I finished reading a book last week that I didn’t love, but the characters and plot really made me think and stuck with me. This is not the first time that’s happened, but I wanted to highlight it because I see it happening a lot with one group of books in particular, Harlequin’s Superromance line.
So often romance is poo-pooed as fluff, having no real value at all. Category romance, I think, is even more maligned. So, I really wanted to highlight these books that made me think, question my views on certain things, etc. That is what good books do, whether romance or literary fiction or classics. They make you think, they challenge world views, they make you look at yourself in a different way.
The first book I came across that really did this was Joan Kilby’s Superromance, Two Against the Odds. This book deals with a lot of really deep issues, and neither hero or heroine is perfect. This was one of those books that didn’t make me feel all ooey-gooey inside like I prefer, and yet it stuck with me far more than a lot of romances I read.
The most recent Superromance I’ve read that also has stuck with me, even though I didn’t love it, is The Way Back by Stephanie Doyle. This book deals with the issues of infidelity (although not in terms of the hero and heroine in their relationship, but in previous relationships). I thought this would be a huge issue for me, but I actually ended up liking the hero more than the heroine.
Even though I turn to romance for that ooey-gooey feeling, I like this occasional read that forces me beyond my typical this-is-what-I-like-boundary.