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Read a Romance

August is Read a Romance Month (RARM).

“Woo hoo. Yay.” <—muttered with less-than-enthusiastic intonations

I’m just not one to get all excited about romance novels, but my mother sure was. In fact, Mama was so much into reading historical romance novels that she would devour about 4-5 of them each week. She was always an avid reader and passed the love of books, all books, on to me. Thank you, Mama.

But, about 5 years before she passed I began to notice tons of paperback books scattered about her house. This was a good thing. I figured that it kept her mind active. But as I looked at what she was reading I noticed that all of the books had illustrations of hunky pirates, soldiers, earls, counts, farmboys, whatever, on the front cover. The hunky hero usually had his shirt off and held in his beefy arms a gorgeous woman who was sometimes scantily clad and always appeared to be swooning. I questioned my mom about the literary quality of these books and pointedly asked her if she left them laying around when her Sunday School class came to visit. She assured me that her class often exchanged these books, describing them as solid pieces of great writing with literary merit because they were “historical.” So, I bought her a Kindle and taught her how to download books, so as not to advertise to the world her penchant for “Red Hat Society” porn.

Every month was Read a Romance Month for my mother.

I probably chided her too much about her taste in books. So, because it’s Read a Romance Month, in Mama’s honor, I’ve decided to read nothing but historical romance novels this month. Maybe it won’t be so bad. Lots of people, okay, lots of women adore the genre. After all, what book lover wouldn’t want to take a Jason Momoa-ish hero to bed with her each night? What aging 60-plus-year-old red-blooded female doesn’t dream of having an 18″ waist and beaus swarming around her like bees to honey? But still, I’m not overly excited about my August reading commitment.  We’ll see what happens at the end of the month. Maybe my waist will shrink and Capt’n Clean will get hunkier.

As a writer, maybe I just don’t know enough about what goes into a romance novel, so I did a little research. According to the romance novel experts, these are the elements that must be present to classify a book as a romance novel:

The hero and heroine must be likable.

The hero and heroine meet early in the story.

A barrier comes between the hero and heroine and prevents them from finding true love with each other.

Romantic tension between the hero and heroine builds as the book progresses.

The romance between the hero and heroine eventually comes to a happy ending, i.e. they live happily ever after

The story is told from a woman’s perspective and the female heroine is generally strong-willed and clever

The moral of any romance novel is that good behavior is rewarded by true love.

Oh, and the hero’s shirt and heroine’s bodice are ripped off when the couple finally come together.

Yawn! But I must admit that the last bullet point is what will keep me reading.

You would expect that February, because of Valentine’s Day, would be chosen as Read a Romance Month. But no. August, maybe because it’s hot and steamy is RARM. From what I’ve seen, almost everyone is dealing with hot and steamy weather conditions right now, right? So, since most of us are sweating buckets during the hottest summer on record, I figured it would be unkind just to toss you a list of romance novels and encourage you to take a look at them. Your glasses might fog up with all that heat. So, as an alternative incentive, here is “the list” of historical romance novels that I’m going to read/reread (listen to) this next month, and to make them palatable, I’ve included the Wimpy Girl ice cream flavors that were inspired by each book. Maybe this will cool you off a bit. Heck, even if you, like me, can’t stand romance novels, who doesn’t like ice cream? Here we go:

Wimpy Girl’s Top  Historical Romance Novels 

and the ice cream flavors inspired by them

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte

When Life Gives You Lemons Sorbet

An exquisite blend of tart lemons and sweetness that will delight all. Throw in a scoop of Rochester Rocky Road and you’ve got a winner.

The Viscount Who Loved Me

by Julia Quinn

Flaming Hot Count Choco-Pop

You have to admit that Bridgerton is one flaming hot Viscount who when flambed with chocolate makes any ice cream lover go, “Oh, my!”

Outlander

by Diana Gabaldon

Time Traveler Scottish Truffle

This frozen delicacy features an 18th-century Scottish recipe for truffles that are rich in dark chocolate, creating a not-too-sweet taste. The texture of this treat is intoxicatingly luscious, especially in kilts.

Gone With the Wind

by Margaret Mitchell

Fiddle-Dee-Dee Peach Jubilee

Even Rhett will give a damn when it comes to Mammy’s Peach Jubilee. I will lick the bowl on this one.

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Mr. Darcy’s Dairy Confectionery

Oh Mr. Darcy, you cad. Why didn’t you tell us you were such an artist with sweet cream?

The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

As You Swish Walnut Cream

Buttercup will come back for seconds and thirds with Wesley’s As You Swish Walnut Cream frozen masterpiece. At first bite, your taste buds will finally realize what “true love” is all about.

Okay, so maybe, with these frozen inspirations, I’ll make it through RARM and actually enjoy the reads. I will let you know how it goes, or better yet, won’t you join me so we can share notes? 

Happy Read a Romance Month!

Read on Wimpy Girls, and lick the spoon an extra time for me.

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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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