Often romance novels are referred to as trashy, but this is not always the case. Admittedly the romance genre is more escapism than reading a physics article on a Sunday afternoon, but sometimes a bit of fantasy can be a good thing. Seriously, you have plenty of time in this dreary economy to think about more pressing issues, so an hour or two reading something fun might be a good way to relax.
I must admit that one thing that irkes me about the traditional romance novel is how the hero is always rescuing the heroine, so it is refreshing when your read a novel where the woman is more in charge than the man thinks she is. In the novel One kiss From You by Christine Dodd, it appears the character Eleanor de Lacy is a submissive woman that will bend to the will of the man she is engaged to marry. Actually, her cousin Madeline was supposed to marry Remington Knight after her father bet her away in a game of cards, but the cousins switched places so Eleanor could hold off the marriage. Remington makes some comment about how he prefers Eleanor’s hair long, but she cuts it because she wants to throw him off. Actually her reason for doing it is a bit more steamy than that explanation, but I am not going to give much away here. You will just have to read the book to find out. Eleanor is a heroine who surprises Remington at many turns, and it is stimulating to read a novel like that.
Even though I used to get irritated with traditional romance novels when I read these in the past, but it was mostly because cannot identify with a woman who acts like she needs a man to rescue her whenever danger is looming on the horizon . However, one strong point about many romance novels, even the traditional ones, is you have to do your historical research in addition to writing a stimulating fiction story. One romance novel that I read in high school helped me to understand the French Revolution from a new context, so never underestimate what you can learn from reading a historical romance.
So I do not think it is a horrible thing to read a romance novel from time to time, and I believe most people are capable of sorting the fact from fiction. At least you are using your mind when you read a romance novel as opposed to just flipping around the channels on the TV.
Actually I am writing a romance novel of sorts, but mine does not fit into the traditional subset of novels. Both the leading lady and man are pedestrians, and live life according to their own terms. Some of my own experiences have experience my leading lady’s adventures, which are much more down to earth than the jet setting locales. I write on my novel when the inspiration hits me, and eventually I need to edit it so I can submit it to publishers. By reading novels I always get new creative inspiration, which will result in my characters speaking telling own stories. Does my life story influence my characters? Yes, of course it does, but most writers usually use certain themes from their own life in the novels they write.