Friday, September 29, 2017

Manview observations #11: A Novel with Romance versus a Romance Novel

Welcome to another Manview observation. It seems Mr Manview has read enough romance to know the difference between romance novels and novels with romance in them. Here's his take on the topic.

I hope you enjoy this installment of Mr Manview's observations.

Couple with tattooed fingers

Before I read romance novels, I could not figure out why there was a specific book category called Romance. Plenty of the detective stories and corporate and international espionage thrillers I read had a lot of romance in it. Or sex, or something that seemed like romance anyway. So, what differentiates a romance novel from a novel with romance? I mean, both have relationships, usually between a man and a woman, sex is involved, and one party believes they may be falling in love with the other one.

Couple hugging from back

In a novel with romance though, the hero or heroine may die during the journey. Secondly, the hero or the heroine may be manipulative and faking romance to achieve some ulterior motive. In fact, one may kill the other without remorse! (I mean, isn’t it more important to consider yourself a patriot than to fulfill a romantic involvement?) Let’s face it – things happen! People die, people screw with others and manipulate them, and many characters end up alone!

When I started reading romance, I realized there was the expectation that both the hero and heroine had integrity and a deep attraction for each other. There may have been some drama or secrets involved, but both parties were strong enough to understand, forgive and resolve any conflict. The hero and heroine ALWAYS end up together. Reaching a happy ending is a must, whereas in other novels, a happy ending could mean only a few minutes of being together and pleasure, not a lifetime!

Girl crying

Romance novels certainly contain plot twists and some darn good ones! They just do not end up in the hero or heroine dying or leaving the other one to figure things out on their own. In a romance novel, no matter what the challenges, it is guaranteed that the hero and heroine end up as a couple for eternity; in novels with romance, this may or may not be true. The plot twist may involve one party screwing over or killing the other.

Now having read plenty of romance novels and novels with romance, I can tell the difference. And there appears to be a spectrum where they overlap, depending on how much friction or deceit is involved in the relationship or how many phases of being apart and conflicted occur before they come together. Some of the best books I have read are romance novels that also happen to be great detective or espionage stories. And the plus of knowing it is a romance novel is you are guaranteed that the hero and heroine will be together forever in the end. In a novel that contains romance, but is not a romance novel, you do not have this guarantee. In fact, you may have remorse that the hero or heroine live with for the rest of their lives and throughout the remaining books in the series without the other.

Couple fighting

It was difficult for me to differentiate between a romance novel and just a novel with some romance in it until I started reading romance. But if I must sum it up with one over-riding factor, it is that there is always a happy ending (hero and heroine together for eternity) in a romance novel – it is guaranteed! In a novel that is a thriller and contains romance, this is not guaranteed. You take your chances on finding out if the hero is just a big jerk like the ones you meet in real life or not! In a romance novel, he always becomes Mr. Right by the time the romance novel finishes!

Happy ever after

What do you think? I thought his distinctions are pretty spot on considering I don't read many novels with romance or romantic elements, but I hear from Mr Manview often enough when he's reading them. I always ask abou tthe relationships in them and they tend to disappoint my romantic heart.

Read all the other Manview observations here.

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  1. Well said Steve and I totally agree with you one of the reasons I love reading romance is the HEA and the ups and downs along the way to get there :)

    Have Fun

  2. I agree and think your description is right on, because when I read a romance, I do definitely expect a HEA. Reading many suspense novels and thrillers lately, I do admit to getting used to certain characters , and even though the romance isn't the focus, it still does hurt to lose a friend in a book. Great topic! Hugs...RO

    1. Oh yeah, he totally gets it. The HEA is so important in romance.

  3. Oh that's a really good definition of a romance novel. I do have to have an HEA and I'm glad to see you understand that. Interesting and thought provoking post.