'novels' and not histories or biographies, they will have fictional elements in them.
     
  18. Mckk
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    Try Marion Chesney - I think she's my sister's favourite. My sister loves period romance.

    This book's title rings a bell - I think it's one of the ones my sister liked: the Desirable Duchess. The writing, judging from the first two paragraphs, reads a LOT better than your Devil's Bride. Devil's Bride is horrid lol. How far into the book are you?

    Btw, most girls like lingering kisses and strong, flat chests :D so such description wouldn't annoy me. But the appalling writing would.
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    I've never read a romance novel -- except for FSOG, which did leave me shaking my head. My bigger question is: Why do so many women like sh*tty novels in general? Every once in a while, one creeps into my bookclub, and I'm constantly wondering things like, Who TF acts this way? Or says this?
     
  20. ChaosReigns
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    my first thought of romance: ewww get it away from me! i really, really dont like soppy gal falls for guy books, i need something interesting going on in the books, hence my swaying toward Horror. Sci-fi and Fantasy
     
  21. Keitsumah
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    i really need to get looking for that one book again... there's one series i read and omg it is laugh-out-loud funny! aka: a dragon (in human form) steals a golden statue from this girl who is supposed to transport it to a client, but said client end up murdered by a demon. very, very interesting plot and the dragon (no wonder: his name is Drake) is stubborn as all get-out and she is too! i remember one scene very vividly where he tried to seduce her but she whacked him on the back of the head with the statue right in front of her demon-dog (she ended up summoning a demon to try and track down the other demon then ended up becoming his demon lord -and the dog is ridiculously perverted). Now that is an interesting female character when she doesn't just give up lol, despite being the "Wyvern's Mate". Stories like that are pretty rare, and I still grin when i think about that scene :rolleyes:

    Another "good" romance that i liked was "The Accidental Werewolf". a tad over-cussy but i laughed my head off by the end of chapter one. And it has a decent plot.
     
  22. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fantasy is the key word. People (not just women) like to read about all kinds of things that they would never, in real life, want to experience. But books are the safe place to do just that. If it's not your cup of tea, well, you probably read some other kind of "tripe" (based on other people's dislikes, that is).
     
  23. rhduke
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    Cause everyone needs their guilty pleasures I suppose
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    Do many men read romance novels?

    As for my kind of tripe, I apologize to any forum members I've insulted. Yes, we all have different tastes including our own tripe. It doesn't change the fact I'm baffled that women find this fantasy attractive.

    I was equally baffled that during lunch at the university I attended, a small alcove with a TV tuned to a soap opera had a throng of female college students in front of it every day. (The guys were clustered around the TV tuned to whichever ball game was on.)
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    About a 1/3 of the way through. I like a nicely chiseled chest (not steroid large and overdone) and cute buns as much as the next gal. The thing about the book, and about sex scenes in general that don't cut it for me, is the book drones on and on and on. I think if you did one of those word counts you find chest, eyebrow raising, and lips repeated a thousand times each.

    In addition, the kisses in the book are spoiled by too much tongue, I suppose a stand in for the real thing so the woman's virginity is preserved for the story.

    It's also heavy on that horrid cliché where a man forcing himself on a woman results in her swooning. I need not mention the disastrous rape culture that has permeated the news recently from Steubenville to the latest tragedy of a family forced to leave town to keep their daughter from killing herself. So I'm sensitive when I see it in literature and film.
     
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