List of Romance Novel Books and Works : Vote for your favorites.
The romance novel or romantic novel discussed in this article is the mass-market literary genre. Novels of this type of genre fiction place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." There are many subgenres of the romance novel including fantasy, historical romance, paranormal fiction, and science fiction. Walter Scott defined the literary fiction form of romance as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents".
A thriving genre of works conventionally referred to as "romance novels" existed in ancient Greece. Some scholars see precursors to modern genre fiction romance novels in literary fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries, including Samuel Richardson's sentimental novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) and the novels of Jane Austen.
Austen inspired Georgette Heyer, the British author of historical romance set around the time Austen lived, as well as detective fiction, who techincally created the subgenre Regency Romance. Heyer's first romance novel, The Black Moth (1921), was set in 1751.
The British company Mills and Boon began releasing escapist fiction for women in the 1930s. Their books were sold in North America by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, which began direct marketing to readers and allowing mass-market merchandisers to carry the books.
An early American example of a mass-market romance was Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower (1972), published by Avon Books. This was the first single-title romance novel to be published as an original paperback in the US, though in the UK the romance genre was long established through the works of Georgette Heyer, and from the 1950s Catherine Cookson, as well as others. Nancy Coffey was the senior editor who negotiated a multi-book deal with Woodiwiss. The genre boomed in the 1980s, with the addition of many different categories of romance and an increased number of single-title romances, but popular authors started pushing the boundaries of both the genre and plot, as well as creating more contemporary characters.
In North America, romance novels are the most popular literary genre, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism, and criticism. Romance erotica seems to be on the rise as more women explore this new subgenre. Erotica is a term used to describe scenes in the novel that are risqué but not pornographic.Read more...
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