“Romance fiction is widely reckoned to be a very low form of literature. Maybe the lowest, if we’re not counting the writing at Groupon, or on Splenda packets. Romance fiction: probably the worst! An addictive, absurd, unintellectual literature, literature for nonreaders, literature for stupid people—literature for women! Books Just For Her!
Low or not, romance is by far the most popular and lucrative genre in American publishing, with over $1.35 billion in revenues estimated in 2010. That is a little less than twice the size of the mystery genre, almost exactly twice that of science fiction/fantasy, and nearly three times the size of the market for classic/literary fiction…. people are devoted to something.” (Maria Bustillos, Romance Novels, The Last Great Bastion of Underground Writing)
Bustillos argues that Romance novels are feminists documents written almost exclusively by women, for women and about women. The underlying belief in the novels is that love conquers all and this solution she feels is ‘feminine’ (I don’t agree with her on that point. )
She explains her title:
Romance literature is underground writing, almost never reviewed or discussed in newspapers or literary rags, or at a dinner party. One is supposed to be embarrassed to have a taste for it. [It is] …a literature without pretense.
I say… let literary snobs call our stories trivial. Let the critics denounce them as lurid, bodice ripping adventures, or worse, soft core porn. They are missing the point. The modern romance is about women finding strength within themselves to live full lives. I believe the essence of the romance story is: LIFE IS ALL ABOUT LOVE.
Who in their right mind would fault that?