Romance Reading on the Rise: Top Ten Things I Learned From Hist-Ro

I sawa blurb on the nightly news the other evening which reported a 30% increase in romance novel sales over the last several months.  The consensus from experts?  The “tough economic times” (ugh, who else is sick of that turn of phrase?) makes readers want a happy ending.

Funny, (perhaps its all those feminist destructuralism tomes I read in college) but I have never really thought about hist-ro as necessarily being the land of the Hollywood happy ending.

Granted, I don’t believe I have ever ran into a hist-ro where the hero and heroine don’t get together.  But to me, hist-ro is often much more about the character arc…the personal changes protagonists go through on a journey to their hearts desire.  Sometimes, the love they find is completely unexpected and helps change their heart, yet almost always it involves a lesson of self-love that is more compelling.

Got me thinking that there are a lot of things that I have learned from being a hist-ro junkie, and a lot of them have little to do with romance or sex.

Here are ten such lessons:

  1. Never underestimate the gift of comfortable shoes.
  2. Gossip is for dippy debutantes and malevolent matrons.
  3. When donning a disguise, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes.
  4. Kindness is a virtue, especially when practiced without prejudice (ie be kind to every maid and man).
  5. Honesty is the best policy.  You can avoid a lot of life’s foibles through frankness.
  6. Overindulgence can lead to underestimation of consequences.
  7. Traditions and rules are only as good as the company that keeps them.
  8. Everyone has issues with their upbringing, whether Duke or dustman.
  9. It doesn’t matter if you are a Diamond of the First Water or a Wallflower.  If you are true to yourself, good things will come your way.
  10. When in doubt, a little makeover is good for the soul.

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