Princess Muse

Monday, August 1, 2011

Musings about Romance novels

Everyone has a weakness....mine is (*sigh*) romance novels.  I have a few that I will always read:  Nora Roberts, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Two write contemporary romances, two write Regency/Georgian Era novels.

Then there are a few series from Harlequin that I like to read, even when the little details get messed up.  Harlequin Blaze has a series called (*sigh*) Uniformly Hot! that I can't seem to resist.  (yes, for me, there is something about a guy in uniform.  Knowing that this is someone who accepts that he'll never make as much money as he could as a civilian, that he could be sent over to war and die, who will have to uproot his life ever couple of years just to do a job that most people don't understand why anyone would want to do-- yeah, it hits a lot of buttons for me.  What can I say?  You can force the Brat out of the Army, but you can never, truly, take the Army out of the Brat.)  Even though a lot of details get messed up.  Like the one I just finished.  Our Heroine is a PA officer for the Air Force, who needs a fighter pilot for a recruitment tour that's starting in San Diego, so she's calling a Public Affairs officer at .... Ft. George G. Meade (which got printed as Mead).  Ft. Meade...Maryland.  Ft. Meade being an Army installation (not to say that there might not be the odd Air Force unit housed somewhere there--Ft. Lee, Va had a detachment, after all)....Not Air Force.  No fighter pilots just hanging around waiting for PA officers to call.

Later, the author has the Air Force pilot disappointed that he didn't go to Top Gun.  Which used to be in San Diego, but has since moved to Nevada (I think).  Top Gun is a NAVAL fighter school.  Not to say that the odd Air Force pilot couldn't be trained there, but the Air Force has it's own (I think it's the Air Force Fighter Weapons School, but I'm not 100%) fighter school.

Now, Missy, I can hear you say, it's a romance novel.  You can't expect them to get the little details right.  It's all about the emotions and (*ahem*) the sex.  Okay, sure, but if 5 minutes of poking around on the internet can show me that those details are wrong, why can't the author do 10 minutes of poking around to get the details...better.  Someday, I'm going to write a romance novel, and I'm sure I'll get details wrong, but it won't be because I didn't do a little bit of research.

There was another romance novel I read where the Heroine was interviewing a Spanish film director.  Qué sorpresa, they ended up having sex.  Afterwards, he said something (I don't remember what) in Spanish to her....using the formal form of "you."  I'm sorry, but if I just had sex with a guy and he uses "Ud." instead of "tú" with me, he'd better be leaving a thick wad of bills on the dresser and telling the next guy to come on in.  Maybe that's just me, and believe me, this situation was NEVER covered in any of my Spanish classes, but that's how I feel.  Even if it is just a one night stand.  I threw the book across the room over that.

Now, I know some of the mistakes come because these are fantasies that are written quickly, printed on cheap paper and meant to be read once and passed on.  There are no big contracts, minimal publicity, so there's no real incentive to make sure the details are right.  Besides, the average person may not even know that the details are wrong.  And I sure don't expect them to read this little blog and say, "My God!  How could we be so stupid?  Let's go out, set up a fact check team and make sure we get these details right!"  Yet, according to, about 64 million people read at least 1 romance novel a year (if you didn't, don't worry, I got you covered.  I read at least 2 last year).  Why shouldn't they try to get the details right?

So, if these little details bother me, why do I still read romance novels?  I don't know.  Sometimes I read them because I get stressed out--I can always tell when I'm too stressed out by life--romance novels are the only things I can read.  Mostly, they're fun.  You know what's going to happen:  Boy meets Girl.  They're attracted to each other.  They act on the attraction (how much depends on the spicy level of the author).  The Misunderstanding.  The Happy Ending.  Because there's always a happy ending.  Maybe that's it.  Maybe I just need to know that, even if it's not real, there's someplace I can go and always find a happy ending (Not that I'm not living my Happy Ending, believe me, but life is messy and hard, and people yell at you because they're not having a good day, and your kids aren't perfect little angels all the time.... or you don't get to have kids and you hear someone complain about how rotten their kids are and you think "Damn, if I had a kid, I'd be thrilled beyond belief.")  Yeah, sometimes you just need a little escape into a fantasy world.  And my four favorite authors do the research.  Eloisa James is an University Shakespearean professor  (, for goodness sake.  Susan Elizabeth Phillips talks to people in the professions she has a her characters work in (just look at the Acknowledgements pages in her books).

Anyway, just a few thoughts about romance novels.  Time to go aMuse myself....with another Romance Novel.  Lord Badass is just about to have his way with Lady DeMure...and damn....

And before I forget....happy birthday to one of my very best friends, Arlyn!

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