BY LARA VAN LELYVELD
For a short – surprisingly exciting – time in my 20s, I lived in a very small town and I relied on the public library for my romance reading needs. During my year there, I worked through every single romance novel in that library and would pounce on any new titles with gleeful desperation. I had thought I had the art of deciphering covers down to a fine art. Oh, how wrong I was.

Did you know that ‘inspiration’ meant ‘religious’? I didn’t. I also consistently misread the ‘heat level’.

I’d be expecting steamy clinches in elevators, but I’d have hand holding and close-mouthed kisses. Up until that point, I had stuck to my Stephanie Laurens and my Jilly Coopers, not venturing beyond my reading boundaries.
With a limited selection available, I was forced out of my regency romance / horse-riding bubble and into a whole new world. I had not conceived of a world of Amish romances, paranormal shifters or Scottish lairds. How glorious it all was!
The reach of the romance genre moves ever further, with more representative protagonists, an appreciation for informed, enthusiastic consent and any number of new developments of which I am still ignorant. While there remains room for further expansion, there is cause for celebration.
In particular, because Helen Hoang gave me Stella and Michael and Victoria Helen Stone (aka Victoria Dahl) gave me Jane Doe. Two books I diligently reread.
In particular, because Helen Hoang gave me Stella and Michael and Victoria Helen Stone (aka Victoria Dahl) gave me Jane Doe. Two books I diligently reread.

My small town public library taught me two important lessons. First, read the blurb. Relying on the degree of clinch-skin-sauciness of the cover to guide my reading choices was not a perfect system.

So I took the time to figure out the romance terminology – inspirational, sweet, etc.
My second, and perhaps most important lesson, was to take a chance. Not having many choices, I read everything – much of which I would not have read if I had other options. I learnt that I am deeply in love with romantic suspense novels and I find it very difficult to resist a werewolf. How much poorer my reading life would be without these faithful genres! And so my library lucky dips continue, joyfully and faithfully. ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Want to stay up to date on new releases?

Type Your Keywords: