The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is the top ten things you like or dislike when it comes to romance in books.
Romance happens. When it does happen (in a book) it should feel real, convincing; love should develop naturally out of the lives of the characters--not a contrived and unconvincing fantasy. Here are nine things I like when it comes to romance in fiction. And one thing I don't like.
Things I Like:
1. Complicated relationships that begin in mystery, take a twist with a layer or two of deceit or discovery, and end with self-discovery. For example: Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters.
2. Romances where a plain girl prevails, and a handsome man is changed by suffering. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
3. Anything by Simon Van Booy. His stories have a sweet sadness, and romance always comes with redemption. Love more than romance drives Van Booy's work, but when romance happens, it is delicate and sweet.
4. Second chances: Middlemarch by George Eliot.
5. Second chances, the spinster prevails (okay, so Anne Elliot is only 27, but that was a spinster in Austen's time), Jane Austen's most perfect book: Persuasion.
6. Wit and sauciness. A woman who reads books. Pride and Prejudice, of course.
7. An unexpected romance that leads to a long and happy marriage, as in Dale Kushner's The Conditions of Love.
8. Whatever that magic is that John Green has. Smart girls. Needy boys. Books and love. Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars.
9. Romance that takes a long time to develop because the female protagonist is busy building her own life. The Divorce Diet.
Things I Don't Like:
10. Wish-fulfillment fantasy romance. "The world is not a wish-granting factory" (John Green)