Romance literature and consistency

I read a lot. So when I started pursuing my dream again of becoming a published writer I couldn’t have been happier to see the advice of many great writers being to read a lot. Most of them advised also to read out of your own comfort zone. Off the top of my head I can think of only one genre I don’t read and that’s romance novels. I haven’t since I was maybe 13, 14. And now I remember why; they seem to be so badly written. Granted, some of it’s the translation because you necessarily lose some things in the translation. And some of it must be cultural. I’ve never gotten the way Americans seem to be obsessed with virginity because we don’t place that much importance on it in Finland. If any one of my friends had told me that she was going to wait for marriage to have sex I would’ve been stunned beyond reason. Scratch that. I had one friend who was a laestadianist and I could sort of see why she wanted to save herself, but I was still stunned when she told me. The point is, it’s not that big a deal here.

But mostly what bothers me is the little things. Right now I’m reading a book originally called Millionaire’s Marriage Bargain, it’s been translated as Paras Palkinto IE Best Reward. “People as things, that’s how it starts.” That’s what Granny Weatherwax said about the root of all evil. So, right off the bat I have a big problem with this book. The leading lady is just finishing a master’s degree, likes to drive fast cars, hang glide etc. She works part-time as a charity event organizer ’cause she’s a trust fund baby. All this, to me sounds a bit off but I’m not a trust fund baby nor do I know any trust fund babies. But that’s not the point. She’s also mad feminine and the author makes a point of marking how men flock around her and so on. Point is, she does all this stuff that has to require mad chops and self confidence. I mean I know first hand that it takes a lot of trust in one’s own abilities to go over the ledge and be on your own. This is not someone who has a lot of confidence issues. In my work I’ve had to request funding for stuff costing upwards of 15k€ and you have to be pretty sure about yourself and the thing you want money for to do that. And yet the author remarks constantly how the heroine has bad self esteem and when they first have sex she tries to hide herself. This is not consistent! I mean sure, a character needs to have some contrary personality traits to make them believable. Indiana Jones has his thing with the snakes and that’s always good for a laugh. But you know, what we have here is a character who’s nothing but desire and controversy, with herself! It’s kind of like Indy being timid. I just don’t buy it.

And another thing, they’re walking along the beach, suddenly the man pulls the woman close they talk, then he pulls her closer, they talk some more some of the woman’s feelings are discussed through her thoughts. They hear music and he pulls her close again. When did they part? Not in any text I could read. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the text is abridged and that’s why it doesn’t make sense.

Like I said, I don’t normally read romance novels so maybe that’s why it’s bothering me so much. I also realize that people don’t read romance novels as great literature. But still. At least make it consistent. Please? It’s driving me crazy.

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