I read romance novels...that doesn't make me a bad person!

Why I Read Romance Novels

My husband laughs when I bring home romance novels from the library with the word “Rogue”, “Rake” or “Duke” in the title. (Bonus points if it has all three!) He always wonders where the men’s shirts went, or what happened to all the buttons. After all, surely not every man in Victorian England went around half naked!

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But seriously, I’m a well adjusted, happily married mother of five children, and I like to read romance novels. I like Regency romances, modern-day romances and westerns. The only ones I’m not a fan of are the supernatural or really weird ones.

I started reading them in high school a little bit; you know those Silhouette romance books. The Sheiks Secretary or The Millionaire’s Baby (these are just examples, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they really were books!) (OMG, they are! Here and Here!) These are very innocent romances, with little more than kissing. Even the ones where a pregnancy is included, the making of the baby typically happened before the book even started.

I still don’t like to read the really involved or steamy romances. Fifty Shades of Grey? Never read it, or saw the movie. I honestly had no desire to; I don’t read books like that. But books that involve history, I love. I like to learn more about the language of the period, the clothing and customs; is that like saying you go to Hooters for the chicken? I don’t think so. I mean, I like it all.

A lot of people might think romance books are read by lonely single women wishing for romance while they sit on their couch with their cats; the truth is far from that. While romance books are overwhelmingly read by women, 16% of readers are men. A majority of readers are happily married, intelligent women.

So why do we read romance books? Because it’s often a really good story with extensive research to make the story believable. The characters are engaging and pull the reader in, while the ending is always good. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to read depressing books; why read something that makes me feel worse about the world or people around me?

Romance books are a chance to escape from the real world in a book, just like I might in a mystery. I can read for a few minutes in the bathroom (not because I need to spend that long in there, but I can escape my kids for a few minutes!) or before bed. And if I’m really lucky, I can spend a few hours in the evening or on the weekend. And when I’m done with the book, I’m in a better mood or more charitable to those around me, because I just finished a good book.

I’m not saying I don’t read other books; I do. But how often can you really read a self-improvement book, or one meant to cause deep introspection? And I don’t like horror or scary books, so…I’m often drawn to romance. But do you know how difficult it is to find someone else to talk to about romance books?

I mean, ask your friend what she’s reading now. She’ll probably spout off Present over Perfect or For the Love (both great books!) But will she tell you that she also just finished reading Make Me Love You or Wed by Necessity? Some women feel ashamed of reading romance novels, instead of a self improvement or parenting book. But my husband doesn’t feel ashamed by reading his favorite Stephen King horror story or Carl Hiassan book, so why should I feel guilty about reading my favorite types of books?

Lest you start to think less of me, I don’t just read paperback romance novels; I also love all of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum mystery series and Stephanie Cruisie’s novels (ok, her’s are romance, too). I like reading, and I like reading what I like.

What are your favorite kinds of books to read? Let me know in the comments below!



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