Thursday, October 28, 2021

Reading my first quarantine romance

Lockdown scrabble

At the time that I'm writing this, my entire state has just gone into lockdown. Take a second with that. THE ENTIRE STATE. Covid cases are escalating and today we hit an all time high in the number of recorded positive cases. ALL TIME HIGH. It's scary stuff. I'm hoping that by the time this post goes live (I'm not exactly sure when) things would be better. I am hoping. I know my government is doing the best they can in a difficult situation to get on top of things. Are there disappointments? Yep. Are there areas where they could have done better? Also yep. But covid is a daily changing target with new information emerging all the time, and the delta variant is virulent and scary. I'm not going to judge or criticise those people who are doing their best.

I've long said that I would not read a lockdown or quarantine romance. I've been quite vocal about it and you can read my previous posts about them here, here, and here. That being said, there are a lot of them out there and I accidentally stumbled upon a short one not knowing that it was a lockdown romance. I thought it was an omegaverse romance by a new-to-me author that I had stumbled upon and didn't realise what I was reading. Fortunately, it was short so it was not too confronting.

Online Heat by Hannah Haze

How did I feel inadvertantly reading my first quarantine romance? Well, it surprised the heck out of me. This was a sweet and steamy romance and branded as "soft". There wasn't much talk about the actual virus, but focused more on the hero and heroine who were stuck working from home and they had to have weekly online meetings with each other. It dealt more with how they both were isolated at home and they were each other's only human contact via their weekly meetings. There was talk of lockdown and at the end of the story when lockdown was lifted, talk of how the hero could finally travel to meet the heroine in person.

Like I said, this book was on the light side. It didn't dwell and it didn't linger on the more devastating and confronting aspects of the pandemic, and focused more on the characters relationship and interaction. While I was a little shocked to begin with, it didn't cause me much anxiety. I think a lot of it also had to do with the fact that when I read the book, our state was doing really well and we were a couple of weeks into the whole state being completely open again with all restrictions lifted so I felt freer. Overall, I want to say I enjoyed the story but I could have done without the backdrop of the lockdown and pandemic. I would still not intentionally seek out a book like that.

The Alpha Awakens by Anna Fury

Then later... well, I'm going to eat my words, aren't I, because maybe, I did intentionally seek this book out knowing it was a post apocalyptic book. This next book I read was also an omegaverse but it was set in a post apocalyptic world where a virus had erupted in the world and it was turning men into dominant, alpha creatures to be feared. It wasn't branded as a lockdown romance or quarantine romance per se, but it had all the hallmarks of it in the opening chapters.

When the book opens, the heroine has to set foot outside to go to the store for food. The world is rather pandemic-like with people fearing for their lives but not from a virus since it only affects certain men, but in fear of the creatures the virus created. There was been a lot of media coverage and government propaganda surrounding the virus and what it does to the men, and it's been hyped up by the government. As the heroine eventually finds out, most of it is not true.

What unsettled me in this book though in the early chapters which caused me to almost not continue with the book was the heroine's fear and anxiety. Her reactions to going outside, how empty the outside was of people, how fearful she was of going outside and feeling exposed. Her amped up anxiety was well described and because of that, it affected me while I was reading. It took considerable effort on my part to tamp down my own anxiety the chapter triggered and keep reading past that one scene where she had to go outside and what happens to her while she is almost home.

I'm glad I persevered because once I pushed past that initial chapter, the rest focused on her and the hero and how she was going to help him expose the government misconception that was being propagated about what was happening to the men because of the virus. It also focused on the building relationship between the hero and heroine and I enjoyed that too.

Woman wearing mask

So yeah, I've read some lockdown-ey, quarantine-y romances although I think they are very much on the lighter side and not necessarily an intense lockdown romance with all the gritty details of a pandemic. How do I feel about having read them? I think I appreciate the experience and that I can say I've done it and know to some extent what the trope is like. Will I read more of them? No, probably not. Although, I am going to read the next book in the omegaverse romance where the heroine was going to expose the government. The pandemic and virus play such a small part in that story line and world and it isn't what drives the major story arc. The virus is just what has created these alpha creatures who are necessary as part of the alpha/omega dynamic in an omegaverse story. Plus, I'm fascinated by the troubled, intriguing alpha who is the hero of the next story.

But if you are talking about actual lockdown or quarantine romances that pop up when one does a search on Amazon for "lockdown romance" or "quarantine romance" then no. I'm not going to intentionally seek those out. My romance reading constitution is still firmly in the "wuss" space and I do not have the stomach for reading about covid, the pandemic, and all it's ancillary aspects. Plus, right now, it's pretty serious with our statewide lockdown. I'm living it. I don't want it to be part of my entertainment and reading escapism. I'll stick to shifter romances and instalove mountain men, thank you very much.

Tell me, have you read any of these romances? Intentionally or inadvertently? What did you think, if you have? I'd like to know.

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  1. I am not looking for any pandemic or lockdown books to read either I want something that will make me happy not worry me :)

    In saying that I have read one fabulous book that spoke about the pandemic and it was after the lockdowns and there was talk about how business had suffered not a lot about it but enough to know the characters in this story had been through it one of them was a nurse and she had nursed someone with the virus and this had caused her problems. It was a fabulous book a woman's fiction Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer :)

    Have Fun


    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the one you read. Also it's good that it's not too heavy with the talk of lockdown and quarantine. I think that can cause a lot of anxiety for people who are living through it.

  2. Yes I've read a couple where it's been mentioned as having happened but I can't remember which ones. Lol. I wouldn't actively seek one out as happening within it though. I'm confused though, as I thought you were coming out of lockdown

    1. Yes, we are slowly coming out of lockdown now. When I wrote this post, we were still in full lockdown.