23 Responses to “What is romance? (poll)”

  1. Jane May 24, 2006 at 3:13 PM #

    I think the last choice is kind of confusing but that is bit how I feel about the whole thing. Like Bev said in her blog: should I be changing my opinions? Everyone was so thoughtful and articulate that I am beginning to question myself. Which is a good thing.

  2. Angie May 24, 2006 at 4:00 PM #

    Well, May said on her blog that she’d be happy if the HEA just involved the heroine being happy, on her own. Which sounds like chick-lit or women’s fiction to me :stir:

  3. Fiona May 24, 2006 at 4:19 PM #

    There are a lot of things I will let slid and a lot of things I will read/try at least once, however, my definition of a romance is strict. It ends with two people loving each other. And where there is love, there is happiness in their future.


  4. Nicole May 24, 2006 at 6:18 PM #

    For me, if the HEA is just the heroine happy in the end, that’s not romance, that’s chick lit or women’s fiction. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I suppose I don’t get that. Who cares that something is in another genre? Do we have to be that firmly in our comfort zone that even the thought of something else disturbs us?

  5. Jane May 24, 2006 at 8:46 PM #

    I think it has to do with marketing. If you want to garner the attention of the huge market share that buys romance, you have to have it labeled a romance and sold as a romance. So in order to keep the romance audience interested, you say that it is a romance but that the definition of romance is evolving. Eventually, I think the buyers will define what a romance is and isn’t. There is a reason that romance sells so well.

  6. May May 24, 2006 at 11:06 PM #


    Maybe I should do a similar poll every year, just to track the trends and stuff. Research, we’ll call it.

    Thanks for linking to me, Angie.

  7. Sherry May 24, 2006 at 11:46 PM #

    IMO, if there isn’t a HEA for the hero/heroine it just isn’t romance.

  8. Lori May 24, 2006 at 11:54 PM #

    I agree – I want my H/H to have a HEA, if it is being called a romance.

  9. Michelle B. May 25, 2006 at 2:21 AM #

    I feel exactly like Sherry and Lori. If there’s no HEA between the hero and heroine, it’s not a romance. I’d feel cheated if I picked up a book I thought was romance and there was no HEA.

  10. Sela May 25, 2006 at 7:05 AM #

    I guess I’m firm enough in my tastes that I know a romance is all about the HEA. I will, however, wait for one. It’s why I keep reading Stephanie Plum and the Undead series. I know if I stick with it long enough, they’ll both get their HEAs.

  11. Tara Marie May 25, 2006 at 9:23 AM #

    romance=two people, commitment, HEA.

  12. Amanda May 25, 2006 at 9:43 AM #

    :poke: As usual, I seem to be in the minority of opinions. I don’t ‘require’ romances I read to have the standard Romanceland HEA with commitment or marriage at the end. The reason being, not all relationships end that way no matter how fantastic it originally was.

    As was said by other posters, ideally if the plot does not end with an HEA than I want either or both the H/H to have loved & to grow as an individual. I want them to be happy at the end regardless of their relationship status.

    There are quite a few romances in which the relationship between the H/H is dysfunctional & I cannot accept the HEA. I need to believe that the relationship would work.

  13. Beverly May 25, 2006 at 10:43 AM #

    Amanda, I get what you’re saying. I really do. I’ve run across plenty of romances over the years where I wasn’t truly convinced they had a chance.

    OTOH, though, if I picked up a book believing it was romance and it ended with them skipping off in different directions, I’d have a fit. I might acknowledge that it was a wonderful “story”, possibly even a fantastic love story, but never a romance.

  14. ag May 25, 2006 at 11:20 AM #

    :exactly: Amanda.

    Although I do love HEA endings, if the situation doesn’t lend itself well, then it has to end on a hopeful note. To me, it’s the relationship and the tension and interaction. It must sizzle and pull me in.

  15. Tara Marie May 25, 2006 at 1:32 PM #

    When I use the word commitment, it doesn’t necessarily mean in the traditional sense, marriage/children. More like they’re “in love” and will see where it takes them.

