Booking Through Thursday: Romantic

What’s the most romantic book you’ve ever read?

(Mind you, I don’t mean the hard-core stuff you hide in plain wrappers under your mattress. I mean True Love, Romance, deeply emotional, heart-tugging, and all that stuff.)

And, secondly, did you like it? Is it your usual kind of reading, or did it take you by surprise?

Argh—love≠sex, people. (And romance≠smut.) It’s too early for me to just let that one pass. This is probably why romance as a genre doesn’t particularly attract me, as an asexual woman; too many unnecessary sex scenes. (I’m not saying all sex scenes are unnecessary—I liked Tipping the Velvet—but for books specifically marketing themselves as romance, like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, they usually are.)

Now, to actually answer the question—I’m going to go with Malinda Lo’s Ash as the most romantic book I’ve ever read. (The review’s going up on March 2.) Not because it’s deeply emotional or heart-tugging—although it certainly can be—but because it’s rational and organic. The titular character has to choose between an idealized and extremely unbalanced (in terms of power) relationship with a supernatural being and an organic and earnest relationship with the King’s Huntress, which is still above her new station in life. The way Ash navigates this and begins to understand the rules of her world were great, and her ultimate choice made my heart sing. Also, it can be read as a commentary on the slew of unbalanced relationships with supernatural beings currently invading young adult fiction—just look at this—and proving that real love, organic, earnest, and true love, will always win out. Fantastic.

12 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Romantic

  1. >>Also, it can be read as a commentary on the slew of unbalanced relationships with supernatural beings currently invading young adult fiction.

    My lip curled when I read this sentence. I was never not over this trend, but now I am so, so, so, SO over it. It has to stop! Why can’t the books promote healthy relationships with open and honest communication?

  2. <>
    I read Zoe Archer’s ‘Blades of the Rose’ books (there are four of them) when I was overseas, and have to say they were fantastic adventure novels with far too many unnecessary sex scenes (and taken together, the language becomes repetitive, too – but I’ll save all that for my review). I don’t think the distaste for this is confined to ace women, which is why I prefer Heyer’s romance novels – in almost all you actually see the characters engaging with each other’s minds, rather than their bodies. I think that’s why so many women like Harriet and Peter’s relationship in Sayers’ detective novels – they are intellectual equals, as well as deeply attracted to each other.

    I think possibly the book I find most romantic is Austen’s ‘Persuasion’: the emotions are deeply felt, even if not stated, and Wentworth’s letter to Anne, declaring his love, is so satisfying to the reader who has been suffering along with her. As a second choice, I really like Lois MacMaster Bujold’s ‘Shards of Honor’, actually sci-fi, but the love between Aral and Cordelia is complex and realistic and beset with difficulties. Bujold does relationships really well, I think – the one between Ista and Illvin in ‘Paladin of Souls’ is lovely, because it grows organically and because they both have so much respect for each other, as well as love, and because neither of them are young.

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