Laura Haley-McNeil

3/3/19, Changing Times

Hello, Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful weekend, maybe even curled up with a great book. That’s my favorite way to spend the weekend, especially if I’m reading a romance novel that whisks me far away from reality.

When I first started to read romance novels, the books were chaste. Maybe there was a kiss, but little more.  Our changing times have changed the romance novel. With romance, as with any other genre, the chaste love between a man and a woman is now jumbled with other storylines. The romance isn’t always the main storyline and many romance genres are far from chaste.

The heroines have changed. They’re no longer breathtakingly beautiful, orphan, sixteen-year-olds who have captured the undying love of a thirty-five-year-old man. The woman on the cover of these novels didn’t look sixteen either, but at the time, I had thought there was something wrong because I didn’t look like the cover model.

As a sixteen-year-old, I knew there was nothing about me that a thirty-five-year-old man would find attractive. Now that I think back on it, if a thirty-five-year-old man had found me attractive, that would’ve been creepy, but back then, that was the premise that sold. The heroines didn’t have world-changing careers. As mentioned earlier, they were usually orphans and were somehow the responsibility of the hero. I don’t remember any of the heroines doing anything out of the ordinary. They seemed to stand in the drawing room and gaze out mansion windows and miss their parents or wonder why the hero was such a meany. It couldn’t possibly be because he was in love with her and knew his feelings for her were wrong. These heroines were good girls and didn’t sneak out at night or meet their rebel friends in the estate’s forests. They didn’t attend school but had a governess or some teacher that came to the mansion and taught them French and manners. Apparently, these heroines needed better manners. They weren’t interested in hair and makeup and clothes. They were naturally beautiful so these trivialities didn’t matter. And they didn’t have to exercise. Their figures were perfect.

The novels were short and sweet and despite how silly they seem now, they held my attention. I’d devour a book and was already at the drugstore counter looking for the next book to buy. The books were all very similar. The only difference was hair color and eye color. The premise was always the same. The hero was madly in love with the heroine and knew he shouldn’t be. He was strong and vital and rich and smart, but when it came to his affection for the heroine, he was powerless.

But as life changed, the premise of romance novels changed, too. I’ll discuss those changes next time.

Have a great week, do fun things, work hard, and enjoy every minute!!!