Have You Never Read a Romance Novel? Maybe Now is the Time…
It’s no secret that dealing with the pandemic has created challenges for everyone. Situations vary from merely inconvenienced to downright dangerous whether from illness or finances or both. The result? Anxiety and more anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but I find I need an escape. But not just any escape mind you, I’ve learned what’s best for me something comfortable, fun, and interesting but doesn’t keep me up at night. And frankly something with few surprises. Now is NOT the time to jump out from behind a wall and yell boo at me! Just don’t.
I’m not alone.
That’s why so many of us are re-visiting things. You know what I mean. Re-watching all the seasons of the Big Bang Theory. Or Gilmour Girls. Re-reading The Babysitter’s Club. Or even Harry Potter. And for music? The list is just as endless. Anything from the 80s works for me. On endless repeat. I re-do stuff to take myself back to times and places where life seemed more, dare I say, normal? But perhaps just as importantly, these things deliver experiences where the outcome is predictable. I know what to expect.
And right now that is a good thing. A very good thing. And I want more of it.
Enter the romance novel. I know. I KNOW. You’ve heard all the nonsense about frivolity and bodice ripping. Let me tell you something, today’s romance novels are very different from thirty years ago. These are not your mother’s romances. Of course there is always a romance and yes always a happy ending (which can range from happily ever after to happily for now) but there the resemblance ends. These books are high quality, the authors talented and the writing polished. And most importantly you always know how they will turn out. Like I just said, no surprises please.
Think about this for a minute. I can honestly say that the times we face contain the biggest wall of uncertainty I have ever needed to climb in my very long lifetime. It’s in your face every darn day. You need to do the best you can to take good care of yourself. That is why I think having escapes is so important.
Don’t get me wrong. I am actually optimistic that we will pull through this pandemic better and smarter than we were before. But until it is over I am afraid we have some long stretches ahead where It will be impossible to know what will come next. So why not choose to escape into the comfort of a happy ending? That is what I am doing.
Think of these books as comfort food. With zero calories. Why not?
Now romance novels, like life, come in huge variety. While a happy ending is guaranteed there can be some twists and turns along the way. Here are a few of authors to consider who write happy books.
Susan Mallery – Susan, with multiple NYT bestsellers under her belt, just published her 150th book, The Friendship List I am preparing to hunker down with this one myself. I know I can count on Mallery for unexpected heroines, hunky heroes and a satisfying happy ending.
Alyssa Cole – The books in her Reluctant Royals series are delicious contemporary takes on the old long lost princess tales. Start with A Princess in Theory. A graduate student learns she is betrothed to an African prince by email? Of course it is a scam…or is it? You won’t be disappointed.
Julia Quinn – For something historical Julia Quinn cannot be beat. Start with The Duke and I which is the first in her Bridgerton series. Set in Regency England with all the necessary la-ti-da and tea drinking. And of course a scandal or two. The books are becoming a Netflix series right now! The buzz is amazing. It is a Shondaland project so of course it will be good.
And of course, if what you want is to be swept away to Hawaii please try my own effort Bound in Flame. Horses, magic, flower bedecked ladies with bullwhips. Not to mention those rarest of creatures – handsome men who like to dance. Pure Aloha. I’d love to have you join me.
So there you go, a few ideas for positive escapism. And may we all be moving toward our own Happily Ever After.
Katherine Kayne is the author of Bound in Flame, the first in a series about hard-riding Hawaiian suffragettes at the turn of the twentieth century. Her next installment, a prequel novella, Pistols in Paradise will be out this fall! You can check her out and join her newsletter at katherinekayne.com. Yes, there are cocktail recipes!