Though my usual genre is women’s fiction, stories that deal with issues of special interest to women and may or may not include a romantic relationship as a part of the plot, a goodly number of romance fans also enjoy reading my books.
Why? I think it’s because my books always feature a happy ending and as any lover of romance knows, a happy ending is an essential element of any well-written romance, the pay-off that readers get from having invested their time and imagination in the lives of the characters. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that “Ahhh…” that comes at the end of the book, the moment when, having suffered and cried and possibly stayed up to the wee hours of the morning worrying about what will become of this imaginary person who now feels like someone you know very well, you realize that your new imaginary friend has found the happiness she deserves.
For me, that is the real joy of reading, be it romance or any other genre, the warm, hopeful satisfied feeling that washes over you when the characters reach their happy ending. Some may write off books with consistently happy endings as little inconsequential fluff, but I really believe that the “happily ever after” in fiction has important implications for how we live our lives. Seeing our favorite characters find the happiness they deserve gives us courage to keep going even in moments of discouragement and difficulty because it fills us with hope that same thing can happen in real life if we just refuse to give up.
I wrote about that subject in an essay for Publisher’s Weekly magazine last month. I guess the topic must really have hit home for people because, so far, more than 1800 people have shared my essay on their Facebook pages. If you’d like to read that essay, you can find it at www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/67175-unfashionably-happy.html.
Now you may or may not realize it, but August is Read A Romance Month, which is a great time to bring joy into your own life by discovering a book recommended by some of the genre’s best romance authors and bloggers. When you pop over to www.readaromancemonth.com, you’ll find links to blog posts and recommendations every single day in August. Be sure to check it out.
Also check out an essay by Lorelei of Lorelei’s Lit Lair, on her discovery and love of romance at http://www.readaromancemonth.com/2015/08/day-1-loreleis-joyous-journey-to-romance/ and look for her author recommendations (including one for yours truly) every day in August on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/loreleislitlair.
In the spirit of Read A Romance Month (RARM), I highly recommend Kristan Higgins Blue Heron series. I have adored this series. The upstate New York wine country series is charming and feeds my fantasy of becoming a vintner myself (without ever having to do any actual work), the heroes are swoon worthy, and the heroines are flawed in all the right ways – they feel like women I know and would love to hang out with. Also, the witty dialogue and situations in these books keep me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud (occasionally in public places, like airplanes, which can get a little awkward…just a fair warning). And, of course, they all have that wonderful, joyous, “Ahh…” in the final pages, the happy endings that keep me coming back for more.
Give the Blue Heron books a try. You won’t be disappointed. They are, in order…
The Best Man
The Perfect Match
Waiting On You
In Your Dreams
Another important element of RARM is the question asked of authors. Here are my answers to this year’s crop of questions…
1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.
When I first saw my name on the cover of my first book. I cried and cried – all happy tears.
2 – Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.
Sitting on the screened porch in my home in rural Connecticut is a spot where I always experience peace and joy. I love to sit there looking out over the meadows at the trees, birds, and wildlife. There is no better place to sit and observe the power and excitement of a summer thunderstorm.
3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.
The laughter of my three grandchildren.
4 – What recent book have you read that brought you joy.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
5 – Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer
Definitely Christopher Plummer. Being a huge fan of musicals, how could I not pick Captain Von Trapp!
Marie Bostwick is an NYT bestselling author and master of warm, compelling fiction. Marie’s eleven novels, published by Kensington, include The Second Sister, released in April 2015. Her 2012 title, Ties That Bind, was named Best Mainstream Novel of the Year in the RT Book Reviews Reader’s Choice Awards. She also just received a Career Achievement Award in Mainstream Fiction from RT Bookreviews.