I’d like to welcome to my blog today Lilac Mills, the author of the gorgeous book And a sixpence for luck. Here Lilac talks about the difference between Love and romance, over to you Lilac…
There’s a whole lotta difference between love and romance, when it comes to novels.
The main (and maybe the only difference) is that readers have the expectation that a romance novel ends in a happy ever after, or at the very least, a happy for now.
Love doesn’t have this restriction, and in some ways I believe it makes for more powerful reading.
Take Wuthering Heights, for instance. I studied this little beauty in university, and loved every tortured word of it. If you remove the setting and the era, you are left with what is basically a tale of obsession, revenge, and thwarted love. It is wonderful and tragic and timeless. Yet there is not one romantic word between its pages. Love is not happy and uplifting and heart-warming – it’s wild and savage and cannibalistic, in that eats away at both Cathy and Healthcliffe until nothing of them is left, except a tragic haunting.
Then there’s Romeo and Juliet – possibly the most famous lovers in the world. Again, love not romance, though the balcony scene was a touch on the romantic side (didn’t think old Shakey had it in him!). Considering Romeo died for his love, I don’t see why we call men who have a bit of a roaming eye, Romeo… Without the death of this pair, the whole play would have been just another ‘met and married’ story, with a bit of angst along the way to retain the reader’s interest.
Lancelot and Guinevere – hmmm. Famous lovers to be sure, but I’m not too keen on the adultery theme, however much they loved each other. And look at the havoc they caused!.
Yet all of the above are remembered for their love.
Me? I prefer a happy ever after. And I think many of us do. We are attracted to that fairy tale ending of undying (but not tragic love), and that is why stories like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White have endured (I’m talking about the Disney version here and not the darker – but more fun – original version).
We all love the idea of a soul mate – the person we are destined for and who will love us no matter what, and this is what drives the romance novel. Ignore the degree of heat; from sweet to scalding, the premise is the same. Love. Romantic love, and whether that be in the traditional form between a man or a woman, or between lovers of the same sex, it makes no difference. Readers all want to believe in Mr or Ms Right.
Love and happy life together, takes precedence over love in its rawer form, where life get in the way, and it makes no difference to your enjoyment if you have already found your soulmate.
As we sit on our sofas, or lying on a sunbed, or squashed on a rattily train, we are reading about what we want for ourselves. I believe romantic fiction, no matter the time, the location, or the premise, appeals to the hope within us all, and that is what makes the genre so popular. It is escapism at its best!
Head over to my blog post and read my review of the wonderful And a sixpence for luck