[LMB] ot: romance novels & subversion

Corrina Lawson corrinaannelawson at gmail.com
Wed Feb 7 21:00:06 GMT 2018

I've been doing what I call The Great Rita Read, which is to read as many
winners of the Romance Writers of America Rita Award since 1982 as

So far, I'm up to 40 books and two articles over at the B&N Reads blog.

Overwhelmingly, what I'm finding from the books from 1982-2000 are stories
about women recovering from trauma. Over and over and over again, women are
writing themselves happy endings that include healing from trauma.

And it's not due to the men--no more than Ekaterin's healing is due to
marrying Miles. Rather, it's more that the men see the women's best selves
and support the women in bringing it out.

Recovery from horrific rape (in the past, not on the page)
Recovery from male authority figures who denigrate their abilities
Recovery from horrible losses in their lives (Omigod, you guys, Laura
Kinsale's  The Prince of Midnight drips with recovery from all kinds of
trauma. For the heroine, who is definitely PTSD, it's recovery from the
numbness at the murder of her family, for the hero, it's dealing with his
physical disability. Also, when you meet the hero, he is a former
highwayman living in a ruined castle in France, his only company a pet
wolf. When the heroine is taught by the hero how to train horses and she
has to let her guard down from the emotional wall built to keep her moving
and falls apart, it's one of the most emotional scenes I've ever read. I

Recovery, recovery, recovery, finding their best selves.

One of the earlier books I read, from 1982, was about a woman in a loveless
marriage whose husband rapes her who manages to run off with someone who
values her.
Morning Glory by Lavryle Spencer is this quiet story in pre-WW II Georgia
about a pregnant widow who slowly comes to love the lonely man she hired to
help her around the place--and she's dealing with a traumatized upbringing

It's just recovery after recovery. Admittedly, the men in the 1980s
contemporaries can be very grabby on personal space.

(Many of the contemporaries in the 1980s are also about women wanting it
all--the work, the family--and getting it.

I've only found 2 books that I didn't like and one of them was
well-written, just thought the hero was not good.

Anyway, in short, romance is the genre of healing for women, at least so
far as I've gotten in my read.


On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 2:46 PM, Eric Oppen <ravenclaweric at gmail.com> wrote:

> I still think it would be funny to have Miles, on one of his galactic
> jaunts, run into a romance writer who writes best-selling novels set in
> pre-rediscovery Barrayar...and plays REAL fast and loose with the facts,
> but has zillions of people believing every word.
> On Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 7:31 AM, <adkinslawfirm at mindspring.com> wrote:
> > https://www.buzzfeed.com/jaimegreen/who-gets-a-happily-
> > ever-after-in-2018-romance-novels
> >
> > I enjoyed this analysis & conversations with authors.  Y'all might, too.
> >
> > obLMB:  I can't help picturing how this kind of thing might've been going
> > on on Barrayar all along, completely under most male radar. [Although now
> > I'm picturing Professor Vorthys finding himself in the middle of a
> romance
> > symposium to collect the Professora & liking it more than he expected;
> I'm
> > also picturing Gregor & Laisa reading romance novels to each other,
> > undoubtedly giggling over how the galactic romance writers get the
> > Barrayaran alphas skewed.  Plot bunnies, deployed!]
> >
> > ;)
> >
> > Jerrie
> > --
> > Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to ravenclaweric at gmail.com
> > Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> > http://lists.herald.co.uk/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/lois-bujold
> >
> --
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