On New Year’s weekend, I binged a little show called The Bridgertons on Netflix. (Thank you Shondaland!) When I realized the show was based on a book series by Julia Quinn, I immediately opened my Libby app and checked out the first of the (audio)books, The Duke and I. (This is the book the first season of The Bridgertons is based on.)
I became immediately
hooked obessed with reading regency romances.
But like any good obsession, it spiraled and soon I was reading all sorts of romance—Scottish highlands, western, contemporary, sports, comedy.
Out of the 93 books I’ve read so far this year, 65 fall in the romance genre.
Right? I know.
And I admit, despite being an avid Hallmark movie watcher, I use to sneer at romance books. I always thought romance books were pointless since everyone knows how each book will end. But I was wrong.
As I discovered a new romance author, I
stalked checked out their websites or social media presence to see what other books they may have, what new books may be coming out, and what they are reading. From Julia Quinn, I discovered Tessa Dare and Lisa Kleypas, and then into contemporary romance with Jasmine Guillory, Abby Jimenez, Priscilla Oliveras, and Lyssa Kay Adams.
Lyssa Kay Adams has a contemporary romance series about the Bromance Book Club. The first book, conveniently entitled The Bromance Book Club, is smart, witty, and completely on target for modern relationships. Plus, I actually laughed out loud multiple times when listening to this book.
(Bonus, her books are narrated by Andrew Eiden, who does a fabulous job! It’s so refreshing to hear a male voice narrate a romance book.)
I enjoyed the first one so much, I immediately checked out the next two. And then I enjoyed them so much, I ended up buying physical copies.
So then of course I had to find out more about Lyssa Kay Adams, to see what else she has written and when the next Bromance Book Club book might be released. That’s when I discovered her website and the section on Men Read Romance.
I won’t rehash what Lyssa so elegantly says. What I will say is that Lyssa made me realize that romance is more than the happily ever after (HEA). In fact, the books really aren’t about the HEA. The books are about the journey.
Romance books aren’t just for women.
And romance books are definitely not just for straight, young, Caucasian women.
There is a whole world of romance books. Sports-themed, adventure-themed, suspense-themed, LatinX, LGBTQ, second chances, YA, middle aged, black voices . . . I guarantee anyone can find one to suit what you like.
So I encourage everyone not to sneer or look down upon romance books. Yes, romance books, just like our favorite Hallmark movies, all have a HEA. But let’s face it. After the last year and a half, don’t we all need a little HEA?
And maybe, just maybe, we can see that it really is the journey, the path to the HEA, that is the most important piece of the story.
For some of my favorite 2021 romance reads, check out my Romance is for Everyone shelf on bookshop.org.