  16. Dana May 25, 2006 at 2:00 PM #

    Maybe this is because I’m a relatively new romance reader, but I don’t understand why a HEA is required for a book to be a romance. For me, a romance is two people developing a relationship over the course of the book. The ending is less important. One of my favorite romance novels has one of the main characters die at the end. That doesn’t make it any less of a romance to me.

  17. Beverly May 25, 2006 at 2:44 PM #

    I think it has more to do with the difference between what some “is” and what’s in it, Dana. I could pick any book off my shelves, which are mostly labeled romances on the spines, and tell people that it has romance, fantasy and mystery elements, but that doesn’t make it a fantasy or a mystery novel. In fact, fantasy or mystery fans would squawk if we called a straight romance by either of those names. Truth is, I’ve seen them actually protest romances being cross-refenced as fantasy or mystery when all a site was saying is that a strong element of either is there.

    This is just the same thing in reverse here. A book can contain romance but that doesn’t make it A romance.

  18. May May 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM #

    Okay, I’ll post further thoughts on my blog tomorrow (have deadlines and I really shouldn’t be here) but Beverly, what if the romance is the Main Plot of the book, and it still doesn’t have a h/h HEA?

  19. Angie May 25, 2006 at 4:35 PM #

    what if the romance is the Main Plot of the book, and it still doesn’t have a h/h HEA?

    I guess I’ve always felt that an integral part of romance was a HEA involving the main characters. I read romance for that reason. It’s my first choice of genres. Because I want that feeling that all will be well in the relationship between the protaganists. I guess that’s why I posed the question to begin with, because that’s what I have always expected when I pick up a romance and it’s something romance readers have been able to count on, knowing they’ll get the HEA for the relationship.

    To answer Nicole’s question, who cares if something is in another genre? I like other genres, I read almost everything, but I think it comes down to expectations. With women’s fiction and chick-lit, I don’t go in expecting the HEA in the relationship. I don’t even go in expectign a HEA. But when I pick up a romance, I go in with the expectation that it’s going to deliver something–that something is the HEA between the protaganists. Not one on their own, but both together.

    So, no, there’s nothing wrong with having romance in other genres, but I guess I want to know what I’m getting.

  20. Beverly May 25, 2006 at 5:19 PM #

    Okay, I’ll post further thoughts on my blog tomorrow (have deadlines and I really shouldn’t be here) but Beverly, what if the romance is the Main Plot of the book, and it still doesn’t have a h/h HEA?

    You want me to say it’s a romance?

    Okay, it’s a romance.

    Saying it is, though, doesn’t make it one to the vast majority of readers out there . . . readers who will remember that book and that author more than any others if they were expecting a HEA, as Angie explains. Publishers might forget but the disappointed reader will not. And if enough books like that show up as romances, those same readers who have been burned will simply start looking for another label that ensures they get what they’re expecting.

    Which will only start the cycle all over again with a new label.

    So, turn the question around, is getting someone to agree that a book with this ending is a romance really going to accomplish what’s needed here? That’s an honest and sincere question.

    Yes, the label of romance has certain expectations in today’s market. Yes, that might be unfair to the rare book that doesn’t quite conform. But maybe, just maybe, those books need their own marketing label and be recognized for what they are, which is something different than what’s expected under the romance label. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Personally, I thought women’s fiction and chick lit was going a long way towards doing just that, which is why I’m completely blown away by this cropping up now. Are people actually dissatisfied with those two labels?

  21. Tara Marie May 25, 2006 at 9:34 PM #

    One of my favorite romance novels has one of the main characters die at the end. That doesn’t make it any less of a romance to me.

    For me this is a love story, now all romances are love stories, but not all love stories are romances, some are womens fiction. This reminds me of the Oprah thing, even when she picked a love story for her book club it wasn’t really a romance.

  22. Camilla May 27, 2006 at 5:48 PM #

    A romance novel to me is one where I actually care about the protagonists, they are well-rounded “people”, their love does ring true and I feel they were meant for each other out of all the people in the world. And a lot of romance novels fail to sell that to me, so in my world, that’s not a romance. A lot of times it’s a boinkfest. :muahaha:

  23. Angie May 27, 2006 at 7:12 PM #

    LOL Camilla! That’s quite true sometimes.

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