The evolution of romance
It seems like the tide is turning against the romance novel, a genre which brought us Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
I've spoken to many bookstore owners, and many don't even have a romance section. Those who do, such as Constellation Books, have a standing sale on the genre, in the hopes it will get a few titles moving. With the growing popularity of mystery novels and court-room dramas, not many people have a Harlequin on their bedside table, anymore.
The traditional romance seems to have lost its audience, while the ever-expanding world of "chick lit" has gained favor.
My own first foray into this world was with Sonia Singh's Goddess for Hire, which was a fun, if often shallow, time. I remember liking the heroine despite myself, and any book that can overcome a few preconceived notions is a winner in my book.
Maybe the problem is that I've never been the type to sip lattes on my way from a shopping spree to a manicure, so it's a little difficult for me to relate to the chick lit protagonists. But as far as I can tell, this is the new face of romance novels.
I will admit, compared to glassy-eyed ladies swooning from their too-tight corsets, this is an improvement. Escapeism is key in either scenario, but I can't help wondering how much of this has to do with that must-have pair of stilettos, rather than love conquering all.