- Meg Raymond
Never Apologize for Your Reading Tastes. Libraries live by this adage from Betty Rosenberg. But, truthfully? We're all biased. There are those who won't get near a bestseller--reading only serious non-fiction, or, perhaps, literary fiction. My personal eye-rolling, disdainful sniffiness was aimed squarely at paperback romances. Until I actually, well, read some of them.
My first foray was into the world of historical romances, specifically, Regency romances. Set in England in the early to mid-1800s, Regency romances are generally fairly chaste, and vary widely in their level of historical detail and accuracy. I had always been fond of Marion Chesney's Regencies, especially the Poor Relation Series. But please. Those bodice-ripper paperback covers, with heaving bosoms and tight riding breeches? Not interested. Until I picked up Just Like Heaven, by Julia Quinn. The heroine's daring red shoe, peeking out from beneath her dress, drew me to the cover. The story reeled me in. It was funny! I loved Honoria Smythe-Smith, even if she was a horrible musician. I read more Julia Quinn. Then I found Loretta Chase, and her funny and oft-times quite lusty Regencies.
For a change of pace, I moved on to contemporary romances. I found some authors who are really funny and true-to-life. Some of them didn't even have any romantic moments until 100+ pages into the book! I devoured most of Kristan Higgins and Jennifer Crusie and have dabbled in Rachel Gibson and Jill Shalvis.
Sure, most so-called romances are "popcorn" books--very tasty, but with little nutritional value. But, sometimes? Sometimes popcorn is just what you want.