After ten years of blogging I can confidently say I have learned one thing:
I am old
How can it be that I’ve reached the age where I have done anything for a decade? One day I am excited about my new glittery pencil case and knee high socks for school…next thing I know I’ve been blogging for ten years and have a mortgage. Although honestly, I do still get excited about a sparkly pencil case and a cracking pair of knee high socks.
But, I suppose if I am going to dedicate a decade of my life to anything, I am glad it’s books, and in particular I am glad it’s romance books. For a genre that keeps the cash flow going in the publishing industry it doesn’t generate the respect and awe that it deserves. Personally, I blame the patriarchy. But, I feel like that merit’s a post all by itself – and if you want to read me rant about it then please let me know in the comments. I am always happy to oblige.
However, back to the scheduled programme…which is just me rambling about me… I wanted to talk about how my journey through Romancelandia over the last ten years. And, so like all good stories I’ll begin at the beginning, which is when I first started reading romance in my early 20s:
WHAT A REVELATION
Don’t get me wrong romance novels could be problematic. When plot devices like “forced seduction” is in semi regular use, you know there are issues. And if you haven’t heard of forced seduction before – I don’t see this phrase used anymore, thank fuck – it was just a fancy way of trying to legitimise the hero raping the heroine (‘cos, it’s not rape if he makes her orgasm by the end right? *rolls eyes*). But, that aside, I had never before seen women’s needs and wants, both physical and emotional, have such a place of prominence…anywhere, in the books I was reading, the TV I was watching. In fact, it was so important that for a book to even truly be a romance, it couldn’t end unless you, as the reader, believe the heroine will be living happily ever after.
I was a high fantasy reader for the most part. I was used to men being the main protagonist. They were the heroes, they were the ones enacting important change and getting their needs met. One of my favourite books till that point was the Lord of the Rings trilogy…and lets face it, it’s an absolute sausage-fest. No one is having spectacular orgasms in that book. Apart from maybe Sam having a sneaky wank in Mordor (“Oh, Mr Frodo…”).
In the last ten years we’ve seen a lot of change in the romance genre, and despite my usual pessimistic nature, I think it’s moving in the right direction. We see more and more of the female experience explored in romance novels. I feel like although the romance has always been about women, that the last few years has shown the rise of the heroine. There’s been a real focus on female agency and competency in romance novels that I delight in seeing. Diversity has a way to go, but I think romance is probably one of the few genres where it’s even acknowledged that this is an issue and people are committed to trying to change. I am not saying we are perfect, but I am glad to see the conversations are happening.
And you know what else?
Romance is fun
It delivers on a lot of levels, I recently finished a book that had me crying with laughter on one page talking about bald minges, bad boob play and waxed anus’ and then had me full on bawling with sorrow a few pages later. What masterful story telling. And the great thing is, is that next I can go off and have a cracking good time reading about weird as fuck aliens banging the human woman he/they love in new and unusual ways and have an absolutely amazing time. Romance; it really does deliver all you need.
I think that’s lovely point to end my rambling. Ten years blogging about romance books is a long time, it’s been hard work (no one ever tells you how much hard work it is!) and alotta hours. But, I love being immersed in this world and the delightful stories I have read and shared with you. So, thank you for reading along with us and here is to many more years of romance book filled years ahead!
B L O G I V E R S A R Y G I V E A W A Y
To celebrate our 10 years of blogging we will be doing a series of SIGNED book giveaways. Every Monday on Instagram and every Wednesday on the blog.
Today you can enter to win a copy of LAKE+MANNING by Jessica Hawkins including signed bookplate
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