You don’t read romance? Take another look at the book

During the holidays I read a Harlequin romance and, not surprisingly, received these sort of responses from people who noticed: “Why are you bothering with that?” and “I’m not interested in that sort of stuff. “

To answer the first question, I read All over you by Sarah Mayberry to learn more about the romance genre and good writing in general.

I’ll answer the second question with a question, have you ever read a romance novel?

I’d argue that All over you, a 55,000 word romance in the ‘Blaze’ category, was a reasonable read and far better than some of the books that appear on bestseller lists. The book’s author Australian Sarah Mayberry used to write for TV and has now turned her hand full-time to hot, sexy fiction.

She can write, and while All over you isn’t going to win any literary awards, it’s tightly structured with strongly developed characters. Mayberry has managed to weave some unusual elements into a conventional love story by giving her heroine, Grace, an unforgettable appearance and compelling back story.

I find it annoying that the general public continues to dismiss romance as rubbish that is written for bimbos with a reading age of 12 – the age thing is more applicable to readers of The Daily Telegraph and Today Tonight viewers!

In fact, romance novels appeal to educated career women who are looking for a light read and an escape from their day-to-day lives. They are looking for an HEA – Happily Ever After – where the prince rides off into the sunset with the princess by his side. It might not be rocket science, but it’s an entertaining diversion and pleasantly predictable.

When you think about it, there’s not much difference between books written by Monica McInerney, Maeve Binchy and Sarah Mayberry. Maybe McInerney and Binchy’s books are longer with more secondary characters, but at the essence of the book is romance.

And think of the top rating movies. Romantic comedies always do well at the box office, which is why Hollywood churns out so many.

So, the next time you see someone reading a Mills and Boon, don’t be so quick to judge.