For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed stories that ended on a happy note. It didn’t matter which type of delivery: written word, movie, or television program, I only felt satisfied if the story ended with the idyllic solution; couples together, problem solved, a bright future promised.
As I grew up I realized life doesn’t work that way. As the old saying goes, sh*t happens. A decision one thinks is beneficial can turn out to be disastrous. Health issues, money problems, the daily grind, all have a way of wearing the shine off the most optimistic person, no matter how strong a positive attitude.
Lucky for me, there will always be books. I read for escape. I read for pleasure. I read to remind myself that no matter what life offers, there is always a place I can go to feel comfortable again. A place to lose my worries, find satisfaction and restore hope. A place I choose to belong.
For years, romance novels have been burdened with a poor reputation. For numerous inane reasons, critics complain romance is not credible literature. That this genre depicts unrealistic situations and promotes unhealthy expectations… and after I stop laughing, I agree, because those same characteristics are among the reasons I choose romance.
I don’t read to educate myself. I’ve all but completed my doctorate degree and don’t need my escape to be my vocation. As an adult, I have a clear assessment of what life holds. I don’t mistake Regency romance for what I might find at a local restaurant. Critics insult my intelligence with that kind of accusation.
It’s much simpler, really. I’m in love with happy endings. In a world where terror threats and senseless crime fill the daily news, I yearn for the respite found in romance, whether I read or write it. I know romance novels aren’t real life, but neither is a galaxy far far away or a journey through middle earth or an alternate world where people play games with thrones, yet these literature adaptations get lauded with acclaim.
So next time you see me, don’t be surprised if I have my nose buried in Jane Austen or another timeless classic. Perhaps I’ve just begun the new Lisa Kleypas or Sherry Thomas book. I’ll never change and I don’t want to. It’s fun being in love with happily ever after. You should try it sometime.