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Welcome to Romance. . .
Every romance novel has two basic elements:
- A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
- An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: Usually the story ends with the lovers living "happily ever after". The reader is left with the belief that whatever else happens the two lovers will remain together and happy with their relationship. (So while Romeo & Juliet may be romantic it's not a Romance.)
Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot.
Sweet or Sexy?
Do you prefer a chaste love story, with nothing more explicit than holding hands? Or do you prefer something more sensual, even erotic? Or perhaps you prefer something in-between depending on your mood.
Most readers have a definite preference regarding the explicitness and development of the physical relationship in a Romance. So, sensuality ratings for suggested titles are provided on this guide. The rating system is based heavily on the system created by a website called All About Romance.
Below is a complete explanation of each level of rating from All About Romance:
|Kisses||Kisses only. Many of these books are quite simply "sweet."||Most traditional Regencies fit this category, as well Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance titles. Authors who tend to write "Kisses" romances include Betty Neels, Nicole Burnham, Lisa Wingate, and Donna Simpson.|
|Subtle||No explicit sensuality. Kissing and touching, but physical romance is described in general terms or implied. The emphasis is on how lovemaking made the characters feel emotionally, and not on graphic description, although this does not equate to the use of euphemism or only "petting." Rather, if lovemaking occurs, it is alluded to rather than described, so that the reader's imagination becomes paramount.||Many Harlequin American Romances are written with "Subtle" sensuality. Authors who write at this level of sensuality include Pamela Morsi, LaVyrle Spencer, Debbie Macomber, and Deborah Smith. Traditional Regency authors who tend to write books with "Subtle" sensuality include Patricia Oliver and Karen Harbaugh.|
|Warm||Moderately explicit sensuality. While our lovers do make love, and the reader is there with them, physical details are described, but are not graphically depicted. Much is left to the reader's imagination and/or possibly the use of euphemistic "code words." But what's most important are feelings and emotions, not body parts. While there is sexual tension, there may not be more than one or two love scenes in the whole book. The vast majority of single title romances feature "Warm" sensuality.||Series lines that are generally "Warm" include Harlequin American Romance and Silhouette Special Edition. The vast majority of single title romances fall in either the "Warm" or "Hot" category. Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh (trads and single titles), Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.|
|Hot||Very explicit sensuality. There is an expanded focus throughout the book on sexual feelings and desires. The love scenes are longer, and there are at least two or three of them. The characters often think about their sexual feelings and desires, and making love is graphically depicted, and there may be strong use of euphemistic "code words." Both the emotions of the hero and heroine and the physical feelings of both are important during love scenes.||Most Harlequin Temptations and Blazes, as well as a good number of Silhouette Desires, are "Hot." Authors who tend to write "Hot" romances include J.D. Robb, Leanne Banks, Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, Karen Marie Moning, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Andersen, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and pre-romantic suspense Julie Garwood|
|Burning||Extremely explicit sensuality - these books are often considered "romantica," a hybrid between erotica and romance.. Sexual feelings and desires are strongly focused on and some books in this category have sex as the primary focus. The details are thoroughly graphic, and may include what some readers might consider kinky.||Many Harlequin Blaze titles are "Burning," as are many of Kensington's Brava line. Authors who are writing Burning romance include "old-line" authors such as Susan Johnson, Thea Devine, and Bertrice Small (who never met a manroot she didn't love), and newer authors to romantica such as Alison Kent, Emma Holly, Cheryl Holt, and Angela Knight|
Sub-genres of Genre
Lords and Ladies, Sheiks and shapechangers, Witches and Warriors, Romance offers a little for everyone no matter what time or place interests you.
Ancient Scotland, Regency England, modern-day Colorado, and Victorian Egypt offer the settings for our lovers. The challenges to True Love? Feuding clans, corporate spies, demons, and each other!
So many authors, so little time! Here's just a sampling of popular authors to get you started:
|Suzanne Brockmann||Christina Dodd|
|Christine Feehan||Georgette Heyer|
|Sherrilyn Kenyon||Debbie Macomber|
|Julia Quinn||Nora Roberts|
With so many options, choosing a romance novel can quickly get overwhelming. Here are several titles that are perennial favorites of Romance Readers:
Irish Born contains all the three of the Born In trilogy. Glass-blowing, the international art world, and a wild Irish setting form the backdrop for the first Born in fire.
Margaret Mary Concannon is a brilliant and tormented glass-blowing artist who hides from her past in her work.
Pride and Prejudice recounts the story of lively and rebellious Elizabeth Bennet, one of five unmarried daughters living in the countryside of 19th century England. In a world where obtaining an advantageous marriage is a woman's sole occupation, Elizabeth's independent manner threatens her family's future.
Minerva Dobbs thought David Fisk might be "The One", until he dumps her three weeks before her sister's wedding because she won't sleep with him. Min realizes just *how* lucky she is to be rid of David when she overhears him at her favorite bar betting a handsome stranger, Calvin Morrisey, that Cal couldn't bed Min in a month.
Min debates giving them both a piece of her mind, but then she remembers she still needs a date for the wedding. Why not use the all-too charming Cal just like he was going to use her, and then dump him? Of course, Min never expected that Cal might turn out to be "The One".
Dr. Kelly Ashton is also returning home; but she's here to nurse her father, Charles Ashton, who has cancer and only has 3 months to live. Reunited with her one-time friend and would-be lover after 16 years, Kelly is determined that this time she'll go after who she really wants.
Romance in eBook
Veronica St. John is facing the challenge of a lifetime. The media consultant has two days to teach a rugged Navy SEAL to impersonate a European prince who has been targeted by terrorists. It's a tough assignment, but Veronica is sure she's up to the task--until she actually meets Joe.
Despite his physical resemblance to the handsome prince, Lieutenant Joe Catalanotto is nothing like the stuffy aristocrat. Everything about the combat-hardened Navy SEAL--from the arrogant gleam in his eyes and streetwise attitude to the New York accent--says regular guy, not royalty.
One conversation and Veronica knows nothing could turn this military man into nobility. Joe, on the other hand, is confident he's got what it takes to complete his duty. But neither of them expects their assignment to include falling in love.
Upcoming Book Groups
Romance Book Groups will be meeting at Igo.
We also offer Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and even Nonfiction book groups!
Romanctic? Certaintly. A Romance? Well, maybe . . .
*Warm* (Time Travel) Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.