In praise of tolerant mothers and romance novels

[Author’s Note: I did a guest post on the Harlequin Blog this week. In honor of National Womens’ Month, which coincides with Women’s History Month, the blog editors asked contributors to write about the role of romance novels in their lives.

The broad topic led to some interesting musings from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books’ Sarah, Dear Author’s Jane, and two other editors in the NY office, with more posts to come. You can read all of the posts on this topic by clicking here.

Olga, the blog’s editor, subtitled my post “On Why Sneaking Romances is Alright.” But I’m cross-posting it here with a new title because even though my mom put up with my teenage sneaking around, I don’t think she would ever agree that sneaking around is okay! (Right, Mom?) And, she probably would not agree that romance novels are good reading…but moms can’t be right ALL the time. 😉]

Reading romance made me the person I am today.

Just ask my mother.

The other day, she gave my sister, a mother of three, some words of wisdom that were both warning and advice: Monitor your children’s books, because you never know what reading can lead to.

Books, and romance novels, are powerful like that. They can make you see the world in a different way.

Robyn Carr’s medieval romances inspired me to infiltrate the adult section of the library before I was nine. Scarlett and Gone With the Wind made me believe that if I spoke my mind and everyone disagreed with me, it would somehow turn out okay in the end. Reading the Caitlin series gave me a yearning to see New York City, where I now live, and taste cappuccino in a real café, way back before Starbucks. And Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale showed me that loving a man for who he is, instead of accepting who family and neighbors believe him to be, can create the foundation for a 16-years-and-going-strong marriage.

I am thankful every day that my mom taught me to read, took me to the library and let me loose in the stacks. And I’m also thankful she didn’t complain too much when she caught me sneaking around with those clinch covers, letting romance novels have their way with me.


2 Responses to “In praise of tolerant mothers and romance novels”

  1. 1 CaSondra Poulsen September 20, 2010 at 12:57 am

    On a similar note, I feel the same way about my mother. She exposed me to the library as a kid and never complained about how much time I spent there, or about the fines that came every now and then. For a single mom on a limited budget, I took this for granted until I had children of my own.

    This early freedom to explore the library led to a love of reading and writing. Now, as an adult, I have had my first novel published. A romance novel no less, entitled Torn Hearts. To be honest, I couldn’t picture myself writing anything else.

    I didn’t want to write steamy scenes that left little to the imagination; nor did I want to write about vampires or voodoo. Simply put, I wanted to write about romance; something that pulled at the hearts strings and left the reader silently cheering on one character, while having mixed emotions about another.

    I have come a long way from being shooed out of the library at closing time. Well, at least now I wear a watch. Credit is due my mom for a good portion of the freedom I gained with every turn of the page.

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I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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