Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Why Romance?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day. A day of roses and romance and restaurants and all things that celebrate the wonder and glory of love...(cue violins, followed by gagging)

I have an admission. Despite my best efforts my husband and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. He thinks it's ridiculously commercialised, and can't really see the logic in paying a premium for roses and restaurant meals which would be priced normally a day later or before. (I mean, come on...really? That happens?)

That doesn't mean he doesn't love me; he just doesn't like societal expectations that say a man's love for a woman is proved by how many red roses he gives her. Um, how about his love being proved in the 14 hour days of sweat and pain as he labours to earn money to put food on the table for the wife and kids living 8 hours away? How about the love proved when a couple chooses to stay together after tragedy, when they practice forgiveness as they battle with selfishness and pride? Not glamorous enough? Not romantic enough?

Maybe I'm a trifle cynical, and for the record I do think relationships are worth investing in with nice meals out and special times away (so if you're celebrating Valentine's Day today I hope you have a wonderful time!). But sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the fantasy element of what a loving relationship looks like (hello Facebook boasts posts), and we can mix up the hard yards of love with the fantasy elements of romance.

I recently asked readers on my Facebook page why they read romance books. Answers ranged from wanting 'to live vicariously through the story' and 'gives hope that this could be a reality' to liking novels 'that make you think and encourage you to make changes in your own life' and 'reminds us what true love is and shows how powerful godly relationships are.'

I know it's easy to get swept into the fantasy element of romance novels - as a historical romance author that's (partly) what I aim to do! But I think the challenge as a romance writer is to balance the fantasy with aspects of reality, the grit of personal and emotional challenges, so that what we present our readers is not an impossible dream, but something that gives a healthy approach to loving others in this day and age.

After all, eventually the roses wither, the chocolates are eaten, the memories of that meal out (with dozens of other couples) fade. But the relationships built on faith and trust and forgiveness and self-sacrifice and God - the marriages that last 40, 50 years - these are the real love stories, built on principles that can't be bought, that sing a louder song to this world and celebrate the wonders of love in a lasting way.

Over to you: Have you read a romance novel that challenged you to make changes in your life?

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. 
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, and Winning Miss Winthrop, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

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6 comments:

  1. Love your post, Carolyn! I like the perspective on Valentine’s Day that we should strive to love and cherish and value our loved ones every day of the year. We can show our love and appreciation in the ways that matter that aren’t limited to cute gifts on Valentine’s Day.

    Christian romance novels provide the opportunity to show the foundations of relationships that will last for decades, after the flowers wilt and chocolates are devoured. I enjoy reading romances where you close the book knowing that those characters, if they were real people, would build a strong marriage that lasts and survives the trials of life. Happy Valentine’s Day :)

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    1. Thanks Narelle. Ah, that’s the challenge isn’t it, to love authentically every day. Thanks for commenting - and happy Valentine’s Day to you, too! ❤️

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  2. Great thoughts, Carolyn! As much as I love romance, I'm not really a Valentine's Day girl either. We celebrate love and romance every day here :-)

    On a related note, my Top Ten Tuesday post this week discussed the reasons why I read Christian romance: https://wp.me/p6UZ6M-arB

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    1. Thanks Katie! LOVE your list of why you read Christian romance - I think I’m going to have to include it on my Facebook page!

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    2. Hi Katie, I loved your post and left a comment on your blog. :)

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  3. My husband and I aren't big on Valentine's Day either - we think that if you're only showing you love each other once day a year, you're missing the point :)

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