I finished reading two romance novels last night in ebook format and I was tired and sad to say that it’s work like this that makes me so eternally sick of the romance and erotic romance genre and publishing industry.
I read The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp and Rent-A-Studd by Lynn LaFleur. Eck, I gave in to Ellora’s Cave.
I fasted from Ellora’s Cave and broke myself of that filthy habit two years ago but I still long to read about intimacy, the best attempts I’ve ever read being constrained within the limitations of time pieces like those written by Robin Schone, the realism of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the urban snippets of intimacy in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.
I feel somewhat ashamed to admit I’ve been reading this kinds of books again, mostly because of the way people look down on intimacy and erotic romance, and the ways in which women are socialized from the cradle to chase after romance and the love of a at all costs. But I like, enjoy, and relish in intimacy, depth, and intensity and plots that have these elements as an integral parts.
However, the romance, erotica, and erotic romance market, particularly the historical, urban, and paranormal romance is just full of shit.
Rent-A Studd was weak and shallow in several places, relying heavily on Fabio-esque era and woodsman/earthy male archetypes and uppermiddle class white fantasy and detachment but was much better in my opinion for several reasons than The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp, granted that they belong to two different genres of romance.
Both books were horrid in their own right, though the LaFleur was more digestable and even cute at times.
Maybe I’ll give both books separate reviews later, but for right now I need to get the poison of disappointment, disgust, and outrage out.
The Pleasures of Sin by Jessica Trapp was HORRIBLE. The heroine, a white European young woman named Brenna, over the course of the novel, is
- stripped of her only passion which is painting,
- betrayed by the family she tried to protect endlessy,
- her sisters are in constant danger of being raped by the men that her “husband” brought to their keep with him or by men they will be forced to marry,
- psychologically abused,
- she is married to a man who claps her in shackles, manacles, and a collar and makes her hobble in public in them,
- forced to marry a man in her sister’s stead,
- nearly has her head cut off by her unwanted husband,
- unwanted husband leaves her to stew in her own filth for a month while shackled up, taking the key to her bounds with him,
- publically whipped by the man she is forced to marry after being duped into attempting to kill him by her sisters and father,
- coerced into a sexual relationship with this man to save her messed up family.
This was worse than Angel in the Red Dress by Judith Ivory, which is what made me go cold turkey on romance in the first place.
As a Black woman, whose descendants were enslaved and suffered every manner of abuse and brutalization imaginable, there was little to nothing amusing to me about this woman’s situation, let alone romantic.
Why do so many heterosexual white female romance writers feel the need to write about this shit like its cute and indoctrinate and pacify women into a culture of socially-induced Stockholm Syndrome? I just don’t understand.
Is there any such thing as quality romance/romantica in the world??? Because most of it appears to be a bunch of shit.
If this is the future of romance and it related genres, I give up. I just give up.