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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Romance: a scholarly interpretation

    What a nuanced and carefully crafted book. Ms Rodale shoots down all the naysayers who decry the value of romance books and look down their (figurative) snobbish noses at them. Ms Rodale's research demonstrates that there is a correlation between the way romance books are looked at and the way the status of women is looked at - hence the danger in romance books in promoting a world where women can succeed, can find fulfilment, can have a HEA that isn't necessarily dependent on old societal mores. I agree with her criticism of those who claim romance = fantasy and yet are happy to accept science fiction as valid literature and therefore part of the canon - think Jules Verne or H.G. Wells or indeed Mary Shelley - shock, horror: a woman writer... Just as some of their (outlandish at the time) predictions have come to pass (yes, even sewing together body parts to create new faces) and their work revered and studied at high school level or higher so too might there come a time when romance is viewed in the same way - and not just an Austen or a Brontë. By the by, when I read the description of how romance books were recognisable visually because of the conformity of their covers all I could think of was the covers of Penguin paperbacks when I was a child. Talk about conformity! Thank you for doing the research. Thank you for making the point that women writers have been responsible for pushing the boundaries in relation to who are allowed to be characters in fiction and for championing people in all their variations. Thank you for showing that romance is not vapid escapism, but rather escapism that has an important role to play in our emotional wellbeing. And finally, thank you for validating my reading choices.
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