13 February 2017

Romance is in the air today –

Tuesday Talk: posted on Monday, on the eve of a Romantic Day... 

Valentine’s Day. Frankly I think it’s a huge commercial con, with cards costing a fortune and roses costing an even bigger fortune. Isn’t it funny how the cost of flowers goes up two or three-fold a couple of days before February 14th?

OK, I’m a grump… *laugh*.

But what do we really want from ‘romance’ in fiction? Particularly Historical Fiction? The genre is quite broad, from blatant erotic (which often has very little historical content apart from quite a few bosoms heaving out of tight-laced corsets, and semi-clad six-pack men wearing tight breeches) to relationships between real people from the past.

ah for a comely wench...
Is Pride and Prejudice, and all Jane Austen’s novels, ‘romance’? What about Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy? Is an Elizabeth Chadwick romance? She has received several awards from the Romantic Novelists Association, after all, but her latest trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine, given the hatred between her and Henry II – he had her locked up for ten years – is hardly the stuff of red roses and boxes of chocs! So those are not romance (but by heck what bloomin’ good reads they are!)

I watched Captain Corelli’s Mandolin on TV a few days ago. Hadn’t read the book, hadn’t seen the movie. Romance? For a war film that towards the end was quite shocking (and very sad)? On the other hand, the passion between the two lead characters absolutely sizzled. Chocolates would melt for sure!

And why do we read romance novels anyway? For the ‘ah that was nice’ factor? Because we love ‘weepies’, because we’re making up for the lack of romance in our own humdrum lives with our predictable Other Halves who never even get round to taking the trash out, let alone thinking of buying flowers.

Anyone remember Nigel in the Radio Drama The Archers? The Nigel of ‘He who fell off the roof on New Year’s Eve’ fame? I liked Nigel. I more or less stopped listening after his demise (bad move on BBC Radio’s part, I felt, to bump him off.) Why did I like Nigel? Simple. He was a romantic. 100%. A bit of a drip at times (hence going up on a roof when it was slippery with ice) but he did romantic -sweep-you-off-your-feet sort of things. Well, he was rich, so I guess he could afford exotic surprises.

But another question. Does ‘romance’ in novels or TV drama or movies, or whatever, have to include sex? Especially explicit sex? (Or even worse, badly-written sex?) Sometimes, is it not just as romantic to leave the ‘romance’ to the romantic couple concerned by  permitting them to firmly close the bedroom door, and leave what happens beyond to our imagination?

Romantic moonlight on the sea,
a handsome pirate and his beautiful lady.
Of course if my other half reads this (which I know he won’t) especially the bit about the trash, I’ll have completely scuppered any chance of a bunch of daffs and box of Malteasers. Still, I might, if I’m very lucky, get a cup of tea in bed… There again, I bet I’ll have to get up and make it…

Where’s my heart-throb pirate, Jesamiah Acorne when I need him? Hmm, I doubt he’d bring me a cuppa either…

a splash of romance -
me dancing with OH at our daughter's wedding.

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